Content marketing is a big deal and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down as businesses continue to recognize its power as a B2B lead generation tool.
In fact, 89% of B2B marketers now use content marketing and 39% plan to increase their content marketing spend over the next 12 months.
But as more and more businesses add their voice to the mix, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be heard. Simply producing content regularly and sharing it, just isn’t enough. And without a website geared towards lead generation and a clear strategy, it will be even harder to compete.
Some B2B marketers are well ahead of the game and really excelling in this space. So, what’s their secret? What are the most successful teams doing to take their content marketing up a gear and make it the most effective it can be?
We’ve examined the latest industry research to pull out the golden nuggets – those insights and tips that every content marketer needs to know.
The five secrets of outstanding content marketing
1. Have a strategy written down
Having a strategy is key to success, there’s no getting away from it and importantly we don’t just mean having one in your head! One of the top takeaways from a study by the CMI was that the more successful marketers have a formally documented strategy – i.e. one that’s written down.
In the fast-paced world of digital marketing it’s easy to get lost in all the options, or to get distracted along the way. With a written document in place, you have a strong reminder of what it is you need to do, so you stay focused on that.
Success lies in being clear about what you’re doing and why, then executing your plans and measuring KPIs along the way to ensure you’re on track.
Check out this blog for ideas: How to create a knock-out content marketing plan
2. Produce high quality content
We all suffer from information overload. Amidst all the noise, what kind of content stands out? It is high quality content that is sharp, insightful and well thought through.
Producing quality content means having excellent creative work, including strong writing and graphic design. It also means the content is 100% targeted and relevant for its audience. You need to know exactly who it is intended for, how it will be consumed and what purpose it serves. Find out what other factors affect your success with content marketing in our B2B Content Marketing Success Checklist below:
It is getting increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd (and to be seen ahead of the competition), but it is possible to create content that will be appealing and have real impact. Invest more time in thinking about what you’re going to produce, in order to create outstanding content.
For more inspiration, see:
- Do you really need different content for different audiences?
- How to create great content on a small budget
3. Communicate well
Communicating well, both externally and internally, is another key to success. Effective marketers will meet regularly, often more than once a week, to work on their strategies. The entire external communications mix will also be discussed, worked on and coordinated across all departments.
The most effective content marketers take a client-centric approach to communication. They know that a customer doesn’t care which department they speak to, they will see the company or brand as a single entity. The question is whether your organisation is built to support that approach.
A key element here is your website. Is it designed with lead generation in mind? And is it based on the customer and the information they will want to see? Your website should be working hard for you, day and night, and sitting at the heart of your content marketing efforts.
For more ideas on achieving team alignment, see:
- An unstoppable force: Getting sales and marketing teams working as one
- Next level ‘smarketing’: why sales, marketing AND customer services need to talk
4. Make sure you can prove ROI
No surprise here. Proving ROI features in almost every content marketing study we found. In a nutshell, those who can prove a positive ROI are winning.
The key is to know before you start what success will look like, so you can measure your impact against that. Forgetting to do so, can be a recipe for disaster. Your KPIs need to be reported on monthly and plans adjusted as you go along to make sure ROI can be shown.
The reason this works is that when you take the time to think about the outcome before you start, you have a much better chance of achieving the results you want to. From the outset you will decide whether to include a tactic or not, based on the results you want to achieve. It means you won’t waste time trying things that just aren’t going to help with a positive ROI.
For advice on measuring ROI, see: The issue with proving content marketing ROI
5. Continuously analyze and improve
Coming full circle with the need to prove a positive ROI, this is about making sure you are gathering the numbers, reporting them and analyzing them regularly.
In the digital world we live in, it is now possible for marketing teams to track everything. The ways and means by which data can be collected is increasing daily. Whether it’s website usage stats, or using big data mining tools, the numbers, trends and patterns are important and should be used to shape your future strategy.
Make informed decisions and adjustments to your plans that are based on insights from past campaigns.
For more ideas, check out: How to set SMART goals for your content marketing
Getting results from your content marketing
The good news is, if you address all these areas and get it right then the returns you achieve from your content marketing could be significant.
There’s a reason B2B businesses across the world invest million in the tactic every year and rely on it as a core lead generation tool. As more and more firms jump on board and the competition for attention continues to increase, it’s vital you’re doing it – and doing it well.
You may also be interested in:
- Using content marketing to nurture a warm contact list
- How to use B2B content marketing to close more deals
- How to use content marketing to retain customers – and why you should!