How to develop a successful B2B content marketing strategy
The majority of companies produce content. The quantity of material grows, but the quality of it leaves much to be desired. Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi in his article emphasizes the fact that the time of the quantity of content is gone and now we need to seriously think of its quality. To create quality material, you need to have a clear marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, not every B2B company generates a content strategy. In the States in 2014, for example, only 44% of companies had documented content marketing strategies.
Let’s talk about what a content marketing strategy is and how to develop one.
What is a B2B content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is usually oriented either towards B2B (Business to business) or towards B2C (Business to consumer). They differ quite a lot. In B2C, content is usually more emotional and covers a wider audience while B2B content marketing strategy is more factual and professionals-oriented.
Strategy in the B2B segment means going back to the basics of content marketing. The easier and clearer your logic is, the more effective the strategy will turn out. The basics of a good strategy are in the answers to these three questions:
1. Who are you?
2. What is your audience?
3. What do you want to achieve with it?
Who are you?
If you still haven’t figured out what your company can offer to the world, now is the perfect time to do it. In reality, any company consists of a brand, product, culture and idea. In B2B sphere, you shouldn’t fear you narrow specialization and should choose the directions from the start: what product, what culture and what idea you will represent.
What audience do you want to reach?
Imagine your ideal ultimate consumer. Where does he/she work? What are his/her interests? Where is he/she from?
For example, the company General Kinematics sells vibratory equipment and clearly understands who would need such an expensive product. They build their content strategy based on this knowledge.
At the bottom of the page you can see a topic on their blog post “Mining Safety Changes 2015: What You Need to Know”. This article is targeted on the primary audience of miners, safety specialists and drilling professionals.
What do you want to achieve?
What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you want to inform your readers, entertain them or make them think?
In any case, you primary goal has to persuade your consumers to act in some way (call to action). The action can be anything: buying your product, subscribing to your newsletters, participating in a poll, etc.
Content shouldn’t be created only to be seen or read; it should change people’s behavior. It is the most difficult and delicate part of content marketing: the most important thing is not to become importunate in your desire to sell.
An interesting example here can be a Hubspot marketing case. This company produces books and articles for marketing specialists. Their post 5 Essential Components of a Sales Development Process is a great material to read; at the end of it, they offer a free e-book revealing the secrets of effective sales.
If Hubspot’s content marketers simply offered this book, no one would read their blog. In this way, though, they don’t just do some low-pressure advertising, but also address to their target group – sales specialists who read this article.
After you answered three core questions, it is time to answer some smaller ones. They will help to make your strategy more effective.
What is your audience looking for?
As a content marketing specialist, you need to know what your audience googles. What exactly does it type into a search engine? Today content marketing is closely connected with SEO; that is why it is important to develop your strategy in compliance with search requests. You can get more details on it in this post.
What websites does your audience visit?
Maybe your audience barely uses Google to search for things and doesn’t read blogs. Then you need to look for other channels of reaching it, for example social networks or e-mail marketing.
What type of content can win your audience over?
Don’t focus only on articles in your blog; there are many content options for you: pictures, videos, infographics, audio recordings, online-tests, etc. It is important to try different options and see which of them are more popular among your consumers.
How can you make your content simpler?
Because of a big number of professional terms, content in B2B sphere may be too difficult for comprehension. It is important to keep the balance here. The content should be easy to understand yet it should look professional. Be laconic and don’t use over complicated constructions.
The most important things in developing a B2B content marketing strategy are to define your goals, to know your audience well and to create valuable content that insensibly calls to action. Be creative and good luck with your strategy!