How to Make Your B2B Content Work Harder

B2B content

Movéo recently celebrated our fifteenth anniversary, and we’re thrilled to be able to share the lessons we’ve learned over the years with you every week on our blog. What you may not know is that we also publish in marketing and business news outlets including Business2Community, the American Marketing Association (AMA) and TriplePundit. Today, we’re republishing an article by Managing Partner Bob Murphy that originally ran in Business2Community in August.

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Is content still king?

The sheer amount of content marketers put out threatens to dilute its power. Today, marketers have to make sure their content rises above all the noise and clutter.

Creating strong content is difficult in itself, but making sure that content reaches, attracts, engages and activates potential leads takes serious skills, including data and analytics. If you’re tired of spending time and money crafting content that fails to reach its true potential, try these four suggestions for making your content work harder.

1. Create a content strategy and document it

Ninety-four percent of marketers utilize content marketing, but only 44 percent of those have a documented strategy for the content they’re creating.

Are you part of that 44 percent? If not, you’re creating content based on a gut feeling about what works rather than real, meaningful data about who you’re targeting, what they’re interested in and how you can reach them.

The first step in making your content work harder is solidifying and documenting your strategic goals, supporting tactics and key success metrics.

A documented content strategy provides a record of specific goals to which you can hold copywriters and content creators accountable, and improves overall content performance. This is backed up by data: 60 percent of B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy consider their organization to be effective, compared to only 32 perfect of those who have only a verbal strategy.

2. Target content to the needs of your audience…

High-performing content begins with a deep understanding of your target buyers’ habits, personalities and pain points. But to create content that can truly cut through the noise, you need to go beyond typical buyer personas and use data to understand how best to reach them.

Do you know what time a top prospect opened a marketing email? Did they click on any links? Did they visit your blog or download content from your website? And if so, how long did they spend on each page? How does this behavior compare with other prospects, and what does it tell us about this particular contact’s readiness for purchase? When you’re able to answer questions like these, you’ll be equipped to tailor content to the specific needs of your buyers at every phase of the decision-making process.

3. …and channels

If you’re posting the same exact content across a variety of different marketing channels, you’re doing your business a disservice. The stakeholders who connect with you on your blog may be very different from those who visit your LinkedIn page, and content needs to be tailored to both the unique preferences of the audience and the features of the medium. Use data and analytics to find out what’s working on each of your content channels as well as who you’re engaging with where.

Keep in mind what different content channels can and can’t do: while Twitter can help you engage with a massive audience, it’s not going to allow you to share in-depth knowledge in your area of expertise. An infographic on your website might not get in front of as many eyeballs, but it could have more potential to turn prospects into customers than content shared on your social media channels. Work these different strengths and weaknesses into your content strategy in order to choose the right content for the right channel and maximize your impact.

4. Measure your results throughout the pipeline

You may already track downloads, page views and average time spent with each piece of our brand’s content, but B2B marketers often stop measuring their content at the point of initial conversion. This isn’t enough to gauge how content is working. You need to continue tracking content through the entire sales pipeline, to purchase and even beyond, to understand how content translates into real, bottom-line business impact.

Since the B2B buying process is often lengthy and nonlinear, tracking the role that content plays in conversions and sales can be a tricky process. Clear communication between marketing and sales teams and a CRM-integrated marketing automation solution can help.

To continue tracking the impact of your content past the initial download or point of lead acquisition, work with your sales team to understand what marketing content they use in their conversations with leads, as well as what types of content need to nurture more prospects through to sales. Then, ideally with the help of your CRM and marketing automation system, engineer a process for documenting and assessing the impact of that content in the sales process.

Today, creating effective content needs to involve more than putting your best copywriters and designers to the task of crafting something clever and insightful. It requires a strong strategic vision and proficiency with data and analytics to develop content, target it at the right people, and track its effectiveness. Are you up to the task?

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