How to develop a Content Marketing strategy for a B2B firm in 6 steps

B2B firms tend to be concerned that their solutions aren’t attracting enough for content marketing – but only if the approach on doing content marketing is wrong in the first place. So how to transform your marketing strategy from a traditional to a modern and successful model aligned with growth and business goals? This can be done through a proper integration of content and social media marketing and a deep transformation of its overall marketing model.

Traditional marketing has always been about getting company products and services in front of the (right) audience. Content marketing is about meeting the informational needs of customers so they become interested in you.

It’s no longer about brand-first. It’s about giving consumers content that adds value to their lives, and in return adds value to us . David Beebe, Marriott, in an interview for Contently

Now, I am not a content marketing expert. But I have been working on a strategy that will change the approach of my Business Unit (BU) on it, moving from an advanced but traditional marketing model to a new, modern, content-based one. I have documented myself reading books and blogs. I have attended summits and conferences. I have been in contact with experts like NewsCred and Contently to understand how to improve the process. The new strategy will introduce elements of uniqueness, like the BU editorial board and the BU editorial calendar. It will integrate content, social media and PR. It will link dashboards and analytic. What I am trying to say is: you don’t need to be an expert content marketer to put together a content marketing strategy. You have to be a smart, well-documented, “hybrid” marketer. And you have to support what you are building with the right research.

First of all – why do we need a content marketing strategy? Based on a definition from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), “Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action“.

Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.

A content marketing strategy has to be documented and a plan has to be defined. Based on research from Content Marketing Institute, firms with a properly documented marketing strategy are far more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing and are able to justify spending a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing.

A well prepared content marketing plan should include six steps. Specifically:

  1. The business case for change/innovation
  2. The content marketing pla
  3. Audience persona and content map
  4. Brand history
  5. Channel plan, including distribution and amplification strate
  6. Measurement and KPIs

The business case for change/innovation

You need to assess the situation “as is” today and start thinking about a “to be” model, based on objectives and medium-long term vision. You have to communicate reasons for innovating and moving away from (or integrating) a traditional model, the risks involved, and the vision of what success will look like. This is more likely to gain executive and functional support for your strategy.

 The content marketing plan

This covers the goals you have for your content program, the unique value you are looking to provide through your content, and details of your business model. It also should outline the obstacles and opportunities you may encounter as you execute your plan.

Editorial Process & Procedures

The business plan has to go side by side with an internal transformation. Today’s marketing organizations are not designed to properly support a content marketing strategy.  The content editorial board is the core of your transformation. The board has to handle all content-related requests and issues, has to define internal communication and distribution plan and channel strategy. In large organization like the one I work for, the editorial board has also the key role of alignment and coordination of several division and sources of contents.

Also, you can’t have a long-term content strategy without the tools to manage it. And one of the most effective tools you can use is the editorial calendar. The editorial calendar is much more than just a calendar with content assigned to dates. A good editorial calendar maps content production to the audience persona. Ultimately, your editorial calendar is your most powerful tool as a content marketer.

Without a plan, an editorial board and editorial calendar, nothing will happen (or, at least, things will happen slowly and with several difficulties).

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