73% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a part of their overall strategy, and 54% of marketers plan on increasing their content budget in the coming years.
But many marketers still shy away from a fully-fledged content marketing strategy because they don’t see its value in driving revenue, or they don’t have the resources to produce ongoing content. In these cases, they elect to publish occasional content without deliberate thought.
Unfortunately for them, simply publishing one blog every other week is not enough to gain real traction and return on investment (ROI) when it comes to content.
Understanding the role that content plays in B2B marketing at every stage of the funnel is how marketers can begin to drive real, consistent conversions using blogs, white papers, and more.
That’s why the best marketers develop a content marketing strategy that goes beyond treating content as just another box to check. Such a strategy is designed to achieve business goals by understanding the needs of prospects at every point in their journey and creating material that will resonate with them and their pain points and ultimately guide them through the funnel.
Read on to discover how to identify the needs in your marketing and sales funnels, build a strategy around those needs, and execute effective content that paves a smooth conversion path for every prospect.
What is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?
A B2B content marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how a business intends to create, distribute, and promote valuable and relevant content to attract, engage, and convert a target audience.
With a digital content marketing strategy, B2B companies use content like blog posts, white papers, videos, and more as a strategic tool to communicate with prospects at every stage of the marketing and sales funnels. The strategy aims to drive brand awareness, establish thought leadership, nurture relationships, and meet key performance indicators (KPIs).
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
A well-defined content marketing strategy should include the following components:
- Set Goals: Clearly define the objectives you want to accomplish through content marketing. This could include increasing brand visibility, driving website traffic, generating leads, enhancing customer loyalty, or improving conversions.
- Identify Your Target Audience: Identify your target audience or buyer personas. Understand their demographics, firmographics, pain points, and behaviors to create content that resonates with them at every stage of the marketing and sales funnels.
- Research Topics: Conduct thorough research to identify relevant topics and keywords that align with your audience's interests and needs. Explore trending industry topics and influencers, and conduct competitor analysis and keyword research to guide your content ideation and creation processes.
- Choose Marketing Channels: Identify the channels where members of your target audience spend their time consuming content. This could be social media or industry publications, among other channels. With this research, you can align format content to the unique needs of each distribution channel.
- Produce Content: Develop a content creation plan that includes various formats such as blog posts, white papers, videos, infographics, case studies and social media posts. Focus on delivering valuable and engaging content that educates, entertains, inspires, or solves problems for your target audience.
- Distribute Materials: Once you’ve identified channels of distribution and tailored your content to each platform, it’s time to start publishing your new assets. Note that content consumption often differs at each stage of the funnel, which is important to factor in when creating your content distribution strategy to reach your audience effectively.
- Emphasize SEO: Optimize your content for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptions. This improves your content's visibility in search engine results and increases organic traffic to your website.
- Promote and Amplify: Develop a plan to promote your content through paid advertising, social media promotion, influencer partnerships, backlinking campaigns, email marketing, website pop-ups, and other channels. Amplify your content to reach a wider audience and increase engagement.
- Track and Analyze: Implement tools to track the performance of your content marketing efforts. Monitor key metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and social media metrics. Analyze the data to gain insights, make data-driven decisions, and refine your strategy and assets as needed.
- Iterate Content: Continuously review and update your content marketing strategy based on the insights and feedback gathered. Adapt to changing market trends, audience preferences, and evolving business goals to maximize the effectiveness of your content.
A successful content marketing strategy requires consistency, quality, and relevance. By delivering valuable content to your audience, you can build trust, establish your brand as an authority, and drive meaningful results.
Tackle the Entire Funnel with a Content Marketing Strategy
The best B2B marketers use content at every stage of the funnel to create a cohesive and harmonious journey for prospects. The content at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel should align with the needs, interests, and questions of the target audience at that particular point in their buying journey.
Top-of-the-Funnel (TOFU): Raise Awareness & Educate Prospects
When prospects enter the funnel, aim to raise awareness and provide educational resources on the topics they’re interested in, without making a heavy sales push for your products or services. The following types of content can grab the attention of prospects unfamiliar with your service and give them valuable answers to questions before they even ask them.
- Blog posts: Create informative and educational blog posts that address common pain points, challenges, or questions your target audience may have. Incorporate relevant keywords to drive organic traffic.
- Pillar pages: Establish credibility and educate the audience with a central hub of information that answers all potential questions on a specific topic and links to other pieces of relevant content. This generates more leads and showcases definitive thought leadership. (Check out The Complete Guide to Hiring & Working with a Growth Marketing Agency for an example of a pillar page.)
- eBooks: Offer downloadable resources that provide in-depth information on a specific topic related to your industry or expertise. This helps establish your brand as an industry authority.
- Checklists: Provide digestible, actionable information on specific topics or tasks that prospects can easily download and follow to increase topic awareness, encourage engagement and sharing, and deliver real value to prospects in the awareness stage.
|Pro-tip: Some popular TOFU distribution channels including emails, social posts, website pop-ups, and ads.|
Middle-of-the-Funnel (MOFU): Highlight Unique Selling Points
Once prospects are aware of a product or service, they begin to evaluate potential solutions to alleviate their most prominent pain points. MOFU content should take advantage of that shown interest and effectively teach prospects how to choose a solution, and the following content helps guide them through this stage.
- Case studies: Present real-life examples of how your product or service has benefited existing customers. Showcase the value and success your brand brings to potential customers.
- White papers: Publish in-depth reports or studies that provide valuable insights and data relevant to your industry or target audience's interests.
- Webinars: Conduct live or recorded webinars that delve deeper into specific topics, demonstrate your expertise, and allow for interactive engagement with potential customers.
- Comparison guides: Create content that compares your products or services with alternatives in the market, highlighting your unique value proposition and helping prospects make informed decisions.
|Pro-tip: Consider distributing your MOFU content through ads, landing pages, service and solution pages, and through email.|
Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU): Incentivize Conversion
At the bottom-of-the-funnel, prospects have officially entered the decision stage, and it’s time to convince them that your solution is the best one. To do this, a content marketing strategy should highlight material designed to drive conversions by including enticing offers and showcasing satisfied current customers.
- Testimonials/customer reviews: Share testimonials or reviews from satisfied customers to build trust and credibility and address potential customers' concerns or objections.
- More in-depth case studies: Present detailed case studies highlighting how your product or service has successfully solved a particular problem or achieved specific customer results. In contrast to a MOFU case study, this should be longer and include more data.
- Product demo/free trial-related content: Send content that offers free trials, demos, or limited access to your product or service to allow potential customers to experience its value firsthand. Offers should showcase the features and benefits of the product.
|Pro-tip: When it comes to distributing BOFU content, keep the content in the vicinity of your calls-to-action (CTAs) on service and solution pages. See an example above, with the video testimonial immediately below the CTA.|
B2B Content Marketing Strategy: The Conclusion
A robust content marketing strategy that caters to every stage of the marketing funnel is essential for B2B companies aiming to drive consistent success and achieve revenue goals. By understanding your target audience's unique needs, motivations, and behaviors at each stage, you can create tailored content that effectively engages and guides them through their customer journey.
Looking to strengthen your content marketing strategy? Book a personalized consultation with the ProperExpression team to discuss how you can have a comprehensive, full-funnel content strategy that drives revenue long after it’s written.