From how-to videos to detailed whitepapers, content is being created all the time – 1.5 quintillion bytes of it every day, in fact. Content is an essential part of marketing. Whether you want to generate leads, establish thought leadership or nurture existing client relationships, a well-executed content strategy can support and reinforce all that you do. And that’s not just our view; 73% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing activity.
But what exactly is a content strategy and how do you go about creating an effective one? In this latest blog, we’ll go through all you need to know about B2B content and how to use it successfully.
What is B2B content marketing?
B2B content marketing involves producing and distributing content in order to increase brand awareness, traffic, leads and sales for business-to-business companies. It’s a marketing tactic that sits within a broader content strategy or plan – your roadmap for success. The strategy defines what content is needed, who it will target and when it will be delivered, to ensure everything created is valuable, effective and helping the company to reach its overall goals.
Why do you need a content strategy?
80% of marketers who are successful in content marketing have a strategy in place. It’s more effective than taking a scattergun approach – and gives a much better return on investment. That’s because creating the right kind of high-quality content delivers long-term value, staying relevant for extended periods and having a positive impact in multiple ways:
- Establish credibility and authority
Creating valuable and relevant content that demonstrates expertise and answers customers’ questions can help a business to position itself as an industry expert. When you’re perceived as a specialist, customers are more inclined to trust you – and establishing a reputation as a credible place to get information means your content will rank higher in search engines too.
- Build trust
A B2B sales cycle can take months if not years to close, depending on the complexity of the product or service being sold, and valuable content can help to build loyalty before contracts are even signed. Providing regular, useful information that consistently adds value helps to build a relationship with your audience so they are more likely to trust your advice and recommendations.
- Remain front of mind
We’ve written before about the importance of putting the right content in front of the right people, at the right time. Different types of content can be used to engage with customers at various stages of the customer journey, creating a positive brand impression and helping them to remember you when they are close to purchasing.
- Generate leads
A well-executed content strategy can generate more and better-quality leads that are more likely to convert. Useful information that addresses a customer’s pain points can be used as a tool for data capture, while calls-to-action (CTA) placed directly in your content can direct customers straight to a landing page.
How to develop a content strategy
With the reasons why content marketing is a good idea covered, let’s consider how to develop an effective strategy. There are seven main components:
- Set objectives
Start by defining clear and measurable objectives for your B2B content strategy, based on business goals. These could include increasing lead generation, improving brand awareness, boosting customer retention or establishing thought leadership. Rank them in order of priority so it’s clear which parts of your strategy are the most pressing.
- Define your audience
Knowing your audience is essential. Without identifying the demographic and buying behaviour of your customers and potential customers it’s impossible to understand their pain points, needs and preferences. And without this, you can’t develop content that resonates with them.
- Content audit
Before you start creating content, it’s important to understand what’s performing and what needs improvement. Evaluate your existing assets to find any gaps and review the content for quality and relevance. Is it up-to-date and reflective of what your audience wants? Consider where and how your current content can be repurposed into different formats or onto new channels as this will help to deliver even more value.
- Decide on your content
With so much content available to customers yours has to stand out, otherwise, it just adds to the noise. 83% of marketers believe it’s more effective to create higher quality content less often – but consider the landscape in which you’re competing, the topics you want to cover and who you’re targeting. You may need different types of content to reach different audiences and meet business objectives. Most importantly, ensure that whatever you’re producing aligns with your proposition and adds value by addressing a pain point and providing information.
- Tailor your content
Similar to the above point, your content should be tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision. Someone in the research stage will be looking for different information from someone who is close to making a purchasing decision. This level of personalisation allows for more effective targeting and engagement which in turn leads to more conversions.
- Promote your content
Develop a plan for promoting your content through various channels, including social media, email marketing and paid advertising, using both organic and paid methods for maximum reach. Return to your buyer personas and ensure your content is being pushed out in the right places.
- Measure, test and learn
Regularly assess the performance of your content by tracking key metrics such as website traffic, engagement, lead generation and conversion rates. Use this data to refine and adapt your strategy and make informed decisions about future content topics and formats.
Make your content work harder
At Interlink, we use our unique AI tool to understand which of your content will be best received, so you can create more of what works. Our algorithm identifies prospects that meet your specific criteria and gathers valuable insights into buyers’ behaviour, preferences and interests, which can be used to predict which type of content will resonate with them most. Not only does this save you time, but it provides you with qualified leads that are more likely to convert.
To find out more about our solution, contact us for a free demonstration.