As if B2B content marketing wasn't already challenging enough, in came the pandemic – making an entrance and shaking the ground that was relatively on its last legs for many marketers. While "playing it by ear" content marketing strategies may have previously worked, in today's day age, B2B content marketing won't work except with a documented content marketing strategy in place.
With the tremendous amount of content being produced around us, including B2B content, it's vital for you to be able to pinpoint the ways by which you can stand out from the competition while staying up-to-date with the latest trends. After all, you want to ensure that the content you're producing is generating the results you need, correct?
Content market researchers have been hard at work when it comes to B2B content marketing in 2021, and we've gone ahead and analyzed the research data to give you a compiled list of the 10 best B2B content marketing practices to keep you inspired. Stick around!
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
To make sure we're all on the same page, we were just saying that a content strategy has become inevitable for B2B content marketing to be effective. But what's a B2B content marketing strategy? According to the Content Marketing Institute, your content marketing strategy is the "why" behind all of your content marketing efforts.
That "why" carries behind it different elements, but the most important is why you're creating the content as a B2B marketer. What's your objective (s)? Are you targeting more traffic, higher search engine rankings, more leads, higher conversions, brand awareness, brand loyalty, or other goals related to your products or services?
Not just that, but who are you targeting through your content? Yes, you're obviously aiming at businesses, but which businesses, specifically? And what are you hoping to convey to them?
While the content marketing strategy seems broad, you can consider it an umbrella under which fall two incredibly important components of your content marketing: the content strategy and the content plan.
Your content strategy governs how you manage your content on a day-to-day basis, and its precise definition by Kristina Halvorson is the "creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content."
In other words, the content strategy and framework is what lays out which content will be published, and some of the elements that it covers include:
- Content topics
- Key messages the business is attempting to communicate
- The purpose of the content/objectives
- Metadata strategy
- The editorial strategy (company's values, tone, brand voice)
- The target audience/buyer persona
- Content gap analysis
- Content distribution strategy (channels where the content will be distributed)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- KPIs for results measurement
Lastly, the content plan goes a step further on the tactics and documents the very specifics of the content strategy's execution. Remember: for a content plan to be developed; it needs to be informed by overall content marketing strategy and content strategy. While the former two were rather strategic, the content plan is tactical.
The content plan includes:
- Main content topics
- Content types (social media posts, blog posts, video content, email marketing campaign, infographic, case study, and more.)
- How the content will be shared (distribution channels)
- When the content will be shared (specifically, as in on which day and what time)
- Calls to action to be included in the content
If you take a closer look at these elements, you'll notice that they tackle the definition of content marketing itself. Let's recap it!
"Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." - Content Marketing Institute
So, as you see, the content marketing plan outlines the information you'll be sharing, the form of that information, the specific audience you'll share it with, how you'll share and distribute it, the purpose of sharing it with that audience (your profitable customer action).
What Is B2B Content Marketing?
That was all about developing a solid content marketing strategy, but to make full use of it, we also need to comprehend the essence of B2B content marketing and how it differs from B2C content marketing.
At its core, B2B content marketing, or business-to-business content marketing, is "the art of using content to expand your business’s audience, strengthen and develop brand affinity, and ultimately drive leads and sales by appealing to other businesses."
Essentially, you're creating content to be distributed on different digital channels to attract, engage, inform, nurture, and convert potential clients into qualified leads. Naturally, the content can come in different types and formats to appeal to the particular businesses you're communicating with.
How Does B2B Content Marketing Differ from B2C Content Marketing?
Just by contemplating upon the definition, it's easy to see observe that B2B content marketing shares a lot of ground with B2C content marketing, but the major distinguishing factor is that B2B content marketing is only employed by businesses, for businesses. Examples of B2B sales include:
- Manufacturers and wholesalers
- Wholesalers and retailers
- Business between companies
But is that the only difference? Not at all!
While yes, both content marketing types involve understanding the audience and creating content that appeals to them to ultimately drive profitable action, the implementation approach is substantially different. That's mainly because the buyer's journey isn't the same for businesses and consumers, and neither are the motivations and the decision-making process.
Most importantly, while the idea of content being valuable is always stressed for any great content, the emphasis is much higher on B2B content. In fact, it's the priority! Businesses must be able to apply the elements of your content (the actionable ones) to their own businesses, and if they can't, then your content just isn't effective.
Accordingly, while with B2C content, brands might not always have a goal of becoming a go-to resource for industry updates, that isn't an option with B2B marketing. Being a leading resource and an authoritative one in the industry must be integrated into your B2B content marketing strategy.
Why Is Content Marketing Important for B2B?
You might be wondering why you should be implementing B2B content marketing anyway, especially if you've depended on other marketing strategies for a long time and they've been working.
It's a Digital Marketing Trend You Can't Miss
Well, for starters, based on a January 2020 survey published on MarketingCharts.com, 78% of B2B marketers had content marketing as a component of their 2020 strategies.
The results were based on a survey of 137 B2B marketing professionals in different industries and organization sizes. Following content marketing, digital ads, PPC, or targeting, and email closely followed. Accordingly, by not having a B2B marketing strategy in place, you won't just find it challenging to stand out from the competition – you'll be left out of it.
And let's not forget that this was in early 2020 when the pandemic was yet to take its toll on most businesses. Now, with nearly all businesses shifting virtually and with digital transactions being the default, digital marketing, and along with it, content marketing, is the hub for qualified leads.
So, now you know that basically all businesses are online and are consuming content, and you're targeting businesses. Is there a better opportunity? We'd even argue that content marketing isn't a "trend" per se – it's here to stay.
The Power of Soft Selling
Remember the difference between hard selling and soft selling? Simply, a hard sell is a rather straightforward, direct approach to sales, where you make repeatedly aggressive sales pitches, communicate calls to action frequently, and barely give time to the audience to contemplate before making a purchase decision.
In contrast, a soft sell is when you're indirect about your promotion. Rather than pushing your potential customers to make a purchase, you take your time to build a positive reputation for your business overall and establish relationships with your customers. Even if you do make a call to action, it's usually subtle and friendly, making it a much more low-pressure experience for your prospects.
With B2B content marketing, your efforts are always perceived as a soft sell. Your prospects do have plenty of time to contemplate their purchase decision, and you're not actively selling to them. Instead, you're just developing content that keeps your potential customers engaged at the different stages of their buyer's journey, and in doing so, you're building a relationship with them already.
Whether you're keeping them engaged through a white paper, blog post, webinar, service page, or even a social media post, it's not the same as being face-to-face with your prospect and trying to convince them of why they should your business. It comes naturally!
Basically, your content marketing paves the way for that sit-down discussion with your prospect, and by then, they're probably more than halfway convinced of your business already.
How Can You Increase B2B Sales With Content Marketing in 2021?
In most cases, B2B content marketing efforts directly impact sales of your product, but that's only if you leverage content marketing sufficiently and adequately.
Based on a 2018 survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn surveying 1000+ B2B marketers, it was revealed that 61% of organizations who align their content marketing strategies and sales strategies were to increase their content marketing budget, as opposed to those with less alignment (35%). If anything, that means that aligned sales and content marketing teams witnesses productive results!
To put you on the right foot, below are some guiding tips to make sure your B2B sales stay on the rise:
Review Your Performance in 2020
For starters, to take a step ahead, you must look at how far you've come first. That's why you need to look back at 2020 and analyze the outcomes you've achieved during the past year, with a primary focus on the KPIs you're looking to focus on in 2021. Were your marketing strategies successful? If so, you might want to capitalize on that success.
If not, try to note down some insights and what made your performance not what you'd hoped for. Pinpoint the shortcomings, and attempt to make informed predictions on the reasons for them being so. These should be converted into a sort of "valuable lessons" type of report to inform your 2021 content marketing strategy.
Identify Your Audience
While this may seem like an obvious one, it's profound to mention on and on again because it's the foundation upon which your B2B content marketing strategy needs to be built. More importantly, identifying your audience is a step that's easier than done.
If we were to give you one piece of advice on this one, it'd be to make use of analytics as much as you can. In 2021, the sky is the limit when it comes to research, data, insights, and analytics. You want to collect the deepest insights you could collect about your target audience because naturally, you won't be able to target all businesses at once – you probably don't even want to!
Therefore, develop 3-5 business categories/buyer personas and be as specific as you could about them – how long they've been in the market, the products or services they offer, their challenges, their geographic location, and more.
If you're wondering how a business can have a persona, always remember that there's a decision-maker behind every business. Therefore, while yes, you're thinking of the business as a whole when it comes to targeting, your buyer persona will be the key decision-maker, be that a sales manager or CIO, or anyone in between. Like anyone else, that person has rational and emotional needs. It's your job to identify them!
When you identify who exactly you're looking to target through your content, you'll be able to create content that appeals to them at the different stages of their buyer's journey. And a result? They'll interact with your business, and you'll get the sales you're looking for.
Map Your Content to the Buyer's Journey
Speaking of the buyer's journey, you need to know that traffic isn't the only KPI to pay attention to. There's no denying that it's a significant one, but it isn't the only one – especially if it isn't organic. At the end of the day, what really matters is the conversion rate, right? Many B2B marketers make the mistake of only focusing on traffic and dedicating all their energy to Google Ads or PPC campaigns.
However, you can have the best of both worlds by merely developing relevant content for your audience. And that relevant content certainly isn't the landing page you've devised for all businesses alike. Instead, you need to devise a data-driven content marketing plan that's ultimately based on content consumption rates by the different segments of your audience.
If you haven't segmented your audience, now's the time to do so. Then, make sure that each audience segment has sufficient content to appeal to its constituents, depending on their current stage of the buyer journey.
Boost Your Search Engines Ranking
To make sales, your business first needs to be visible, right? Other B2B companies need to be aware of your business to consider collaborating with you. For years on end, it has been proven that organic search results are the optimal source of traffic for your website. As we were just saying, we're focusing on organic traffic, not paid traffic.
Today, search engines operate using advanced algorithms that can effectively determine the quality of your content and your website. Your content needs to be relevant, valuable, and high-quality for your business website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Gone are the days when organic traffic was all about keyword stuffing and backlink exchanges.
Through a solid content marketing strategy, you'll be able to consistently demonstrate to the different search engines that you're interested in providing your audience (in this case, businesses or B2B brands) with the content they're actually searching for and meeting their intent, on time.
Your website will rank higher over time, your organic traffic will increase, the content you create will be engaged with by your business audience, and the conversions will come. So, start creating content!
Tip: Search engines also give weight to your content's engagement rates. That includes shares, likes, and comments. That makes sense because only high-quality content would be shared so often and commented on – so that's the type of content you want to be producing!
Use Gated Content
Gated content is that requires the audience to fill in a form, subscribe to a newsletter, or make a purchase before gaining access to the content you create on your website. It's especially common for organizations to use gated content as a tool for lead generation. When you collect data about your prospects, you're better able to market your offerings to them!
Below are some forms of gated content you could employ with a web form:
- To download a whitepaper, customers need to fill in information about themselves (a profile)
- To access research reports or case studies, customers must answer a few custom questions
- To read blog posts, customers need to subscribe to a newsletter
- To view eBooks, customers need to pay a premium
Depending on the action that your customers or prospects take to gain access to particular content formats or types, you'll have an indication about their interests, and you can leverage that information to target prospects at the different stages of the sales funnel.
Tip: If you intend on using gated content, it's important to consider the definition of consent according to the different global laws. You need to be very considerate about how you're going to use the data you collect, especially that customers are growing sensitive to confidentiality issues.
The takeaway is that gated content is one of the best ways to generate qualified leads, paving the way for more sales to B2B brands.
Amplify Your Content
Content amplification is a multichannel approach that integrates the different media types to promote content by distributing it as much as possible. Essentially, this approach uses paid, owned, and earned media to increase your content's reach, giving your business the exposure it needs while simultaneously motivating your audience to progress through the different stages of the sales funnel.
Therefore, during your content creation process, it's always a good idea to make sure that the content can be distributed on different channels – from social media and your business website all the way to possible incorporation in your email marketing campaigns. By distributing your content across all possible channels, you're amplifying its reach and increasing your prospects.
The more your audience sees your content, the more you become perceived as a thought-leader in the industry, tremendously enhancing your brand positioning and improving your sales.
On that note, it's also worth mentioning that social listening is vital with content amplification. Negative remarks will inevitably happen, and you must be ready to deal with them. And by dealing, we certainly don't mean hiding the comment, blocking the user, or deleting the content altogether. We mean dealing with it by replying back or confronting it.
Focus on Retention
While most companies care about the sale of the product or service, it's equally important to pay to customer satisfaction and after-sales service. Post-purchase dissonance is still very much a thing, and with the digital era taking over, it can quickly escalate into negative word of mouth, especially on social media.
So, before your customers start experiencing that regret or frustration after they think they've made a wrong purchase, you must be there to step in with excellent customer service and post-purchase support services, and that's all the more important with business relationships. You need to know that retaining an existing B2B customer is much more profitable than winning new ones.
To do so, continuously engage with the business, and that can effectively be done through a flowing content stream supporting the purchase decision, establishing trust in the product or service you offer, and showcasing value. For instance, you can communicate product-related updates, new product or service releases, and more, especially if they complement the initial purchase.
Through this content, which can mainly be in the form of thought-leadership blog posts, opinion pieces, case studies, white papers, or more, up-selling even becomes easier. Not to mention, these very customers become your business's best advocates later on!
Use Content Marketing Statistics
Last but not least, you must remember to keep an eye on the metrics and statistics. Content marketing isn't just about a social media post, blog post, white paper, or case study. You need to be achieving the goals you set for your content marketing strategy, and in this case, it's the sales or ROI.
Therefore, it's important to look at how much revenue is being generated from your content relative to the budget you're spending on creating it. To do so, subtract the total investment from the return and then divide it by the content investment. However, this formula only applies to the total investment, not for every content piece you create.
In general, make use of analytics to the fullest and keep tweaking your content marketing strategy accordingly. Take a look at content consumption patterns, using measures like likes, shares, pins, retweets, and more. You could also consider inbound links and where they're from – if they're from pages or websites with high credibility, that's a win!
Overall, metrics should inform your content strategy moving forward to ensure you're achieving your goals one by one.
How to Build a B2B Content Marketing Strategy: 10 Best Practices
At this point, you might feel that there's so much to be done to build an effective B2B content marketing strategy. While that's true, planning and organizing your thoughts can go a long way. Therefore, below is a step-by-step guide to empower you to build a lead-generating content strategy.
Just a quick recap: your content marketing strategy informs your content plan, dictating the rules of how content will be brainstormed, created, published, distributed, and promoted to meet your overarching goals.
1. Set Your Goals
As we've mentioned earlier, any piece of content you produce needs to have a purpose. But before that, your entire B2B content marketing strategy likewise needs to have its goals – what are you hoping to achieve by creating the specific content you intend to? Think:
- Increasing website traffic
- Generating more leads
- Boosting revenue
- Building brand awareness
These are some of the prevalent goals companies have for their B2B marketing strategies, but you can have different ones or even a combination of goals. However, it's important to note that your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely).
Your goals will directly influence the type of content you create. For instance, if you want to increase website traffic and establish brand awareness and domain authority in your industry, your content will mostly consist of case studies, thought leadership articles, blog posts, research reports, videos, and similar.
Why? Because they're original and unique, and they also happen to be easy to create and distribute and repurpose. For example, a blog can inspire social media posts or be incorporated into email marketing campaigns. The findings or main highlights of case studies can also be used similarly. Plus, you could easily earn quality backlinks!
Well, what if you're interested in lead generation and conversions? Then your content creation will be dedicated to gated content behind forms, like eBooks, market research reports, white papers, product demos, and similar content. As we were saying, these content formats are intended to drive conversions.
2.Create Buyer Personas
As HubSpot defines them, a buyer persona is "a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer." While the representation itself may not be typically true to life, it's informed by data that is! Based on market research, current data you have on your existing business customers, combined with a couple of educated guesses and assumptions, you can build a "persona" of the companies you want to target.
Why create buyer personas anyway? You probably already have a couple of business names that you're focusing on winning, right? Well, buyer personas are what makes you relate to them. It's only when you put yourself in their shoes and understand their pain points, challenges, business problems, and even motivations that you'll be able to persuade them to collaborate with you.
A common trap B2B content marketers fall into when it comes to creating buyer personas is that they base them on job titles, and that approach, of course, carries a lot of stereotypes along with it. Don't establish your buyer persona based on the job function alone because behind the function is a regular human being with behaviors and needs, and that's what you should focus on. Think:
- What does the decision-maker want to achieve?
- How can your product/service help?
- Where does your business come into the process of that business or the day-to-day aspects of the decision-maker?
- Why should the business, or its decision-maker, collaborate with you?
Before we move on, it's also worth mentioning that it's best to avoid creating too many personas – just focus on the main ones. Aim for 3-5 personas at most so that you'll be able to distinguish clearly between them. Otherwise, your B2B content marketing strategy will technically be targeting all organizations, which is very broad and can't possibly be effective.
3.Perform a Content Audit
Right after you create your buyer personas, it's essential to perform a content audit to identify your content gaps. A content audit is a process where you dissect all of your previous content assets and start assigning them to certain stages of the buyer's journey.
You basically analyze all the content on your website, going through the data you have on it, especially its performance. That gives you a clue on the content formats and types you should be creating more of, the type you should pause or refine, and also identify if there's any content you aren't creating but should be, based on market research or competitors' analysis.
Plus, when you start assigning content to the relative stages of the buyer's journey, you may find that you don't have any content for a particular stage, in which case you'll need to start creating new content. In fact, many companies have more than sufficient content for the awareness and education stages but barely any content for the consideration, evaluation, or rationalization phases.
Organizations with such gaps in their B2B marketing strategy are quite easy to spot – you'll find plenty of blogs, videos, and informative content tailored for those at the beginning of their B2B buyer's journey to give them the needed awareness of the business, but after that, nothing! It's as if all the content is speaking to those who haven't yet made the purchase.
So, after your content audit, you should be able to do the following:
- Optimize existing B2B content (be that through building links, incorporating calls-to-action, updating content, generating lead flows, or more.)
- Identify content gaps
- Determine the most successful types of B2B content that engage your audience
- Segment and assign content to the stages of the B2B buyer's journey, and sales funnel
4.Start Brainstorming Content Ideas
Great! Now you know your content marketing goals, who you want to target, and identified the content gaps (if any). It's time to get started with brainstorming ideas for your B2B content marketing strategy. As a start, you could always bring together the B2B marketing and sales teams to reflect on your prior knowledge of your customers and what appeals to them.
While you may not end your meeting with a solid list of topics per se, you'll at least have an initial idea or topic to give you a head-start. From there, try to make a list of topics relevant to your customers and also overlapping with your area of expertise.
A good idea is to do some research to see what the industry is creating content about and try to take unique angles on those ideas and content. Remember, for your content to be effective, it really has to be unique and different. To stand out from the crowd, you can't copy-paste or mimic what your competitors are doing, for instance.
Maybe produce a video about a topic rather than a blog, or vice versa. Maybe instead of an eBook, create a series of podcasts! It all boils down to the product you're offering, the personas you created, your knowledge of existing customers, and your goals, after all.
Don't forget that if you find many common themes across the topics, that's your golden opportunity to use them for topic clusters! Topic clusters have countless benefits, the most critical being establishing your domain's topical authority and, as a result, bringing you tremendous organic traffic and ranking you higher on search engines.
About the Topic Cluster Approach:
Briefly, the topic cluster model entails creating a pillar page, serving as the central piece of content on a given topic relevant to your audience. This pillar page covers a topic very broadly, but within it, it internally links to other relevant content on your website, discussing "branches" of the same topic.
While the pillar post doesn't cover the entire ins and outs of the topic because it would be impossible to do so, it's very substantive, in-depth, and informative. That's why you'll find that it's longer than even long-form blog posts you create, but it just needs to leave room for more to be said on each topic.
Therefore, the idea is that you create a pillar post that covers that topic broadly, and then you create individual blog posts or content (which could be videos, too) based on the specific keywords related to the topic – and link them all to each other.
In doing so, you're establishing your authority and organizing your site architecture, which helps users and customers find what they're looking for easily. And today, search engines admire websites that appeal to customers! The result? You rank higher and higher.
And from there, it's an endless loop of success!
You're creating content that customers find engaging and compelling, you're using topic clusters and interlinking between blog posts, ensuring that all of them continue to have exposure and reach and can easily be found even if you're not actively promoting them, you're becoming a go-to resource for a specific topic, and you're gaining the admiration of search engines!
What happens at the end? Traffic and conversions! You're subtly taking your website visitors through the buyer journey and, ultimately, increasing your revenue and customers.
Tip: Remember that the key to all this success is for the content actually to be relevant to your buyer persona. It's not only about what you want to be known for as much as it's about what your business audience is looking for and need.
5.Conduct Keyword Research and Competitors Analysis
What's really important when it comes to implementing the topic cluster model is to actually create the content that users want, right? Well, a major component of determining user intent is through keywords.
When you know the keywords that your customers use to make their search queries, you can optimize your content for those specific keywords. That way, you guarantee that searchers will come across your content since you're signaling to search engines that your content tackles the very query that users are searching for on and on.
As a first step, you can start by compiling a list of the terms you want your website to be found for, but as we just mentioned, you need to make sure that they're also relevant to your prospects and their challenges and pain points. We can't stress enough how vital it is for your content to be relevant.
Moreover, you should be aware of the current keywords you're ranking for. To do so, you could use Google's Search Console to see your website's performance on particular keywords and get an overview of your current standing.
Other than the standard process of targeting terms on Google and search engines to find relevant searches, you can also make use of tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner for your keyword research. Tools like this one enable you to use advanced filters for keywords, like regions, level of competition, volume, and more.
Plus, you always have the option of conducting a comprehensive, in-depth competitor analysis. Narrow down your competitors and see which keywords and terms they're currently ranking for and even trying to rank for. Do you want to rank for the same ones? And if you do, will you be able to create content that outperforms theirs? These are some questions to keep in mind.
6.Pick Your Content Types
Depending on your keyword research, you'll also be able to identify the right content type to use since keywords signal the user intent. Let's say the query involves "how to", that means that the prospect is ultimately searching for information, not to make a purchase. In contrast, if the keyword is "buy test automation platform", that's a transactional search, and the user is interested in a purchase.
Based on that, you can use the right content type or format to meet the user intent. Below are the most popular types used by B2B marketers:
- Video - Popular for its versatility and can be used at nearly all stages of the buyer's journey.
- Blogs - Mainly used by marketers at the pre-awareness, awareness, education, and consideration stages of the buyer's journey, and are optimal for search engine optimization (SEO), increasing brand awareness, attracting more organic traffic, and establishing brand credibility with website visitors.
- eBooks - Perfect for lead generation when they're in the context of gated forms and hosted on landing pages. They educate prospects and can serve as motivators for organizations to work with your company since you demonstrate expertise.
- Case studies - Ideal for establishing credibility and demonstrating the success of your business. By showcasing your successes, you make it easier for your prospects to choose you from the competition. Therefore, always document your work and gather testimonials!
- Product demos - Product demonstration videos and even pricing documents can go a long way with your prospects! Plus, they're easy to produce, for the most part. As for pricing, you don't have to give exact prices if you don't want to – but at least provide a rough estimate.
- Market research - Since market research reports are compiled through primary data, you're already a step ahead of the competition by providing content and insights that aren't available anywhere else. Questionnaires, surveys, and interviews are all options you could pursue to provide unique insights on your industry and target audience.
As you decide on the types of content to create, make sure to always factor in the types that your prospects are interested in and would likely engage with. That loops back to the insights you have on your prospects as well as the buyer personas you've developed.
7.Map Out the Content Creation and Content Management Processes
Your content will only be as good as its management, which is why you must give considerable thought to how you'll manage the content creation process.
Content Management Systems
Most organizations rely on a content management system (CMS) for that; software that manages the entire content creation and modification process and can sometimes be used to develop websites.
Through the CMS of your choice, you'll be able to create, schedule, publish, and organize your new content in one place and give access to your content team so that the content marketing process is streamlined all across.
The best part about opting for a CMS is that you won't have any external factors hindering the publishing of your content. To portray, you won't need to reach out to your web developer or digital agency whenever you want to add a new blog post, new pages, or any other website content. Ultimately, the website will be under your full control, and so will its content.
However, a CMS won't create the schedule for you!
A content schedule or content calendar is, as its name implies, a schedule that details when you'll publish the upcoming content that you have in your pipeline as well as where you'll publish it. Mostly, these are the common components of your content calendar:
- Upcoming content pieces
- Status updates on pending content
- Planned promotions or campaigns
- Partnerships (if any)
- Planned updates to existing content
- Publication frequency
- Time of publishing
There's no way that you'll push out all your content at once because, in the end, none of them will gain the necessary reach, and you'll have just eliminated their potential. The best way to go would be to spread out your content to ensure that each piece of content gets the visibility it deserves and keeps you covered for a reasonable period to come.
Many B2B marketers tend to neglect the importance of promoting the content and instead focus on its creation, even when it comes to the allocated content marketing budget. The question is, what's the point of the content if it can't be seen? Actually, you should spend more time planning for how you'll promote the content than you do creating it.
Why? To ensure you get the maximum return on investment possible.
8.Convert Your Workforce Into Content Creators
When it comes to B2B content marketing, you'd be surprised by your internal workforce and employees' potential and their capability to be the best content creators for your business.
Because they're the most knowledgeable about your business and its operations, and it happens that content is all about establishing your expertise and conveying it through your content, your workforce can be the missing puzzle piece that empowers you to create high-quality, consistent quality at scale.
Certainly, making it happen won't be a walk in the park, but with effort, it can become a reality! Just make sure you make it easy for them to get started, encourage them, and support them when needed.
Tip: Start with your sales team! These are people who have already dealt with your prospects countless times and already have a solid background on their questions, pain points, challenges, and more!
9.Promote and Amplify Your Content
It's no surprise that we're mentioning this one again as part of your B2B content marketing strategy. As we've mentioned, the epitome of promoting and amplifying your content is to make sure to use a combination of channels to distribute your content.
How Do You Promote B2B Content?
There are many ways you could promote your B2B content, but as you do so, remember that your prospects won't be active on every single channel. You need to choose the ones that you know for a fact that your target audience is active on. Some channels you can use include:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising
Social Media Platforms
In most cases, social media platforms are an excellent place to start. While you shouldn't post your content on all social media channels and bombard your audience with them, choose a channel or two to focus on. Generally, B2B firms and their decision-makers are most active on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Your owned audience also deserves to see your content, and email marketing works wonders for their retention. Work on building your email subscribers and get more people to subscribe to your newsletters through your website, sales emails, social media, or more.
Through your branded email marketing campaigns, you can easily incorporate your content within them, even video content, and have a touchpoint with your customers, further cementing your position as a go-to resource!
While your goal should be organic traffic, paid promotional campaigns can give your content a little push when needed. There are several paid advertising options you can utilize to boost your content's reach, including LinkedIn targeting, retargeting ad campaigns, search ad campaigns, press releases, and even account-based marketing promotions.
While these campaigns can be considerably costly, the results are worth it, but as we said, don't ultimately rely on them for the success of your content marketing strategy since their results aren't long-lasting.
10.Track Your Content's Performance
Last but not least, tracking and reporting on your content's performance are what tie all of your strategy together. At this point, you revisit the goals and KPIs you had set at the start of your B2B content market strategy, and you assess how many of those goals were accomplished and to what extent.
To make this easier for yourself, you need to have an analytics platform ready from the beginning, or you could use your CMS if it's able to capture website activity and metrics. You need to know the channels that drive the most conversions, the types of content that have the most activity, and to what extent it seems like you're meeting the user intent.
From there, you can start repurposing your content, updating it, or creating new content altogether. What matters is keeping your content fresh and up-to-date, so make sure you revisit your content every now and then because most content has an expiry date where it no longer becomes irrelevant, and you don't want to appear as a late performer! So, new content is essential.
Embrace the B2B Content Marketing Space
Your B2B prospects will expect you to create varied types of content, just like all B2B content marketers are doing, so now's the time to take advantage of what the content marketing space in the B2B field has to offer.
It really all starts with a commitment – make a commitment to content marketing, and you're halfway there. This is the new reality of the era, and it's about time for traditional tactics to undergo a major change.
Yet, the key is to invest your time and energy in the B2B marketing content that'll truly make a difference both to your business and your customers and potential customers in the long-term– that's what a solid B2B content strategy is capable of doing, and more importantly, what great content is capable of doing.