article | January 24, 2016
A Quick Guide: What You Need to Know About Content Marketing
They must determine a process for creating and distributing compelling content to attract target buyers. The amount of advice on how to do this has exploded as well. How do you know which to listen to, and which to ignore? Today, we will review one of these resources. Specifically we’ll review Heidi Cohen’s recent blog, titled “3 Steps to Maximize B2B Content”. We will break down exactly what you need to know to implement a successful content strategy.
In the blog, Heidi begins by stating “As a champion of content marketing incorporating a documented content strategy, I believe marketers must be strategic in their resource use to maximize their results in line with their business goals.” We couldn’t agree more.
Determining Your Strategy
According to the CMI and MarketingProfs, 76% of US B2B marketers plan to increase their content creation in 2016. Also, 51% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget. This is good news. But without a strategic plan, money and resources will be wasted.
As Heidi mentioned, you must ensure you are developing a solid plan around the content. But this cannot be done without first defining what a marketing strategy is.
It starts with planning. Develop brand, campaign, budget and data plans to make your number. It also involves engagement. This is where you define how the marketing team will interact with prospects and customers. Next is your org; is your structure set up so the right people are in the right roles? If yes, you must have execution and support plans in place. This ensures the strategy is implemented effectively.
Equally important is alignment across the organzation. This involves communication and collaboration with the other functional leaders. In her blog, Heidi mentions that one of the biggest problems is lack of communication between sales and marketing. We call this strategic misalignment.
How can you avoid this classic mistake? You must first have a deep understanding of the market, accounts, buyers and users. You must identify the market problems to know where to focus your efforts. Once you understand the market, you can build and launch products that will resonate. Then, and only then can you create demand for these products. The sales strategy must also be aligned. Their role is to convert that demand into revenue. And finally, you must have the right people to execute the strategy.
Ultimately, in order to implement a successful content strategy, you must have strategic alignment. It’s the first piece to the puzzle. Without it you will be building content that does not match the goals of the organization.
Putting it All to Work
You understand your strategy, and you’re aligned internally. What’s next in terms of content creation?
The first step is to understand your content goals for the sales and marketing team. What is the overall purpose? The next step is to determine how, when and where your buyers consume content. What are your buyer’s preferences? Also look at what content you have versus what you need. Understand the trigger events that are putting your buyers in the market. Once you have this information you can begin to put together your editorial calendar. Then determine your content production schedule: what do you need to do to meet these goals? And how will you get the content in the hands of the buyers? A key input into this is content promotion. How are you going to promote the content you create? And finally, you must be agile in your approach. Think through how you can test the effectiveness and constantly improve your content.
At the end of the day, Heidi’s blog provided helpful context around content marketing. To take it a step further, expand your thinking to cover the other functional strategies. Because without strategic alignment, all the content in the world will not help you make your number.
If you think you need help, sign up for our workshop, “How To Make Your Number in 2016.” We’ll arm your organization with the knowledge and tactics you need to be successful.