Content marketing is a crucial tool for B2B brands to build an audience, increase trust, and drive leads. Many business leaders are getting excited about all the data that shows the value of content marketing and diving in headfirst. They're hiring staff and contracting with agencies to pump out huge quantities of content.
"Our competitor just released an ebook, so let's do that too!" you'll hear a marketing director shout in a meeting. Or, you might hear a junior staffer say in passing, "My boss told me I'd get a bonus if I publish 20 blog posts a month."
Here's the thing: It's easy to measure quantity, but quality is a different story--and how much the content resonates with your potential audience will have a far greater impact on its success than how many blog posts your team managed to pump out before lunch. So step back from the content arms race. It's time for a brief retreat before you face the world.
Instead, start with these questions:
- What are our key goals?
Are you interested in building awareness, driving leads, creating deeper engagement with your existing customers, building brand trust, or another goal entirely? Content marketing is flexible enough to be shaped around each of these strategies--for instance, you can see our tips for optimizing your blog for conversions here--but there's no sense getting started until you know where you're going.
- What metrics can we use to measure progress?
In the case of awareness, for instance, your key metrics might be increased social followers and traffic to your blog. If you're after leads, you'll want to study the number of conversions your content results in, and how often they lead to sales. Understand what to measure, and research the industry benchmarks to get a sense of what kind of goals are realistic for you to meet.
- Who's accountable for spearheading the strategy?
If you're working with an outside agency, you'll need to decide whether to let them take the reigns, or whether you're relying on them solely to deliver the content based on your specifications while your team is accountable for performance. If you're running the show internally, make sure that you have one key person on your content marketing team who understands the goals and can optimize the strategy accordingly based on how well you're meeting your progress goals.
You'll need to take this seriously to ensure it's successful, so if you don't have someone with the time and knowledge to dedicate to the effort, you may need to lean more heavily on an outside partner to develop and manage your strategy: We recommend starting with these six steps.
By running a highly strategic content marketing program, you'll likely develop less content overall than many of your competitors, but you'll see a far greater impact. Make your content prove its value, and you'll be able to build a clear path, measurable path towards reaching--and then exceeding--your company's business goals.