Must Know Elements for Building a Strong B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Too often, marketers mistake content marketing for content strategy, so how can marketers be clear on the difference?
Essentially, content marketing without a strategy is equivalent to churning out copy with no purpose or plan in the hope that it will have an effect.
Content strategy, however, is the strategic use of planned content creation activity, with an aim to harness its full potential, measure its impact and deliver results. In other words, a content marketing strategy includes creating, distributing and measuring content.
Lots of brands already embrace content creation, but here are a few tips on how you can simply weave a basic content strategy into your B2B marketing plan:
1. Objectives first, content second
With the current buzz around content marketing, native advertising and the industry’s rising mantra that every marketer should be using content, it’s easy to neglect goals and rush into content creation blindly.
The key is to define your strategy first so that you work through your goals, distribution and KPIs to ensure you don't waste time on producing ineffective or poorly-fitting content.
For example, your strategy could be to position yourself as an industry thought leader. In which case, what elements do you need to build into your strategy to allow you to achieve this? What are the tactics that will underpin this strategy? What is the appetite for content amongst your target audience and where are they consuming it? It’s these kinds of questions that will help you understand what kind of material you need to create, as well as when.
2. Use the right tactics
If your goal is to be positioned in your industry as a thought leader, your content strategy might include the following tactics:
- B2B content marketing
The creation of blogs, whitepapers and social media content to help build your profile is a great way to begin. Write regular posts that allow you to share your opinion and give a voice to your area of expertise; comment on industry trends or other thought leadership pieces. Create a whitepaper that drills down into interesting or topical research and data. Use your social channels to engage communities and build out a rounded presence across relevant social media networks. These are all relatively low entry points and easily accessible ways to use content marketing to help achieve your strategy.
- Industry presence
Similarly, taking it offline and building your presence at B2B industry events or through speaker opportunities is also a great way to round out your content strategy and earn credibility as a thought leader. The content you share in these presentations is a way to define yourself, convey your messages, exchange valuable learnings with those in your industry and carve out your voice among the noise.
- Customer education
Another element that you might consider as part of your content marketing strategy is to look at how you use content to educate and help your customers. Build out your content through resource centres, webinars, workshops - anything that gives your customers the education and support they need to better understand, purchase or use your product. Moreover, by coaching and guiding them through, you further cement your thought leadership position.
3. Don’t waste your content creation efforts
When it comes to delivering against your marketing strategy content distribution isn’t just half the battle, it is the battle. With at least 2 million blog posts published and nearly 1 million hours of video uploaded to YouTube every day, less is more for audiences who just want the good stuff at their fingertips.
A further challenge is the fact that attention spans aren’t so much short as they are split, with audiences scattering their activity across smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, and soon-to-be “wearables”. So how do you break through to them in a way that isn’t disruptive or interruptive?
There are a number of digital marketing tools available, which allow brands and publishers to amplify their content online to ensure that they are heard above the online noise. For example, Outbrain’s Amplify DIY Dashboard (the Google AdWords of content marketing) enables businesses of all sizes to ensure their content is amplified and reaches relevant audiences, wherever they may be. Using content distribution and discovery platforms like Outbrain allows you to ensure that creating your content doesn’t go to waste.
Ultimately, you need to ensure your B2B content marketing strategy is well thought out to achieve your business goals. Done well content is a strong way to engage with B2B audiences and to powerfully convey your brand and value proposition.