5 essential steps to outline your B2B content needs and desires
According to a survey published by the Content Marketing Institute, the four biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers are content-related - 54% of those interviewed considered creating engaging content as their major concern, followed by doing it consistently (50%), being able to measure its effectiveness (49%), and to produce a variety of content (42%).
It is also relevant to say here that topics related to budget, skilled professionals or even lack of support from higher-ups were found in a much lower position in those graphics. And that this is all to say that outlining a step-by-step guide, so you can better understand your B2B content needs and desires, has become essential to any online marketing strategy nowadays.
Step 1: Define your goals
If you want to get somewhere, you need to know where you are going. It sounds very basic, but the truth is that many people just put their marketing activities strategies on the move without giving too much thought to them.
This is also very common when it comes to online marketing, as some business people just feel like they have to be part of it as soon as possible because all their competitors are already there. And while this is also truth, rushing things might lead to waste of money and resources, or even can compromise your brand, if you make a bad decision.
So put on the paper what you are expecting to get from your content marketing strategy. It can be more clients, more traffic to your website or to your social media channels, an improved brand awareness, or else. Or maybe you have a list of several goals, and this isn't a problem at all. At this stage, all that you need is to have them all clear in yours and in your team's mind.
Step 2: Define who you are talking to
Now that you know what your expectations are, you should consider defining your target audience – those who you will be talking to through your content. Here you will need to know some basics, such as who they are, where they live, age group, educational status, and gender. But this is just the beginning.
What you actually need to know is:
- What they are looking for when they are online;
- How they search for online information;
- Which kind of content attracts them more frequently;
- For how long and when they are online.
With this information in your hands, you will be prepared to go to your next step.
Step 3: Define what you are going to say
You know why you are investing in content marketing, and you know what your target audience is expecting from you. Now, it is time for you to make these two things come together by deciding what you are going to write about.
In other words, you can only achieve your goals by delivering content that not only attracts your target audience but also makes them convert whatever you are trying to sell – there is very little point in having a website with a huge traffic but that won't bring you any money at all.
So make sure that you book a brainstorming with your team, so then you can write down some content ideas. Don't rule anything out at this stage, as bad suggestions are famous for making great ideas show up. But you should try and concentrate on your target audience needs so that you can offer them content that will:
- make their lives easier or simpler;
- save or increase their budget;
- help them to achieve their goals;
- bring value to their own company.
Step 4: Do some content research
Now you should check if any of your ideas makes any sense. And the best way to achieve it is by doing some research. Look at your competitors' website and social media channels and see what they are already doing. Check which posts get more comments, and which marketing strategies they are using. This way you can find out what would be good for you to add to your own plan.
But don't stop there. As you are in B2B, verify your clients' online presence as well. See which kind of information they share with their own clients, and which values they respect. Pay special attention to the quality of their content, from their choice of words to images added. This will give you plenty of precious information about what they are expecting to get from you.
Step 5: Write down your strategy plan
With all these information at your service, it is time for you to write your first B2B content marketing plan down. Make sure that it will state clearly who your target audience is, which kind of content you will offer and how you will do it.
Consider it as a first draft, but don't overthink it and start working on your content immediately after you made up your mind about these steps above. Then you can keep a close eye on your metrics, and make adjustments along the way – rest assured that this is exactly what your competitor is doing right now.
Like anything in life, it is always best to start small and then build up from there. But if you want to have great content that will bring you more loyal clients, you will need to take it as seriously as you would when launching a new product or service.
You also need to be prepared to have a proper plan written down, and to spare time and money to make it happen. You might also need to hire or to train people to work on it, or even outsource it. But, in any case, dealing with your content marketing professionally is the best way to ensure that you will achieve your goals.