A recent discussion on social media asked the question ‘What’s your biggest online marketing challenge?’, and the responses had a common theme – content. The key concerns raised by those participating in the discussion were content quantity over quality, writing content that talks ‘with’ readers as opposed to ‘to’ them, and the relevance of content to the decision-makers. In addition to this, respondents also raised concerns over SEO procedures and the distribution of content online.
The underlying themes throughout the discussion were how and when to create the best content, how to make sure it was relevant, how to distribute it, and how to ensure people engaged with it. Each of these topics could generate an entire discussion on their own, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. The idea here is to help marketers avoid being trapped in the best-practise dogma and instead simplify the process.
Back to basics
Creating engaging and successful B2B marketing content is not witchcraft. There is a fundamental starting point and this should be the basis of all campaigns. This starting point is buyer personas. Comprehensively researching and understanding the decision-maker is the only real way to ensure that content is relevant and attractive to the buyers. What are their pain points, goals, and objections? Only by understanding these factors is it possible to create content that they’ll engage with. If you haven’t got buyer personas, don’t write content, as it will be unlikely to generate any ROI and revenue.
It’s all about conversation
Whether you’re looking to catch the attention of a procurement director in the automotive industry, or a CEO in the finance industry, they are all just people with professional needs – so treat them as such. Content is all about creating a relationship with the buyer, and this is not possible when the copy and the formats are dry and uninviting. Speak to the buyer as an equal and show them that you empathise with their issues and motivations. Use their pain points (identified in the personas) as the basis for the conversations and show that you understand their issues and can offer a viable solution.
Pain points, not numbers
B2B marketers too frequently rely on numbers and analytics to inform their content, and then wonder why they haven’t generated engagement. The fact is, numbers and data are good indicators, but they are no substitute for what you have learned during the buyer research stage. For example, just because you have seen a spike in the web visits to your products/services page, doesn’t mean you should abandon your content plan and start writing product sheets and brochures instead. Analytics should be used in conjunction with buyer personas in order to highlight the most pressing pain point, and the topic you should cover in your next suite of content.
Time and SERPS
Other issues that were raised during the online discussion were the time it takes to actually create the necessary content and the need to ensure everything is SEO optimised. This is not a new concern and B2B marketers have been discussing these for years now. Thankfully there is a solution though, and it comes in the form of marketing automation. Marketing automation tools don’t directly remove the need to create content, but they do simplify the management processes. Once the content has been created it can simply be uploaded and the system will carry out the lead nurture process with minimal human input. Additionally, many automation tools will provide SEO best-practise guidelines meaning that as landing pages, emails, and blog posts are all uploaded to the platform, it will make suggestions to ensure the best results. This means that any marketer (whether an SEO specialist or not) can ensure their copy and content performs at an optimum level within the search engine results pages (SERPS).
Distribution and timing
A common concern for B2B marketers is how and when to distribute content, but again there is a simplified solution. B2B content marketing is not adhoc, it’s a much-considered process based on the buyers’ level of sales-readiness. The process is called the sales funnel, and not only does it indicate when to distribute content, but also what channels to use…
Although B2B content marketing follows a simple process, it does still require an investment of time and human resources. If you don’t have the budget or expertise to create content in-house, then utilise the skills of outsourced specialists. Not only will they be able to create buyer personas, content, and SEO-focused blogs, they’ll also be able to show you how to use content as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy, to generate the best results.
To find out more about creating unique content that generates leads, sales, and revenue…