Speaking content strategy in 2023 might sound too repetitive. But the reality is that not a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners know where to start, especially in the early stages of building their business.
What I have observed is that on one side you have great content creators who have cracked the code and are crushing it in both business content creation and personal content creation. On the other hand, there is a much larger segment out there that is clueless about which direction to move to make sure their content creation efforts are designed for success.
In order to help this group of people, I will be covering various aspects of B2B content marketing over a series of articles. We have a lot to cover today. So tighten your seat belts for a long read!
The foundational elements of a B2B content marketing strategy
Setting the foundation right is key to creating a sustainable content marketing engine. According to me, there are five foundational elements of a content marketing strategy as given below:
1. Identifying the right target audience – the core of B2B conte
Your content has to be written for the different segments of your target audience. Knowing your prospects helps you decide the content type, content tone, identify pillar pages and topic clusters, decide the right content distribution platform, etc.
2. Defining the goals of your content strategy
This involves thinking about what you want your content to accomplish for your business. You can then divide the content pieces you plan to create into informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional topics.
3. Finding SEO-relevant topics in your niche
To get users to organically find any web content that is crawled (and indexed) by search engines, it has to be SEO-relevant. Choose your topics and keywords in a way that they have enough volume, preferably with low to medium competition.
Even if your content marketing mix includes content types like a whitepaper, ebook, case study, or brochures, it is still a good idea to make sure that the topics are SEO-relevant for two reasons:
- By doing SEO and trending topics research, you will be able to identify topics and information users are actually looking for in your niche.
- Even your non-indexed content items (which are typically gated) have a landing page that summarizes their content. If you want users to organically land on these pages, you need to make sure that your topics are SEO-relevant.
4. Determining the content type and aligning them to your audience and funnel
Out of all the content types such as blogs, videos, case studies, whitepapers, podcasts, etc., pick the ones that work the best for your target audience. Align them to each segment of your target persona as well as the different stages of the marketing funnel (top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel).
Given below are some of the questions you can ask yourself to determine the content types you should produce:
- What content types does your audience prefer?
- The objectives of your content marketing efforts (point #2 mentioned above).
- What kind of content is your competition creating?
- What activities does your content have to support (say marketing campaigns, sales enablement, maintaining the website, product documents/descriptions, etc)?
- How much time, money, and people can you allocate to content creation?
- How much time does each content type take?
- Which content types bring in results in the short term as well as the long term?
Once you have answers to the above, start with the 2-3 content types that you can create on a consistent basis. A blog is something that you can start to focus on in the long term as it takes time to deliver results, So the earlier you start, the better. Videos are absolutely critical if you are selling a SaaS product. Videos also help improve brand awareness.
5. Planning the B2B content calendar
Define your content creation pace depending on your business goals. Plan it out as a content calendar with dates and milestones. Use the calendar to push yourself and other contributors to meet the content delivery timelines.
This content calendar can have details like the following:
- Topic and title of the content items you are planning to create,
- Who will be responsible for the creation and reviewing of each item.
- The content type (whether it’s a blog post, infographic, whitepaper, case study, etc).
- Estimated time of completion.
- The number of content items you can create per week or month.
- Whether the content is going to be informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional.
What you need to get started with B2B content marketing
Once you have figured out all the 5 foundational elements of your content strategy, the next step is to have the resources and processes you need for creating content in place. Let us look at them here:
1. Hiring the right people for your B2B marketing team
Depending on the budget you have, the content types you plan to create, and the pace at which you want to create them, you can decide the following:
- What types of people to hire?
- How many of each type to hire?
If you want to start small, it’s a good idea to start with one content writer. You can also consider hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content writer who can take care of the SEO side as well.
If you already have an SEO person on the team, then focus on getting someone who is very strong in content writing.
The other types of roles you want to consider hiring are a graphic designer, a social media manager (to promote and amplify your content), and a video editor (only if you are creating videos).
As I mentioned earlier, if the plan is to test the waters first, you could consider having the content person internal, and outsource the remaining activities like SEO and design.
2. Having the right B2B content marketing tools in place
In addition to having the right tools on the website side (say a Content Management System like WordPress), there are a few other types of tools you need as given below:
- Writing assistants: Grammarly, Hemingway editor, or any other tool that will help make your content error-free and more readable
- A plagiarism checker: Here you can again use Grammarly or any other plagiarism checker like Duplichecker or ProWritingAid.
- A stock image/video source: You can subscribe to (or buy images or videos from) websites like Shutterstock or iStock. You can also consider using free websites like Pexels or Unsplash for this. For icons and illustrations, you can look at a free website called iconduck.
- A graphic design/editing tool: For images, you can consider having Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator. For videos, you can use something like Adobe Premiere (or any other video editing tool for that matter). You can also consider using a free tool like Canva or Snappa if you are tight on budget.
- An SEO/keyword tool: You can go with Google Keyword Planner in the beginning. But as you become more advanced. it is better to go with a more comprehensive tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush. You could also add free tools to the mix like Answerthepublic or Google Trends to find trending topics in your domain.
3. Allocating the right budget for B2B content marketing
This is so obvious. For you to have the previous two (the right people and tools), you need to set aside a budget to support your content marketing goals. This budget need not be rigid. Please make sure to make it a little dynamic with the flexibility of changing it by +/-20%. This allows you to cater to any ad-hoc or unexpected needs.
4. Alignment with business goals and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)
This sounds so simple but is sometimes overlooked. Firstly, you need to make sure that your content marketing efforts align with your business goals (essentially they need to align with the goals you defined while designing the foundation).
The next step is to make sure you collaborate with your subject matter experts to get inputs from them for content creation – either in the form of getting the full content, core content, or the bare minimum feedback/review.
So that’s how you GET STARTED!
These tips should help you take the first steps. While, there are for sure more details to these steps, the objective of this edition was to lead you in the right direction. Hope the blog post was helpful.
Skalegrow – B2B content marketing agency
Skalegrow was founded with the aim of addressing the gap of not having a B2B marketing agency that can deliver results the way clients want. Not that any agency in the world isn’t doing it. It’s more like there aren’t many that are doing a good job at it, especially when it comes to content marketing.
Skalegrow offers all forms of content marketing services – from blogging to video marketing and creating case studies & ebooks, we got you covered. Write to us at email@example.com for more details.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.