How to Create a Content Strategy for Your B2B Company
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate, engage, and nurture B2B leads. But your content has to be designed with your target buyer and their journey in mind.
The right content at the right time matters, but great content also needs to be relevant, attention-grabbing, and fresh. Whether you’re just getting started with content marketing or have been using it for a while but want to optimize your results, this article will help your business. Here are Espresso B2B’s nine steps for creating a content strategy for a B2B business.
- Understand your target buyer.
Your first task is to understand who your target buyer is, what their job title is, and what makes them tick. Take the time to delve into their key challenges and pain points. Work towards building a persona for each of your target buyers.
If you have different products that you sell to different parts of an organization, you’ll need to create multiple personas. The same applies if you’re selling to a buying committee. Just remember that each persona should include the challenges, pain points, and aspirations of the buyer.
- Shift your focus.
When most companies first go to market, they’re totally focused on themselves and their products. If this describes your company, shift your focus from talking about yourself to talking about your target buyer.
This doesn’t mean you’ll forget all about your products. In fact, the best way to start shifting your focus is to look at your products alongside your buyer and determine how the features of the former can alleviate the challenges of the latter. From this point on, any web copy, white papers, or brochures you write should discuss your products only in terms of the buyer’s challenges and pain points they can address in order to develop a unique value proposition.
Of course, your competitors will also claim they can address these pain points. So, as you build buyer personas and shift your focus to talking more about the buyer, be sure to identify your differentiators to establish your competitive positioning. What makes your solution unique compared to the competition?
- Create your story.
Take your buyer personas, unique value proposition, and competitive positioning, and start creating a story for your brand. This step is where you’ll tell a compelling story of why someone should buy your product rather than a competing solution. Pull in as much information as possible from steps 1 and 2 to flesh out your story and make it convincing. At this stage, we’re still not creating content, but we’re getting close.
- Answer questions.
Your potential buyers will have questions. These questions may change depending on where they are in the buying cycle. A top-of-funnel prospect may still be wondering why she needs your product, whereas someone closer to purchase will have specific questions about potential ROI. Brainstorm with your team to come up with as many of these potential questions as possible. Then, figure out where in your marketing content you’ll answer these questions. If you fail to answer these questions, your B2B content strategy will have little impact.
- Choose keywords.
Step 4 leads naturally to step 5 because when someone sits down at a search engine, they’re asking questions. Based on the questions you’ve come up with, start to identify the SEO keywords for which you want your online marketing content to rank. These are the words you’ll want to sprinkle strategically throughout your assets so that when someone uses them in a web search, your pages will be more likely to show up in the results.
As part of this step, start identifying which of your content you plan on offering freely (ungated) and which you’ll offer only in exchange for some personal information from the reader (gated). For example, you may plan on developing a comprehensive eBook on a certain topic and want it to generate leads. If the eBook is gated, it won’t show up in searches. But the blog post you use to promote it will. Think carefully about the keywords your target readers would be using as they strive to solve the issues you plan on discussing in your eBook.
- Map the buyer’s journey.
Now that you’ve nailed down many details of the content strategy for your B2B business, start mapping out the buyer’s journey and the content you’ll provide at each step of that journey. Remember that your prospects will ask different questions at different stages. Brainstorm the content pieces you can offer at each stage to answer the questions you came up with earlier.
Keep in mind that buyers like to consume different types of content—and strive to provide a mix. You may feel that you can best tell your story through white papers, but remember that readers also appreciate a balance of blog articles, videos, case studies, and interactive tools such as ROI calculators.
- Finalize your strategy.
Here’s where you start to pull together all your thinking from steps 1 thru 6 into a cohesive B2B content strategy. You’ve already decided what you’re going to do. Now, you’ll decide how you’re going to do it in terms of who, when, and how often.
- Create your plan.
You’ve finished planning. Now it’s time to execute. Put your team to work writing content, shooting videos, creating graphics, and building out your web presence so that your B2B content strategy can become a reality.
- Distribute your content.
Don’t go this far in the process only to skimp on the final step. The new content you’ve developed won’t reach your target buyers unless you use the right distribution channels. Take the time and do the research to determine which are the exact channels that can get you in front of the buyers you want. In other words, don’t just blast resources out to your entire email list because that’s what you’ve always done. It may be time to explore paid search, social advertising, web banners, or other channels. And you may need to use different channels for different pieces of content.
There’s a lot to do when you’re building a content strategy for your B2B business. But the task isn’t insurmountable—especially when you’re working with the right partner. Espresso B2B specializes in helping companies dominate with content. Got questions about how to get started? We can help.