Content marketing is gaining greater prominence in every marketer’s arsenal. In fact, according to a study by Content Marketing Institute, “50% of marketers feel that their content marketing budget will increase in 2019.” In the B2B domain, useful and practical content, if marketed well, can turn the tables in your favor when your prospect’s time for decision-making comes. Here is a compilation of some of the biggest content marketing challenges faced by B2B businesses in 2018 and our solutions to resolve them.
Having documented goals is important because you can plan and achieve results only if you know what your goals are. There are many outcomes that can be attained through content marketing and hence it is important to identify what you want. According to Content Marketing Institute, “65 percent of the most successful content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.”
Solution: Don’t complicate it. Businesses tend to make the process more difficult than it is supposed to be. Having simple goal definition is vital, so that everybody in the organization can understand those goals and try to achieve them. The first step is to identify where you are lagging right now and then define what you want to achieve. It could anything from generating better content, increasing views and click-throughs, increasing awareness, increasing traffic/downloads, increasing number of subscribers/leads, helping your customers use your services/products better, or keeping your clients loyal. Put some thought into how those objectives can be achieved through content marketing and then set realistic expectations.
There’s just too much information out there, so if you do not have anything new that can help your customers, then it will get lost. In the rush to produce more content and syndicate it everywhere, companies are generating a lot, but not getting enough results out of them.
Solution: Focus on quality instead of quantity. Identify the topics that might help your clients the most. Converting customer stories into content is also a great way to increase relevance. Work on generating extremely useful content and share it with your prospects and customers. Do not only stick to what you offer, but also write about related areas. Show your thought leadership by writing about first-hand experiences and insights. Today, companies are opting for informative long-form content, in fact according to Content Marketing Institute, 74% of B2B content marketers have used it in 2018. But, beware, focus on relevance, engagement and interest levels of your audience, rather than following a trend. Develop a culture of content creation across the organization to increase content credibility and authenticity. Also, figure out relevant content partnerships where you can build shared content with other organizations that support your domain.
In B2B marketing, making your content reach the right people can have a big impact on how your prospects perceive your company. However, this is the biggest gripe of most B2B content marketers. Despite a lot of efforts, they can’t seem to make the content visible to the right set of eyes.
Solution: Utilize audience segmentation and targeting. Begin by creating a database of your important prospects or customers. The next step is to create customized content for different market segments. Any generalized content will not gain readership, so target the niche segments and create specific content for those segments. Leverage targeted email marketing, telemarketing, social media marketing, and content publishing to reach them. Be present where your prospective customers are (online forums/offline events/content websites) and offer them access to your content. Explore all free and paid options of content sharing and marketing.
A schedule makes it easier for everybody involved to execute your plan correctly and stick to the timelines. A planned schedule will help your content marketing efforts to remain consistent. Companies that do not have a documented strategy often struggle with running efficient and phased content marketing campaigns. A schedule makes is easier to analyze the performance of the campaigns as well.
Solution: Make a formal content marketing calendar. It is important for you to decide how much you want to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and put it down in a worksheet. The next step is to assign responsibilities for research, writing, proofreading, designing, posting/marketing, editing, publishing, follow-ups, analytics, etc. Assigning timelines for all the tasks and the go-live dates is extremely important. When it comes to content marketing, consistency is extremely important and having a schedule, will keep you on track.
Your prospects are present everywhere, but it is extremely difficult to keep creating new content for each channel and medium. Creating content from scratch is time consuming, but modifying the same base content for different formats, audiences and channels is easier.
Solution: Learn the art of content repurposing. First, shortlist the content assets through which you want to achieve your goals. These can include blogs, whitepapers, reports, videos, infographics, webinars, tweets, slides, images, etc. Next, make multiple formats of the same content and share it as needed. Create repeatable processes and systems so that content gets generated faster. Develop simple ways or templates to create customized content for different audience segments. Also, try to personalize the information if it is one-to-one communication.
B2B decision-making cycles are often long and involve different people from a variety of domains. Creating and sharing content based on lead lifecycle can generate better outcomes and greater conversions.
Solution: Build a multi-staged content marketing plan. Study and define the various stages of customer lifecycle and create targeted content for each stage of the conversion funnel. Identify the various buyer personas and build engaging content for each. It would help if you engage with different types of prospects in the same organizations with different categories of content that answers their questions. For instance, what you share with a CEO might be different from what you would share with an end-user of a software product.
If content is created on ad-hoc basis, various versions of it lie everywhere in the organization and it becomes difficult to retrieve old content when needed. A centralized repository reduces content wastage and makes it easier to utilize old content for newer formats.
Solution: Build a content library that offers easy access to all content. Start with conducting a content audit and collecting all the usable content at one place. The next step is to create an accessible dashboard that lists the content type, keywords, descriptive meta data, channel, size, quality, past performance, current state, etc. In order to keep the content fresh, do version audits frequently and keep removing unnecessary or stale content. Ensure that all the stakeholders save the marketing content in that repository in a pre-defined format.
We have often seen businesses try to do everything in-house and then getting stuck at some level. There are many content marketing areas where professionals can help you achieve your goals more effectively and swiftly by utilizing best practices and latest tools or technologies.
Solution: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Hire or outsource to professionals who are conversant with the latest tactics in the content marketing domain. Make use of technologies like marketing automation tools to make content marketing easier. Outsourcing to a third-party service provider to conduct content marketing for your business turns out to be more cost-effective and efficient than working with in-house resources. You can easily employ professionals for research, content writing, content designing, content marketing, database creation, prospect profiling, lead management, etc.
Measuring the effectiveness of each content asset and the marketing channels lets you study what works and what doesn’t. Although, all the marketers agree with the importance of measurements, a lot of them still struggle when it comes to generating useful insights and ideas from those observations. According to Content Marketing Institute less than half of B2B content marketers measured ROI for their content marketing.
Solution: Get ready to evolve. In content marketing, it is important to regularly analyze landing page traffic, leads, conversions, sales, engagement, feedback, etc., and tweak your content marketing strategy. Businesses need to implement fresh ideas and test them to find what gives better results for their business. Collecting customer/prospect feedback and using that to improve your content is another great way to remain relevant.
Generating great content does not guarantee great business outcomes. Making your content deliver results has become a challenging and complex task that requires dedication and expertise. So, it is time to go all in and tackle content marketing with all your might. If done well, it might give you better results than any other form of B2B marketing.