Search for “content marketing” and Google will find 379,000,000 results in less than a second. To put that into perspective, content marketing yields more search results than “Pope Francis” and “Donald Trump” combined.

“Content marketing” yields more search results than “Donald Trump” and “Pope Francis” combined

Politics and religion aside, there’s a lot of information out there about what content marketing is, how to do it, and why it’s important. It’s become the core of every marketer’s marketing strategy—and in some cases it’s become the strategy in itself.

But the truth is, marketing content has always played a huge role in the way businesses operate. From sales sheets to advertisements to whitepapers, marketers have been using content to show value for decades.

What has changed is the complexity of the B2B buying landscape, and the sheer volume of content needed to fuel a modern marketing campaign.

With longer buying cycles, many stakeholders to target, a seemingly endless list of channels to manage, and multiple campaigns often running at once, it’s easy to fall into the “create more faster” trap to try to keep up with the demand. But, just like the sales sheets and pamphlets of yesteryear, marketing content should work to serve larger business objects, and, ultimately, your customers.

So before you burn out your team by trying to litter the internet with “fresh” content—a strategy that will likely result in sub-par quality—use these three cardinal rules to build a B2B marketing strategy that will put your content to work.

1. Effective B2B Marketing Content Starts with an Integrated Strategy

That’s right, folks: an effective B2B marketing strategy spans teams across the organization and feeds into broader corporate initiatives, and marketing content sits at the middle of it. Crazy.

It’s actually not that crazy. When marketing content is managed as a part of a holistic, integrated marketing strategy, it’s more likely to address the needs of each decision maker at every stage in the purchase process. So what does an “integrated marketing strategy” mean, exactly?

It means that regardless of which team is creating content, the content served is accurately targeted, supports all your channels and internal teams, and delivers valuable and necessary information for prospects.

Before you start creating content, consider what business objectives you are trying to meet. Is there a specific product launch your organization is focusing on? Is there a large event or conference coming up? Are your internal teams aligned around the same personas and pain points?

When marketing strategies work within the framework of bigger business initiatives, you’re delivering a more consistent narrative to your customers. You’re also more likely to see the impact of your content, since you have visibility into the entire content life cycle, from first touch to satisfied customer.

2. It Takes Coordinated Teamwork to Pull Off

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When internal teams are aligned around content goals, the result is pretty darn impressive. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most B2B marketers.

The reality that B2B marketers live in every day is that content creation is spread across experts that live across the organization, each in a silo. On top of that, the expertise required for content creation lives with some of our most expensive resources (product marketers, product managers). It costs us a lot of money to create and although many organizations think about it as being disposable, it shouldn’t be.”—Erin Provey, Service Director, Sirius Decisions

Each disparate team within your organization creates and delivers content to support internal teams and engage B2B buyers. Digital marketers are creating content to attract and engage, product marketers create content for sales teams to use, and sales and customer success teams use content to close deals

With different teams handling each step in the sales cycle, it takes coordinated, cross-functional collaboration to deliver a consistent message across the buyer’s journey.

In order to streamline your marketing content and work within an integrated B2B marketing strategy, you must develop aligned processes around organization-wide goals. All your internal stakeholders need to understand—and agree upon—content needs, how to meet them, and how to measure the results.

3. Marketing Content Must Be Optimized for ROI

Content must be tied to revenue to show real value. But tracking and reporting on marketing content has proved to be tricky for B2B marketers. In fact, 50% of B2B enterprise marketers say measuring content effectiveness is a challenge.

Marketing budgets are growing, and with it the expectation to prove results. Without metrics to measure and report on, marketers are left blindly guessing what content is working and what isn’t—and that doesn’t make for a great conversation with your boss.

To measure the full impact of content—from driving the right engagement to converting buyers to supporting internal teams—marketers need to track performance at every stage of the content and buyer life cycle.

When content usage is tracked internally and externally, it gives marketers a bigger picture view of how their content is working so they can optimize content for future use.

Quit wasting time and effort creating content that doesn’t work. Using the three cardinal rules of B2B marketing content, align your internal teams under one, united B2B marketing strategy to create impactful, valuable content that converts.