Content Marketing 101: 8 steps to B2B success
There are times when one marketing tactic seems to totally dominate the discussion. In recent years, social media has been in that mix, and mobile and its various form factors and latest upgrade release dates are pretty top of mind for plugged-in marketers.
These days, the one tactic I hear about most often when speaking with brand-side practitioners and vendors/agencies/consultants alike is content marketing – particularly how important content and having a content marketing strategy is for B2B marketers.
I did not keep a formal tally, but I am willing to bet content marketing figured in to every presentation at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012 in some fashion. So much that I made the entire tactic the number one lesson learned in the event recap.
A recent B2B newsletter how-to article featured two B2B content marketing consultants providing tactics on the basics of B2B content marketing. As with many MarketingSherpa articles, while gathering material for the story, I ended up with more great marketing ideas than needed for the piece.
In this case, one of the expert sources for that article, Stephanie Tilton, B2B Content Consultant, Ten Ton Marketing, provided an excellent eight-point breakdown of how to get started with content marketing, and I wanted to share her insight with MarketingSherpa Blog readers.
Here are Stephanie’s eight steps to get started with B2B content marketing:
- Define your goals – tie this to business strategy/objectives:
“With growing pressure on Marketing to demonstrate the business impact of their activities, it’s important to tie content marketing activities to what the organization is trying to achieve.”
- Understand your audience – identify where audience concerns/pains/needs intersect with your expertise/solutions and what type of information they seek out/prefer:
“While those who consume your content may appreciate the insight, recommendations and perspective you offer, if you can’t ultimately help these prospective buyers with a product or service, you’re wasting their time and yours.”
- Map content to these findings:
“Each question posed by prospective buyers represents an opportunity for content. The key is to make sure you’re answering their questions at each stage of the buying cycle, and ideally in a way that sets you apart from your competition.”
- Audit existing content to identify gaps and/or content that can be used or needs updating:
“Many marketers get overwhelmed thinking they’ll need to produce a huge volume of content. While it’s true that you may need to publish a number of content assets, you likely have a solid foundation in place with existing content. The key is to make sure you enhance, update and tweak it as necessary to suit your audience’s needs.”
- Create a content schedule/calendar to ensure you consistently produce content because it’s not a once-and-done exercise:
“This is one of the key ways that marketers need to think like publishers. Publishers don’t think of content creation as an ad hoc exercise; they produce content on a consistent basis, like well-oiled machines. An editorial calendar helps marketers do the same by putting a schedule to their content plan.”
- Develop content (include your sales team and other customer-facing employees as they need to understand the story you plan to tell):
“Your content is telling the story you want to convey, and everyone in the organization needs to be telling the same story. That means your sales reps, field engineers and other customer-facing staff need to be able pick up the story line where your content leaves off. And they can only do that if they help craft the story and are aware of the content you publish.”
- Distribute content:
“Distribute your content where your prospects and customers spend time, and make sure the content is easy to find, consume and share. Tapping into the power of social sharing helps your content spread farther, faster.”
- Measure the results:
“It goes without saying you should measure results that are relevant to your goals. If you’re tying your content marketing goals to business objectives, you may need to measure increased awareness, boost in market penetration, or contribution to revenues, for example.”
Image credit: thaikrit