Qualitative content ensures satisfied users and customers. However, the majority of written B2B articles are never seen by the target group. We show you the way to a successful content marketing strategy.
According to Siriusdecisions / Forrester, 60-70 percent of B2B articles go unused because marketers never reach their target audience. While the content meets the qualitative standard, it is not used strategically and thus misses its target.
Properly planned and executed, a content marketing strategy has immense clout. According to a study by Kapost, content marketing results in three times more leads than paid search advertising, for example.
So how can you tap into this potential and successfully convert your target audience into leads and, more importantly, customers? We show you the way to a successful B2B content marketing strategy in five steps.
Missing leads due to missing strategy
If your content doesn't find its way to the target audience, your website won't have any visitors and you won't generate any leads. Such a failure in lead generation leads to loss of revenue. Therefore, there needs to be a clear plan on how to optimize this chain of causality.
Many companies create quality content but don't have a clear strategy of who the content is targeted at, how it is distributed across the web and what the intended goal is in publishing and distributing the content.
Content marketing has the long-term goal of building lead lists, generating sales and building loyalty.
However, according to the Content Marketing Institute, most B2B marketers only use content marketing to create brand awareness, educate their audience and build trust.
The potential of content marketing is therefore far from exhausted and offers your B2B company the opportunity to grow beyond itself and connect with your target audience in a more targeted way.
B2B Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps
With the following instructions, you can set up an efficient content marketing strategy in five steps. The strategy includes the following steps: Content Creation, Content Organization, Content Distribution, Content Booster, Results.
Step 1: Content Creation
The first step of the content marketing strategy is to create a coherent world of topics around your target group and your products. The appropriate keywords should be evaluated and the goal of the content marketing strategy should be defined.
a) Target definition
Only if you have a clear goal in mind, you can plan the right measures. Your first task is therefore to clearly define your goals.
The following two examples show what constitutes a clear definition:
Option 1: "We want to attract more readers to our blog.
Option 2: "We want to gain 30% more leads for the heat pump product group by December 31, 2020."
The first variation is wishy-washy and not on target. If you would only get one additional reader, you would have already 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 way.
Your goals can be categorized in terms of brand or revenue:
Revenue-related goals: Leads, contracts, sales, cross-selling & upselling
Brand related goals: Brand awareness, loyalty, reach
Don't set too many goals. Check which of your goals best support the overarching goals of the business and focus on those. This way, all measures are aimed at one overarching goal.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be set in advance so that you can check your measures after the set deadline.
Clarify in advance how you can get these readings. Here, too, it is important to select as few as possible, but the right indicators.
b) Matching the Content to the Target Group and Product Range
Your content should address a specific target group and fit the theme world of your products. It is therefore important to know who your target group is and how you can address them at eye level. The creation of buyer personas helps here.
In order 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 chosen topics must be frequently searched for by the target group and have a clear, even if not promotional, relationship to the products. The customer's journey begins in each case far from a purchase decision.
c) Keyword research and topic planning
You now have a rough idea of which topics move your target group. With the help of detailed keyword research, you should now find out what search volume is behind the individual topics and how great the effective interest is for the individual topics.
In this way, topic blocks can be formed and combined into topic clusters. It is advisable to create so-called Pillar Pages, which roughly summarize all details of a topic and provide orientation.
Detailed information is then provided on a separate sub-page. The pages link to each other and show the user as well as Google that there is a connection.
d) Create Content
It's not the quantity of content that reflects good content, but the quality of it. The more targeted your content is to the needs of the target audience, the more valuable it is.
By creating selected content that is often searched for by your target audience, satisfies an effective need, and belongs to the thematic world of your products, you are doing everything right.
Step 2: Content Organization
a) Content Planning
At first, it may seem easy to keep track of the content you create. However, as the amount of content increases, this task becomes more and more complex. A comprehensive repository, a kind of content library, helps to keep track.
The goal of such an overview is to see the status of each article at a glance. This way you always know which content is where in the pipeline and what the next steps are.
A rough division into:
and, if necessary, a review category for the editing of new and existing content.
b) Content Personalization
Content always aims to satisfy a specific need. Depending on where the user is in the customer journey, this need is completely different.
Therefore, to refine your content marketing strategy, you should categorize your content and tag it with thoughtful tags.
In this way, the content can be assigned to the individual customer journey phases and pay off on a clear goal. Such a classification also helps to recognize in which phases you have not yet created enough content and where action is needed.
Source: Customer Journey Reporting from Pedalix Software
You are free to select the tags you want, but we recommend that you specify the possible characteristics in advance. This way you avoid a proliferation of tags. Possible categories of tags are for example:
Phase in the customer journey
Topic cluster / overarching topic
This allows you to filter your content for a wide variety of queries and know exactly what the intent behind each piece of content is.
Step 3: Content Distribution
You have now created qualitative content for your target group. In a next step, the content must now be brought 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 on a regular basis.
There are various ways in which content can be disseminated. The PESO model offers an overview.
Source: Own representation based on the PESO model
The model distinguishes between:
and Owned channels.
For an optimal distribution of your content you need a combination of the mentioned channels. How you present your content depends on the channel and format you choose.
Content distribution is not only about distributing new content, but also about illuminating 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.
Earned media is when third parties take your content, report on it and thus bring you traffic.
These are usually professional institutions such as media houses or other companies.
In contrast, shared media describes the sharing of your content via - mostly private - social media profiles.
This is about referencing and 1:1 reproduction of your content to an extended target group.
Paid media refers to any form of paid traffic. This includes Google Ads, social media advertising or sponsored posts.
Owned media includes all channels over which you have sovereignty. These are for example websites, newsletters or social media profiles.
Compared to the other categories, owned channels can be controlled 100%.
Step 4: Content Booster
In addition to the continuous distribution of content, it can be worthwhile to additionally push selected content in order to give the necessary boost, especially in the initial phase.
For this purpose, targeted ads can be placed to generate traffic on the landing pages.
Further, you can enter into collaborations, such as with influencers or other opinion leaders from your industry.
Here, too, it is important that you continue to keep an eye on your target group.
Therefore, look for partners who serve a congruent target group or use lookalike campaigns to target users who are very similar to your current audience.
Step 5: Results
The extent to which the content marketing strategy has been crowned with success can only be analysed after 6-18 months. When evaluating, clearly adhere to the predefined goals and key performance indicators (KPI).
a) Winning leads
In order for you to gain leads in the longer term, you need the right tools. Use targeted conversion elements to attract leads and create value in return.
b) Qualify leads
The more you know about your leads, the clearer you can assess how valuable a lead is to your business and how likely the lead is to convert to a customer.
Therefore, think about how you value interactions between you and your leads. For example, what does a website visit, an opened email, or a call to customer service say about your lead?
Source: Customer Profile from Pedalix Software
c) Gain Insights
With content marketing, you have the opportunity to create theses and test them cost-effectively over a longer period of time.
In doing so, you gain valuable insights about your target group, your content and your products and services.
With a clean tracking you can reconstruct the customer journey of your target group step by step and identify weak points in the user guidance.
d) Show ROI
The advantage of online marketing lies in the data it collects.
This allows you to evaluate every channel and every piece of content down to the smallest detail, create comparisons and make data-driven decisions.
Is a particular piece of content or channel not working the way you thought it would?
Then you know where to start next. The goal should be to not have to start from scratch, but to use the knowledge gained and to continuously optimize the existing structure.
Content marketing offers you a unique playground to run tests, try out new things and build a long-term customer relationship.
Content marketing is a sustainable and efficient tool to achieve predefined goals. It is important that you know your target group exactly and know how you can offer them a clear added value; and that in different phases of the customer journey and across different channels.
With a well thought-out content marketing strategy, qualitative leads can be collected in the long term and thus increase sales.