ontent marketing is one of the most impactful activities for B2B companies. It does, however, require a long-term and strategic commitment - it takes time to gain momentum and return results. But like an avalanche, once it gets going, it will take on a force of its own without much external energy.
Follow these five steps consistently for six to 12 months and your business will relish in benefits including decreased advertising investment, increased brand recognition and position, an increase in leads, a shorter sales cycle, and a whole lot more revenue.
Put Your Audience First
90% of the most successful content marketers put their audiences' informational needs ahead of their company or promotional messaging. B2B marketing differs because it's typically characterised by longer sales cycles, less emotive and more needs-based buying, and multiple stakeholders involved in a purchasing decision. B2B marketers must, therefore, build trust over a long period of time, which is why content marketing is so critical to their success.
A good content strategy includes a well-researched audience, a clear customer journey map, and educational content topics which are relevant to each audience segment.
Segment Your Audience
As mentioned previously, there are usually multiple stakeholders within the B2B buying journey. It's up to us marketers to understand each of their respective issues and goals comprehensively. Segmenting audiences by specific interests will ensure that content will have the highest possible cut-through, and position your brand as a trusted thought leader.
Optimise for SEO
Good content builds trust, and both generates and nurtures leads. Additionally, it is also looked upon favourably by search engines and, if optimised properly, will help your brand rise in the ranks of search engine results. Regularly posting new and relevant content tells search engines that your page is active and worthy of ranking. By following a few simple rules, like including inbound and outbound links, focus keywords, meta descriptions, and appropriate text length, your content will begin to elevate your website in search engine rankings. You'll start to see more organic (free) inbound traffic and leads.
Distribute and Amplify
Creating content is pointless if no-one sees it, so distribute it both organically and via paid promotion. What's more, the more traffic your content receives, the better search engines will perceive its relevancy. Social media and search engine advertising is a sure-fire way to get your audience engaging with your content. If you're on a tight budget, focus on the cheaper channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google Display ads. If you have deeper pockets and want a more targeted approach, then focus on LinkedIn and Google (or Bing) text ads.
Keep the Conversation Going
Get the most out of your content by reusing or reworking it. Don't be afraid to share it across your social channels multiple times for as long as it's still relevant. Ensure you link old content into new content to increase search engine scores both pieces of content.
Consider turning a great piece of content into a different format such as a video, podcast, webinar, infographic, event, blog or eBook. This will ensure your business will become a thought leader on topics relevant to your company, and your audience, without having to reinvent the wheel each time.
By following these five steps, your content marketing strategy will help you outperform your competitors long into the future.