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6-Step Guide to B2B Content Marketing that Works



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70 percent of marketers report that they plan
to produce more content this year than last
year. At the same time, only 30% rate their
efforts as “effective” or “very effective.”

That means a lot of us still struggle with the
marketing aspect of content marketing. Use
the 6 steps in the following slides as a
blueprint of how to build a content strategy
that produces measurable results.

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6-Step Guide to B2B Content Marketing that Works

  2. 2. 70 percent of marketers report that they plan to produce more content this year than last year. At the same time, only 30% rate their efforts as “effective” or “very effective.” That means a lot of us still struggle with the marketing aspect of content marketing. Use the 6 steps in the following slides as a blueprint of how to build a content strategy that produces measurable results. INTRODUCTION
  4. 4. Anyone, anywhere, with any budget can develop a valuable audience over time and make an impact. In other words, there are no excuses for not doing this well, as long as you have a plan and execute against that plan. JOE PULIZZI Founder of Content Marketing Institute
  5. 5. 5 Before you write one word of content, define your goals and establish measurable objectives. Keep in mind that content has different objectives at each stage of the purchase path. Each stage has its own subset of key performance metrics that you’ll want to take into account. DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
  6. 6. 6 From Awareness to Engagement DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT GOAL AWARENESS Reach your audience at scale to build awareness and a positive impression of your brand ENGAGEMENT Nurture prospects until they’re ready to make a purchase TRACK • Awareness • Branded search • Brand recall and lift • Website and referral traffic lift • Page views, page per visit, and time spent on side lift • Subscriber/opt-in lift • Engagement (open rate, shares, likes, comments) • Bounce rate decline • Unique visitors lift • Inbound links lift • Leads (organics vs. paid) • MQLs/Sales Accepted/Opportunities (SAO) • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) • Cost per lead • Qualified lead velocity rate (i.e., growth in qualified leads) • Form Fills • Revenue • Returning Visitors • Close rate • Retention rate and/or customer lifetime value and/or upsell/cross-sell
  7. 7. 7 AUDIENCE X finds … INFORMATION Y for … BENEFIT Z Next, create a mission statement to use as a guide for the kind of content you will create, where it will be published, and what business goals it is meant to drive. Orbit Media Co-Founder Andy Crestodina recommends using this template for determining content strategy: PRO TIP DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
  8. 8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS
  9. 9. Content that understands its audience will be good content. Content that doesn’t, can’t be. DOUG KESSLER Creative Director & Co-Founder Velocity Partners Ltd
  10. 10. Remember, most B2B purchasing decisions involve multiple stakeholders at different levels in the organization. Make sure to include them all. To really identify your buyers, you’ll need to map out the stakeholders. Consider: 10 IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS Who is in the buying committee? What motivates each member? How do they interact with each other? What motivates each member? PRO TIP
  11. 11. Developing Personas Begin to build personas that represent your “typical” buyer. Personas should be based on real information from potential and current customers. Get the info you need to build personas by: Asking the sales team who their prospects and customers are Using LinkedIn to explore roles and hierarchy within an ideal company Asking existing customers directly through surveys and email Stick to the info that will shape your content. You don’t need to know what car your persona drives, how many kids they have, or whether they’re dog or cat people. PRO TIP IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS 11
  12. 12. 1 2 4 5 6 3 IDENTIFY TOPICS
  13. 13. Start by thinking like the target audience. Quantify their questions to understand the categories and structure of the content that gets ranked and shared. Then build a content marketing destination best structured to answer those questions. MICHAEL BRENNER CEO, Marketing Insider Group
  14. 14. Research 14 IDENTIFY TOPICS When choosing topics, include competitor research as well. Identify what your competitors are doing that you can do better. Find gaps in the conversation that your content can fill. With a clear picture of your target audience(s) in mind, you can begin to research potential topics. As TopRank CEO Lee Odden says, the goal is to “be the best answer” for the questions your audience is asking. What does your audience search for at each stage of the purchase path? What topics are they researching, and what words and phrases do they use to find information? Topics to consider: What burning questions from your potential buyers align with your organization’s expertise and solution? PRO TIP
  15. 15. Get Answers 15 IDENTIFY TOPICS Asking the sales staff for prospect FAQs Find the questions your content can answer by: Asking customer service to CC you when they answer questions in email Interviewing existing and potential customers Using tools like BuzzSumo, UberSuggest, and Google Keyword Tool.
  16. 16. 1 2 3 5 6 CREATE CONTENT 4
  17. 17. 17 Create an Editorial Calendar CREATE CONTENT Use an editorial calendar to guide your content planning and ensure you address the most crucial topics. Prepare a good mix of content for each stage of the purchase path. Types of content can include blog posts, videos, and infographics.
  18. 18. 18 Let’s take a look at a week’s worth of blog posts, mapped to the Blogging Food Groups: Meaty, deep-dive posts including research and analysis Main courses At LinkedIn Marketing, we liken the essential ingredients of blog reader engagement to food groups: Good-for-you posts that highlight thought leadership Vegetables Filling how-to and influencer posts Grains Bold statements to spice up the conversation Spices Light-hearted content that’s eminently sharable Desserts The Blogging Food Groups CREATE CONTENT
  19. 19. Big Rock Content CREATE CONTENT The Big Rock model is one easy way to fill out an editorial calendar. A Big Rock is an SEO-friendly, conversation- owning piece of content with endless repurposing opportunities across the blogging food groups. As you create content, make sure each piece serves one or more of the following functions: • Supports a purchase decision with data • Offers a fresh perspective on a hot topic or industry norm • Solves a problem or answers a question • Provides SEO value
  20. 20. 1 2 3 4 6 AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT 5
  21. 21. 21 AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Promote your content, both organically and with paid promotion, such as: • SEO • Influencer promotion • Employee promotion • Targeted content • Native ads
  22. 22. 22 SEO AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Because you created quality content based on your buyers’ burning questions, your content has SEO built in already. As people like and share your content based on its quality, your search engine rankings will rise. Add these features for even more SEO boost: • Keywords in your title tag and meta description • Keywords in your content, including header tags • Crosslinks to and from the post and your other content • Schema markup to help search engines understand your content
  23. 23. 23 Influencer & Employee Promotion AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Influencer promotion: Influencer marketing gives content baked-in amplification potential. Realize this potential by making it easy for your influencers to share: • Send the content for their review before it publishes • Let them know in advance when it will publish • Send a reminder on the publication date • Include social messaging templates they can copy and paste Employee Promotion: Employees are an often- overlooked, but powerful means of amplifying content. Keep them in the loop when you publish content. Give them template social messages. Incentivize them for sharing. Involve employees early in the content creation process. Treat them like influencers (they are). Even encourage them to create their own content to publish on your Company Page. PRO TIP
  24. 24. 24 Targeted Content & Native Ads AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Targeted content When you publish on LinkedIn, you can select a targeted audience for each post. This free feature lets you focus your content for each of your audience segments. Native ads Native ads are a paid solution that places your content in the context of what your audience is already consuming. Relevant, highly-targeted content performs well in native ads, because it feels like a natural extension of the reader’s feed. Here’s how B2B brands use Sponsored Content, one of LinkedIn’s native ad formats, to get results. PRO TIP
  25. 25. 25 1 2 3 4 5 ANALYZE AND OPTIMIZE 6
  26. 26. 26 ANALYZE AND OPTIMIZE Iteration is the most crucial part of any content marketing strategy. You began the process with measurable goals and what metrics you would use to evaluate them. Now it’s time to assess how your content performed. Make sure to use the right metrics for assessment. For example, if your goal was to generate leads, a post with a lot of traffic but low lead capture didn’t meet its purpose, even though it had high views. In that case, you would identify why the post was popular to use for future content, but also examine why the CTA failed to convert. Use the results of your analysis to adjust your strategy, always aiming for improvement over time. The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Metrics & Analytics can help choose the right metrics and perform careful analysis.
  27. 27. 27 CONCLUSION Content marketing is more than just content. It is content strategically created to address buyers’ needs while serving a measurable business objective. By practicing these six steps, you can start turning random acts of content into intentional, results- driven content marketing. For more in-depth tips, strategy, and advice, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.
  28. 28. Today, LinkedIn has more than 433 million professionals in its network. That’s more than two-thirds of the 600 million professionals on the planet, representing the largest group anywhere of influential, affluent, and educated people. For more information, visit