B2B Content Marketing 101: Keys To Success


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This article will introduce you to the concepts of content creation, content strategy and content marketing, will help you understand the differences and similarities and will explain how to put them all together.

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B2B Content Marketing 101: Keys To Success

  1. 1. B2B Content Marketing 101: Keys to Success This article will introduce you to the concepts of content creation, content strategy and content marketing, will help you understand the differences and similarities and will explain how to put them all together. What Is Content Marketing In its simplest form, content marketing is nothing more than the process of developing content that is then used in some form of marketing activity. While this sounds simple and obvious, it ignores the most critical component of the development process – the content that is created needs to be worthwhile to the intended recipient. In other words, the content must provide value and be worth reading/hearing/viewing; it should not be just a sales pitch. What Is Content Creation Simply put, content creation is the process of developing content (in whatever form) to be used in a marketing activity. However, content creation is about more than just the actual development of content. For content to be most effective and help reach your marketing objectives, content creation requires a thorough understanding of your potential customer or target audience. Without this knowledge, your content will not function effectively. How do you do this? In order to understand your target audience, customer intelligence is required. You must gather and analyze a variety of data, both qualitative and quantitative, to provide you with a level of detailed information, so that you understand the drivers behind any potential purchase decision. For instance, you must understand your potential customer’s motivation; know what type of information they require to make a decision and where they look for that information. You also need to understand other influencing factors, such as knowing which industry conferences/trade shows/events your potential customer attends, knowing who the industry thought leaders and influencers are and what the market dynamics, conditions and competitive situations are that impact their business. This type of knowledge and intelligence helps you better understand what their business concerns, goals and objectives are, providing you with greater insight into the development of relevant content. Now you are ready to begin the content creation process. Your knowledge of how your product or service addresses your potential customer’s concerns or needs, coupled with the customer intelligence, provides you with the insight into the type of content that needs to be created to clearly articulate the value proposition. Whether you are responsible for the development of the content,
  2. 2. collaborate with another department, or work with an outside agency, having this type of customer intelligence is the first key to content marketing success. What Is A Content Marketing Strategy Whether it will be used online, in print, for display, download or in person, the manner in which you use the content is the most critical component of the content marketing activity. To be successful as a marketer, you have to extract the full value from the content you have developed. A content marketing strategy is the plan that allows you to do that. It starts with a SWOT analysis and includes the goals to be accomplished, who the target audience is, the logistical elements (the ‘where/when/how’ across the marketing activities and tactics), the touch points, calls-to-action and the response/follow-up elements required to ensure maximum exposure and effectiveness of your content. You also need to ensure that goals and targets are established, the relevant metrics are defined, you are tracking the activity to determine success/failure, the appropriate follow-up processes are in place, etc. Having a content marketing strategy helps ensure the content use is coordinated, effective and efficiently leveraged to the fullest extent. Without a strategy, although your content may be compelling, valuable and useful, it may not be used in the most efficient manner, may not receive the full exposure that it deserves and may not drive potential customers to you. A content marketing strategy helps ensure your content is utilized to the fullest extent and is the second key to content marketing success. How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy The first step in developing your content marketing strategy is to further expand the basic information you collected during the customer intelligence gathering process. The 5 W’s can provide you with a basic framework for this process, asking additional questions and expanding further upon the intelligence already gathered. For example:   Who is your target audience/target market? o Internal / External o Technical / Non-technical o Executives / Management o Other Who are you developing the content for? o Engineer o Manager o Purchasing agent o Other
  3. 3.                Who do you want to reach, who are the decision makers, the influencers, etc. that you want exposed to your content? What is the goal of and/or what do you want to do with your content marketing activity? o Raise awareness o Develop new leads o Thought leadership o Other What type of information or message do you want to communicate via your content? o Technical specifications o Product specifications o Benefits o Other What format or type of content will provide value to your target audience? o Print o Online o Audio o Video What problems does your product/service address/solve? o Reduces costs o Improves uptime o Lowers overhead o Increases efficiency o Other What benefits does it provide? What is the call to action? When do you want to launch your content marketing? When do you want to publish? o Time of day/week/month/year Where do your customers go to find out information? o Online o Trade shows/events o Publications o Broadcast media o Other Where do you want to publish your content? Why should a potential customer buy from you? How is your product/service any different/better than the competition? How is your content going to engage the target audience? How can you use sections/sub-sections of the content in different ways? o White papers or case studies o Tweets o Blogs o Email o Posts
  4. 4. o o o o o Website Commentary Discussion starters Advertisements Other Once you have answered these (or similar) questions, then you have the information required to determine how to finalize your strategy, implement your plan and most effectively use your content. You have the guidance you need to select the appropriate channel(s) and type of marketing activities to ensure maximum exposure of your content. This is the final key to content marketing success. Content Marketing Summary In summary, content marketing is the process of doing the necessary customer research and gathering customer intelligence, developing relevant content based on that research and intelligence, developing a marketing strategy and then deploying/implementing the plan to take full advantage of the content. I have created a simple mnemonic called the ‘4-D Method’ to help you remember this: 1. 2. 3. 4. Due diligence to gather customer intelligence Develop the content Develop the strategy Deploy the marketing By following the steps outlined above, your content marketing will be more effective, will deliver more value, will reach more of your intended target audience and will likely be more successful. © Richard Hatheway – 2013