Marketing Content Development: Top 5 Tactics

B2B marketing content development can be expensive in terms of dollars and time spent — and some tactics are better than others.  According to CMO council research on content ROI “only 22 percent of respondents say they are very satisfied with the caliber of technology content” and this issue is not just limited to technology brands.  But smart companies have learned how to tackle the challenge efficiently and effectively.  How do they do it?

MarketingSherpa’s Top 5 Marketing Content Development Tactics

Marketingsherpa: 5 tips marketing content development
Here are the top 5 tactics for marketing content development, as reported in MarketingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Benchmark Report:

  1. Repurpose and reformat existing content: 64% of respondents
  2. Encourage customers to submit testimonials and case studies: 53%
  3. Recruit authors internally: 48%
  4. Outsource to a consultant or agency: 27%
  5. Use social media to encourage brand advocates to produce content: 20%

Marketing Content Development Best Practices

But MarketingSherpa’s data tells only part of the story.  The real answer is using the right strategy, tools, templates, work-flow, and performance measurement to create and refine your content.  Based on our experience working with large, mid-sized and small B2B brands we recommend the following approach regardless of the tactic that you are using for marketing content development.

A Customer-Focus

Content development is not about you!  It’s about your customer.  They are the audience you need to satisfy with your content.  And if doing this sounds easy take an honest look at your current content.  How much of it is really customer focused?  And how much is “About Us, Why Buy From UsOur Successe Stories, Our Press, Our Careers, Contact Us“. See this classic example of “all about us” website content:

Marketing Content Development: All About Us Navigation

While this tablestakes information does play a role in credentializing your company it is no longer enough to connect with and convert more customers.  To create effective marketing content with a customer-focus you need to focus on these three factors:

Findability

Findability is a combination of SEO and real-world communications clarity.  Is the value and relevance of your content structured to be findable by search engines and by human beings.  Does your title do a good job of describing it.  Does it include the right keywords.  Does it sound like something worth reading.  Does it connect with a customer need.  Does the description tell me what I will learn and why it is worth reading.  Is it structured to be scan-able with headers, sub-heads, lists, and highlights. Take a look at this example of search results for “3PL retail logistics best practices”.  Which result delivers the most findability?

Marketing Content Development: Optimize Your Search Results

Relevance

Relevance is defined by your customer.  They are searching, reading, and engaging with your content because there is something they want to know.  The more you deliver what customers are looking for — the more your content will be relevant.  So start by understanding what you customer wants to know.  And remember, what customers want to know changes at each stage of their decision process.  So develop content relevant to their needs and pains at each stage, from understanding the problem to evaluating different solutions to making a final decision.

Value

Content value is also defined by your customer.  Customers don’t care how much time, effort and money you have invested in creating content.  They judge content value on one attribute alone.  Is it useful to them.  Does it help answer their question or give them helpful insights.  Can they do something with the information that you have shared.  Practical advice is more valuable than theory.  Real-world concepts are more valuable than opinion.

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