Content marketing is a highly effective way of growing a business, providing a return on investment that other promotional approaches struggle to match. When it’s done well, it can establish a brand’s reputation for expertise within its niche, generate engagement with potential customers, and provide compelling evidence to influence B2B buying decisions.
But all these benefits rely on content that hits the mark, and great content doesn’t arrive by accident. Taking a methodical approach to content creation helps ensure the effectiveness of the resources devoted to it, and also helps generate a constant flow of ideas to maintain a campaign’s momentum. Here are five essential content creation approaches we use at our digital marketing agency in San Jose to inspire campaigns that bring real results for B2B companies.
1) Define What You Need from the Content
In the consumer space, content is often considered a success if it simply attracts a high number of likes, shares, page views, or visitor referrals. But effective B2B content needs to work much harder, and every piece needs to fulfill a well-defined function. Before starting on topic or format creation, decide on the goal the content is intended to achieve, and consider how this will influence the idea and its execution. Some of the most common benefits B2B digital marketing services can deliver include:
- Building brand awareness through being distinctive, engaging, and shareable.
- Solving real-world problems in your business niche to drive lead generation.
- Demonstrating your brand’s expertise to place it squarely in a customer’s buying decision process.
- Providing product support to maintain a conversation with existing customers,
- Providing tutorials and use cases and draw new attention to your products’ value.
Defining the ultimate aim for each piece of content will inform the creation process and content style from the beginning, helping to ensure its focus and impact.
2) Define Specific, Measurable Goals for Each Piece
How will you know if each content piece meets the aims you’ve set? Set up realistic and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) which you can use to analyze the content’s success, and use the insights gained to optimize ongoing campaigns and influence future ones.
It’s important to be as specific as possible with your KPIs. Simply measuring the number of views or shares may give a rough guide to popularity, but will say little about whether the content idea was genuinely beneficial to your business objectives, and whether it deserves pursuing further or expanding upon.
3) Use Analytics to Inspire Ideas
As well as using KPIs to track current campaigns, delving into historical analytics data is a great way of sparking off new ideas for content. Which kinds of content have proven their worth repeatedly? Which popular topics could be explored in greater depth? Which subjects unexpectedly failed to gain traction, and why might that be?
The wealth of information available from sales data, web analytics, and social media statistics can all add up to inspire compelling new content ideas.
4) What Does Your Audience Really Want?
But examining previous campaigns can only take you so far. If you’re looking for new ideas which your content hasn’t yet covered, asking your audience what they find most important is a great way to discover new topics.
Try setting up a survey or poll to directly ask what your customers want to see in future pieces. Analyze your customer support records to see which queries are most common, and produce content that provides comprehensive answers. Ask your best customers for usage cases, or for the ways your products have solved their business problems to boost their bottom line.
Content inspired by your audience can be among the most effective of all, as it’s almost guaranteed to have genuine relevance to the rest of your customer base.
5) Handling Common Challenges with Creating Content
But even with the most inspired ideas and the most careful planning, content creation isn’t necessarily plain sailing. There are several common challenges which you need to be prepared for to help your ideas come to full fruition.
– Be Realistic: At the start of a campaign it can seem like ideas are inexhaustible, but it’s not always realistic to keep up the initial rate for the longer term. To optimize your idea creation process, set up a content calendar noting initial concepts, creation timescales, and publishing deadlines. Making the calendar stretch at least a couple of months ahead will help ensure a steady flow of fresh content, even if ideas dry up from time to time.
– Focus on Value: Poor content is counterproductive, harming your B2B reputation and turning customers’ attention away to more rewarding sources. Don’t feel you need to produce content ideas just to stick to a timetable, but instead keep a strong focus on each piece’s value and its place in the overall campaign. This is especially important in B2B content marketing, where the emphasis should be on building long-term relationships rather than simply maintaining output volume.
– Don’t Over-Emphasize SEO: Similarly, don’t make SEO value the focus of your content. While it’s clearly important to cover as much of your niche’s keyword universe as possible, this should only be done naturally rather than forcing the issue. If the choice comes down to producing genuine value or stuffing in the extra key phrase, go for quality every time.
– Never Stop Measuring: Lastly, don’t get caught in the treadmill of producing content without any real idea of its benefits. Constantly measure the success or otherwise of each piece and of the campaign as a whole. If an idea isn’t working, it’s vital to acknowledge the fact as early as possible before wasting any further resources.
Create B2B Content Campaigns that Bring Results
Content creation is a science as well as an art, and it needs approaching with expertise from every angle. If you need help with your content campaign, our digital marketing agency in San Jose offers a full range of content creation and campaign execution services to build and maintain your vital customer relationships for better B2B results.
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