Content marketing has been all the rage in marketing circles for the last several years, and B2B marketers are wholeheartedly subscribing to that newsletter. More corporate B2B blogs are popping up than ever before, and B2B hashtags are starting to make in-roads on various social media platforms.
Yet B2B marketers are still having trouble executing their content marketing plans. Whether it’s finding the right people to write the content, the topics to write about, or planning out an editorial calendar, major challenges continue to hamper success rates.
And that’s OK. As NewsCred’s Michael Brenner says, “content marketing is a strategic solution to a strategic problem.”
Content marketing is not a short and sweet strategy that you can start today and expect to reap the benefits tomorrow. It takes time to plan, execute, and measure. Once you’ve understood that, then content marketing becomes much easier. Let’s take a look at some questions you can use to create a content marketing framework for your B2B business that will help keep you in the content marketing race.
If you build it, will they come?
First up is your audience. Your marketing is created with them in mind, is created for them, and consumed by them. So they should be top of mind as you create your content marketing framework.
- Who is your target audience? Really dig deep on this one. Don’t just consider the overall market or customer type, but learn about the employee roles in your target audience too. Are you aiming for the executives or middle management? Sales people or other marketers?
- Which topics and sources of information are most important to them? Listen to your audience and find out what topics they’re talking about and consuming content on. Use both internal and external sources to discover this information.
- Which social channels do they use? This includes the traditional social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, but also things like corporate and industry blogs and trade publications.
- What events matter to them and their lives? Are they attending any particular trade show events, conferences, or other industry events?
- What is your brand’s overall purpose? This can be a difficult one to pin down sometimes, as it’s easy to become stuck in one line of thinking. Branch out and expand your company’s horizons. Think about all the benefits that it has and how it can help your customers.
Your Marketing Content
Next, look at your marketing content.
- What is your company voice? Do you have one? Think about how you express your firm’s purpose to your audience, and the emotions it conveys. Consider also the superficial here, that is, your firm’s visual identity. That means looking at your font and color choices, spacing, use of images, etc.
- What marketing assets do you have that support your brand’s purpose and voice? Do they support your overall brand mission? Write them out and see if there are any gaps, or over-production in any one area.
- When was your last content audit? Take a look at the market content you’re producing and match it up against your sales funnel. Organize it by content type and topic. Again, take a look at the gaps and over-production and see where you need to make adjustments. For example, you may notice you’re producing a lot of explainer videos, but not many blog posts. Or too many case studies and not enough videos. Or not enough white papers. You get the idea.
- What is working with your content marketing efforts? Now that you’ve got a better idea of your marketing assets, what’s working for you? Take a look at the content types and topics to see where you’re strongest/weakest. Never neglect the power of analytics
- What are the main topics, categories or messaging pillars that support your brand? Analyze your content topics and see which ones can be your messaging pillars. These are topics on which you can create multiple content types.
- Which keywords support those topics? To get a piece of the SEM pie, you’ve got to include keywords and phrases in your content marketing. Include them organically in the content to take full advantage of SEO and gain higher SERP (search engine ranking page) rank.
- What type of content best supports your content marketing mission? Not every content type will match your B2B company. It’s important to choose the one that will work best for you. Use your analysis to see which ones work best, and then focus on them.
Image source: Marketing Charts
Your Marketing Organization
The last piece in the puzzle is your marketing organization. After all, what’s the use in a complete content marketing strategy if there’s no one to take care of it?
- Who in your organization is responsible for content marketing strategy? Determine who will be responsible for guiding the strategy. Is it one person or a committee? Is it an existing resource, or will you need to hire someone?
- What is the workflow from content creation to publication? Having the entire process and procedure mapped out ensures that nothing is forgotten and that everyone involved understands their role.
Ready for the start of the content marketing race?
To use the cliché, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Being fully prepared takes time, and executing a content marketing strategy to its fullest takes planning and resources. These 14 questions will help your B2B company get set up and ready to run that race. Next time some someone asks you if you’re ready, you can tell them begin that all-important sprint.
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