5 Questions Answered that Will Boost Your B2B Content Marketing

by Dec 20, 2016B2B Lead Generation, Marketing

5 Questions Answered that Will Boost Your B2B Content Marketing

Great news! 2016 market research shows that B2B Content Marketers performed better than last year. The annual research performed by The Content Marketing Institute in North America surveyed several content marketers in the UK, Australia and North America to find out how their content marketing performed in comparison to last year…the results were great!

We still have no statistics for South Africa as the B2B content marketing industry is still new, but we expect results to start pouring in from 2017.

Below are the results from The Content Marketing Institute. A whopping 62% said that their organisation’s content marketing improved this year.

Image: Content Marketing Institute

But what’s more interesting in the report is that out of the percentage of unsuccessful marketers, 55% of them were unclear as to what makes a successful B2B content marketing strategy. This means that a lot of work needs to be done.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you feel that you are one of those people who doesn’t know what constitutes a successful B2B content marketing strategy, you’re not alone. As mentioned before, most organisations who are not successful in content marketing don’t fully understand what an effective content marketing program looks like. To help you, below are five frequently asked questions with detailed responses.

Question 1: Which tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content promotion are marketers using? Which are the most effective?

Firstly, effective content marketers have the means of measuring their content maturity level. There are five levels of content maturity:

Sophisticated – Providing accurate measurement to the business. Scaling across the organisation. The organisation is extremely committed to content marketing and on building an audience.

Mature – Finding success, but struggling to integrate the process within the entire organisation. The organisation is committed to content marketing but fails to find a way to integrate.

Adolescent – Able to define their strategy and measure their effectiveness, but has not yet reached their level. The organisation is somewhat committed to content marketing.

Young – Experiencing growing pains and struggling to create an effective content marketing strategy. The organisation has begun to see the importance of content marketing.

First Steps – Has some form of content, but has not yet formalised a content marketing strategy. The organisation is not committed to content marketing.

Ideally, you want to be at the sophisticated level, but if you’re not there yet, you may implement these changes:

  1. Be committed and let it be known throughout the organisation. To succeed in content marketing, you need to see the true value that it brings, and let your commitment transpire to the team.
  2. Allocate a budget for content marketing. Time and again we see organisations who want traction, but don’t want to spend for it. They believe that they can have an effective strategy by using organic social media sharing and tools. “Using only organic methods, it takes organizations 12 to 24 months to see great results”, says @joepulizzi. If you want to get to the sophisticated level of content marketing, you must allocate a budget to it.
  3. Differentiate from competitors. You are unique, your company is unique and so are your customers. Take a different approach to your content marketing. Stop creating content that people can get anywhere and everywhere. Write unusual headlines or talk about something different. This will help you to build a unique and valuable audience.
  4. Focus on audience building. Sophisticated content marketers understand that to be effective in content marketing, they must find ways to increase their overall audience via email subscribers. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to build an audience.
  5. Document your content marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute also found in their research that sophisticated content marketing strategies are always documented. Those who failed at content marketing either didn’t have a documented strategy or had a partially written one. To improve your content marketing, make sure you document this strategy. Include points such as
  • Well defined goals for creating content (Why are you creating this content?)
  • Understanding of audience persona (Who are you marketing to?)
  • The process to align with other sales/marketing initiatives (Are there any promotions or sales running? How can you use that in your strategy?)
  • Measurement plan (How will you measure your progress against the goals mentioned above?)
  • Scaling (How will this strategy be scaled over time?)

In terms of social media platforms, there is no “one size fits all”. What works for Nike may not work for Pete’s barbershop down the road. The trick is to find the platform where your audience frequents.

How can you do this?

You can do this with surveys on your website/landing page. Add a survey box on your home page that prompts a visitor to respond.  Each time someone lands on your page, ask them how they got there and which social media channels they frequent. After a while, you have a lot of data to decide which social media channels to target.

Content marketers are using all types of paid promotion:

  • Facebook Boosts and Sponsored ADS
  • Twitter Cards
  • Instagram Sponsored Posts
  • LinkedIn ADS
  • YouTube ADS
  • Google ADS

Question 2: What is the most important metric for measuring content marketing success?

There are six ways to measure content marketing success:

  1. Website metrics. This is the number of clicks you receive on your content. Analyse the page views, time on site, crawl rate, bounce rate and inbound links.
  2. Social media metrics. Here you can see your reach, click-through rate, engagement and following.
  3. Qualitative data. What are your readers saying about your content? Do they like it? Have you received any bad reviews? Don’t just take one review as your measurement, but rather aim to get many reviews so that you eliminate bias.
  4. Leads. How many leads have you generated with your content marketing? This is a great measure of success.
  5. Subscribers. Has your subscriber list increased? If you have not gotten one new subscriber with your content, you must re-strategise.
  6. Email metrics. Here you want to see the email open rates, click-throughs and conversions. We obviously cannot recommend the required percentage of open rates, but as long as your rates increase over time, it’s a sign that you’re doing well.

Question 3: How much budget do they allocate to content marketing?

This is totally dependent from company to company. Research show, however, that the more you put into content marketing, the better. It also shows that writing less and marketing more produces better results.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy with A Small Budget

Question 4: Which content offers are they asking people to subscribe to?

Sophisticated content marketers use A/B testing to find out which offers work best. This is something we recommend you do before settling on one type of offer. Change the colours, shapes and wording to test out which works best.

Question 5: Which goals will they be focusing on over the next 12 months?

They will be focusing on cementing their current strategy and differentiating themselves even further from the competition. The next year will see video content becoming more popular, with Facebook possibly implementing something similar to YouTube on their platform.