What Does an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy Look Like?

It's never been a more exciting time to do content marketing for B2B. That's right, exciting. B2B companies are crushing their content marketing goals with innovative, original content. It even generates interest outside of their primary audience.

For instance, GE shares high-resolution photos and videos of their aviation facilities on their Instagram account, netting them 3,000+ new followers.

Maersk Line tells inspiring stories about the journey of their shipping containers, generating over 18,000 views for one video.

Lenovo's lovable persona, "Jane," demonstrates the value of their products and helps engage their 162,000 followers on YouTube.

But this kind of content isn't exclusive to big brands. You can create this content for your B2B, too. All you need is the right B2B content marketing strategy, and to remember that no matter what anyone says about B2B marketing, it doesn't have to be boring.

The Five Parts of an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy

You may assume that you need a big budget to get a better B2B content marketing strategy. That isn't true. The way brands create dynamic content strategies is by appropriately using the budget at their disposal. If you can get the most value from each component of your plan, you can do more with less and still create a strategy that helps you deliver exceptional content.

For us, that includes a few crucial aspects.

#1. Find The Right Target Audience

One of the first steps of any effective B2B content strategy is finding the right target audience. If you can access the customers that are likely to use and find value in your product or service, you can get more specific and in-depth about their challenges, interests, and preferences.

You can start to define your target audience by conducting in-depth research. It should include customer demographics, attributes, and preferences. All of this information can come from your existing website performance data, a competitor analysis, research forums, and thorough keyword research.

With these insights, you can craft content your customer needs and finds valuable.

Entrepreneur lists a few ideas on how to get to know your target audience:

Your target audience will also be critical for selecting the style, format, and distribution channels for your content. You can allocate your marketing spend and increase the likelihood that your content will provide a return.

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#2. Set Clear Conversion Goals

Conversion goals are the north star of any B2B content marketing strategy. By setting these goals, you can define the performance you need to meet overall business objectives. Your goals will help you select the channels and distribution channels to use, and determine the metrics you need to track to judge whether or not your content is successful.

Lynda (from LinkedIn) has an entire course about defining and measuring success with a content marketing strategy.

Here's an overview of how to set those objectives.

By setting goals for conversion, you can also hold yourself (and your team) accountable for the success of your work. HubSpot also recommends setting SMART goals, which result in more specific, realistic metrics for you to measure.

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#3. Select Opportune Distribution Channels

When it comes to distribution channels, you want to focus on two things: opportunity and your customer. Rather than basing your strategy on popularity and sticking to channels like Facebook and Instagram, you want to find the outlets your customer uses. You can focus on areas with more potential, and spend your extra time formatting and repurposing content for each.

Jonathan Perelman goes into how to distribute content in his 99U talk.

If you need more insight on the platforms and channels you should use, go back to your buyer personas. We also use The Lean Startup Canvas to help us document our customer's watering holes.

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#4. Reconsider Marketing Roles & Responsibilities

Marketing can no longer be an afterthought, but a strategic part of your business. Due to that, you need to align yourself with professionals that know how to do content marketing. It takes time, patience, and experience to see results, which is why you can't put it all on yourself. As Digital Marketer puts it, "Even the best business owners don’t have time to figure all this stuff out."

But building out this kind of team is easier said than done.

Here's what Christo Hall, ex-pro surfer, and CEO says about it.

You can start building your all-star marketing team by rating current team members, the quality of your current marketing, and any gaps preventing you from achieving your overall business goals and objectives.

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#5. Plan For Better Reporting & Analysis

To grow and scale your B2B content marketing efforts, you need to do consistent, ongoing reporting about how your marketing is doing. Because if you don't evaluate your efforts or record the right metrics, you'll miss out on critical insights that can help inform your strategies.

It all comes down to evaluating the content that is performing the best, and which channels are providing the most value. For instance, if you use HubSpot, you could use an attribution report to see which channels bring contacts to your website. You can also gain insight into referring pages, and any website pages that contribute to conversions.

For the best results, you should plan on analyzing your performance on a monthly or quarterly basis. You can use an all-in-one solution like HubSpot along with Google Analytics to track everything, or tools like Databox, CrazyEgg, for specific heat-mapping capabilities.

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Starting Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

If you're ready to commit to growth, content marketing is the right move. But even with an excellent strategy, you need to put a considerable amount of time and resources into seeing your content marketing goals to completion. It takes that kind of ongoing persistence to make content marketing worthwhile. Otherwise, it will be another marketing investment that doesn't pay off.

That's why you have to go all in to make content worthwhile. If you can embrace the principle and give into the practice and process, you can use content marketing to achieve your goals. To learn more about getting started with content, check out our free guide, Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain. 

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