5 Tips for Effective B2B Content Marketing

Content marketing is not a new concept, but the way in which marketers engage in effective content creation and distribution has changed dramatically. With the slew of social media and networking sites in existence, as well as increased traffic to company Web sites for B2B sales, managing content marketing is crucial. A key advantage that content marketing has over traditional forms of advertising is that if done right, it can grab and hold readers' attention in a way that conventional advertising can't. If you can make the content interesting or educational (or both), it gives the marketer a real chance to enlighten and even delight readers.

While producing quality content is undoubtedly the most important element in B2B content marketing, marketers can take additional steps to improve the visibility of their content material. Here are five tips to improve your B2B content marketing:

1. Have a clear goal. You're generating content marketing for a reason—be clear about what that reason is. What is it exactly that you want to achieve through content? Your answer may include one or more of the following: brand awareness, brand loyalty, increase in sales, customer retention, or another marketing objective. Honing in on two or three of these objectives to identify achievable goals helps you prioritize and expend your resources where they will be most effective. Try to look beyond financial goals. While increasing revenue may very well be a legitimate marketing goal for your firm, aiming to make a quick sale at the expense of establishing long-term relationships with consumers is a failed strategy. Whatever your marketing goal is, it should contribute to the overall business goal.

2. Have a clear strategy. If your goal answers the question "What do I want to achieve?" your strategy should answer the question "How can I achieve it?" In other words, your strategy should match your goal. Your strategy is an actionable, detailed plan for achieving your goals. For it to be successful, however, it's not enough just to have it in mind; it should be documented as well. The Content Marketing Institute's annual content marketing survey findings show that content marketers who identify themselves as being successful take time to document their strategies. While 83 percent of B2B marketers who participated in the survey said they did, indeed, have a strategy, only 35 percent actually documented it.

3. Don't underestimate the power of blogs. Next to buzzwords such as social media, video content, infographics, and mobile marketing, the word blog sounds bland in comparison. However, the Content Marketing Institute's survey shows that blogs still account for 80 percent of B2B content marketing, and companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads monthly. Blogs are unique in that they offer more freedom than a formal Web site, yet still give you a great level of control over the information being presented. Stay relevant and up-to-date on issues that relate to your product or service and make use of an individualized and distinct tone. While frequent entry updates are important, your focus should be on creating quality content that speaks to your target audience.

4. Develop metrics. Without metrics, you can't quantifiably assess whether your strategy was successful in meeting your original goals. Tracking return on investment continues to be a challenge for B2B marketers measuring their content marketing initiatives; the Content Marketing Institute found that only 21 percent of B2B marketers say they are successful at tracking ROI and nearly half identify measuring 

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