More and more businesses are waking up and recognising the importance of content marketing. While the majority of brands now understand the value of content, very few implement their content marketing campaigns or strategies, as well as they should. This means various B2B businesses could be missing out on potential sales and revenue.
Too often, we see content strategies fail at the first hurdle due to a lack of planning, you’d rather stroll in the right direction than run in the wrong one, right? Well, that’s where our short guide comes in.
Below we’ve broken down step-by-step how to plan, deliver, and execute your own B2B content marketing strategy. Discover how your business can stand out and provide value with useful, engaging and relevant content.
How-To Build Your B2B Content Strategy
Content marketing has grown significantly over time and we only expect it to get even bigger. More and more B2B brands are leveraging high-quality content to efficiently attract, engage and convert their audience into customers.
Below we’ve outlined a simple pathway to piecing together your content strategy. If you’re a business that targets various sectors or industries then the content planning process might be a little trickier. We recommend doing the following steps for each niche that your business target’s due to the number of variables involved.
- Defining Your SMART Goals
- Identifying Your Audience
- Conducting a Content Audit
- Run a Competitor Analysis
- Establish Your Tactics & Channels
- Create Your Content Calendar
- Craft Your Content
- Promoting Your Content
- Measuring Success of Your B2B Content
Defining Your SMART Goals
Kicking it off with goals and objectives because no marketing strategy can exist without them. To get started, you’ll need to get a strong grasp of the reasons you’re creating your content plan in the first place. Gaining an understanding of why your business needs to produce and share quality content is the first step toward defining what will work best for your strategy.
Whilst your goals should be specific to your content strategy, remember that the overarching purpose of your content plan is to work towards achieving your wider business goals, whatever they may be. A good example of a SMART goal would be; “To create and publish content to increase social referrals by 20% in the next 6 months”. That goal is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
Identify Your Audience
For your B2B content strategy to take off, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of your target market. One of the best and most efficient ways to unlock these insights is to conduct some persona research. Buyer personas are essentially a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer, this research reveals unique traits about your buyers from demographics to buying behaviours.
Crucially for content marketing though, your market research will reveal the channels your customers regularly engage with as well as the types of media that they prefer to consume. Your user’s challenges and pain points will also be discovered during this process, enabling you to focus your content that serves your prospects the best and provides optimal value. This information will start to put together the building blocks for your content strategy.
Conduct a Content Audit
This step applies to businesses looking to evolve their existing content marketing strategy. Despite what some people say, there is no such thing as bad content! Even content that doesn’t perform the best can be repurposed into something else, you’d be surprised what nuggets of information you can find within the content you’ve already created.
Your content audit should enable you to establish out-of-date content, and ensures you don’t produce duplicate content. Finally, your content audit should help establish gaps in your content both internally and with competitors, discovering topics that can be built upon. This will further extend your efforts to build your authority online, overshadowing your competition.
Your audit will allow you to analyse and keep track of your historical content. Having your materials structured in this way has a whole host of benefits and can make your life as a B2B marketer much easier going forward.
Run a Competitor Analysis
Tied with the above, we would always recommend scoping out your key competition, exploring how they are currently marketing to their audience and whether or not it performs well. Who knows, you might find something worth testing out for your business too.
Getting a holistic view of your key competitors will help you recognise and analyse their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (or SWOT analysis). You can then use this information to your business’s advantage, seizing opportunities you perhaps hadn’t considered already.
Bear in mind that you don’t want to create a carbon copy of what your competition is doing, but feel free to pinch ideas for how you could structure or guide your strategy.
Establishing Your Tactics & Channels
For this stage in your planning process, you’ll need to have some market research or a form of persona research to support your decision-making. Establishing the channels in which you’re going to share your B2B content is key to gaining visibility and meeting your professional audience where they are.
To get started, if you already utilise a variety of channels you can analyse your current analytics. This analysis should reveal to you which channels are successful and which ones are not so much, helping you to better prioritise your activities.
You can use free tools such as Google Analytics to find this data, within the ‘Acquisition’ tab you can see from which sources your visitors are arriving on your website. In addition to this, you can also see which channels are prompting the most conversions. This should provide a good indicator of where to distribute your content.
Remember, whilst it’s good to expand your marketing across multiple channels, it’s best to start with what works and then grow your strategy using experimentation.
Create Your Content Calendar
The holy grail of any modern digital marketing strategy. We’ll assume that you’re already familiar with the importance of mapping out your marketing activities. Content calendars support you to plan your campaigns in advance, reducing dwell time and mitigating mistakes in your content scheduling.
There are a vast variety of different tools you can use to map your content plan, including both free and premium options. If you’re working within a team of marketers, your content calendar will maintain team alignment and provide visibility to the tasks at hand.
Crafting Your Content
Now for the fun bit! Assuming that the building blocks of your B2B content plan are coming together, we can now move on to content creation.
As a marketing expert, you’ll know that content comes in a variety of different forms, and you’ll also know that your market will be more receptive to some types of media over others. For your B2B content strategy to bring the optimal results for your business, you’ll need to provide content that your audience prefers to engage with. Your market research should support you to identify preferred media.
Whilst it’s good to provide an array of content across different media types, similarly with channels, don’t risk spreading yourself too thin. Explore what does or doesn’t work and build from there. The great thing about marketing is that it enables you to get scientific; to test and trial. There isn’t necessarily a wrong outcome but remember to keep your objectives and KPIs in mind!
Before diving into creating your beautiful and valuable assets, it’s important to define who will be responsible for what and identify what resources you’ll need to be successful.
Whilst producing most B2B content won’t require a huge Hollywood budget, you’ll need to ensure you, or your team have all the tools you need to get the job done. For some pieces of B2B content, it might be worth considering outsourcing the production, particularly if you’re working within a small or limited team.
In addition to defining responsibilities and budgets, you’ll need to evaluate the software or hardware your team will need to deliver this high-quality content. If we’re looking at video marketing, what equipment will you need? How much will it cost? What software will you need for post-production? Often these finer details are overlooked, don’t let that happen!
Promoting Your Content
Now we’re at the penultimate stage of the content process, promoting your content. By this point, you should have started to build up a good variety of multimedia content for you to promote across your different channels.
One of the many benefits of a solid B2B content strategy is that all of the content you create can be repurposed and redistributed. For example, should you go down the route of producing a high-value guide here are some of the ways it can be broken down to maximise its efficiency and reach:
- Each section within the guide can be broken down into individual blogs
- Those individual blogs can then be shared accompanied by snippets on your social media channels
- Data or statistics within your guide can be converted into visually engaging infographics, which again can be shared across your social channels
- You could promote parts of your guide in an email series, encouraging more users to download the resource
Essentially, the repurposing and redistribution opportunities are endless, with content, you don’t necessarily have to work harder, just work smarter!
Specifically for the business-to-business market, you’ll likely want to be targeting your audience in a more professional capacity. Hosting content like blogs, case studies and videos on your website will make your site the go-to place for your audience.
These pieces of content can then be promoted with an omnichannel approach. You could include your content in your email marketing campaigns, share it on Linkedin or even run a PPC campaign to generate more traffic to the content.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to go about promoting your content. We highly recommend trialling different channels yourself and evaluating what performs best as well as where your audience engages with your brand the most.
Measuring Success of Your B2B Content
In this section, we’re going to cover how you can measure the overall performance and success of your B2B content strategy. Without measuring the right metrics, you’ll find it difficult to determine which content and channels perform better than others. To efficiently allocate your resources, and marketing spend, as well as optimise your campaigns, you’ll need to get a firm grip on your fundamental metrics and how they relate to your objectives.
With most omnichannel content marketing strategies, there’ll undoubtedly be a considerable number of different metrics to decipher. If you’ve thrown in other tactics and tools to the mix too there’ll be even more metrics to analyse. This can make measuring your progress a long and sometimes chaotic process.
Below we’ve outlined some of the most commonly used KPIs that are used to assess
the overall performance of content marketing strategies.
- Number of Visitors
- Traffic Sources
- Avg. Session Duration
- Page Views
- Bounce Rates
- Conversion Rates
- No. of Leads Generated
- Your Return on Investment
Of course, it’s all well and good providing an in-depth analysis that covers all of the metrics above, but without context, your analysis is simply numbers on a page. You need to be able to provide a link between your chosen KPIs and articulate how they translate into results that work towards achieving your marketing and wider business goals.
Bear in mind that there are other metrics that you should also keep an eye on too, including your visibility in search, keyword rankings and domain authority score. However, this relates more to your Search Engine Optimisation strategy as opposed to your Content Marketing activities.
Equipped with the right tools and data, measuring the effects of your content marketing initiative shouldn’t be too daunting. Leveraging easy-to-use tools like Google Analytics will enable you to look into how well your content is engaging your audience.
From this data, you can make more confident decisions about your future content marketing campaigns. Enabling you to invest more time and resources in channels that work the hardest for your business, maximising your return on investment.
Content Marketing at Loop Digital
At Loop Digital, we recognise the fundamental importance of content for both businesses and consumers. However, we also recognise that the planning, delivery and execution of content campaigns can be daunting and often not possible for smaller marketing teams. If you need support in getting your content strategy off the ground, reach out to our team today.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to learn more about content marketing and how it can grow your business, download our latest digital guide today.