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A Guide to Modern B2B Content Marketing


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How can you plan your content marketing initiatives? What types of content are most effective for B2B companies? And importantly, how can you actually measure the result of your content marketing?

A Guide to Modern B2B Content Marketing from Modern Marketing Partners will answer those questions and take you through the content marketing process; including planning, implementation, and measurement. Download at

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A Guide to Modern B2B Content Marketing

  2. 2. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 1 Content marketing is a hot topic! In fact, 91% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing1 . So what is it? We define content marketing as the creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple formats to attract and/or retain customers. This guide will take you through the content marketing process. Planning; deciding what type of content marketing works best for your company and a content schedule. Implementation; including tips on how to write blogs, case studies, and white papers, and how to distribute your content. And finally, measurement; metrics to use to determine if your content marketing is effective. PLANNING The quality of a content plan can support both the effectiveness and efficiency of your content marketing initiative. Begin your planning by determining the mission of your content marketing initiatives and stick to it. Then, you can move on to determining what kind you will use. On average, B2B marketers use a total of 12 content marketing tactics found in the graph below1 . The graph below depicts the most popular B2B content marketing tactics. A GUIDE TO MODERN B2B CONTENT MARKETING B2B CONTENTMARKETING USAGE (BY TYPE)
  3. 3. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 2 But how do you know which tactic to choose? In B2B companies, buyers of products and services want the question “can you fix my problem?” answered. The bulk of a buyer’s selection criteria and process is aimed at determining whether a prospective firm can solve their problem. Do they understand my issues? Have you solved similar problems in the past? Does the specific team have the necessary skills and experience2 ? Blogs, case studies, and white papers as part of your content marketing plan can help answer these questions. For B2B companies, blogs, case studies, and white papers are content marketing gold. A blog is defined as a website containing articles, referred to as “blog posts” or “blogs”, that highlight subject matter expertise, industry news, or any relevant information to the audience you are targeting. You can use a blog to demonstrate you understand your buyer’s issues by creating content that is relevant to their needs. Your blog can include how to’s, tips, etc. pertaining to your buyer’s issues. Blogging is not appropriate for companies who can not make the time commitment or engage with their buyers, or for company’s who are in highly regulated industries. Case studies are 1-2 page documents that combine the first-person authority of a testimonial with the narrative structure of a real-life story3 . They typically follow a 3-step format; business challenge, solution, results. Case studies can show you have solved similar problems in the past, which builds credibility and trust with B2B buyers. Not to mention the fact that opinions from other people are more compelling then your words. More than 8 out of 10 people say that opinions and recommendations from people they don’t know indicate brand quality and influence what they buy4 .
  4. 4. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 3 White papers are authoritative reports or guides that help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision that are typically used in government and B2B marketing5 . White papers should be used for B2B companies that are selling new, complex, or expensive products or services. New products are not easy to research. Therefore, your piece of white paper can be a resource for those conducting research. Also, a white paper can explain a complex offering, such as computer hardware or enterprise software6 . White papers can demonstrate your expertise/ skills on a particular subject matter. Ninety (90) percent of marketers say that content marketing is going to be extremely important to them in 2013. However, only 38 percent actually have a strategy in place7 . How often should you be publishing content? When? And Where? There is no silver bullet here; frequency, timing, and mediums are a function of your audience and your business. However, an understanding of those factors can help you develop your content calendar. Content can be organized in a variety of ways. First, you can develop a medium-specific calendar. In other words, develop an individual calendar for each delivery vehicle; i.e blogging, case studies, or white papers. Based on your needs develop a weekly/ monthly/yearly content schedule for each delivery vehicle. This makes the production process run more smoothly! Another method is to plan around specific keywords/content topics. Understanding your audience is foundational to every content marketing plan. Therefore, it is also useful to create a content calendar based on each particular audience you are targeting. Map out the content topic, schedule, and medium for each audience segment.
  5. 5. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 4 All of these types of content calendars can be combined to form one master calendar to give the overall scope of your content marketing plan. Finally, throughout your content planning process, consider that all content can be repurposed over a variety of mediums. For example, that glossy capabilities print brochure or catalog should be leveraged across all electronic mediums for maximum exposure! Place a thumbnail on your website homepage that links to a registration page for immediate download. IMPLEMENTATION Your content marketing efforts should definitely be focused on quality over quantity. Following are tips and best practices for three of the most popular types of content: blogging, case studies, and whitepapers. BLOGGING • Keep blogs between 250-1000 words • Provide unique, original, and useful content • Each blog post should focus on one topic for clarity and ease of reading • Optimize images for SEO in 3 ways; image file name, image title, and image alt tag (use keywords!) • Use tags and categories to help users locate blog content (tags are also indexed by search engines) • Set up an RSS Feed. An RSS feed is a plug-in that allows your readers/visitors to sign up to be emailed when you publish a new blog • Set up resources links/a blog roll on your blog. They benefit SEO and act as a valuable resource to your readers to find relevant content • Utilize bold face and H1 header tags to build SEO • Every blog should have a call-to-action • Brand your blog – custom design should extend your visual identity and reflect company goals and vision • Add social sharing features such as the Facebook Like button, the Twitter Retweet button, the Google+ button, and the LinkedIn share button.
  6. 6. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 5 CASE STUDIES • Make sure to tell the story from start to finish • Create a template – a common way to organize a case study is to sequence through the business challenges, soution, and results • Don’t be generic, give real numbers! Instead of saying website traffic tripled, say website traffic increased from 10,000 to 30,000 visits • Get to the point – keep case studies to about 500 words • Identify a problem that your audience can relate to • Make it easy to read; headers, bulleted lists, etc. and use your audiences language (don’t get too technical!) • Use compelling headlines WHITE PAPERS • Keep your white paper to 6-10 pages. If your white paper is based on a highly technical subject, keep it under 20 • Avoid jargon/buzzwords, instead write clear and concise • Use sidebars and call-outs through out the white paper to keep interest • Write in the third person • Do not write overly-promotional • Typical white paper format: opening summary, introduction, body, closing summary, company profile, contact information • When appropriate, provide examples that reinforce an explanation • Provide sources Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. Every piece of content needs to be distributed across a variety of channels to ensure it reaches your target audience.
  7. 7. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 6 For example, besides distributing blogs through social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, blog submission sites can help you increase your reach while building links. The top three blog submission sites are Technorati, Blog search, and Blog catalog. There are hundreds of other blog submission sites, find ones that are trustworthy and relevant to your content. Also, consider submitting articles and white papers to Ezine, Articlesbase, Edocr and Yahoo! Voices. Each offer valuable analytics on how each piece of content is performing; number of views, keywords performance, click-through-rates, etc and give you search authority. Email is a fantastic distribution method for your content. Because your email list is comprised of people who opted in to receive information, you can reach a more targeted audience of people who may actually want consume your content. The more segmented, the better. Social media distribution is a given. Know your audience to know where to reach them. The most common social media sites for B2B marketers to distribute content are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook8 . MEASUREMENT Measuring your content marketing efforts is critical to determine if you are meeting objectives. There are so many ways to monitor your content marketing program. Use the following to get started: Google Analytics – which web pages are people visiting on a regular basis? Google AdWords – what keywords are people searching that increase the click-through-rate to your site? Google Alerts – are you setting up alerts on your top keywords to see if your content shows up high in search results? If you don’t see your content, what are you seeing from others/your competition?
  8. 8. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 7 YouTube INSIGHT – who is viewing your videos and how often? What parts are they watching? Does a low search volume mean the content in the video is not interesting? Inbound Links – how many people/websites are linking to your content? Facebook INSIGHTS – how many new likes do you get each month? Are your posts shared? How many people are talking about you and what is the reach for each post? TweetDeck – for your “mentions” column – are others also repurposing your twitter content by mentioning your name? Blog Subscriptions – how many people have registered to receive updates from your blog? LinkedIn – how many connections do you have on LinkedIn? How many people are following your company/are group members? How often do group members comment on your posts or generate posts themselves? Radian6 – what is the “chatter” this month for your brand across all social platforms? Are you getting generally positive or negative sentiments? Downloads – how many people have downloaded a piece of content? Forwards – how many people have forwarded a piece of content? (Email service providers can track this) Email Subscriptions – how many people have signed up to receive your content via email? Blog Comments – how often do people make comments on blog posts? Is there a dialogue occurring?
  9. 9. Modern Marketing Partners Content Marketing 8 Sales – has your content impacted sales? HootSuite – when you look at an overview of your posts on Facebook and Twitter for the month, which links are the most popular and how many “likes” do you get on a daily basis? Content marketing is a requirement in the modern marketing world. For B2B companies, blogs, case studies, are effective tactics. They all can help answer the question, “can you fix my problem?” Use blogging to demonstrate you understand their issues, case studies to show you have solved similar problems in the past, and white papers to show your expertise/skills on a particular subject matter relevant to your buyers. Throughout your content creation, ensure you are following best practices and always measure the results of content marketing initiatives through your predetermined success metrics. The use of content marketing will only increase over the next year, so don’t miss out! Additional Resources 1. 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends (CMI) 2. Professional Services: How Buyers Buy (Hinge) 3. Content Marketing Playbook 2011 (CMI) 4. Hubspot 5. 6. needs-a-white-paper.html 7. Econsultancy 8. 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends (CMI) Modern Marketing Partners is a full service marketing and communications agency specialized in the integration of traditional marketing and digital media for breakthrough results. To request a free Content Marketing Program Analysis, contact Neil Brown at 630-868-5061, or visit our website