Qualitative content ensures satisfied users and customers. However, a large part of the written B2B articles are never seen by the target group. We show how to reach a successful content marketing strategy.
According to Siriusdecisions / Forrester, 60-70 percent of all B2B articles remain unused because you never reach your target group. Although the content meets the qualitative requirements, it is not used strategically and thus misses its target.
Properly planned and executed, a content marketing strategy has immense impact. According to a study by Kapost, content marketing results in three times more leads than paid search engine advertising, for example.
How can you exploit this potential and successfully convert your target group into leads and, above all, customers? We will show you how to develop a successful content marketing strategy in five steps.
Missing Leads due to Lack of Strategy
If your content does not find its way to the target group, your website has no visitors and you do not generate leads. Such a failure in lead generation effects for a loss of revenue. You therefore need a clear plan on how to optimize this causality chain.
Many companies create qualitative content, but do not have a clear strategy to whom the content is directed, how it is distributed on the net and what the purpose of the publication and distribution is.
Content marketing pursues the long-term goal of building lead lists, generating sales and building loyalty. However, according to the Content Marketing Institute, most B2B marketers use content marketing only to create brand awareness, educate their audience and build trust.
The potential of great content marketing is therefore far from exhausted and offers your company the opportunity to grow beyond itself and to get in touch with your target group in a more specific way.
B2B Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps
With the following instructions, you too can set up an efficient content marketing strategy in five steps. The strategy includes the following steps: Content Creation, Content Organisation, Content Distribution, Content Booster, Results.
Step 1: Content Creation
The first step in the content marketing strategy is to create a coherent world of topics around the target group and the products. In doing so, the appropriate keywords should be evaluated and the goal of the content marketing strategy should be defined.
Definition of objectives
Only those who have a clear goal in mind can plan the right measures. Your first task is therefore to clearly define your goals.
The following two examples show what a clear definition is all about:
Option 1: "We want to attract more readers to our blog."
The first variant is woolly and not target-oriented. If you would only get one additional reader, you would already have fulfilled the condition. The second variant contains a clear target value and a target date and is therefore precisely defined. Your goals should also be formulated in this form.
Option 2: "We would like to gain 30% more leads for the heat pump product group by December 31, 2020".
Your goals can be categorized in terms of brand or turnover:
- Sales-related goals: Leads, contracts, sales, cross- & upselling
- Brand-related goals: Brand awareness, loyalty
In order to be able to check your measures after the set deadline, key performance indicators (KPIs) must be set in advance. Clarify in advance how you will achieve these measured values. Again, it is important to select as few indicators as possible, but the right ones.
Adaptation of the contents to the target group and product range
Your content should appeal to a specific target group and fit the theme of your products. It is therefore important to know who the target group is and how to address them at eye level. The creation of buyer personas helps you to complete this task successfully.
To guide the target group step by step through the customer journey to the product or service, the needs and intentions of the target group must be known. This is the only way to create effective value.
The selected topics must be sought out by the target group on a regular basis and form a comprehensive world of topics around the products. The customer's journey always begins far from a purchase decision.
Keyword Research and Topic Planning
You now have a rough picture of which topics move your target group. With the help of a detailed keyword research, you should now find out what the search volume behind the individual topics is and how great the effective interest in the individual topics is.
In this way, topic blocks can be formed and combined into content clusters. It is recommended to create so-called Pillar Pages, which roughly summarize all details of a topic and provide orientation. A detailed execution then takes place on a separate subpage. The pages link to each other and show the user as well as Google that there is a connection.
It is not the mass of content that reflects good content, but its quality. The more specifically your content meets the needs of the target group, the more valuable it is.
By creating selected content that is often sought after by your target group, satisfies an effective need and is part of the theme world of your products, you do everything right.
The creation of content is not a one-off action. Ideally, you create new or revise existing content on an ongoing basis to meet the ever-changing requirements of your target group.
Step 2: Content Organization
At the beginning it may seem easy to keep track of the content created. But as the number of contents increases, this task becomes more and more complex. An extensive repository, a kind of content library, helps to keep track of the content.
Example of a repository with the status of each article
The aim of such an overview is to see the status of each article at a glance. So you always know which content is where in the pipeline and what the next steps are. A rough division into: To do, Doing, Done and, if necessary, a review category for the editing of new and existing content.
A content always tries to satisfy a specific need. Depending on where the user is in the customer journey, this need is completely different. To refine your content marketing strategy, you should therefore categorize your content and provide it with well thought-out tags.
In this way, the content can be assigned to the individual customer journey phases and pay off on a clear target. Such a categorization also helps to recognize in which phases you have not yet created enough content and where action is needed.
Example of an article in a content library, divided by customer journey stage and tagsYou are free to choose the tags you want, but we recommend that you define the possible characteristics in advance. In this way you can prevent tags from growing wild. Possible categories of tags include:
- Phase in the Customer Journey
- Thematic cluster
- Product group
Step 3: Content Distribution
You have so far created qualitative content for your target group. In a next step, the contents must be delivered to your target group.
In the long term, your content should be found primarily via organic search. To support this process, you should highlight and actively share your content at regular intervals.
There are different ways to distribute content. The PESO model provides an overview.
The model distinguishes between earned, shared, paid and owned channels:
- Earned: Earned Media is when third parties record your content, report on it and thus generate traffic for you. These are usually professional institutions such as media houses or other companies.
- Shared: In contrast, shared media describes the sharing of your content via - mostly private - social media profiles. This is about referencing and the 1:1 reproduction of your content to an extended target group.
- Paid: Paid media refers to all forms of paid traffic. This includes some Google Ads, Social Media advertising or sponsored posts.
- Owned: Owned Media includes all channels over which you have the sovereignty. This would be websites, newsletters or social media profiles. Compared to the other categories, owned channels can be 100% controlled.
Content distribution is not only about distributing new content, but also about looking at existing content from a new perspective. Therefore, always use different excerpts to arouse the interest of your target group and to find the right approach.
Step 4: Content Booster
In addition to the continuous distribution of content, it can be worthwhile to give selected content an additional boost, especially in the initial phase.
For this purpose, ads can be placed that generate traffic to the landing page. Furthermore, you can enter into cooperations, for example with influencers or other opinion leaders from your industry.
It is also important here that you keep an eye on your target group. Therefore, look for partners who serve a congruent target group or use lookalike campaigns to address users who are very similar to your current audience.
Step 5: Results
How strongly the content marketing strategy is crowned with success can only be analyzed after 6-18 months. During the evaluation, clearly adhere to the predefined goals and KPIs.
To gain leads in the long term, you need the right tools. Use targeted conversion elements to win leads and create value in return. Checklists, whitepapers or webinars can be used as lead magnets to convert users into leads.
The more you know about your leads, the clearer you can assess how valuable a lead is for your company and how likely it is that the lead will convert to a customer.
So think about how you evaluate interactions between you and your leads. For example, what does a Web page visit, an open email, or a customer service call say about your lead?
With content marketing you have the possibility to create theses and to test them cost-effectively over a longer period of time. Thereby you gain valuable insights about your target group, your content and your products and services.
With a properly set up tracking you can reconstruct the customer journey of your target group step by step and identify weak points in the user guidance.
The advantage of content marketing lies in the collected data. This allows you to evaluate every channel and every content down to the smallest detail, make comparisons and make data-based decisions.
Is a particular content or channel not working as you expect it to? Then you know where to start next. The aim should be not to have to start from scratch, but to make use of the knowledge gained and continuously optimise the existing structure.
Content marketing offers you a unique playground to run tests, try out new things and build a long-term customer relationship.