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Content marketing checklist for better results

B2B marketing wouldn't be complete without a solid content strategy. It's becoming essential for lead generation and raising brand awareness. Many firms are on the quest to establish thought leadership with their content marketing efforts, but some are struggling to get the basics right. 

One of the reasons it's so difficult to measure the relative success or failure of this marketing strategy is because there is a long lead time between when you create a piece of content that initially attracts a prospect and when your sales team closes the deal, according to MarketingProfs. While it's important to measure how much traffic your blog is getting, it may be a better idea to track how much engagement content generates. Although many marketers want to produce viral content, you will have better results if you create materials that are relevant to your target audience. Content marketing is about attracting the right audience with the appropriate message. 

Here are some tips for refining your content to make it a more useful lead nurturing tool:

1. Define your strategy before diving into writing
You need to have an accurate picture of your goals before launching multiple content campaigns, Forbes stated. Who is your target audience? Do you have separate customer segments? Are you trying to increase sales or drive brand loyalty? Having a better idea of these objectives before you start can help you create better content. 

2. Realize content is a marathon, not a sprint
Some marketers may not be convinced of the power of content because they expect to see immediate return on investment or increased sales. Others in the B2B sector are married to the idea of the sales funnel, but modern prospects may not follow the same, linear customer journey. This is why you need to focus on creating content for each stage of the buying cycle, as well as writing material for multiple buyer personas. In addition, marketers need to contend with much longer sales cycles. Content should aim to hold attention for an extended period of time rather than grab it for a few moments. This is a mark of high engagement. Preparing for a longer sales funnel can help you build the relationship with prospects over time. 

3. Try alternative content activities to build relationships
One of the reasons content marketing is so effective is because you can use it to connect with a much wider audience than you can reach with other tactics. It's worthwhile because you can establish more credibility in your industry, build quality links and gain brand advocates, Search Engine Watch said. If you're struggling to come up with new ways to present topics, you may be able to take inspiration from previous campaigns. "Best of" lists, expert guides, interview pieces and news roundups can all help you create new engagement. Lists can cover anything from different apps to experts in the industry. You're offering leads something they will find valuable without being promotional. This enhances your relationship with influencers and can be particularly useful when joined with social media efforts. Roundups are fairly easy to put together, and are a great way to convey big news within the industry. Utilizing new forms of content can help you keep the same topics fresh for longer so you don't have to scramble to think of new things to write.

4. Retargeting
​Retargeting allows you to connect with individuals in your audience who may have missed a piece of content the first time around, according to Marketing Pilgrim. This works in conjunction with search engine optimization efforts to direct traffic back to your website. Retargeting is relatively inexpensive to carry out, and it allows you to maximize your content budget. You can make your content work a little harder to gain prospects' attention without spending more. This can encourage leads to take an action, such as request a product demo or subscribe to your newsletter. 

5. Don't let content operate in a vacuum
Whether you're trying to generate qualified leads or gain better SEO results, it's important to measure and test all campaigns regularly to ensure you're on track to meet your desired objectives. Otherwise, SEO could be running off the rails. This doesn't make the best use of your marketing budget. Optimizing each aspect of your content campaigns can help you meet your goals.

6. Focus on quality writing and share content through the right channels
Some marketers get completely bogged down with the strategic aspects of content, and the results can be inauthentic blog posts and articles. Your initiatives need to focus on delivering relevant, helpful information to your audience over being excessively witty. However, this isn't to say your content should be boring. Another part of being relevant is reaching your target market through the right channels. For example, if your ideal leads maintain an active presence on LinkedIn, this is a good place to share articles.

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.