B2B marketers are creating 70% more content this year than they did in 2016 and there is no sign of a content creation slowdown any time soon. Why? It’s simply just too powerful of a tactic from both an SEO and a buyer’s point of view. If you work for or own a small business (SMB) with an online presence and you want to grow, there is no escaping the need for content. However, writing for the sake of publishing will net nothing but wasted time since your prospects and customers want relevant information about you and consume your content as a trust building and research activity before they make contact with you. And in order to produce top-notch content, you need a plan…
Content Strategy: What is it?
The roadmap you develop, test and tweak for content creation that converts into inbound sales is critical. It’s THE custom plan you will execute upon based on your audience, their desired outcomes, your goals, and the available resources you have for creating and distributing content. If you’re just starting out with content development it’s best to stay organized, if you’ve been creating content without a plan for some time and feel overwhelmed at this point, we understand. Either way, let’s explore the fundamental steps of good content planning.
Content Strategy: 5 Steps for Success
Know your audience
Ok, it may be a bit cliché but it’s true. If you don’t know who you’re marketing to, you might as well be walking circles in a dark room rather than typing out your next epic blog post. The people who buy from you have pain points that you’re solving. The people who have not yet worked with you need content that proves you understand their needs and can solve them – that’s the only way to build trust through content.
Tip: If you haven’t yet done a buyer’s persona exercise to define your buyer, How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [with free template] from Hubspot will help.
Know your enemy
You probably know the saying “all is fair in love and war,” Right? Right. Given half a chance to steal customers, savvy competitors will. They’re also creating content for the same reason you do. What are they talking about? What social platforms are they on, how often are they publishing content and of what type and most importantly, how can you differentiate your content from theirs?
Develop Topic ideas
Questions, complaints, and accolades all make for great content. Competitive analysis is a great way to come up with topic ideas. Other good sources are podcasts, other company blogs, searching social posts looking for potential customers who might be talking about your type of products or solutions, and asking your sales or service teams what they hear from prospects and customers.
Create an editorial calendar
Editorial calendars don’t have to be fancy. They can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or a Google calendar. They just need to be one place where you can schedule blog topics, assign due dates, and track completion. Scheduling topics three months at a time is standard operating procedure for content calendars. Doing so gives sight into the future and helps you plan topics based on themes, seasons or other factors pertinent to your audience.
Measure to inform
Once content is created and published, it needs to be measured and tracked. How many people are consuming the content, where are they, which pieces are more or less successful and how can you capitalize on the successful pieces?
Once your content strategy is developed, it’s time to execute. And whatever you do, it’s important to remember that content creation, unless it’s paid ads, isn’t instant gratification. You have to consistently produce well-written, relevant content over a period of time in order to build page rank with search engines and trust with your audience.