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Breaking down content marketing for B2B marketers

Many companies are embracing content marketing as a business strategy, but several corporations may not fully understand all of its components. From considering the target audience and creating an editorial calendar to producing quality content and analyzing the results, this approach involves several stages. It is not a simple marketing technique, and it takes a while to reap the rewards. However, the time, effort and sweat put into the method is all worth it.

Understand the phrase "contenting marketing"
The term "content marketing" is often thrown around without a clear definition. It's defined as a way of producing and sharing relevant and valuable content on a regular basis(1). Its purpose is to garner interest among prospective clients and gain a target audience. The ultimate goal is to drive sales.

From a podcast to a white paper, B2B marketing professionals can display the information in an array of formats, which determines the distribution outlet. For example, a white paper may appear on a company's website. Additionally, the format also controls which promotional activities could reach a broad audience. A marketer can share a blog post using social media.

If there's one thing marketers should know is that content marketing is not equivalent to advertising. This marketing strategy isn't a short-term endeavor but a strategic venture. It is an evolving technique to reach and engage the audience. Additionally, content marketing helps develop brand advocates, which are individuals who put trust in the brand. This support for a company leaves a lasting impact on the brand.

B2B marketers should take one step at a time 
First and foremost, it's vital for B2B marketing professionals to know and understand their client bases. Consider how a company's product or services will improve a business's operations. With an audience in mind, the next phase is coming up with a strategy that supports the company's goals and objectives. It should meet a corporations's needs and exceed expectations.

After a business establishes a prospective audience, the marketing department should plan content in advance by developing an editorial calendar. Individuals can also determine the best messages and format to utilize. Additionally, establish hard deadlines and divvy up labor. It is best to involve colleagues in the planning stages. Set up a brainstorming session to facilitate a flow of ideas. 

Once a marketer completes those steps, it is time to produce content. Individuals appreciate original and fresh material. In addition, the content should serve as an authoritative voice of the industry and represent the company's brand. Avoid jargon and keep it simple so everyone grasps and connects with the material. Be sure to capture people's attention using captivating headlines.

Consider the substance of the content
Quality is more important that quantity, so only post interesting and authoritative material. One of the ways to come across as a thought leader in the industry is to post credible information and incorporate posts written by experts. This content will stand out among the crowded online sphere. Some B2B organizations customize the material based on timely topics that include industry trends, profiles of decision-makers, company characteristics and a stage in the buying cycle. It is wise to tailor the content to the business so the audience member connects with the material.

Whether it is blog articles, videos or podcasts, each format serves a different purpose. With a call-to-action, individuals will understand what the company is asking of them.

Don't forget to enhance the user experience. Consider whether the content is easy to find and if the interface is suitable for all users with a responsive website design. With an easy experience, people will stay on the site longer and enjoy absorbing the material. 

Share the content through an array of channels and measure the results
The target audience must have access to the content. Marketers can distribute the material by utilizing social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. 

After distributing the content, it is crucial to find out what is working and what isn't. There's no point in putting out content if marketers don't know the outcome. Companies can find out this information by analyzing the results. 

Marketers can measure the message by looking into return visits, the number and context of comment, shares, mention and leads. In terms of the distribution channel, B2B marketing professionals can measure the number of leads and visits. It's also important to consider the cost per acquisition and the engagement rate. 

As this marketing approach evolves, companies may see an emergence of cloud-based platforms. This will be more cost effective and streamline the marketing process. 

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.