Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for B2B Firms
When it comes to creating a content marketing strategy, content matters. Duh, right?
But, there is much more to your content marketing strategy than first meets the eye.
Content is just one part of your strategy.
Beneath the strings of carefully placed letters and words, you will find that your strategy also involves your executive team, your buyers, and a plan for measurement.
With the right content marketing strategy, your content generates leads and nurtures those leads into customers.
Checklist for Building a Content Marketing Strategy
Whether you are just starting out or revamping your content marketing strategy, here are the steps that you will need to address:
- Win stakeholder support
- Define your buyer personas
- Fit your content into the buyer’s journey
- Create a content calendar
- Establish KPIs and develop a process for measuring success
Win Stakeholder Support
Content marketing is a long-term investment. (Fortunately one of the most cost-effective, too).
Because content marketing is an investment of time and money, it’s important to secure support from key stakeholders in your content marketing strategy. This means you will need them to agree upon your strategy, your budget, and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
It’s the responsibility of the VP of Marketing or the Director of Marketing to secure buy-in from stakeholders. Stakeholders often include the CEO, the CFO, the VP of Sales, and the marketing team.
Viewing these stakeholders as both investors and constituents may spark engaging conversations, helping you create a marketing strategy that everyone—from the CEO to your marketing team—can get on board with.
Here are some tips to keep everyone on the same page with your content marketing strategy.
- Help them understand why content marketing matters.
Explain that, while results won’t be instantaneous, you are building a library of thought leadership and consistently adding SEO value to the site.
- Emphasize value over the cost.
Instead of harping on the budget, explain that the average cost of an inbound marketing lead is 61% less expensive than an outbound lead.
- Simplify your strategy, so everyone understands what’s in it for them.
Keep your explanation at a high-level, explaining how your strategy will return results. Don’t get weighed down with the details because they might change.
- Agree on indicators for success.
Make sure you establish how your success will be measured so you can set smart goals and be clear about what you can deliver
Define Your Buyer Personas
Similar to how a job interviewee markets him or herself as the best candidate to fit the company’s needs, content marketing for technology firms must be tailored toward your target audience.
You can get to know who your target audience is by developing buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictitious representations of your real customers. Through surveys and client interviews, you can define your buyer personas, including their:
Building buyer personas is not just a creative writing exercise. They are essential to the effectiveness of your content marketing plan.
With buyer personas on hand, you make sure you’re sharing expertise that is aimed at the right prospect.
Prospects will feel like you understand them better if you use their language and express their concerns.
Fit Content into the Buyer’s Journey
Getting to know your buyer also means getting to know your buyer’s journey.
If you know where your buyer is on their journey, you can share content that is better targeted to their needs.
On the other hand, the buyers in the decision stage no longer need to identify their problem. They need a solution and want to know why yours is the best. So, they may be more interested in a white paper that compares your product with a competitor’s.
When you fit your content into the correct stages of the buyer’s journey, your prospects will feel like you understand their mindset and will be more likely become your customers.
Create a Content Calendar
Incorporating a content calendar into your strategy will help you organize the specific the big picture status of your content. Content calendars will make it easier to keep your marketing team on track and make sure nothing gets put on the back burner because of a lack of time.
By keeping to a consistent content marketing schedule, you build a deeper trust with your prospects. You can also be more strategic about when you post your content because everything is planned ahead.
A Repeatable Process for Content Creation
Establishing a repeatable process to create content will make your content more consistent and effective. Your plan includes:
- Keyword Research and Optimization - what keywords will you optimize for?
- Content topics - headlines (that include keywords)
- Content length - Blogs can be anywhere from 500-1,500+ words. But remember, no matter how long the content is, keep your content scannable.
- Author - who will write the post
- Due date
- Call to action
- Promotion strategy
Establish KPIs and Develop a Process for Measuring Results
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value you can use to determine whether or not you are achieving your goals. So the first step of establishing a KPI is to define your goal.
Here are a few examples of marketing goals and a KPI that will help you measure it.
- Goal: Generate more leads from a specific offer;
KPI: Landing Page Conversion Rate, or CTA Click Thru Rate vs Landing Page Conversion Rate
- Goal: Increase engagement on social media;
KPI: Social Media Content Shares, Social Media Mentions, Social Media Followers
- Goal: Increase sales revenue;
KPI: Incremental Sales KPI, measures how your marketing efforts influenced revenue
KPIs will help you stay on track with your goals and determine how effective your content is.
Some other metrics you may use to measure content marketing success are:
- Views of pages or videos, or downloads of documents
- Likes, shares, or retweets on social media
- Blog subscriptions
- Conversion rates
- Customer anecdotes
Content May Be King, But Strategy is Everything
Next, apply these best practices and create a content marketing strategy with a marketing team of professionals who know how to handle all of the different components.
Assemble Your Marketing Team
Your marketing team should consist of in-house team members and hired experts that can help you achieve your goals. Partnering with an agency can help you offload some of the tasks that you do not have the expertise or time for. With their expertise on hand, you will be able to produce more effective marketing campaigns.