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.
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,
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
Who are you developing the content for?
o Purchasing agent
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
o Raise awareness
o Develop new leads
o Thought leadership
What type of information or message do you want to communicate via
o Technical specifications
o Product specifications
What format or type of content will provide value to your target audience?
What problems does your product/service address/solve?
o Reduces costs
o Improves uptime
o Lowers overhead
o Increases efficiency
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 Trade shows/events
o Broadcast media
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