Content is king -- yet a king can’t rule or expand his reign without a dedicated strategy. The same is true with your B2B content creation. You can crunch out content on a daily basis -- but without a strategy, it will fall short of your goals.
Studies have revealed that of the 88% of B2B marketers who use content marketing, only 32% have a documented strategy. Why is a strategy so important?
Think of your B2B content marketing strategy as a compass that guides you through the planning, production, promotion and measurement of your content.
How to Create a B2B Content Strategy
Creating a successful B2B content strategy involves some basic steps. Some of these you're probably already doing. Now you'll need to include a few extra steps and then connect the dots. Ready? Let's get started!
It Starts With You
Before you can hope to strategize about prospective leads and customers, you must first define your company within your strategy. What do you offer? Go a step beyond your company’s mission statement. What defines your brand? What defines your product or service? What is the culture of your company?
Once you’ve determined this, it will be easier to convey it through the creation of your content.
Know Your Target Audience
You can’t market to everyone -- nor should you want to. In the end, you want quality prospects who are truly interested in your products or services. Pinpoint who exactly fits your defintion of a quality reader by answering the following questions:
- Who are the people that you want to attract?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their interests and questions?
- What goals do they have for their business?
Once you’ve answered these questions and narrowed down your audience, create buyer personals or customer profiles that outlines exactly who your target audience is.
(Click here to learn how B2B content will overcome content shock.)
Identify Your Objectives
Let’s be clear -- these objectives should not be purchase-specific. Content marketing is not the same as advertising, and the goals need to be different.
Think outside of the box. Imagine the buyer’s journey, and where you fit in. Start small. These goals may include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Get more website traffic
- Increase email signups
- Drive readers to a landing page
Although these are smaller objectives, they should still align with your overall business goals. For example, while increased email sign-ups may not mean an immediate monetary ROI, it does show interest in your company that can be grown to fit your overall business goal.
(Click here to find out 10 common content marketing mistakes to avoid.)
Decide how to quantify your goals -- are they by a defined number, a percentage, or possibly a dollar amount? Once you have this in mind, you can more effectively measure your progress towards your goals.
Create a Theme
Your strategy needs a theme -- without it, your content becomes incohesive and you lose your audience. Don’t just randomly pick your content topics out of the air, on a day-by-day basis. Create all of your content around a pre-determined theme that spans throughout the month.
This has two principal benefits. First, it makes it easier to generate topics for that month. Second, it creates a more cohesive read for your audience -- they can naturally progress from one article to the next because they're already focused on the theme.
Here's an example.
Let's say you're a technology company with a fcous on Internet security. Your monthly theme could be security threats. You might include blog posts about the biggest security threats, common weak areas in security, and how to protect against potential threats.
Create An Offer
Just like a theme, a special offer or promotion can ground your content marketing strategy, and entice your readers to act. Think eBook, white paper or checklist that you can offer within your blog posts. You could also highlight a special event, such as a webinar, or a promotion that you’re offering that month.
Struggling to develop an offer? Don't fret. Just repurpose. Find content that previously performed well -- say an eBook, blog post, or webinar -- and recycle it into a new and improved form. If it were an eBook, transform it into a video tutorial. If it were an informative blog post, consider making it into an infographic.
Once you have an offer, ensure that you properly lead people to it. Calls to action within your posts and newsletters can be a powerful tool in converting your readers into leads.
(To learn how you can effectively use video in your content creation, click here.)
Plan Out Your Keywords
Much of the success of your content, especially within search engines, depends on the keywords you choose. Use a keyword planning tool, such as this one from Google, to choose keywords that don't have a lot of competition for ranking.
Pick a range of keywords that fit in with your theme, and that you will be able to use across multiple forms of content.
(Click here to check out our top, most influential and educational blog posts to date.)
Align All Efforts With Your Theme
An effective content marketing strategy encompasses many components -- not just writing blog posts. Plan your paid advertisements and email newsletters to also touch upon your theme, and steer traffic to your monthly offer.
Take to social media outlets like Twitter and LinkedIn with your theme in mind. Social media automation tools can be used in moderation to schedule posts in advance -- just beware that you don't use them too often, or you risk taking the "social" out of your social media efforts.
(Click here to learn how you can measure and boost the ROI of your content strategy.)
Create a Dedicated Content Calendar
Don’t let your content creation become a last-minute screw-up. If you consistently rush at the last minute to get all of the components together for publication, it will undoubtedly show -- even to your audience.
A content calendar is an invaluable way to keep you on track. It ties all of your content marketing efforts together -- including your offers, calls to action, newsletters, and social media postings. With it, you'll be organized and consistent throughout the month, and you can visualize the natural progression of your strategy.
(To learn about the 3 steps you need to take to achieve content marketing success, click here.)