DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY
Before you start implementing a content marketing plan it’s vital to first have a robust strategy in place. You need a strategy that outlines your goals and objectives as well as every step that will help you achieve them before you have even begun creating your content.
Some of your initial goals might include increasing website visits, social media clicks and brand recognition and as the plan moves along and you start to fullfill these goals they might move to bigger things such as increased sales, leads and tracking returning customers.
The strategies and steps you use to achieve your goals should progress in a similar fashion from capturing leads on social media to PPC advertising.
All of this needs to be documented to ensure that you’re on the right track and are incrementally moving towards the right things.
Mission statements also work very well to not only help you establish these goals right from the beginning, but also your co-workers.
SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE
A successful content marketing strategy will always be developed with consideration to it’s audience. In order to effectively serve your audience, you really must understand them. It can sometimes be helpful to develop buyer personas – a sample of who your buyers may be and the qualities they might possess. It might help to do a bit of research first, by consulting your sales team, tracking analytics, running polls and observing your social audience.
Your content strategy should understand the needs of your audience and strive to meet these desires and expectations. When developing a strategy you need to consider: What do my audience expect? How should I interact with them? What motivates their decision making process? etc.
CHOOSE YOUR TOPICS WISELY
Creativity is undeniably important when coming up with topics that are fresh and innovative, however when it comes to creating effective B2B content marketing – research and analysis can be equally as important. Even the most basic research can do wonders for improving the way in which readers interact with your content. Analyze the success of existing content, put yourself in the mindset of a customer and identify their pain points, consider what they might enjoy reading or what they might find useful. Some other tactics you could try are asking sales staff for FAQ’s, asking customers and prospects directly or conducting basic SEO keyword research.
CREATE THE RIGHT CONTENT
Once you feel like you’ve identified some topics that you feel will be lucrative for you, it’s time to create your content. This content will be appealing, engaging, relevant and useful. It’s important that your content has variety – 5 blog posts of varying topics will not perform as well as a couple of blog posts, some videos and an infographic. Other popular forms may be eBooks, images, animations, podcasts or white papers. Using variety simply ensures that audiences feel like your information is always fresh and exciting, rather than old and predictable.
Experiment at the beginning to figure out which content performs best for you and go from there. Even though you will have your strategy in place, NEVER be afraid to redesign and re-adapt new methods that might be more effective for you as you go along.
All of your content, no matter which method you choose to produce it as needs to either solve a problem, drive a sale, boost SEO, inform about a new topic or offer new insights and information on a popular topic.
It’s common for this content to take on different forms such as: dense research and analysis driven posts, how-to content, bold statements and personal opinion pieces or light-hearted enjoyable content.
MARKET YOUR CONTENT
Once you’ve created your content, your challenge now lies in marketing it effectively. Marketing this content should already be laid out in your strategy. Some common methods include: social media, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO and influencer marketing. They are fairly rudimentary approaches that all achieve different results depending on your individual approach to them, and how your audience reacts to them. For instance, if your industry has a dominant leader that attracts a large crowd, enter into an arrangement with them to share your content. If your audience is active on social – consider promoting and advertising there.
Remember, it’s not worth investing in all of these avenues if you’re not giving it 100% or you’re not seeing an adequate return on them. It is far better to trial a few and see where you’re marketing is most effective and focus on these areas as it will save you a lot of time and effort. Ultimately, you want this marketing to help you achieve the goals you outlined at the very beginning. It is focusing on one or two goals per campaign that’s going to bring you the most success, not trying to achieve everything at once. B2B content marketing is a cyclical process that constantly requires improvement and a sharp focus to be effective. Define and re-define your strategy as much or as little as needed and always ensure your focus is on your audience.