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The following practical approach to B2B content marketing strategy provides a framework to plan content development and marketing prioritized against your objectives and audiences. For many B2B leaders, content marketing is a key initiative when marketing a complex product or solution.
The first step in building a B2B content marketing strategy is committing to measurable marketing objectives and prioritizing their importance against your business objectives.  B2B marketing plans often include both qualitative and quantitative objectives. Because content marketing is resource-intensive, you must prioritize your resource allocation to achieve better results. If you have the opposite priority of attracting more leads, then your investment priorities will be reversed.
The next step should focus on using a customer-focused articulation of the business you are in. The classic example is Theodore Levitt’s question: “What business are you in?” He illustrates this point with drill bits. The third step in building your content marketing strategy is profiling your target customer segments. First, model your pipeline by understanding the different stages a customer goes through when deciding to do business with you. The information-seeking has a broad focus, using more generic and high-level search terms and keywords. They are seeking assistance with definition, scope, and internal buy-in to solving a problem.
Keywords and search terms will be more specific and will start to reflect solution alternatives or categories.
They have a solid understanding of how each alternative measures up and the decision maker is trying to get comfortable with committing to one of the decision alternatives.
Keywords and search terms will be much more specific and will be focused on specific solutions.
They have a solid understanding of how each alternative measures up and the decision maker is trying to get comfortable with committing to one of the alternatives. The chart below is the tool we recommend to map decision stages and content opportunities for your content plan. Part of the answer to achieving better content marketing results is faster content planning and better execution. This infographic is meant to show how many B2B companies are using a precise content marketing strategy to communicate with their customers.
Content creation is becoming one of the essential tools of an effective marketing strategy.
Creating original content can help your brand connect with your consumers on a basic level. Many B2B companies face difficulties when it comes to implementing a content marketing strategy, or even deciding if one is necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more about content marketing, visit our service page or our blog! Maximizing Growth Mode With Technology B2B Content Marketing Strategy You are using an outdated browser. Use pain points and questions to guide content strategy.Once you’ve clearly outlined everything you know about your customer in your customer persona, you need to act on that information. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. We always thought that having a documented content strategy would improve content marketing effectiveness, but we now know what a difference it makes. This year’s B2B content report compares findings with years past, looking at differences between marketers who rate themselves as most and least effective. A documented strategy makes a difference, as 84 percent of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing said they have no documented strategy. Not only is the adoption of content marketing on the rise (93 percent of marketers use content marketing this year compared to 91 percent last year), but 42 percent of B2B marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36 percent last year. B2B marketers are using all social media platforms to distribute content more frequently than they did last year. The social media platforms that have experienced the biggest surges in use, year over year, are SlideShare (40 percent vs.
Each year we ask marketers to rate the effectiveness of traditional tactics, but this year we also asked them to rate the effectiveness of social media platforms.
Fifty-eight percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, up from 54 percent last year. What are the primary goals for content marketing — and what are marketers doing to measure success?
Join Over 150,000 of your Peers!Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program FREE! It kills me that so many companies seem so disinclined to draw out the people who make their companies succeed.
Some orgs fear that these rising stars will be recruited away, but I think that’s silly. I was struck that there was even a question regarding whether a company had a strategy to guide content marketing efforts. The other keys, of course, are conducting original research and providing original content.
It’s interesting to see that 62% of B2B marketers believe that Linkedin is effective.
Hi Zach…the survey is specific to how non-paid content performs on LinkedIn, and sharing related to that! I think the problem is that businesses know they need social media and then just jump straight into Facebook because it has the most users, forgetting that the audience may not be receptive to their offering. As the post mentions, the samples of our surveys are different, which is a key reason we are seeing variances. Even within our own data, we see variances based on segment we are analyzing, including geographies, company size and industry.
In short, I never think any stat should be taken at face value, but I prefer to look at trends across multiple surveys, with a consideration to the demographics of respondents and sample size.
Hi Joe, very interesting article, especially the chart on how confidence in social media for B2B compares to actual results.
Regarding tactics, Online Presentations showed up on the 2014 report but not the 2013 report (and quite high on the 2014 report). This was not a tactic we had not asked about in the past, so it’s the first time we were able to see how many people are using these. Companies must see their clients and create user segments that target their most highly esteemed clients and chances.
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Develop a content calendar – Mapping out your blog topics weeks or months ahead ensures that you cover off a range of areas of interest and you’re not trying to come up with ideas on blogging day! Develop evergreen content – Evergreen content refers to any information online that will continue to be relevant and never become outdated. Develop a content delivery schedule – Using your Facebook insights data, you can establish a clear idea of when you receive maximum exposure for your page and use this information to schedule in upcoming posts. Attract attention to a key point of an article – Sometimes, having a strong blog title isn’t enough to capture a reader’s attention while scrolling through the multiple stories in their news feed. Create a Tweet calendar – As with blogs and Facebook, creating a calendar of scheduled tweets can come in handy to map out the topics you wish to tweet about. Give away some secrets – Although this might seem counter intuitive, giving away some secrets on how to solve a problem for your customers can be quite effective, and can lead to more subscriptions, downloads and sales. Keep them short – Your e-books and white papers should be kept to a minimum of three pages and a maximum of 14 pages. If you’d like to learn more about B2B content strategies, or you need B2B article writers, feel free to contact a member of our team to discuss your content marketing needs.
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Planning against these measurable strategic objectives allow you to report on marketing results instead of just tactical activities. This will help to identify which content categories, topics, and approaches are most relevant to your customer. Drill bit manufacturers care about everything involved in the production of their drill bits, but drill bit customers don’t really want drill bits. Sales profiles, personas, and best customer models are tools you should use to profile your customer segments in order to improve the relevance and effectiveness of your content marketing.
Make sure to focus on your customer’s needs and pains, rather than simply providing expert knowledge. Brainrider recommends using these 4 strategic elements as a practical framework to plan content development and marketing prioritized against client objectives and audiences.
Having a solid content marketing plan can help with many elements of your marketing efforts; like building consumer trust, establishing your expertise in your industry and increasing brand awareness. B2B marketers with a content marketing strategy in place are more likely to consider themselves successful than those who don’t. Bring in real-life examples of your customer’s pain points from sales calls, surveys, and website inquires to inspire useful, authentic content that resonates with your target customer.Organize these inquiries according to how long it takes to provide a good answer. B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are far more likely to consider themselves effective (66 percent vs. The use of all tactics has remained fairly consistent, with one standout: Infographics have seen a considerable increase, from 38 percent last year to 51 percent this year. Similar to what we’ve seen with traditional tactics, there is uncertainty in terms of effectiveness. Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers said they are producing more content now compared to one year ago. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Balancing quantity with quality is doable, and organizations will need to 1) look at ways to integrate their subject matter experts into their content, 2) provide new perspectives and advance thought leadership on subjects instead of restating or regurgitating, and 3) aggregate all of these content assets in a way that aids discovery, as well as visibility. Thankfully we are a supportive community of professionals committed to helping each other learn and grow.
Their experts have been tapped for opportunities only when someone from the outside happens to know them. First, by allowing experts to help create content and speak at events, you are providing them professional development which will make them happier. I can’t imagine anyone executing a marketing plan or set of tactics, ANY tactics, without a strategy to guide and focus the effort.
As our team has worked with businesses in the US and Europe, we’ve also seen that the lack of a content plan is a huge issue.
Yes, I had a hand in the original work, but the Content Marketing Blueprint is much more than my work.
Those cost much more time and energy but it’s pretty much universal that the blogs which produce a reliable stream of original, helpful, insightful and engaging content do the most good.
It is time to get really specific as possible and identify the network you want to focus.Great job!
I’m not surprised to see that Facebook is ineffective in a large percentage of B2B business. I think LinkedIn will continue to grow as businesses prove the return they are getting from the platform. As is fully disclosed, the key respondents from our surveys come from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, as well as other distribution partners.
As the groups we have surveyed have remained consistent, it is interesting how our key audience’s usage of content marketing has been changing (this is the 4th year for the B2B survey).
I’m going to share both surveys with some experienced journalists I know and see what they think. Facebook is a big bone of contention with myself and customers and it is interesting to see the survey reflects my experience. We added online presentations as a tactic this year we this was something suggested by several people. So B2B firms are capitalizing on the idea of “brands becoming publishers” because they control the message and they publish the content. Sometimes, just coming up with great titles can help spark some blogging inspiration further down the track.
You may wish to upload an interview, snippet of you or a colleague speaking at a conference, or a demonstration on how to use one of your products. You may wish to create a content calendar or use a program such as CoSchedule so that you can effectively plan your post delivery. When uploading a blog link to your Facebook page, highlight one of the key points of the article which may intrigue the reader, or ask a question that is likely to encourage comments and shares. You just need to ensure that you use your 140 characters wisely and engage the readers as much as possible. Eighty per cent of your tweets should involve retweets, replies and favourites in order to build rapport with your followers. If the video is related to an upcoming event or product launch, then it should be available in advance to help create buzz and build awareness. Obviously, don’t give away anything that will be detrimental to your business; but provide something of value that will help to build trust and encourage your target market to engage with you.
If it starts to get too long, why not split it up into sections, and provide your readers the option of choosing a document most suited to their needs? Otherwise, your campaign will be trying to accomplish too many things at once without focusing on your objectives. The key in building the right segments is to identify customer needs and pains, filter them through the business you are in, group their needs and pains by roles or audiences, and then use that data to profile your top customer segments.

Click here to download a working copy of the B2B Content Marketing Strategy Template or contact us for more information about how we help clients get better content marketing. The trend in the industry points toward a large upswing in the percentage of B2B content marketing. Now, companies are starting to get it that they will actually benefit from showcasing these people. Second, if you have star employees who leave and go on to be stars, they will still likely promote your brand if you remain on good terms and provided them opportunities for growth. To see that roughly half those surveyed did NOT have a documented strategy in place made me wonder, and worry, about the state of our profession. I’ve always found this makes for the most effective and efficient marketing plans and programs.
There’s a growing community of 25 really bright marketers from different organizations all over the world who have contributed to the content, training material and templates that are in the CMB.
Is it ok if I use some of your findings on my new website link friends as I think it will be really useful for my members to see some of it. Need one help can you be bit more specific that what kind of platforms can work well for a big brand in banking industry.
While you are talking about present and future of digital marketing, German companies are still struggeling in the past. And this emphasis has marked a seismic shift in marketing communications, because marketers are no longer dependent (or at least significantly less dependent) on advertising and public relations to get their audience’s attention.Everyone’s a journalist with shared mediaShared media is similar to earned media however instead of earning the attention of the press, you’re earning the attention of your audience. The titles can give you focus, and provide something for your team or outsourced content writers to flesh out. Make sure your content is search-friendly, so it can be seen, shared and linked for many months – or even years – to come! So many people are time poor these days, so creating a concise, easy-to-read document is likely to be appreciated and keep the reader engaged. While these areas of expertise are important to managing and operating a business, not all of them are relevant to what your customer wants to know. Understanding the business you are in through the lens of your customer ensures that you are marketing holes, not just bits. It is important to profile these segments by developing a long list of customer needs and pains using your customer’s own “How do I” questions.
That disconnect is troubling, and very well illustrated by the study from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs from which this information came. Use the latest design best practices to make appealing conversion opportunities on your website.
It builds brand awareness while also providing depth to the organization and makes content more interesting. Third, the company can’t control what that employee might do, but they sure can control the benefit they will receive by engaging their employees as experts and sharing this expertise with customers and prospects. In essence, it’s a jumping out point so we can further our mission of advancing the practice of content marketing. Social media has created a generation of audience-journalists, which means that your firm’s content—whether owned, paid or earned—can be shared by your audience to their networks and thus compounding the reach?exponentially.Owned and shared media provide an opportunity for smaller firmsHistorically, smaller and mid-sized firms were at a significant communications disadvantage to large firms whose budgets for advertising, public relations and tradeshows were unmatchable.
With owned media, it’s not about outspending your competitors; it’s more about outsmarting them.
The middle of your funnel is your brand qualifying content (a company brochure, branded webinar etc). Cultural shifts and the proliferation of digital, social and mobile channels have made a permanent impact, making the need for a fully integrated B2B communications strategy absolutely essential.As we’ve previously discussed, effective B2B marketing in today’s ecosystem requires a strategic and integrated approach. In this new media landscape, smaller and mid-size firms can have just as much marketing power (and sometimes more) than their peers with deeper pockets.Your content can generate media coverageAnother amazing thing about publishing content is that owned media also leads to earned media. It’s designed to introduce your brand and when a prospect takes your branded offer, they are giving permission to start selling. Strategy should come before tactics, content before channels, online and offline efforts should reinforce one another and everything marketing does should be aligned with sales. While still important, the traditional press release and media pitch in many cases has been supplanted by something known as Google and Twitter. It could be controversial, humorous, have a surprise or novelty factor, provide a solution or appeal to the ego of the intended audience. Make sure that the video is easy to access and download. Nowhere is this need for integration more necessary than in a firm’s communication strategy—and the execution.The new media landscape is no longer just paid and earnedHistorically B2B firms had to rely on paid media and earned media their primary means to get their message across to their target audience. Many journalists and reporters use search engines and social media to do their research, look for story ideas and seek out subject matter experts. You need all of the information you can get in order to make carefully targeted plays for your customer’s attention. That means that after building your B2B content marketing strategy, it is vital that you track and compare your progress over time.
Content in the bottom of your funnel should be designed to promote your value and overcome objections.
Paid media is obviously attention that you pay to receive, including traditional advertising, direct mail as well as online advertising, search engine marketing and paid social media amplification. You also need to unpack the logic behind your customer’s research, engagement, and purchase decisions.Identify your customer’s unique pain points and how your technology solution meets that need.
Public relations and earned media have always been a communications plan staple with the goal of receiving attention from the press in the form of articles, mentions, features and interviews.
In today’s marketing ecosystem, all marketing and communications tactics and activities—including public relations, advertising, content marketing, email marketing and the like—should be operating from the same overarching communications strategy. In particular, identify what it is about your unique solution that has caused so much growth in such a short span of time so that you can ride that wave into long-term success. Provide answers in an authentic, authoritative brand voice, and be the helpful, informative partner that helps them solve their problem. Each component should be supporting the other and conveying the same consistent message from channel to channel.Content marketing is a strategy, not a tacticIt’s important to realize that content marketing done right, is not merely another tactic to add to the mix, but rather a philosophy that should permeate every facet of your marketing and communications plan.
After all, if your blog posts or a recent whitepaper informs them on a topic they want to learn about, your company will surface as a potential partner.If you can use your B2B content marketing strategy to outline clearly how you solve their problem, you’ll be at the top of their list of solutions. If your firm is committed to content marketing, your integrated communications plan around owned, earned, paid and shared media should be ultimately support the objectives, goals and target audience of your content marketing strategy.Leverage a combination of owned, earned, paid and shared mediaEven though owned media may be the dominant centerpiece of today’s B2B marketing mix, it’s best to leverage the strengths of all media options in order to most effectively reach and engage your target audience. Remember that owned leads to earned and shared, and paid and earned lead to greater visibility of both your firm and your content. Diversify your mix and let each component reinforce and compound the effectiveness and reach of the other.Due to the ever-shifting media landscape, it’s even more critical to communicate—whether online, offline or in the media—from one holistic and integrated strategy. Consistency in both your objective and message will ensure the best possible outcome of your communications efforts.

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