Before you put together a content marketing strategy, there are several critical things to consider. In this article, we share the top things to ask yourself and your team before you sit down to draft up a B2B content marketing strategy for your brand.
What Is the Value of the Content?
A major mistake firms make when starting up a content marketing plan is that they don’t focus on providing value. They know they need to be crafting content, but they don’t understand the fundamental value of the content. Merely creating content because marketing experts say so is setting up the content for massive failure.
Before you ever put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, it’s critical to understand the value of the content to the end user. Think about content in terms of these questions:
- Will it educate them about the products or services your firm provides?
- Will it help them to determine what their needs are?
- Will it guide them in selecting the right product or service?
- Will it help them convince their boss the investment is worthwhile?
- Does it help them do their job better?
- Does it save them time or money?
If you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to reassess your approach to content and reframe your thought process regarding B2B content marketing.
What Do You Want to Accomplish?
Now that you have answered what the content will do for the end user, it’s time to examine what you want to accomplish with the content. Essentially, you are looking at a high-level overview of what your objectives are for the content.
Do you expect to:
- Attract more traffic to your B2B website?
- Extend brand awareness?
- Generate more qualified leads?
- Provide sales with additional tools to close leads?
- Nurture top of funnel leads?
- Build credibility with your target market?
- Establish your firm as a thought leader in your industry?
- Improve website ranking for ideal buying terms?
It doesn’t need to be limited to only one of these objectives, but it should focus on just a few of them. Narrowing your focus on what you want to accomplish with your B2B content marketing will help you to craft a detailed, specific plan.
What Are Your Expectations vs. Reality?
Business schools always teach the importance of stretch goals, but it’s time to be realistic. If your firm’s website is new and not very large, expecting your content marketing to put you in the top five rankings on search engines in a competitive industry will only set you up for failure. If you expect content marketing to generate 50 new leads a month but don’t have an established brand presence, you likely won’t meet your goal and your efforts will be considered a failure.
We encourage our clients to temper the expectations of their content marketing efforts with the reality of the resources at hand. If you don’t have a staff of 20 copywriters, you can’t crank out 50 unique, well-written articles each month. If you don’t have any copywriters on staff, it might make more sense to work with an outside B2B content marketing agency. It’s critical to set proper expectations that will get results and meet objectives.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Another issue that we see crop up is that companies don’t consider their ENTIRE target audience. B2B companies typically encounter multiple decision makers – even if they only deal with one type of customer. For example, an engineering firm may work directly with other engineers at the client company, but it’s unlikely that the engineer is the sole decision maker. It’s more likely that the engineer, their fellow engineers, their project manager, the sales manager, and the CEO or owner are all involved in deciding which new vendor to work with.
While your firm may only have one direct contact at the client’s firm, that contact isn’t the only one using or being impacted by your product or service. The most effective B2B content strategies take these multiple buyer profiles into account and craft content for each persona at the client’s company.
What Are Your Competitors Up To?
Last, but not least, it’s important to know what your competition is up to and to see where your company fits in. Look around at your closest competitors (the companies you lose deals to or win deals away from) and see what type of content, if any, they are creating and what the response is to that content.
Are prospects in your marketplace falling all over themselves for videos your competitors are creating? Are prospects commenting and sharing their social media posts? Have potential clients referenced a cool guide or white paper that your competitor created?
We don’t recommend copying anything your competition is doing, but it’s helpful to know what types of content they are offering so you can fill in any gaps and understand what content prospects want to see or use.