Guide to B2B Content Marketing Strategy
The thought of implementing a fully-fledged B2B content marketing strategy can be overwhelming to even the most experienced marketing professionals. However...
Published: 22 Mar 2021
5 minutes read
The thought of implementing a fully-fledged B2B content marketing strategy can be overwhelming to even the most experienced marketing professionals. However, if the content marketing strategy and execution are carried out correctly then businesses can see a significant increase in leads. 52% of B2B buyers say they’re “definitely” more likely to buy from a brand once they’ve read their content. Therefore, the benefits of a good content strategy can make a huge difference to many business-to-business companies. Navigate through this blog to find out exactly what is B2B content marketing strategy, how it can help your marketing efforts and a step-by-step guide to creating content.
- Outline Objectives
- Create Personas
- Adapt your Language
- Identify Pain Points and Unique Selling Propositions
- Generating Ideas
- Content Types and the Buying Cycle
What is B2B Content Marketing Strategy?
You may be thinking a content marketing strategy is time-consuming and it may not even work, so why bother? However, once a secure strategy is in place, the difference to your ROI and overall success can be substantial.
So, what exactly is content marketing strategy? In short, it’s a strategic approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content. Its main goal is to attract and retain a specific audience, increase brand awareness and quality of the leads. Business-to-business content marketing does exactly this, but with content written by businesses, for businesses.
According to research conducted by Google, 71% of B2B customers begin their research online with a generic search. Therefore, if you have an effective content strategy in place, you have a much higher chance of getting your brand in front of the people you want to sell to before your competitors. Also, if you provide them with in-depth and quality content, this will then add value to everything else that your company does.
Curata statistics show that 74.2% of the companies using content marketing say that it has significantly increased their lead quality and quantity. So, let’s not waste more time and let’s embark upon the 6 steps that will help you create a successful business-to-business content marketing strategy – bringing in those all-important leads!
Step-by-step Guide to Creating Content Marketing Strategy
STEP 1: OUTLINE OBJECTIVES
For the content marketing strategy, as with any project, before the start make sure to outline your business goals and objectives - think about what you want to achieve from your content marketing.
The important questions to ask yourself and the team involved in the project are:
- Do you want to generate new leads?
- Do you want to gain loyal, repeat customers?
- Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry?
If the answer to any of these questions (or all three) is “yes”, then this needs to be at the forefront of each piece of content created. You should adapt these goals to each stage of your customer’s buyer's journey - which leads nicely into the next step.
STEP 2. CREATE PERSONAS
Before you start writing, you need to form a clear idea of who you are writing your content for. After all, if you miss the mark with your target audience, you can pretty much wave goodbye to the possibility of lead generation.
A ‘persona’ in layman’s terms is a fictional character which represents a typical prospect or client for your organisation. A persona will encompass their goals, needs, desires and problems, based on actual research and by analysing your existing audience’s typical roles, behavioural traits and goals.
Having your content written with a specific persona in mind will increase the quality of visitors and leads you get, ensuring that the people who end up reading your blogs are actually the people you and your sales team want to be talking to.
Analysing data collection forms, interviewing current customers, organising a survey and asking your sales team for feedback will all help you gain a greater insight into who your target personas are and what information they’re actually interested in.
Keep in mind though – personas take a while to mould and will continually evolve as your business adapts and buyer habits change, which means that a constant conversation with your sales team is essential.
STEP 3. ADAPT YOUR LANGUAGE
Depending on the type of persona you are crafting content for, the language and focus of the piece will be entirely different.
Take an ERP company (business management software) for example. As a business, your main goal is to sell the idea of business management software to other businesses as a solution for poor organisation and productivity. Depending on which department of the company you’re aiming your content at, personas and the language they use will vary.
If you’re targeting members of the finance team, the use of financial and technical language with a firm focus on cost-effectiveness and data will strongly resonate.
On the other hand, if your persona works within the marketing department, writing about how your business management software can help align sales and marketing teams would be more likely to have an impact on them.
Think about the type of language the person you’re writing your content for would and wouldn’t use, as well as their level of understanding and the problems they will be looking to resolve. Including time for keyword research during content creation is essential not only to help you improve your SEO rankings, but also for lead generation purposes. Keyword research will give you an insight into the exact words that your prospects are using on the search engine to find the products you sell.
STEP 4. IDENTIFY PAIN POINTS AND UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITIONS
Now that you speak the same language as your target audience, it’s time to think about what they are looking to get out of your company and the web.
Pain points are the problems commonly faced by your personas, which they use the web to find solutions for. They could also be questions about the solution itself. It’s your mission to use your content to solve these pain points, while at the same time presenting your company’s unique selling proposition. This could be a specialism you offer, your exceptional customer service, or even a subject viewpoint which goes against common opinion.
Integrating your USP to your persona’s pain point is the key to creating exceptional content. While answering your persona’s problem, you will be also promoting your company’s knowledge – positioning yourself as an industry thought leader, which will come in handy when your prospects are ready to buy.
It’s essential that the focus of your content is educational, not promotional. If your content is focused solely on your company and services, rather than helping and educating your audience, consider taking a step back and refocusing your piece of content.
STEP 5. GENERATING IDEAS
For many marketers, coming up with ideas for content can be challenging, but it really doesn’t have to be. Take your personas’ pain points and problems and turn them into content pieces. One pain can easily help you produce several pieces of content.
For example, imagine you work for an engineering services company. A potential client or persona’s main pain could be “I’m looking for ways to be more compliant”.
How could you help this persona with their problem?
- A ‘Step Guide’ on how to ensure compliance
- An infographic highlighting the most important regulations they need to know about
- A blog detailing the “5 signs you’re not compliant”
You can also use a variety of content curation tools to gather together different pieces of content from a variety of outlets, such as news stories, social media commentary, videos, and other types of online media.
STEP 6. CONTENT TYPES AND THE BUYING CYCLE
Every company’s audience is unique. Therefore, it’s important to assess which types of content will resonate with your specific audience.
Are your personas super busy senior-level professionals juggling multiple responsibilities? If so, they are unlikely to read through heaps upon heaps of text. A short list-based blog or infographic is going to appeal to their hectic lifestyle more.
Perhaps you’re appealing to more junior staff? In-depth ‘how to guides’ and tutorials will help educate and fill in any knowledge gaps.
When creating content also have the buyer’s journey – the process your prospects take leading up to purchase – in mind.
Imagine a first-time visitor coming to your blog from a social media post. Are they likely to give your company their contact details straight away? Probably not.
Likewise, prospects early on in the buyer’s journey aren’t likely to respond well to blatant promotional content, as they are unlikely to have a defined solution in their mind to their pain point. Therefore, your services aren’t going to be relevant to them at this stage.
This is where educational content comes into play, helping potential leads identify their problems and making you their first choice once they reach the decision stage in their buyer’s journey.
POINTS TO CONSIDER
- A successful B2B content marketing strategy can only work if you integrate all marketing components – utilise your website, blogs, landing pages, SEO and social media.
- To keep your audience engaged and search rankings high, post content regularly and consistently.
- Don’t overcomplicate your content strategy – keep the focus solely on your personas and solving their problems.
- Get everyone involved: making everyone in your company aware of content marketing campaigns currently underway opens up the opportunity for collaboration and input from other team experts.
- Report and analyse: a successful strategy doesn’t happen overnight. By continually analysing your content, you can competently assess which types of content work and which pieces don’t, helping you adjust your strategy for the future.
- Keep quality high – it’s easy to get into a creative rut and publish sub-standard work. If it takes a little longer to improve content then invest in this time. It’s better to take your time to publish a superb piece of work than rush out something which could damage your company’s reputation.
- Keep your content focused. The more targeted and specific the content is, the more relevant leads you’ll drive to your blog, website, etc. and covert.
Content needs to be authentic and interesting in order to engage leads. To help stamp out the epidemic of boring business-to-business content, we’ve created a guide, bursting with helpful tips for injecting some much-needed excitement into your content marketing strategy. You'll find out how to jump-start your content marketing strategy, in addition to learning some vital tips and best practices.