That being said, it’s not enough to just write content and publish it. There must be a strategy behind not only content topics, but also how you are publishing and promoting content.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B marketers report that their success over 2016 was due to more content creation, both to it being of higher quality and better efficiency. Planning your content marketing strategy ahead of time will certainly lead to higher quality content.
By planning, writing for your customer, continuing to reuse your content, and analyzing its performance, you can ensure that you are making the most of your efforts, which will cut down on wasted time and budget.
Below are some of the key content marketing objectives to keep in mind when developing a B2B content marketing strategy.
As mentioned earlier, preparation is everything when it comes to great marketing campaigns. Not only should you decide what your topics are going to be weeks or even months in advance, but you should also plan out what the goal of each piece of content really is.
Each piece of content should have a concrete call to action or purpose behind it. Why is it appearing on your blog in the first place?
To get to the bottom of the why, come up with a list of targeted keywords that you want your website to appear for in search results whenever potential customers are looking for your product or services.
From there, you can figure out useful blog content that will be useful to your target audience. For instance, if your company sells paper supplies, not only do you want to think about the common terms and types of paper that your company offers, but you also want to answer common customer questions about these products or services.
What are the shades of the paper you offer? What is this paper good for? What are some other interesting ways to use the paper you offer, beyond just copier machine?
Think about what your target audience’s most burning questions are, as well as how to instruct them to use your products and services in ways they may have not thought of before.
Depending on your industry, customers may not even know they are looking for the specific service that you offer (or they don’t know the proper industry term for it).
If this is the case, most of your content should focus on the problem-solution layout: identify the common challenges your target customers are facing, and then explain how your product or services could solve their roadblocks.
Change Your Perspective
This brings me to our second content marketing objective: thinking in the minds of your target audience instead of your experience is key when it comes to developing great content.
Things that may make sense to you may not be clear to your audience members. This is called the knowledge bias or the “curse of knowledge.” It means that you know so much about a specific topic that you assume others know as much as you do.
This can make it hard to properly train someone or teach them more about your specialty. Make sure you go back to when you were just learning your trade. Assume that nothing is safe and all questions are on the table.
One thing that I frequently recommend to marketers is to work with their sales or customer service departments to figure out what customers are most frequently confused about.
The result is usually a few good blog post writing ideas, answering users’ most common questions and making sure that you include key phrases in the title and body of the blog post. This makes it easier to be found when people are searching for answers on that specific topic.
Another good way to help change your perspective is to create personas for your target audience. By coming up with a fictitious person that is going to be interested in your blog content and what you offer, you’re able to better empathize with them and figure out what they’re looking for.
Repurpose Your Content
Repurposing your content is another thing that most companies don’t do, surprisingly. Repurposing basically means taking the content you’re already creating and turn it into another piece of content, usually in a different medium or media type.
For instance, you could take a blog post and translate that information into a recorded PowerPoint presentation that you would then share on YouTube, or you could distill the key statistics or main points into an infographic that you share on social media.
Many writers also republish their content on Medium or Linkedin Publisher. While there is still the concern of being flagged for duplicate content, Medium has a field when you’re creating a new post to automatically give credit to the original post with a canonical link.
Sharing content is useful because it allows you to get more out of the content you’re already creating. In most cases, it takes less time and effort to create a different piece of contact from something that’s already been created, forces having to start over from scratch.
Look at all your past content and see what has consistently been performing well. Can you take that content and turn it into something else, such as a PowerPoint presentation that you could record on video or upload on SlideShare?
Reshare Your Content
Along with repurposing your content, have you ever thought about resharing it as well? This means sharing your content again on your outbound marketing, such as social media or to your email list.
Many people just share their new content on social media when they first publish it, and then move on to the next piece of content they are working on creating.
However, resharing your content can help it be seen by more people (especially since tweets have an extremely short life). Resharing them again, on different days and times, can help increase website traffic and social shares of your content.
Create a plan that outlines what you can do to continuously promote both your existing and new content. For many content marketers, this means working with their social media team to ensure that the social media calendar has space for promoting previously published pieces of content. Set a standard for how often a piece of content should be shared before it goes into a queue of post that can be shared whenever you need them.
There are also a few services that help you do this automatically. Edgar is probably the most popular; it allows you to share updates in a list, and it will automatically pull from this list whenever it needs updates at the times that you specified.
Drumup.io is another solution option. Once you write a post in their platform, you can select to have it shared a certain number of times over a specific period. This works well for promoting a timely piece of content, like covering a trend or recent industry news.
Email marketing is another area where you can easily share your content. Not only do some marketers share a new blog post to their email list right when it comes out, they also often have weekly or monthly recaps of their most recent blog posts.
If you’re getting a lot of traffic and publish a lot of content, consider highlighting the most popular posts so people feel like they are missing out if they don’t read them.
Emails that highlight specific evergreen blog posts that are still useful even though they may have been published months before are a great strategy as well. You could frame it as an “industry spotlight” feature and send it out once a week.
Email marketing is a great way to target a B2B audience because most people in B2B industries heavily rely on email to get things done.
Therefore, B2B emails may have a higher click-through rate, depending on your industry. When promoting a piece of content through email, make sure you point out the benefits to taking the time to read your content. Don’t focus on your experience, but rather how your content (and by extension, your company) is solving they are problems or challenges.
Once you’ve created a strategy, written and published your content, and repurposed or re-shared it, it’s time to analyze your results.
Make sure that Google Analytics or another tracking analytics tool is set up on your website and allowing you to see what types of content people are actually reading.
This not only gives you a good overall view of what is most interesting to readers, but it also gives you ideas for what they’re looking for. Examining site search data is also a good option; I really like SwiftType because they offer a lot of data.
The data metrics you should be paying specific attention to in Analytics include:
- Conversion Rate: For the call-to-actions in your content, make sure you have conversions set up to see if your content is converting readers into customers. Conversion rate is a % of how many conversions you have over how many users there were on your page total, for the time period specified.
- Pages Per Session: Are readers visiting multiple pages on your website, or are they only visiting one and then exiting the site? More pages per session means that your content is “sticky” — which shows that readers find it interesting and helpful. The longer a person spends on your website, the more likely they are going to turn into a customer.
- Referral Sources: Learning where your traffic is coming from can help you figure out what areas you should be focusing on more. For instance, if social media is only 8% of your referral traffic but organic search is 50%, you could lay out a content strategy that considers referral sources during the creation process. Choosing blog post titles that include more targeted keywords do better in social media could be two ways to implement takeaways from referral sources.
Every month, you should use your analytics to track performance in terms of the goals you set for your content marketing objectives. This can help you reevaluate what is working, what isn’t, and what needs to change going into the next month’s planning.
As you work your way through a regular creation cycle, all of these five content marketing objections should be represented.
The idea is, of course, to use each of the above marketing tactics to connect with your audience and provide them with the type of content they are actively seeking.
Screenshots taken Jan 2017, other photos via Unsplash and iSTock.