Insights from the Tactical to the Strategic
In the early years of Web 2.0, virtually anyone could leverage digital content. Back then, the process was remarkably simple. You created a content asset (e.g. a blog, a song, a video, an image), published it, and waited for people to like it, or not.
But the process today is no longer as simple. With the Internet saturated with content assets in every conceivable format, the competition for engagement has never been fiercer.
To demonstrate, the folks at The Word Pro put together an infographic that summarizes content consumption habits of the modern Internet user, with key takeaways that include:
For B2B content marketers, the conventional methods of building a following (e.g. link building, syndicating, and organic shares on social media platforms) are no longer as effective as they once were at getting your audience to see your content. What you need is a surgical approach to content marketing, one that focuses on building tailored content experiences for your audience.
Below are 3 essential resources you will need to do just that.
At its core, the one thing that makes a content asset useful is relevance.
In other words, content assets are only effective if they're made for people who actually need them.
Planning and publishing high-quality content is hinged on how well you know your buyers, including their buying process and buying habits. But according to Neil Patel, "Most marketers would rather spend time learning about a new traffic tactic than spend time learning about their readers, and it's the reason why they struggle."
Buyer personas are data-driven representations of your B2B clients, factoring in their purchase goals, challenges, spending roles, and buying criteria among others. The key to effective and cost-efficient content marketing is creating content assets that target each persona, allowing you to take a highly optimized and relevant approach when reaching out to them.
Does your content marketing team have clear procedures for mapping and maintaining an inventory of content assets? If you don't, you're not alone. A study by Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council shows that "[o]nly 27 percent have a process in place to aggregate, organize, and manage the visual assets being used across marketing (and even non-marketing) teams."
Starting an inventory is simple: simple curate all of your content assets from the day you started creating content. Based on the buyer personas you just built, what content assets are relevant and on-brand, and which are not? This should serve as your guide when removing any content that doesn't align with your persona strategy.
Next, create a map of each content asset according to its market segment, persona, journey stage, objective, and format. Categorizing each asset lets you maximize each content asset's potential for marketing and sales, evaluate its ROI, and target these assets to specific segments in the future.
Now that you have buyer personas and a content inventory and map, the next critical resource on your list is a brief framework for creating and leveraging content.
This content brief framework will serve as your writing team's guide for creating effective content; likewise, marketing and sales can refer to the brief when figuring out how to distribute or leverage completed assets. A content brief framework offers a systematic approach to content ideation. For example, the following a 5-point layer system that covers:
Planning and building a content targeting system for B2B marketing sounds daunting, but with a clear system and the proper resources, the content creation process becomes much simpler than you think. Just remember that with the sheer scope of B2B marketing, you're going to need to push a series of different content assets, each one tailored to specific client personas and buyer stages. Don't be afraid to start small by creating hyper-focused pieces for specific segments of your audience. It's better to start small, and make small mistakes, than it is to make costly errors by trying to do too many things at once.