According to a Content Marketing Institute survey, 83% of B2B brands use content marketing, but fewer than half believe they are good at it. A DemandGen report follows up, revealing that 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.
1) Keep your target audience in mind
First and foremost, who are you speaking to; which persona is that specific piece of content intended for? Are you talking to a prospect, a lead, or a customer? Make sure that the collateral addresses their needs, that the message and calls-to-action are relevant, and that it is something the reader would want to consume. Also consider whether the piece has the right tone and word choice is appropriate.
2) Don’t be afraid to re-use good content
Is there a particular piece of content that has the most downloads and the highest engagement? Assess what makes that piece so successful and think about how you can apply those learnings to new collateral. Maybe it’s a different take on the same topic, or maybe it’s a checklist that you pull from your top white paper.
Similarly, make sure you have the tools and strategies in place to measure the success of your content. Consider metrics such as page views, downloads, shares, comments, and social mentions.
3) Make a point
Consider what stage of the buying journey the targeted reader is in – does the content give them next steps or progress them further through the sales funnel? Create each piece of content with the intent to trigger specific actions in the readers.
4) Make it unique
Find a way to make your content stand out from the crowd. Review what your competitors are doing, determine what they are doing right and wrong, and apply that knowledge to your own content. Further, make sure your content has a fresh or unexpected perspective and / or a memorable look. These strategies will help to make your content “sticky”, i.e. memorable and shareable.
5) Do your research and follow the conversations
What topics are trending in your market? Look at Google Trends, Twitter, or even popular hash tags to see what conversations are being had. What are industry experts talking about? What are your social media followers asking about? Make sure to address these issues and answer those questions.
6) Make it relatable
Provide real-life examples to help drive your point across. Explain a concept and then provide readers with a scenario that they can relate to. Consider real-life case studies (i.e. “think of how Target and Walmart handled this situation”) or theoretical scenarios (i.e. “imagine you are a big box retailer…”).
7) Consider the format
Not every idea is worthy of a blog post, and just because a topic makes a great white paper, doesn’t mean it also makes a great infographic. Ask yourself what format is the best way to get the message across. What is the clearest way to convey the message and the most enjoyable way to consume it? Have a lot of stats and numerical data? Consider an infographic. Have a lot of key take-aways and action items? Make a checklist. You get the point.
8) Distribute in the appropriate channels
It’s important to know what your market is saying but also where they are saying it. Would a piece be better fitted for social media or for a trade publication? Should it be emailed out in a weekly email, exclusive to select customers, or reserved for sales team distribution?
9) Solicit feedback from the sales team
Marketers do their research and understand the market, but sales is often closest to the audience. They speak to the target market everyday and will have a good idea of what’s working and what’s not. And if sales doesn’t like your content, they may simply not share it, or even worse, make their own content that may be off-brand and off-message.
10) Talk to your customers
The best way to figure out what content is most relevant for your target market is to go straight to the source and ask. Marketers can make an educated guess, of course, but that strategy can sometimes be hit-or-miss. Consider social media, surveys, forums, webinars, and events as methods for extracting feedback.
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