Data is a tried-and-true way to build the credibility of content marketing. But what happens when the data itself is bad?
Content marketing is about helping your buyers identify problems, find solutions, and make an informed purchasing decision. Here’s how you can create a B2B content strategy that delivers on all three points.
A B2B content strategy is a blueprint for figuring out the content you need to write to capture the interest of your buyers. Executed properly, the result brings more awareness to your brand and more traffic to your website – both of which are critical to lead generation.
So, how do you create a successful strategy? It requires thinking about much more than just blogging (though you should definitely do that, too).
5 Building Blocks of a B2B Content Strategy
- Audience: Who are your buyers and what do they want to know?
- Content: What do you need to create to reach them?
- Channels: Where should you distribute content so buyers will find it?
- Tactics: What should you actually do, how often and where do you start?
- Reporting: How do you know it’s working?
Knowing and documenting the answers to these five areas will help you craft a purposeful strategy that gives your content team the right action items – and your business the best results. Let’s go through them one by one.
Building Block #1: Audience
Who are your buyers and what do they want to know?
A B2B content strategy starts with identifying who your audience of potential buyers is and what they want to know.
You probably already know the answer to the first part of that question. But it’s never a bad idea to brush up on who you are targeting. Remember: Rather than trying to reach the masses with your content, it’s more valuable for a B2B company to attract qualified prospect. That means it’s critical to understand your buyer personas.
Once you have that figured out, what do they actually want to know? What questions are they asking? What problems do they have, and what solutions exist?
You can get the majority of this information from these two sources:
- Your sales team: What questions they are frequently asked by prospects
- Google: What keywords and search terms your audience uses to ask questions (Keywords Everywhere is a great extension that will help with this.)
Building Block #2: Content
What do you need to create to reach your audience?
Using what you know about your audience, you can now come up with a universe of content types and topics. These should all be designed to address the questions your audience has at each stage of the buying process.
Your audience has different needs and varying amounts of time to sit down and consume content. So, you need a range of pieces that addresses those needs. Infographics are good quick hitters for buyers with less than five minutes, whereas white papers and other longer reads are good for buyers who have around 20 minutes to spare.
Here are some types of content to consider including in your B2B content strategy:
Building Block #3: Channels
Where should you distribute content so buyers will find it?
Now that you know what you want to create, you have to determine what you want to do with it once you have it. Again, the answer depends on your audience and where they go to seek answers and solutions. This could include Google, trade publications, email and social media.
Google (and your website, should searchers click through to it) is the most important channel for most B2B companies because this is where many buyers ask questions. So, writing good blogs and making sure your search engine optimization (SEO) is up to snuff is key.
But your buyers could also be scoping out industry news sites they trust. To get your content placed here, you might need to advertise for a direct placement or work your PR magic to land an earned one.
Building Block #4: Tactics
What should you actually do, how often and where do you start?
Okay, you’ve figured out who to target, what to create, and where to put your content once it’s ready. You’ve probably outlined a well-rounded variety of options, which begs the question: What should you start with first?
We always recommend layering on foundational content, first. Start with shorter content, like blogs and maybe an infographic. Then move into deeper content, like a video if you can swing it or a case study.
In a perfect world, you should create some type of content every single day. But in the real world, this isn’t always possible. Most B2B companies add fresh content to their website (and other channels) on a weekly or biweekly basis.
Building Block #5: Reporting
How do you know it’s working?
Before you execute your B2B content strategy, make sure you have established what success looks like and how you plan to measure performance through key content KPIs. This helps you figure out what’s working and what’s not, testing the effectiveness of your overall B2B content strategy. It also helps you link your content efforts to larger marketing goals, like lead generation.
Once you start executing your strategy, give it a month. And then check about once a month. So long as you’re consistent. If results look good, keep doing what you’re doing. If something isn’t working, it probably means you need to reevaluate one of the four other elements above.
B2B Content Strategy: Conclusion
Now you have your B2B content strategy. It’s time to start creating!
Remember, every company has their own bandwidth and capabilities. It’s one thing to create a B2B content strategy. It’s an entirely different thing to actually execute it.
A lot goes into a content strategy, which means it will require a good amount of people to get it all done. That’s why many B2B companies hire a content marketing agency. So you can stay focused on your other important work while your marketing team keeps the content train moving.