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How to refine your content marketing strategy

Content marketing is quickly becoming essential for B2B organizations. In the past few years, this tactic has become more accessible to companies of all sizes in nearly every industry because of the expansion of options. You can utilize an interactive marketing agency or host your own blog. However, successful content campaigns require a well-defined marketing strategy. Here are some tips for improving your content marketing campaigns:

1. Define your strategy
One of the top reasons marketers do not see the return on investment they hoped for from advertising plans is due to a lack of strategy when they first get started. While marketing is centered around meeting objectives, you may have to adapt your way of thinking to function like a publisher, according to Forbes. Instead of just focusing on attaining campaign goals, your team needs to create a mission for content. Even in B2B marketing, this tactic needs to engage and interest readers. Some brands are not successful at content marketing because their blog posts and articles tend to sound like sales pitches, and this can make prospects doubt credibility. Outlining your specific mission and brand attributes can help you refine your content strategy. 

2. Focus on quality
The Internet is full of content, and this can make some brands discouraged about getting enough attention to succeed in this endeavor. There is a great deal of poorly written, irrelevant content online, and this may make some marketers think it will be harder to attain ROI, Search Engine Watch said. Finding your niche and catering to your specific audience can make campaigns more successful. The Web is becoming dense with content, and in highly competitive industries, many brands are saying very similar things. Companies that tell a unique story will be more effective in their lead generation efforts. This helps you establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Because content marketing is closely tied to search engine optimization, thought leadership can make it easier for prospects to find your website in Google, Bing and Yahoo. 

3. Determine which social media platforms are most effective for distribution
Social media has the ability to amplify content marketing, but some networks are more useful than others. If prospects are fully engaged with a brand's content, they are more likely to share it with their colleagues in the industry through social channels. Depending on your audience, your target customers will maintain a more active presence on some networks rather than others, and this is an important consideration for defining your distribution strategy, The Guardian stated. You won't see the same ROI if you share content on platforms that your customers don't really use. Many B2B buyers utilize social media to track trends in the industry, and this can provide you with valuable insights into the types of content your audience wants to read. Social media is a highly effective complement to content because it gives the ability to have conversations with your customers instead of just producing marketing materials about your company. 

4. Don't overlook value
Going back to content quality, all materials need to deliver value to prospects. B2B buyers need a great deal of information to make purchasing decisions, and each blog, news article, video or infographic should help them move from one stage of the buying cycle to the next, Forbes said. During the later stages of the sales cycle, prospects will be more tolerant of promotional materials – as long as they are engaging. For example, you can implement video tutorials on how to use your products. At this point, buyers have most likely narrowed their selections down to a few vendors and are looking for specific distinctions to inform their decisions. This type of content can leave a memorable impression on leads.

5. Experiment with different types of content
While finding a niche is important, marketers shouldn't be afraid to try new things in content marketing. Small experiments can help your efforts reach new heights, according to The Guardian. Buyer behavior is changing all the time, and innovative content allows B2B marketing teams to adapt and stay relevant to their audiences. Deeper knowledge of the customer journey at your organization can refine content marketing strategies. Prospects may be interested in interacting with different advertising materials based on where they are in the sales funnel. In addition to regular blog posts, videos, webinars, images, white papers and how-to guides may be effective for converting prospects. 

6. Know your readers and always keep SEO in mind
Search engines are undergoing transformations all the time, and this can have a serious impact on how easy it is for customers to find your content. For instance, Google recently updated its algorithm, making mobile marketing and content quality more significant in its results. Keeping up with developments in both SEO and buyer behavior can ensure that your content is always on point. 

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.