All great content starts with a documented content strategy. Yet all too often companies skip the planning stages and start creating content right away. This can produce a meager effect, but often results in content that lacks focus, consistency and coherence.
If you’ve ever wondered how to create a content strategy for your business and what elements are incorporated into it, I’d be happy to help.
Why is B2B content strategy so important?
A great reason to create a content strategy is to make sure your targeting is accurate. This brings up an important difference between B2B and B2C marketing.
B2C is often relatively simple from a targeting perspective. Content aimed at the customer speaks directly to the decision maker. So your strategy is mainly to keep their attention long enough.
This is more complicated with B2B. There are no impulse purchases if you ask a company to spend a substantial amount on your product or service. Instead, the decision maker usually relies on others in their organization to gather information.
Your content must be clear, highly accurate and targeted.
So your content doesn’t just have to be searchable and engaging enough to impress information collectors. It should also be of interest to the person in the organization who has the power to make purchasing decisions. That is why your content must be clear, extremely accurate and targeted. This makes a content strategy at the B2B level much more complex.
A B2B content strategy in 8 steps
1. Set your goals
Goal setting is an important part of any content strategy. Yet it is also one of the most difficult steps a marketer has to take. It’s about choosing a goal that is ambitious, but not so difficult as to be impossible.
So, how do you achieve that perfect balance and set goals that are achievable and still challenging? You set SMART goals.
2. Develop your buyer personas
Before you start creating content, it is important that you understand the people for whom the content is being created. The best way to do this is through create buyer personas. When creating these, it is important to include information such as: demographics, industry, job title, goals, challenges, decision factors, where to go for information, and more.
There are many reasons to create buyer personas for your business:
- They help boost your marketing and sales strategies.
- They help you to better understand customers and prospects.
- They make it easier to tailor your messaging, content, product development and services to the specific needs, goals, pain points and behaviors of your ideal customers.
- They help align everyone in your organization about who you’re targeting.
3. Map the buyer journey
Since most B2B buyers do more than half of their research online before ever reaching out to a company’s sales team, it’s crucial to know what your potential customers are looking for. It is also important to know what questions they have. This is important for your content.
This is where mapping the customer journey comes into play. This adds an extra layer to your buyer persona, allowing you to tailor your content to the questions a potential customer has during each individual stage of the journey.
While a customer every phase of de buyer journey continues, the questions and needs change. A good content strategy answers questions at every stage of the journey that the customer goes through.
You want a great B2B content strategy. Through the buyer journey you always talk to the right people and give them clear, useful answers to every question. This increases their comfort and confidence in the company. The chance of a collaboration or sale increases!
4. Determine the voice and tone of your company
Every successful business has its own unique style and personality. Creating this memorable, distinct style all starts with voice and tone.
Voice and tone are the backbone of your company’s personality and should never be an accident. Developing a strong voice and tone should be something you constantly work towards because consistency is unforgettable. They help you create a powerful, memorable business that your target audience will connect with.
The voice your business personality is described in adjectives. The characteristics that your ideal customer uses to describe you. Is your brand funny? For real? Warm? Edgy? The voice must be consistent in all utterances.
The tone is how your company sounds and how your corporate personality manifests itself in a piece of content. Unlike voice, the tone is dynamic and can change based on the buyer’s personality. Your company has one voice, but multiple tones that make up the voice in different content scenarios.
5. Perform a content audit
An important step in creating your B2B content strategy is to perform a content audit. This allows you to thoroughly view the content you have already created.
It is often tempting to skip this step, but it is very important. You discover what does not work, so that you can learn from this in the future. You look for gaps in the types of content you create and the topics you cover.
6. Brainstorm about new content ideas
Great content ideas are at the heart of any B2B content strategy. However, sometimes finding the right ideas is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Inspiration for new content is everywhere. You just need to know where to look.
7. Identify the types of content you want to create
One of the reasons you start the content strategy process through creating buyer personas is because they help you determine what content your audience likes and wants. Put time and effort into creating this type of content.
However, keep enough room in your strategy to experiment with different types of content. You will be surprised to find a new approach that works exceptionally well for you.
8. Document and execute your strategy
If you want to be successful in content marketing, it is crucial that you take the time to document your strategy.
Part of what makes a documented strategy so powerful is that everyone on your team, from marketing managers to sales leaders to senior managers, can see what your company is working on and how you communicate with your audience.
Get started and create a document outlining your entire content strategy, including: goals, buyer personas, buyer’s journey, voice and tone, content ideas, and the types of content you’ll be creating. Share this with everyone in the company so that everyone is on the same page.
A good example of a properly executed B2B content strategy is that of Hubspot. Hubspot is a marketing company that sells marketing software to other companies and is mainly known for their inbound marketing.
Hubspot’s strategy is actually simple. They create two types of content targeting different stages in the buyer journey.
First of all, they have a Hubspot blog on their website. This page is designed to teach small businesses what inbound marketing is. In doing so, they draw the attention of readers.
Second, they have Hubspot resources on their website. Here they share different types of content. This includes the library of eBooks, different types of templates and tools, case studies, webinars and free courses. These are designed to help companies get started in their marketing strategy.
Hubspot has therefore thought carefully about what their goals are, how they reach other companies and what content they want to create for their target audience. Hubspot delivers real value to other companies through their content by making tools available, even if they don’t become their customers.
Another example of a well-executed B2B content strategy is Leadpages. The Leadpages company makes among others landing page designs.
Leadpages is a big competitor to Hubspot, which is why the type of content they produce is very similar. Their content strategy also consists of two components.
First, they have a blog where they focus on lead generation and digital marketing. Here they provide information to small businesses, mainly on these topics.
They also have resources on their website. Here you can find webinars, podcasts and handbooks for landing pages and lead generation.
Leadpages therefore has a good idea of what exactly they want to say with their content. A lot of thought has gone into what their goals are, how they reach other companies and what content they want to create for their target audience. By offering tools to businesses for free through content, they provide a lot of value and win potential customers.
Hopefully this article will give you enough knowledge and inspiration to successfully get started with your B2B content strategy. Good luck!
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