A Successful Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

Qualitative content ensures satisfied users and customers. However, the majority of written B2B articles are never seen by the target group. How a successful content marketing strategy is established will be shown in this article.

content marketing strategy

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According to Sirius Decisions / Forrester, 60-70 percent of all B2B articles remain unused because they never reach their target group. Although the content meets the qualitative claim, it is not used strategically and thus misses its target.

Properly planned and executed, a content marketing strategy has immense clout. For example, according to a study by Kapost, content marketing results in three times more leads than paid search advertising.

So how can you tap into this potential and successfully convert your target audience into leads and, more importantly, customers? We share our guide to a successful B2B content marketing strategy in five steps.

Missing leads due to missing strategy

If your content does not find its way to the target audience, your website will have no visitors and you will not generate leads. Such a failure in lead generation leads to loss of revenue. Therefore, there needs to be a clear plan on how to optimize this chain of causality.

Many companies create quality content, but do not have a clear strategy to whom the content is directed, how it is distributed on the web and what goal is intended with the publication and distribution of the content.

Content marketing has the long-term goal of building lead lists, generating sales and building loyalty.

However, according to the Content Marketing Institute, most B2B marketers only use content marketing to create brand awareness, educate their audience and build trust.

The potential of content marketing is therefore far from exhausted and offers your B2B company the opportunity to grow beyond itself and to get in touch with your target group in a more targeted way.

The Content Marketing Guide for B2B Companies

Through content marketing, you provide your target customers with important information that contributes decisively to the solution of their wishes and needs.

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The Content Marketing Guide for B2B Companies

B2B Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

With the following instructions, you too can set up an efficient content marketing strategy in five steps. The strategy includes the following steps: Content Creation, Content Organization, Content Distribution, Content Booster, Results.

Step 1: Content Creation

The first step of the content marketing strategy is to create a coherent topic world around the target group and the products. The appropriate keywords should be evaluated and the goal of the content marketing strategy should be defined.

a) Target definition

Only those who have a clear goal in mind can plan the right measures. Your first task is therefore to clearly define your objectives.

The following two examples show what constitutes a clear definition:

  • Option 1: "We want to attract more readers to our blog.

  • Option 2: "We want to gain 30% more leads for the heat pump product group by December 31, 2020."

The first option is blurry and not on target. If you would only get one additional reader, you would already have fulfilled the condition.

The second option contains a clear target value and a target date and is therefore precisely defined. Your goals should also be formulated this way.

Your goals can be categorized into in terms of brand or revenue:

  • Revenue-related goals: Leads, contracts, sales, cross-selling & upselling

  • Brand related goals: Brand awareness, loyalty, reach

Don't set too many goals. Examine which of your goals best support the company's overarching goals and focus on those. That way, all measures are aimed at one overarching goal.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be set in advance so that you can check your measures after the set deadline.

Clarify in advance how you can access these measured values. Here, too, it is important to select as few indicators as possible, but the right ones.

b) Matching the content to the target group and product range

Your content should address a specific target group and fit the theme world of your products. It is therefore important to know who the target group is and how you can address them at eye level. The creation of buyer personas helps here.

In order to guide the target group step by step through the customer journey to the product or service, the needs and intentions of the target group must be known.

This is the only way to create effective value.

The chosen topics must frequently be searched for by the target group and have a clear, even if not promotional, relationship to the products. The customer's journey, in each case, begins far away from a purchase decision.

c) Keyword research and topic planning

You now have a rough idea of which topics move your target group. With the help of detailed keyword research, you should now find out what search volume is behind the individual topics and how great the effective interest is for the individual topics.

Accordingly, topic blocks can be formed and combined into topic clusters. It is advisable to create so-called Pillar Pages, which roughly summarize all details of a topic and provide orientation.

Detailed information is then provided on a separate sub-page. The pages link to each other and show the user as well as Google that there is a connection.

Pillar Page: the Topic Cluster Model

Keywords alone are no longer enough to get you to the top of the search results

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Pillar Page: the Topic Cluster Model

d) Create content

It's not the quantity of content that reflects good content, but the quality of it. The more targeted your content is to the needs of the target audience, the more valuable it is.

By creating selected content that is often searched for by your target audience, satisfies an effective need, and belongs to the thematic world of your products, you are doing everything right.

Content creation is not a one-time action. Optimally, you create new or revise existing content on an ongoing basis to meet the ever-changing needs of your target audience.

Step 2: Content Organization

a) Content planning

At first, it may seem easy to keep track of the content you create. However, as the amount of content increases, this task becomes more and more complex. A comprehensive repository, a kind of content library, helps to keep track.

The goal of such an overview is to see the status of each article at a glance. This way you always know which content is where in the pipeline and what the next steps are.

A rough division into:

  • To do

  • Doing

  • Done

and, if necessary, a review category for the editing of new and existing content, should be available.

b) Content personalization

Content always aims to satisfy a specific need. Depending on where the user is in the customer journey, this need is completely different.

Therefore, to refine your content marketing strategy, you should categorize your content and tag it with thoughtful tags.

This way, the content can be assigned to the individual customer journey phases and pay off on a clear goal. Such a classification also helps recognize in which phases you have not yet created enough content and where action is required.

Customer Journey Reporting

Source: Customer Journey Reporting from Aioma Software

You are free to select the tags you want, but we recommend that you specify the possible characteristics in advance, to avoid a proliferation of tags. Possible categories of tags are for example:

  • Phase in the customer journey

  • Topic cluster / overarching topic

  • Keyword

  • Target

  • Persona

  • Product group

This allows you to filter your content for a wide variety of queries and know exactly what the intent behind each piece of content is.

Step 3: Content Distribution

You have now created qualitative content for your target group. The content must now be brought to your target group.

In the long term, your content should be found primarily via organic search. To support this process, you should highlight and actively share your content on a regular basis.

There are various ways in which content can be disseminated. The PESO model offers an overview.

PESO-Model

Source: Own representation based on the PESO model

The model distinguishes between:

  • Earned

  • Shared

  • Paid

  • and Owned channels.

For an optimal distribution of your content you need a combination of the above-mentioned channels. How you present your content depends on the channel and format you choose.

Content distribution is not only about distributing new content, but also about illuminating existing content from a new perspective. Therefore, always use different excerpts to arouse the interest of your target group and to find the right approach.

a) Earned

Earned media is when third parties take your content, report on it and thus bring you traffic.

These are usually professional institutions such as media houses or other companies.

b) Shared

In contrast, shared media describes the sharing of your content via - mostly private - social media profiles.

This is about referencing and 1:1 reproduction of your content to an extended target group.

c) Paid

Paid media refers to any form of paid traffic. This includes Google Ads, social media advertising or sponsored posts.

d) Owned

Owned media includes all channels over which you have sovereignty. These are for example websites, newsletters or social media profiles.

Compared to the other categories, owned channels can be controlled 100%.

Preview LinkedIn Post

Source: Preview of a LinkedIn post with the Aioma software

Step 4: Content Booster

In addition to the continuous distribution of content, it can be worthwhile to additionally push selected content in order to give the necessary boost, especially in the initial phase.

a) Ads

For this purpose, targeted ads can be placed to generate traffic on the landing pages.

b) Cooperations

Further, you can set up collaborations with influencers or other opinion leaders from your industry.

Likewise, it is important that you continue to keep an eye on your target group.

c) Partners

Therefore, look for partners who serve a congruent target group or use lookalike campaigns to target users who are very similar to your current audience.

Step 5: Results

The extent to which the content marketing strategy has been crowned with success can only be analysed after 6-18 months. When evaluating, clearly adhere to the predefined goals and key performance indicators (KPI).

a) Winning leads

In order for you to gain leads in the longer term, you need the right tools. Use targeted conversion elements to attract leads and create value in return.

Checklists, whitepapers or webinars, for example, are great lead magnets to convert users to leads.

b) Qualify leads

The more you know about your leads, the clearer you can assess how valuable a lead is to your business and how likely the lead is to convert to a customer.

Therefore, think about how you value interactions between you and your leads. For example, what does a website visit, an opened email, or a call to customer service say about your lead?

Customer Profile

Source: Customer Profile from Aioma Software

c) Gain Insights

With content marketing, you have the opportunity to create theses and test them cost-effectively over a longer period of time.

In doing so, you gain valuable insights about your target group, your content and your products and services.

With a clean tracking you can reconstruct the customer journey of your target group step by step and identify weak points in the user guidance.

d) Show ROI

The advantage of online marketing lies in the data it collects.

This allows you to evaluate every channel and every piece of content down to the smallest detail, create comparisons and make data-driven decisions.

d) Optimize

Is a particular piece of content or channel not working the way you thought it would?

Then you know where to start next. The goal should be not to have to start from scratch, but to use the knowledge gained and to continuously optimize the existing structure.

Content marketing offers you a unique playground to run tests, try out new things and build a long-term customer relationship.

Conclusion

Content marketing is a sustainable and efficient tool to achieve predefined goals. It is important that you know your target group exactly and know how you can offer them a clear added value; and that in different phases of the customer journey and across different channels.

With a well thought-out content marketing strategy, qualitative leads can be collected in the long term and thus increase sales.