February 13, 2014: “Content is king.” We’ve all heard it and statistics back up the fact it’s likely here to stay. In fact, 82% of marketers plan to increase their content creation efforts in 2014. However, effectively planning and executing a B2B content marketing strategy is not something that can be achieved overnight. The proper people, tools, and strategies all need to be in place before the content ship can sail.
Fortunately, for those looking to build a content marketing from the ground up or simply sharpen their existing strategy, the internet provides assistance through a constant stream of opinions from industry experts. We’ve taken some time to sift through the wide world web of opinions pertaining to B2B content marketing and created a list of 15 of our favorite tips from industry experts in recent time.
Be sure to create some initial “high level” content, as in “What is it?” types of posts. This type of content will gather the reader’s attention, sending them further down the buying funnel towards more targeted content. Investigating search data with tools like Google Analytics is a great starting place for moving down the funel. Identify popular keyword terms being searched by site visitors and deliver content based on these words or phrases.
KPIs are the North Star of content effectiveness measurement. Keeping an eye on metrics such as reach, sentiment, engagement, and conversions will help determine if your initiatives are on the right track. Setting KPIs before kicking off a content strategy will help determine if each piece of content being created is living up to expectations defined by these goals.
Customers are your biggest advocates. Don’t be afraid to have customers create some content that reflects their feelings about your brand or product. After all, it’s probably better to hear reviews from an unbiased source!
Leverage customer demographic data to show how various business titles (CEO, CMO, Sales, etc.) can benefit from using a product or service.
As the saying goes, “You never know until you ask.” Simply sending out a brief survey your readership audience may reflect some valuable insights for future success. Some easy-to-use survey tools include:
To take some of the pressure off creating and promoting content to reach readers, think about content as a community. Don’t be afraid to share what others are saying (be sure to give credit!) to inform customers and prospects of relevant information.
Forums and social media channels are an excellent aid to content brainstorming. Check Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn Groups, etc. to gain first-hand insight into what customers or prospects are discussing at any given time. Another way to get into the minds of customers and prospects is to use site search data to determine what is being looked for and developing content for terms if it does not exist.
Effectively reaching your audience during the promotional phase of content marketing should include a cross-channel approach. Find out where customers spend their time and reach out through those channels (don’t solely focus on social!).
Using language your readers don’t understand or sending them to the dictionary is the fastest way to lose them. Make sure the message is clear; don’t convolute your thoughts with overwhelming language.
eBooks, whitepapers, and webinars can all be very valuable pieces of stand-alone content. However, don’t be afraid to take bits and pieces of these expansive pieces of content to create smaller, more digestible blog posts or infographics.
Use content curation as a way to keep a steady stream of fresh content to your readers. Share via different mediums like blogs or newsletters. Compiling posts, images, videos, etc. from across the web to create “Best of the Week” or “Best of the Month” type posts is a great way to drive traffic to your site and produce some fresh content for the readers in a timely fashion.
This will save you some valuable time and energy as a writer. Evergreen content (information that is not likely to change in the near future, could be looked as a “reference point”) can be effectively used for months, or even years.
Often times in the B2B space, we aren’t marketing the “sexiest” products. Make sure your content is as clear and concise as possible, making it easy for the reader to digest. If possible, cut out unnecessary verbiage. Cutting a blog post down by 25% while still delivering the message is a valuable tactic.
Visually presenting data is an excellent way to share. Infographics give readers an easier way to consume content and attracts lots of social sharing activity. The below infographic from IBM is a great example of taking complex data and compiling it into digestible content:
Using a blank calendar to note any upcoming important announcements (product launches, events, etc.) will allow you to plan your content accordingly. Adding in milestones for drafts and publishing dates is also an important step in developing and producing a steady stream of content.
As the B2B marketing landscape is certainly subject to change, so too could the best practices for executing an effective B2B content marketing strategy, but we feel this list stands as a good place to start for 2014. This is by no means the holy grail of B2B content marketing tips, so feel free to drop any tips you think are important to the process in the comments section below!