Only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented B2B content marketing strategy!
Ouch. Maybe that’s you. Do you see why it’s important to have a documented strategy, but just don’t know where to begin? Or perhaps you doubt that it can work for your company.
So why should you have a documented strategy?
Research shows that businesses with a documented strategy get 7.8 times more website traffic than those who don’t. By not having a documented strategy, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity for traffic growth!
While a blog or infographic may seem like an insignificant piece of the puzzle, every piece of content is crucial to your business. A content strategy helps to guide your content creation efforts with tactical precision. So what principles should steer you through your content creation and strategy?
We’ve gathered 12 of the most helpful tips that will help you to stay on track and build your content strategy to its full potential.
A content strategy helps to guide your content creation efforts with tactical precision
12 Expert Tips to Improve Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
1. Be Helpful
The role of content marketing is to serve your audience. Suffice it to say, a blanket “buy our product” approach is not helpful. Even if you truly believe that your product or service is a God-send solution such an turn-off most people.
Instead, create content that inherently makes your audience’s job easier. While it may feel counterintuitive to create content without self-promotion, doing so will support your brand. It will instil trust and loyalty. If you can win over prospects with helpful content, chances are they will come to you when it’s time to purchase.
Create content that inherently makes your reader’s job easier.
2. Start Small
When beginning your content marketing, there’s no reason to be everywhere all at once. Begin with one channel, perhaps your website. Create a large collection of content, and then focus your efforts on directing traffic back to that content.
Spend time grooming your website. Make it user-friendly — easy to navigate and find your content — and visually appealing so that visitors want to stay. Remember to think how your content will appear on mobile devices, since many readers view content on-the-go. Use social media and paid media to nurture interest in your content, and lead people back to your website.
3. Make Sure Your Core Content is Buttoned Up
You may have a mountain of owned content for your audience to devour — but if you don’t have your core content locked down, your job is only half done. Core content, or static content, is the content that doesn’t get old. This includes
- About Us page
- Product description page
- Vision statement
- Why Choose Us page
Content like this needs to be well-written and thoroughly checked before you release other content. If your content does its job, prospective buyers are going to do in-depth research on your website before they make a decision. Spend the time to vet this core content in order to tip the scales in your favor.
4. Create Content That Speaks to Multiple Buyers
Different from B2C buyers, who make purchase decisions as individuals, B2B buyers often make purchase decisions as a group. The person who reads your content or talks with your sales team may be just one link in the chain of people making the final decision.
How does this change your content marketing approach? You need to create content that speaks to every member of a company’s core decision-making team. For instance, if part of that team is a CFO, you’ll need to create content that speaks to his or her financial concerns.
Discuss buyer behavior with your sales team. Learn who is often involved in the purchase decisions of your buyers. Then create content that specifically speaks to those individuals.
5. Spread Your Content Across All Stages of the Funnel
When beginning the journey of content marketing, many err by focusing on the bottom of the funnel. After all, this is the content that wields direct power over purchase decisions. But if your sole goal is bottom-of-the-funnel content, then your funnel has holes that are leaking potential leads.
Combat this common mistake by creating content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Make it your goal to educate your audience. This goes back to item number one on our list: be helpful.
Audit your current content mix to see what stages of the buyer’s journey are not well-addressed by your content. Then focus your energy on balancing these areas until your funnel is all “patched up” and fucnctions normally again.
6. Make Gated Content Easily Accessible
Have you ever clicked on a CTA to get content, and then come face to face with a question form that is reminiscent of a loan agreement? Maybe you were even scared away from that piece of content by this bad experience. If this describes your forms, then you need to seriously rethink your gated content strategy.
Whittle down your form to the absolutely necessary information you need to assess a lead. In other words, make your form accessible to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll lose more people in the process.
7. Gate Strategically
Gated content is a great lead generation tool. But there’s a danger in going overboard on your gated content. For many readers, too much gated content can be a major turnoff. Instead, gate your content strategically and sparingly.
Maintain a hearty portion of ungated content. And make sure that the content you gate is worthy of the information that you’re asking for in return. There’s nothing more frustrating than forking over your precious information for content that you could have found somewhere else with no strings attached.
In order to use this tool effectively, save it for the middle and bottom of your funnel. Otherwise you could be wasting your time on fish that don’t bite or leads that don’t go anywhere. Instead target your gated content towards those who are ready to make a purchase decision. They deserve your time and energy.
8. Make Thought Leadership a Content Goal
Thought leadership sets you apart as an expert in your industry — it makes you the go-to authority that inspires confidence in your field. This translates to confidence in your brand and products. This is most helpful for C-suite executives, but should also be a goal for lower-level members of your company.
Set yourself up as a thought leader through your content. Create content that fills a need in your industry. Write about solutions to common problems or unique insights on current events that affect the industry.
Use such tools as Google Trends and Buzzsumo to see what topics are trending in your industry. These tools will help you to stay on top of industry news, conversations, and problems. Then you can be the first to produce content that speaks specifically to these issues.
9. Seek Quality Over Quantity
In order to offer up the helpful content that we discussed earlier, you need to pay attention to the quality of your content. In fact, one piece of top-quality content is worth more than 10 pieces of low-quality, mediocre content. Who wants to create content that’s meh?
Audiences have the tendency to read between the lines — if the quality of content goes downhill, it reflects on the brand who produced it. Use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to help you create error-free content. Create a style guide that will keep your entire content creation team on the same page, in order to create harmoniously high-quality content.
10. Tap Into Influencer Marketing
As we all know, audiences are fed up with traditional advertising, and have become distrustful of brands promoting their own products. So how do you gain your audience’s trust and loyalty despite this?
Influencer marketing can help with these and other problems. Influencers are those who already have a large and loyal audience — many of whom may be the ones you want to target. By working with influencers on content creation and PR campaigns, you can amplify the reach of your brand with a familiar voice that people on the other end will listen to.
Search for influencers within your industry who have high engagement levels with your target audience. You can do this with such tools as BuzzSumo and Traackr. These tools show you specific data on all influencers, such as how many followers they have and their content’s engagement levels. Tools like Klout and Kred give influencers specific scores on their influence.
11. Include a Mix of Content Formats
Every member of your target audience has a content preference. Some are more visual, and will search specifically for content such as infographics, videos, and slideshares. For the more studious reader who perhaps has more time to peruse written content, create blogs, eBooks, and white papers to satisfy their desire for extensive content.
Audiences are more visual than ever before. In one survey, 37% of marketers said that visual content was the most important form of content for their business (second only to blogging, with 38%). Make sure that every piece of content you publish has some sort of visual component — even a feature image that speaks to the topic discussed.
A free visual content creation tool like Canva can help you to create stunning images and infographics to capture and retain your audience’s attention.
12. Lead Your Reader on a Journey
Every piece of content should lead somewhere. What is the next logical step for your reader on his or her way to becoming a loyal buyer? Utilize calls to action that gently lead a customer to the next desired step. Perhaps this step is to subscribe to your newsletter or blog updates, download an Ebook, or schedule an appointment to talk with a sales member.
It helps to create a visual plan of attack for your content. This makes it easy to see the logical progression of your content, and plan its direction. Then create attractive and persuasive calls to action that will gently pull your readers to it.
Key Points to Remember….
- Create content that helps your target audience do its job better, without self-promotion
- Aim for thought leadership content that sets your brand apart as a leading expert in the industry
- Use influencer marketing to bypass the growing thicket of brand distrust, and build your brand awareness through someone your audience already trusts
- Create a wide array of content formats, with an emphasis on visuals throughout your content.
Your B2B content marketing strategy is a powerful tool to boost your reaching your business goals. We hope these tips help you to take full advantage of your content strategy and attain the killer results you desire.