B2B content marketing has become the white bread of content marketing. It’s on every B2B marketer’s menu and unfortunately a lot of it is as exciting as white bread. It lacks texture, and flavor and gusto.
Beyond that, it’s often missing a solid foundation. Simply content without a strategy it isn’t a solid part of B2B marketing strategies.
And yet…done right it works. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than oubound marketing and generates #X as many leads.”
So how do you get your B2B content marketing up to snuff? What do you need to do differently?
To help you do just that, Content Marketing Institute, the leading authority on content marketing, has released its latest study, B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends. It offers a peep into how seasoned B2B content marketers are investing their time and money and how it pays off.
Let’s look at some of the content marketing tips we glean from this latest report and learn how to empower content marketing strategies for the future.
5 B2B Content Marketing Tips That You Need to Know
1. Document Your Strategy
Only 39% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy. But why is a documented content strategy important?
The key reason to have a documented strategy is that it keeps you on track. Throughout the content creation process it gives you and your team a road map so you’re on the same page — ensuring fewer hiccups along the way.
Begin with a clear understanding of your audience. Review the demographics that make up your target audience. Monitor such factors as…
- Job description
- Company size
- Geographic location
- Age range
Once you’ve nailed down your target audience’s makeup, it’s time to focus on your goals. Decide what you want to accomplish with your content marketing. That might include increased traffic, sales calls, or campaign interaction.
Once you have your audience and goals nailed down, you’re ready to plan your content. Remember to vary your content formats enough to keep your audience engaged. Include a good mix of written, visual, and audio content that will engage all members of your audience, whether they prefer long-form blog posts, or something more visual.
Finally, determine in what areas of the PESO model (paid, earned, shared, and owned content) you’re going to invest your time and money. Are you going to invest it in paid promotions? Social posting? Getting noticed in trade publications? Creating content for your own blog?
2. Create a Robust Email Marketing Strategy
While email sometimes gets forgotten in the sea of marketing strategies, it is one of the most powerful tools for B2B content marketers. 87% of B2B content marketers use email marketing to nurture their leads.
The reality is that your audience has different interests and needs. To meet those needs and keep all of your audience members engaged, it’s important to segment your audience. When creating a form to collect emails, include questions about company size and job roles that will provide the data for future segmentation. With that, you can write personalized and targeted messages.
An essential part of your email marketing strategy is a regular newsletter. A newsletter promotes your content, but also gives your audience a chance to get to know and trust your brand.
Use A/B testing to discover what headlines, delivery times, and other variables work best. It may take some time, but once you find that special combination, your emails will have the power to move your audience to action. To encourage them to take the next step, include a call to action in each email.
3. Invest in Video Content
When you mention content marketing, people think of blogs and ebooks. But over the past few years, audiences have become ever more hungry for audio/visual content, especially video.
In response to this demand, 64% of respondents in the Content Marketing Institute’s survey reported that they increased their video content assets.
Have you jumped on this popular and effective trend? If not, don’t delay. Invest your time in such popular social tools as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. Try an interview, a Q and A session, or a behind the scenes glimpse of your company.
How about other video strategies? Invest in a budget friendly video creation software that will allow you to craft a variety of easy-to-watch and engaging videos. There are a few video software options available, depending on your tastes and preferences. You can get software to create animated videos, transform your blog posts into videos, or merely edit video from your phone or tablet. One platform we like is Lumen5, which has a free version if you don’t mind the company’s branding.
4. Educate Your Audience
Content for content sake is no way to run a powerful content strategy. The number one goal for B2B content strategies? Education. 77% of B2B content marketers use educational content to nurture leads, according to Content Marketing Insitutue.
Where should you start? Discover what questions are on your audience’s mind.Use social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to suss out what questions your audience is asking right now. Or use such online communities as Quora or BuzzSumo to see what’s on people’s minds.
Once you know what challenges your audience, it’s time to get to work creating educational content that fills that need. If it’s a simple question, you might use a simple blog post to answer it. If it requires a deeper explanation, consider creating an ebook or video.
However you do it, educating your audience is the first step to creating trust between your brand and your audience.
5. Invest in Paid Promotion
Want to reach new audiences? Paid promotion is a good way to do so — a fact that is backed up by the 80% of B2B content marketers who use it.
But paid promotion comes in many shapes and sizes, depending on your needs. For instance, you could invest in…
- Paid Content Distribution — Amplify your content on such platforms as Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing.
- Paid Social Ads — Learn what social networks house your target audience. Do they mostly use Twitter? LinkedIn? Facebook? Once you find this out, create a campaign and pay to promote it on that network.
- Native Advertising — This content, also known as branded content, is the antithesis of traditional advertising. Instead of creating content that actively promotes your brand, you create content that fits the needs of your audience, and weaves seamlessly into the site where you promote it. It’s so native that your customers at first may have no idea that it is about your brand.
While your strategy shouldn’t consist solely of paid promotion, it’s an effective way to enhance your strategy and reach new audiences. Check out what paid opportunities are available and determine which ones fit your industry and your brand.
6. Measure and Re-Assess
Measurement is what separates great content marketing from its inferior equivalent
Why? The fact is that no campaign is perfect — and every audience is different. Measurement helps you to see how your audience is responding and when and how you might need to change it for the best results.
And the reality is that measurement doesn’t have to be blind alley. Use a free analytics program such as Google Analytics to collect your data. This data will tell you which campaigns are working and which need some TLC to get them up to snuff.
B2B content marketing is not just a matter of creation. There needs to be an intelligent driving force behind that creation. Such a force is honed by keeping up to date with content marketing tips and strategies such as those above.