A note before you go on: we know it’s not quite ‘business as usual’ at the moment – but having longer-term strategic plans in place, like the content strategy we’re about to show you here, is more important than ever. Don’t lose sight of the big picture – it’s easy to get distracted and throw money at channels hoping for a quick win, but the tried and true methods still work.
B2B content marketing can be an inspiring, creative, invigorating process when you have the time to do it properly. But the fact is, you won’t always have that time. That’s why you need a B2B content strategy that will be your wingman when you’re pressed, stressed and still need to create.
Having a solid strategy in place also helps you justify what you’re doing to the people signing off the invoices and approving the new hires.
We’re going to take you through all the reasons you’re going to need a B2B content strategy – and get you on the path to creating your own.
But first, let’s take a step back and talk about why B2Bs need to do content marketing in the first place.
What is B2B content marketing?
Unsurprisingly, B2B content marketing is the creation and promotion of content that helps, educates or entertains your audience rather than just going for the sell. You might be wondering how content is different to regular marketing and advertising. Here’s one way we like to think about it.
Traditional marketing and advertising are a great way to tell your customers what you’re doing right now. You’ve got a sale on, or you’re offering something great that people can come and buy. That’s all well and good.
Traditional marketing will only get you as far as the Pepsi Challenge.
But sometimes you need to show your audience where you’re going so that your audience can decide whether they’d like to sign up to take that journey with you. You can do that with a big fancy branding campaign, but you can also do that (for a fraction of the cost) with clever content marketing.
That’s why content doesn’t really promote your products or services. It helps solve your audience’s problems, to show that you’re in tune with their needs and that you can be trusted to partner with long-term because you’ll help them.
Now let’s talk about that strategy!
Why create a B2B content strategy?
Content marketing isn’t a one-time blast or a set-and-forget thing.
It takes constant output, which requires constant thinking. A strategy helps you structure that thinking and streamline the process – so you can create a lot of good content without stretching your team to its limits.
Here are the main benefits of creating a B2B content strategy:
It provides a structure. You get busy, so it helps to know what you’re talking about this week rather than guessing every time. It’s easier to delegate as well.
Better measurement. When reporting back to business leaders and stakeholders, you can see how your content strategy is affecting the bottom line.
Makes it a valid business function, with a role in the success of the company. This makes your next pitch for more budget a little easier too.
Forces you to put a focus on it. It’s not just something that can be put on hold – it’s a long-term investment and a proactive marketing strategy.
Enables you to resource it properly. You can put a business case forward that would convince even the most bottom-line focused exec to go all-in.
How do I get started?
You want to get started? Great news!
The way we normally recommend that B2Bs think about their content strategy is to map out the year in loose detail, the next six months in moderate detail and the next three months in fine detail.
That will give you a good starting point to work from
So your 12-month plan would look something like this:
Now how are we going to fill in the plan?
Here are the main things you need to consider for your content strategy:
What channels do you own – for example, you might have a website and three social channels.
Timeline. What are the ‘seasons’ of your business? Do you get busy around Christmas? Attend events in July? These will inform the next point.
Topics. What are you going to be talking about throughout the year? This will ideally be informed by customer research and will take some groundwork to put together. Find your customers’ common issues and pain points – not just with your products and services, but with their work in general. Intersect that with the topics you want to talk about and have some expertise on. You can iterate on this throughout the year.
Keywords. What are the words and phrases your customers are searching for? Including a solid keyword focus into your strategy gives your content strategy a greater chance of picking up an audience over time – something that’s helpful for the team’s motivation and also the buy-in of your execs.
Your B2B content marketing strategy checklist
We’ve created a B2B marketing strategy checklist to take you through the six essential steps of any marketing activity. It’s written for businesses who want to do marketing but don’t know where to start – and it’s just as relevant for aspiring content marketers too.
Work through the toolkit and you’ll be set for success with your B2B content marketing strategy.
Want some help bringing sales and marketing together? Or need a hand creating a content marketing strategy? Book a call with me and let’s walk through it.