B2B Content Marketing Strategy Template

Approach your B2B content marketing strategy using a framework to plan and develop content around your marketing objectives

For many B2B leaders, content marketing is a key initiative when marketing a complex product or solution. But creating content marketing that delivers results is not an easy feat.  Spending a bit of time up-front to develop a better B2B content marketing strategy will ensure you are focused on getting better results.  Here are four elements of a better B2B content marketing strategy:

1. Prioritizing B2B measurable objectives

The first step in building a B2B content marketing strategy is committing to measurable marketing objectives and prioritizing their importance against your business objectives.  B2B marketing plans often include both qualitative and quantitative objectives. Planning against these measurable strategic objectives allows you to report on marketing results instead of just tactical activities.

Comparison of tactical activities vs measurable results

Awareness & Acquisition PPC Click rate tracking Ad Impressions Tradeshow attendance List acquisition Form completions Cards collected Database size # of new, active, prospects that fit target definition Nurturing # of drip campaigns # of prospects in nurturing campaigns # of touches/emails sent # of active prospects in last 30 days # of active prospects in last 90 days Sales Readiness Qualification Lead scores (activity tracking) # of active leads that fit target definition (MQL) and accepted by sales (SAL) # of leads signaling a readiness to buy such as “request a live demo”

Because content marketing is resource-intensive, you must prioritize your resource allocation to achieve better results. For example, if you are attracting and opting in lots of active prospects than you priority should be:

  1. Qualifying their sales readiness.
  2. Nurturing their engagement with your subject matter expertise.
  3. Attracting and acquiring new prospects.

If you have the opposite priority of attracting more leads, then your investment priorities will be reversed. Either way, it is crucial to prioritize your marketing objectives. Otherwise, your campaign will be trying to accomplish too many things at once without focusing on your objectives.

2. Articulating the business you’re in to your customers

The next step should focus on using a customer-focused articulation of the business you are in. This will help to identify which content categories, topics, and approaches are most relevant to your customer. Every great company and brand has deep areas of subject matter expertise. While these areas of expertise are important to managing and operating a business, not all of them are relevant to what your customer wants to know.

What Business Are You In?

The classic example is Theodore Levitt’s question: “What business are you in?” He illustrates this point with drill bits. Drill bit manufacturers care about everything involved in the production of their drill bits, but drill bit customers don’t really want drill bits. They want holes. Understanding the business you are in through the lens of your customer ensures that you are marketing holes, not just bits.

3. Profiling your target market

The third step in building your content marketing strategy is profiling your target customer segments. Sales profiles, personas, and best customer models are tools you should use to profile your customer segments in order to improve the relevance and effectiveness of your content marketing. The key in building the right segments is to identify customer needs and pains, filter them through the business you are in, group their needs and pains by roles or audiences, and then use that data to profile your top customer segments. It is important to profile these segments by developing a long list of customer needs and pains using your customer’s own “How do I” questions. Resist the urge to roll-up needs and pains, or redefine them in your own terms. For better content marketing results, you have to avoid the “curse of knowledge”:

“Better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people.”

You are an expert, but your customers don’t have all of your expertise. Make sure to focus on your customer’s needs and pains, rather than simply providing expert knowledge.

4. Developing content aligned with what your customer wants to know

Marketing Sherpa’s #3 lead generation best practice is: “CREATE CONTENT FOR EACH STAGE OF THE SALES CYCLE”.  At Brainrider, we take a customer-focused perspective by mapping relevant topics against each stage of the customer’s decision process. Here is a quick guide on how to map relevant topics for each stage:

First, model your pipeline by understanding the different stages a customer goes through when deciding to do business with you. Then, identify “what your customer wants to know” by segment. For example:

What’s my problem?

  • They are casting a wide net and may or may not have an idea what the solution will be.
  • The information-seeking has a broad focus, using more generic and high-level search terms and keywords.
  • They are seeking assistance with definition, scope, and internal buy-in to solving a problem.
  • They are searching for available options that will meet their requirements.
  • Keywords and search terms will be more specific and will start to reflect solution alternatives or categories.
  • Their goal is developing a short-list of viable alternatives.
  • They have a solid understanding of how each alternative measures up and the decision maker is trying to get comfortable with committing to one of the decision alternatives.
  • Keywords and search terms will be much more specific and will be focused on specific solutions.
  • They are managing questions and building a case with various stakeholders.

How do I fix my problem?

  • They are searching for available options that will meet their requirements.
  • Keywords and search terms will be more specific and will start to reflect solution alternatives or categories.
  • Their goal is developing a short-list of viable alternatives.

Are you right for me?

  • They have a solid understanding of how each alternative measures up and the decision maker is trying to get comfortable with committing to one of the alternatives.
  • Keywords and search terms will be much more specific and will be focused on specific solutions.
  • They are managing questions and building a case with various stakeholders.

The chart below is the tool we recommend to map decision stages and content opportunities for your content plan.

B2B Buyer decision map. If your customer is asking:, What’s my problem, How do I fix my problem, Are you right for me, They want:, Education & Thought Leadership, Solutions & Product Suitability, Credentials & Decision Support, What to share with them:, Trends, Benchmarks, Analyst coverage, 101 Education, How to guides, How other people are solving this, What is the solution & how does it work, Solution comparisons, Pitfall analysis, Readiness & suitability assessments, How do I choose a vendor, Pricing, Bench strength , demonstration, Case studies, ROI/TCO , How to buy, Working with us

Get better results with faster planning and execution

Part of the answer to achieving better content marketing results is faster content planning and better execution. Brainrider recommends using these 4 strategic elements as a practical framework to plan content development and marketing prioritized against client objectives and audiences. Click here to download a working copy of the B2B Content Marketing Strategy Template or contact us for more information about how we help clients get better content marketing.

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Creating engaging content for your customers is no easy task. To learn how Brainrider can develop content that will help you reach your goals, request a proposal now.