Make Your B2B Content Smarter in 2017
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You might have noticed B2B companies that have a great brand presence in your industry. It’s easy to wonder what kind of marketing magic has gotten them where they are. But you'll probably have to face that their hard work is just finally paying off.
A staggering 88% of B2B companies are now engaged in content marketing according to the Content Marketing Institute, which means that the run to the top is getting harder by the minute. It’s no longer enough to just “have a blog” or send the occasional email to your leads. You’ll need to combine strategy, personalization and the use of specialized content tools to give your brand the chance of market dominance.
Now that we’re beyond the halfway point of 2016, it’s time to take a close look at what we’ve done so far, and share a few ideas on how to make your content smarter and more successful in the time left and new year that’s right around the corner.
1. Know Your Goals
Before you start creating content, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish. Make sure the content you’re putting out fits your buyer’s journey; Top, Middle or Bottom of the funnel.
- When aiming for TOTF, your buyer is in the awareness stage, learning about your industry or the service you provide, he’s far from buying your product so don’t waste time or money trying to sell it.
- MOTF buyers know what you’re talking about and are interested in what you’re selling, it might be in their strategy for the next year or perhaps in a pile of ideas waiting for the CEO to review, either way your content for them needs to be relevant.
- Finally we have BOTF, these guys are ready to get started, provide concrete information that is useful while using your product.
32% of B2B marketers reported having a documented content strategy in 2016, you can get ahead of the curve by documenting a strategy and aiming content towards specific goals.
2. Know Your Audience
You wouldn’t plain out your email marketing campaign with your social media team, would you? Of course not. So don’t make that mistake with your B2B content!
Content personalization is key to the growth of a B2B company. Just as an example, personalized emails increase transaction rates by 6x, but 70% of brands miss the boat. Savvy B2B marketers achieve fantastic results by segmenting their target market and creating content that speaks directly to each segment.
3. Create Content Regularly
It’s obvious, but many brands still falter in this area! Without a consistent flow of content, you’re at risk of losing your audience. A study by McKinsey and Company found that consistency is highly predictive of customer satisfaction. Stick to an editorial calendar and stay on message, and you’ll earn trust while improving your content marketing ROI. Consistency is also a time and budget issue, for those with little resources we recommend a minimum of one blog a week. If you can, two a week is optimal, amounting to 8 blogs a month.
4. Tie Content to Your Campaigns
Content needs context, and should never be standalone. Marketers create a marketing calendar to ensure that every piece of content has its own place in a well thought-out campaign.
Every blog post, case study or email should be part of a campaign that’s being tracked and measured. That way, you know when to refine your approach or try a new direction. For example, if your marketing team is tracking when emails are sent, they may realize that the open rate is better when sent earlier in the day rather than later in the afternoon. If you’ve just put together a content offer, you’ll want to write related content and incorporate a download CTA within it.
5. Use Tools to Maximize Content Performance
Tools are the growth-focused B2B marketer’s friends. By using specially-crafted tools for creating, distributing or overseeing content, you’ll meet goals faster, with fewer headaches and a better ability to assess campaign performance.
Here are a few tools that really help out marketers:
- Keywee searches for the audiences most likely to engage with content like yours, and creates a wide range of personalized ads based on that knowledge.
- Outbrain is a content distribution network that makes your content appear as “recommended” on big, respectable websites such as Time and CNN.
- Taboola is similar to Outbrain—it lets brands publish sponsored content on popular high-traffic websites.
- Brightinfo analyzes your content and your website visitors’ behaviors, then customizes content on the spot to maximize engagement.
- Hubspot is one of the most powerful all-in-one content marketing solutions in existence, with a wide array of content personalization, email marketing and marketing automation capabilities.
- Buzzsumo analyzes the best performing content (in terms of social shares) on a given subject or within a given website, and is an excellent resource for content curation and inspiration.
- Trello is an easy-to-use project management system for coordinating your content marketing efforts. It can be used simply as a content calendar as well.
- Demandbase meets the needs of B2B account-based marketing by letting marketers dive deep into specific accounts, aim targeted content directly at decision makers and track buying intent.
Online marketing - Last but not least, you’ll want to strategically set a media budget. It’s important to cover the costs of creating the content (i.e., hiring writers or employing an agency), as well as the tools used to distribute and enhance the content and measure performance.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B brands spend an average of 28% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, with the best performing brands allocating as much as 42%. Pay attention to those benchmarks when formulating your own media budget.
If you’re planning to be smart about your B2B content in 2017, you now know how! Use the above marketing wisdom to ensure spectacular content that effectively builds your business. Want to start putting together a winning strategy? Book a free consultation with one of our content marketing experts today!