5 steps for an effective content marketing strategy
Across the B2B and B2C space, content marketing is gaining traction as the best way to reach prospects. A finely tuned marketing engine requires an ongoing steady stream of varied, relevant content to educate, engage and elicit action from the audience in your public relations, marketing and digital communications efforts.
A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 79% of B2B marketers are using content marketing strategies in order to achieve their brand awareness goals. In the B2B market the production and distribution of strong content can help marketers to both improve the credibility of their brand, and provide their buyers with more relevant information that is tailored to their stage in the buying cycle. Use these five steps below to craft an effective B2B content marketing strategy.
Step One: Know Yourself. In order to create relevant content, companies must first know who they are. The best way to make sure every piece of content created reflects the businesses’ goals, is to first identify the company’s strengths, competitive advantages, goals and target audiences.
Step Two: Target Your Market. Content marketing is an extremely strong relationship building tool for B2B companies, and works most effectively for those who understand the importance of getting to know their prospects. Understanding your buyers is best achieved by conducting interviews with prospects and current clients. Once you know your leads, the next step is segmenting them based on where they are in the sales cycle. Prospects within different phases of the sales cycle require different types of content. The three phases of the sales cycle are:
• Message: Pinpoints prospects’ issues and defines solutions
• Type of content: Industry research, topical blog posts, webinars and white papers
• Message: Tell prospects how your company can solve their problem
• Type of content: Specific blog posts, demos and case studies
• Message: Information that will sell decision makers on your company
• Type of content: Customer testimonials, product literature, buyer guides and reviews
Step Three: Identify Market’s Personas. To ensure that your content reaches the right people, target markets must be further categorized into personas. Define personas through researching and conducting interviews. This process helps companies to better understand key characteristics and concerns of prospects. Identifying personas is specifically important in the B2B space where it is crucial companies understand their prospect’s struggles, goals, current stage in the sales cycle and preferred method of receiving information.
Step Four: Develop Consistent Strategy. Mapping out a detailed strategy is essential in ensuring that the right information reaches the right leads. The two major decisions involved in strategy mapping are deciding where to distribute content and how frequently to do so. The most common distribution outlets are social media, email, blogs and websites. Using data collected earlier in the process you can determine where to distribute content based on where your prospects are and how they prefer to receive information.
Step Five: Execute. Implementing a scheduling feature will make the distribution of content marketing efforts an efficient and consistent process. Establish a cadence and post often enough to build relationships with prospects and you will have established an effective B2B content marketing strategy.
For more information on this topic, download our white paper on strategies for effective B2B healthcare marketing content creation.