Most marketers are familiar with the phrase “content is king.” It remains relevant in today’s B2B marketing environment, with content playing a pivotal role in your strategy. While we know content is crucial, a lot of brands fall into the trap of overproducing it. By focusing your efforts on improving the quality of your collateral, dialing back on the volume, and optimizing your content calendar, you can take your strategy to new heights. We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can streamline your content marketing plan, boosting your conversion rate, and improving your long-term growth.
What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”
In other words, content marketing refers to strategic collateral you create as a brand, adding value to your consumer’s experience and establishing yourself as a reputable authority in that space. Rather than promoting your goods and services, you’re producing content that appeals to a broader audience. Yes, it may link back to the solution you provide as a business, but it’s ultimately about creating value.
Content marketing directly impacts your bottom line. If you get it right, it can increase sales, save you money on expensive conversion tactics, and generate better customer loyalty. It can help you achieve both acquisition and retention.
How to streamline your B2B content marketing plan
To generate great B2B content, you need to focus on storytelling, sparking interest, and pulling customers into your funnel. Your content needs to deliver something meaningful, providing unique insights, inspiration, debates, or exciting ideas. While many brands have grasped this, it’s essential to streamline your content strategy consistently. Here are five ways to improve your current plan:
1. Conduct a content audit
Producing x amount of content each month is an easy trap to fall into. Your strategy becomes more about ticking boxes for the number of content pieces rather than the quality or relevance of the content. Take this opportunity to conduct an audit of your existing content pieces. It’s important to unpack your prior performance.
Take a look at your content over the last year, analyzing the various KPIs you set for yourself. Did it yield the results you were after? If not, why? Understanding “why” is a fundamental step for your new strategy. It’s the best way to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Content marketing requires a fair amount of trial and error, and you’ll only benefit from this entirely if you take the time to unravel your results.
Key metrics to focus on include ROI, engagement, click-throughs, and conversions. Cut down on content pieces that aren’t delivering and concentrate on the elements that resonate with your audience. Use these results to determine your budget allocation.
2. Expand your audience research
Content marketing relies on audience research. Spend some time identifying your customer archetypes, using customer data wherever possible. Each year you want to build on your audience definitions, helping you generate content that’s hyper-relevant to your buyer personas.
Most B2B content marketing focuses on reaching the decision-maker. While this is critical, there are other audiences you can cater to, helping you build up a case for your product. Understanding where your target audience operates will help you craft content campaigns in the correct format. Identify their pain points so you can frame your content more effectively, using insights from your sales and customer support teams.
3. Complete a content gap analysis
Now that you’ve identified what content you do have and who you’re speaking to, a content gap analysis is the logical next step. A content gap analysis investigates your current content offering, outlining where you’re not meeting your audience’s needs.
Start with each of your buyer personas. Are you producing content that addresses each of these phases? Do you have content that caters to the various stages of the funnel, including top-of-funnel “awareness” pieces to bottom-of-funnel “conversion” pieces? Look at your strategy holistically and define the gaps; this will create your list of opportunities.
4. Conduct a competitor review
Regular reviews of your competitors should form part of your content strategy check-ins. Remember, you’re not comparing your product or services but evaluating their approach to content marketing. What pain points have they identified? Have they included unique content pieces that add value?
Keeping an eye on your competitors allows you to stay relevant in that space. It’s one of the best ways to identify channels and content types you should omit or include in your strategy, defining the “hot topics” you need to address with your audience. A thorough competitor review should feed into your content gap analysis. Use it as an opportunity to see alternative marketing tactics and approaches.
5. Simplify your ideas
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself with content suggestions. An audit mixed with a competitor review and a gap analysis is bound to leave you buzzing with fresh and exciting content ideas. Once you’ve got all your recommendations down on paper, take a step back and remember to keep it simple.
You need to respect your consumers’ time and avoid cramming as much content as possible into one piece. When you could communicate a message in 30 seconds, but instead it takes 3 minutes, you’re going to frustrate people pretty quickly. Your content needs to be clear, engaging, and to the point. Don’t try to be too clever. Think about how you can deliver content in a concise package, simplifying something complex, so it’s easy to understand. It goes back to adding value; this needs to be your overarching priority.
Always put value first
Your content marketing plan is constantly going to evolve and shift as your audience behavior adjusts. Every aspect of your strategy needs to come back to value. Are you hitting this objective? Don’t fall into the trap of producing content for content’s sake. Conduct regular audits, evaluate performance and KPIs, and keep a close eye on your competitors. Above all else, focus on quality over quantity.
Emma Dittmer is a contributing author and Marketing Manager at UCOOK, South Africa’s leading dinner-kit service. Dedicated to sharing the knowledge she’s gathered over the years, she now writes for various publishers. Working in a start-up environment means she’s well versed in the fast-paced, exciting world of e-commerce and all things digital.