6 Questions to Answer When Launching a B2B Content Marketing Program

It’s been well-documented that the landscape of marketing has experienced a fundamental shift from outbound to inbound strategies in recent years, largely influenced by the penetration of digital channels. This shift in behavior has opened up an endless need for content, especially among B2B marketers. In fact, The Content Marketing Institute released statistics leading up to 2015, showing that 86 percent of today’s B2B marketers employ a formal content strategy.

B2B Marketers Using Content Marketing

As a content marketing strategist here at KoMarketing, I can attest to this report, as our team has been very busy launching and further optimizing B2B content strategies for our clients as of late. With so much content being created, B2B organizations investing in content strategies need to make sure they find a way to stand above the rest.

Similar to a construction crew erecting a skyscraper, the most critical element to a successful strategy is a solid foundation. With this in mind, here’s a series of questions that B2B organizations need to ask themselves (and answer) prior to creating a rock-solid content marketing foundation.

Question #1: What are the goals of the strategy?  

Before you do anything else, make sure you remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Measuring effectiveness doesn’t happen overnight, and there isn’t one single metric that can be used to capture its worth. However, there are certain “buckets” that should be put into place to catch the success that drips off each piece of content that’s produced.

How KoMarketing answers this question:

When working with our clients, we take the time to meet with them before launching the strategy to identify exactly what it is they want to get from their efforts. Some of the typical buckets we use to measure (and report) the success of content marketing include:

  • Website performance metrics – Data we typically glean from Google Analytics and other SEO reporting (Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools) platforms to provide a general overview of metrics, such as visitors (unique and returning), time spent on page, bounce rate, etc.
  • Social metrics – Tweets, Facebook likes, LinkedIn Shares, etc. of the content being created. We do this by presenting information gathered from social networks’ own reporting tools (Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights) as well as third-party platforms like RavenTools.
  • Inbound link performance – Found within Bing and Google’s respective Webmaster Tool consoles, these metrics show the tie-in between original content and third party websites.
  • Lead generation metrics – When a visitor goes from a piece of content we generated to filling out an online form (typically tracked within Google Analytics).

Question #2: Who’s going to produce the content?

While this may seem like a no-brainer, finding quality content professionals has been cited as one of the main challenges being faced by those implementing content strategies in 2015. Before devoting budget and assigning goals to a content marketing strategy, make sure you have the resources in place to produce (with quality).

How KoMarketing answers this question:

While we have a dedicated full-time content marketing team here at KoMarketing, we’ve made it a point to establish a culture of content throughout our entire office.

As Stacy mentioned in one of her previous blog posts, “Don’t limit content creation/idea generation to content marketing personnel alone because it’s likely every member of the team has a good story to tell. At KoMarketing Associates, for example, we have 9 different blog contributors on staff who can provide valuable insight on SEO, social media, content marketing, PPC, and more!”

Question #3: Who are we targeting and what do they want?

Once you have your goals in place and quality content producers to carry out the strategy, it’s then time to figure out who exactly it is that you’re positioning the content towards and what types of answers they are looking to get out of your content.

How KoMarketing answers this question:

Much like there isn’t one metric to reflect content marketing success, there also isn’t one way to paint a crystal clear picture of your audience and what exactly it is that they’re trying to get from the content they’re consuming. We typically use a combination of the following tactics (and more):

  • Content marketing questionnaire – While we use this to gain a better understanding of our clients and their industry, it’s also a good idea to have one in place for in-house content strategies, as it gives the content team a resource to leverage to use when attempting to maintain consistent messaging. Some of the critical elements to capture include, keyword focus, leading industry resources, top competitors, and overview of the business.
  • Data analysis – through resources like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, we make sure to dive into all parts of the site to see what pages drive the most traffic and what keywords are being used to get there.
  • Competitive research – Armed with a strong competitor list (provided in the questionnaire), don’t be afraid to see what the competition is doing well and attempt to create similar content that is of higher quality.
  • Ask what they want – Remember to leverage the resources around you. Thanks to social media and a number of other online communities, we are able to reach out directly to existing customers and prospects to ask them questions. Once we’ve gathered these questions, we are then able to start creating content that answers them effectively.

Question #4: How do we keep track of it all?

With your content team brainstorming ideas, armed with their completed competitive research and editorial questionnaire, you may find yourself wondering how exactly you will keep everyone on the same page when ideas are approved. The key to a successful strategy is documentation.

How KoMarketing answers this question:

For each of our clients, we develop a detailed editorial calendar that serves as a to-do list to keep our strategy on track. We typically use Google Docs and Basecamp (allow for easy collaboration) to track and document all of our editorial and social media content. Typical elements of our editorial calendar include:

  • Draft date
  • Targeted publish date
  • Title
  • Keyword target
  • Content type (blog post, news article, etc.)
  • Status
  • Social media copy

Question #5: How much should we produce?

This is a common question in the content marketing realm. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all standard for answering this question, there are a few things that should be considered when determining how frequently content is published.

How KoMarketing answers this question:

As an online marketing agency, we strongly believe that websites should be producing fresh, relevant content weekly, if not daily, to send signals to users and search engines of the organization’s commitment to marketing communication.

Always keep our readers in mind. If we believe there is a question to be answered or a topic to be discussed, we want to make sure we get involved in that conversation. When possible, remember to create content that will remain relevant as time passes, as it could be “recycled” in the future.

Question #6: Do we need to have a social media strategy in place?

After you’ve produced relevant, targeted content, you may be asking yourself, “What’s next?” Well, the next logical step to take is what I like to call “marketing your content marketing.”

How KoMarketing answers this question:

At KoMarketing, we always strive to produce content that we believe will be well-received on social media. Our content and social teams work very closely together to identify new opportunities and craft content that the audience is hungry for. Think of your pieces of content as fire, and the social media strategy as gasoline. If these two strategies work in unison, your content will blaze across social networks and your brand will quickly become more recognized.

Final Thoughts  

B2B content marketing is here to stay. By taking these steps, you should have a solid foundation in place to support your content kingdom that will likely follow.

“KoMarketing takes PPC management to a completely different level of focus on performance and commitment to client business goals.”

— Chris Long, CMO, L-com Global Connectivity

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