Keeping Up with B2B Content Generation Demands in 2021
By Anoma van Eeden
Today there is a constant push to publish more content, better and faster than ever before.
B2Bs who publish 11 or more blogs per month see three times more traffic to their website than those who publish one blog post per month, and companies that published 400 or more posts received more than three times the leads of companies with less than 100 posts.
However, the need to consistently create new B2B marketing content comes with a catch.
The frequency with which you publish content is one thing; the quality of your content is another. Sure, it’s important to take search engine optimization and Google’s algorithm into account when writing your content, but your deliverables must be valuable to more than just a robot if you’re looking to attract, retain, and build trust among customers.
For some, when they’re vying to get to the top of the SERPs or focusing all of their energy on dollar signs, the customer falls by the wayside. — Kelly O'Hara
The behavior of your website visitors (and your target audience) is constantly changing . People are busier, attention spans are shorter, and the channels through which customers find and view your content are catering more and more to mobile devices.
86% of B2B marketers prefer interactive content that they can access on demand as opposed to static formats. — Robert Rose, CMI
At Foleon, our aim is to ensure quality, quantity, and speed come together within a company’s content marketing strategy to keep up with today’s ever-growing demand for content. This page will explore how B2Bs can tackle the daunting challenge of scaling their content to meet business goals.
There are a number of tools that can be used to accomplish these elements of your strategy, but it’s difficult to execute without an understanding of exactly what makes B2B marketing content engaging, intelligent, and scalable.
1. Create (or Revisit) your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing establishes your company as a trusted resource. When your audience knows they can turn to your website time and time again to find answers to your questions, the positive association they’ve built with your content will carry over to your larger brand. As any marketer or salesperson knows, trust leads to relationships, brand loyalty, and often sales and referrals.
Global digital marketing spend is estimated to have reached $340 billion in 2020 , and B2B companies spend an average of $185,000 per year toward content marketing efforts. And if those numbers aren’t enough to convince you about the importance of content marketing, knowing that poor writing costs American businesses nearly $400 billion each year might help explain the need for a process that both meets the need and encourages your customers to get to the next step in the buyer’s journey.
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Our Guide to Building and Applying a Content Marketing Strategy provides a comprehensive roadmap for creating and executing content designed to bring success to your business. Whether you’re building your strategy from scratch or could benefit from revisiting your existing processes, the following elements are important to consider.
Content Marketing and Business Growth Strategies
Content marketing should no longer be thought of as just another function of your marketing strategy. In other words, when content is simply designed to achieve traditional marketing KPIs, such as increased traffic or leads, reaching these goals will no longer be enough for your B2B to stand out from the competition.
Instead, design your content with your larger business goals in mind. Think of content marketing as the gateway to your audiences, stakeholders, and the general public. This holistic view establishes content marketing for what it truly is: an incredibly effective and influential function of your business.
2. Address The Barriers to Scaling Content
To effectively scale your content means to employ a content marketing strategy that easily grows with your business.
While successful content marketing strategies are a thoughtful, strategic investment, not every company reaps these benefits. Too often, marketers fall victim to the many barriers of successfully scaling their content.
While there are countless steps that go into creating your content operations, addressing each of the top content marketing challenges is a great place to start.
B2B content marketing strategies that fail to impact their company’s bottom line can be attributed to these four content operations obstacles :
Speed: the struggle to produce content consistently and quickly to meet the ever-increasing demands from various stakeholders
Engagement: the need to produce content that stands out and captures attention
Measuring Content Effectiveness: the need to understand how content is performing and what is resonating with your target audience
Personalization: the ability to build deeper relationships with target audiences through content
Transforming the customer experience requires competency in content operations [...] The customer journey has a lot of touchpoints, a lot of technologies, and a wide variety and volume of content that is involved in those interactions. Content operations is the connective tissue that can help you understand all of those connection points across the customer journey and optimize them. — Christine Polewarczyk
Speed: Produce Consistent B2B Content at a Fast Pace
We know frequent, consistent content is key for attracting customers to your site, but how can companies with marketing departments of just a few employees (or for 52% of B2Bs , as little as one employee serving the entire organization) keep up with the demand?
To create website content at a fast, consistent pace requires streamlined processes, an in-depth understanding of your business goals, an awareness of what your target audience is looking for, and knowledge of when and how to repurpose high-performing content (more on these later).
Create Engaging, Interactive Content
Not only is engagement important when considering the metrics you’ll use to determine the success of your content, but it’s also a great way to create a two-way dialogue that leaves your prospective customers feeling satisfied and more likely to turn to your company as a trusted source.
Once the purpose and subject of your written copy has been established, consider the format in which you’ll publish the finalized content.
With Foleon's interactive content platform, we are able to differentiate ourselves by creating engaging content experiences that appeal to larger B2B entities. We are now able to stand out and show that we have an interesting enterprise offering. — Joyce Chiu, DataCamp
Pro tip: Do away with PDFs ! Despite their reputation as a universal operating format, PDFs are difficult to view on mobile devices and provide zero opportunity for a two-way conversation. Companies that default to PDFs are missing out on a major opportunity to interact with customers.
Once you’ve digitized your content so that it’s interactive, highly visual, and experiential, visitors will be much more likely to view, engage with, and share your content with others in their networks.
A well thought out design will evoke emotions and address pain points , and leave visitors feeling like they’ve gained something valuable from interacting with your brand.
Measuring Content Effectiveness: Understand How Compelling Your Content Really Is
According to the Content Marketing Institute , 80% of B2B marketers use metrics to measure content performance, 65% have established KPIs, and 43% measure content marketing return on investment (ROI).
While content marketing ROI is among the most important elements of your overall strategy, too many organizations lose sight of which metrics actually reflect their target audience and overarching goals. At Foleon, we help organizations gain valuable insights and pivot their content marketing strategy using content intelligence .
Content intelligence enables companies to determine how smoothly their operations are running, the type of content that resonates most with target audiences, and more.
The ability to keep a pulse on how well people are resonating with individual pieces of content (for instance, downloadable assets), which sections of a particular downloadable asset readers are most engaged with, and the way individual prospects are engaging with a piece of downloadable content is insightful not just for marketing and sales teams, but also for your larger organization as you learn more about your prospects.
Not only can you adjust your marketing strategy on the fly, but your larger team will be able to make important budget and process-related decisions with confidence.
Personalization: Build deeper relationships with target audiences through content
Gone are the days when personalization just meant including your prospect’s name in the subject line of a nurturing email.
Customers need brands to do more than just master their demographic information; they want to feel heard and get their needs met. In other words, your customer’s interactions with your brand should make their lives easier.
To personalize your content means to tailor it to your audience’s (or audience segment's) motivations and the problems they are aiming to solve. In other words, personalized content creates value for your customers and builds trust. Personalized content should match up with your buyer personas and buyer’s journey , and ultimately build value and trust among your target audience.
3. Develop a Content Creation Process
Content creation involves more than just drafting written material. There are countless steps and skill sets involved with developing and finalizing content that is accessible, enticing, and easy to comprehend.
To meet your business objectives, you need a specific combination of people, processes, and technologies that allow you to create content that meets your business objectives. We use the term “ content operations ” to describe this process, which in the most successful organizations evolves as quickly as overarching business strategies.
Content operations recognizes that the remit of the content you create goes beyond simply furthering your marketing goals. In today's connected world, a single piece of content can serve a huge array of functions, from getting attention online or building your SEO presence to customer support, user experience, and internal comms. It also recognizes that not everyone that creates content has the interests of marketing in mind. — Douglas van Oijen
That’s where your content operations come into play. To create content at a fast, consistent pace requires the following:
Streamlined processes: taking a look at the elements that attribute to the B2B content bottleneck such as cumbersome style guides, nitpicky requirements, limited employee bandwidth, and time-consuming approval methods will save time (and money) in the long run. Our interactive eBook Crushing the B2B Content Bottleneck can help with improving your team’s efficiency.
Understanding your business goals: ensuring your strategy is meeting larger business objectives will prevent your team from getting hung up on KPIs that look great from a marketing perspective, but don’t ultimately impact your conversions and revenue.
Awareness of your target audience and what they’re looking for: Another great way to speed up your B2B content creation is to assess how much of your content caters to customers who are at different stages of the funnel. When you determine which actions you want readers to take after seeing your content and how you’ll know whether your content is successful, it will be easier for your team to adjust your content strategy in real time to achieve the results you’re looking for.
Knowing when - and how - to repurpose content: There are plenty of cases to be made for restructuring and repurposing well-performing content, but it must be done with the right metrics in mind. Alternatively, there are times when content performance significantly improves simply from changing the format through which it is presented. Employing > content intelligence will ensure you’re able to repurpose content in a way that resonates with the audience(s) you intend to attract.
4. Use Writers and Subject Matter Experts Wisely
Remember the statistic we mentioned earlier about how much money businesses lose each year on poor writing? Delegating wisely among your team and subject matter experts will ensure your company develops a well-run process for generating and executing content that is relevant and beneficial to your audience.
Hire Writers who Know Your Business (And Customers)
Employing writers (or a single writer, depending on your budget) who have at least a baseline knowledge of SEO best practices and the topics, products, or services in your company’s areas of focus is a great place to start. Looking for writing and style tips? Our Guide for Building and Applying a Content Marketing Strategy has an extensive section on writing skills and resources your employees can use to sharpen them.
Leverage Your Internal Subject Matter Experts
Next, remember your company has an entire team of subject matter experts at its disposal. When building your content calendar , don’t just designate a writer – make sure your resident “expert” on the topic at hand is able to provide their two cents so the content is meaningful.
5. Learn From the Experts: How the Most Innovative Marketers are Addressing Barriers to Scaling Content
As we mentioned above, Foleon has worked with dozens of companies who have overcome the common barriers to scaling their content . While it’s helpful to read about firsthand accounts, we sought to expand our knowledge about how the most successful companies are scaling their content to reach their business goals.
To this end, we partnered with the Content Marketing Institute to seek out how companies are creating engaging content at scale.
Read the white paper on How Today’s Innovative B2B Marketers Overcome Content Creation Barriers here .
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