7 Steps for Making B2B Marketing Content Count
With so much to read on the internet, it can be especially difficult for B2B brands to create content that cuts through the noise and generates leads. A recent eMarketer report found among the 86 percent of B2B marketers who have existing content strategies, only 11 percent describe their strategies as “very effective.”
But there are ways to make content more strategic, generate greater ROI, and reach prospects at every stage of the sales funnel. How can your B2B brand develop content to achieve your goals? Here are seven steps to help you get started:
1. Define and align marketing objectives, strategies and tactics.
The first step to creating effective marketing content is to develop a clearly defined purpose for each piece of content. This requires your marketing team to be aligned on what they want to accomplish and how they will accomplish it. Objectives define why you are creating the content, strategies identify how the content will best achieve the objectives, and tactics outline how the marketing team will execute the project.
2. Conduct audience research to develop buyer personas.
You might have the best content creators in the business, but great content falls flat if it doesn’t target the right audience. While the process of developing buyer personas can be complex, some level of audience research is important to better understand who your content is targeting. You can optimize your content by looking at your customers’ industries, job functions, and company sizes, and then calibrating the content to meet the needs of your target audience.
3. Perform a content audit.
After identifying objectives, strategies, tactics, and audience, it’s time to audit your existing content. By auditing existing content, you gain clarity about which pieces of content are working—and which aren’t. A content audit can also save time by highlighting pieces of content that are prime candidates for an update or repurpose.
4. Fill in the missing gaps.
After reviewing existing content, create action items from the audit. The audit should identify gaps in content and clarify how your content needs to change in the future. Grouping existing content into categories that identify what to keep, delete, improve, and create will drive decision making for future content creation.
5. Strategize a full-funnel, multichannel content framework and nurture track.
A full content strategy includes multiple channels of distribution. Promotional channels should target every stage of the sales funnel to drive customers toward a sale. Creating a full-funnel framework also helps you develop a nurture track to carry customers through a lengthy B2B sales process. Some B2B organizations engage in sales cycles that last for several years, and maintaining the interest and attention of customers can be difficult without a multichannel nurture track.
6. Establish key performance indicators and launch the campaign.
Now that most of the groundwork is laid for your content strategy, the final step before campaign launch is to establish key performance indicators (KPIs). These indicators allow company executives to see how the content relates to lead generation, clearly displaying the ROI from the content. Additionally, KPIs are valuable for measuring the success of your campaign so you can improve your content strategy going forward.
7. Iteration is key—nurture and improve campaigns with data.
Assessing the success of the campaign and adapting to improve performance is an ongoing process. Campaign KPIs are useful for monitoring the effectiveness of content. For example, KPIs might show that a previously effective piece of content suddenly loses traction and requires updating or the creation of a new piece of content to fill the gap.
Ultimately, marketers need to focus on taking a customer from discovery to completion of a sale to re-purchase with content that is both engaging and targeted. With the right approach, you can feel confident that your B2B content strategy will produce a healthy ROI for your organization.
As the strategic leader of Walker Sands’ internal marketing initiatives, Courtney Beasley oversees the implementation and execution of traditional and digital marketing strategies, enhancing brand awareness, generating demand, and increasing qualified leads.