Today’s modern marketer understands the value of business-to-business (B2B) content marketing; it is the backbone of a successful inbound marketing strategy. According to Forrester’s 2016 B2B Marketing Mix Survey, content marketing is the most popular and most effective marketing tactic for businesses.
The Forrester report also highlights the fact that modern B2B marketing isn’t successful without solid content and that means creating content that customers really care about. However, this is easier said than done, especially if internal politics get in the way.
Your content strategy needs support from senior management
A content marketing initiative is only as good as the internal support it receives. If senior management don’t value it, then the marketing department’s efforts may risk being undervalued and undermined. It is the responsibility of senior management to enact a “carrot” or “stick” approach to align the incentives of all necessary participants. One successful B2B content marketing organisation explained how their CEO would award a prize and highlight the efforts of those who have helped develop a successful piece of content. Why is this necessary? As highlighted in the next section, it comes down to involvement.
Your content strategy needs involvement from different functions
Unfortunately handing the entire project over to an agency and telling them to “get on with it” isn’t an effective solution. While this tactic may be effective in a B2C setting where content serves the function of entertainment and inspiration, the purpose of B2B content is to educate and convince its audience. This typically requires input from a subject matter expert and this specialist is likely to sit within one of the functions in the company.
In fact, content marketing requires various functions to be involved. The resources typically needed to run a successful content marketing campaign are the following:
Content manager/strategist – what, when, where?
Subject matter expert
Graphic designer or videographer
Social media manager/publisher
Aligning these disciplines to regularly produce well-considered and purposeful content will largely be determined by the company culture. Can these materials be produced on time? Are they high quality and useful?
Your content strategy needs structure
There are many types of B2B content that can be produced ranging from white papers and product reviews to videos and tutorials. It is important to categorise this content to better understand its purpose. Start with the various personas a brand is trying to attract and then develop an editorial plan based on those personas. What content will help attract and make those various personas aware of your product and/or solution? How will your content educate them? How will your content convert them from prospects to clients? How can your content foster on-going loyalty? However, your ability to effectively reach out will depend heavily on the culture within.
Greta Paa-Kerner (@gretapk) is an independent marketing consultant and a senior lecturer at Bucks Business School as well a guest lecturer at other high learning institutions. Visit her website at www.ganduxer.com.