Back in 2009, I saw one of the first definitions of content strategy from Kristina Halvorson: “Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” The emphasis at that time was on planning.
While planning is critical, the definition was missing an emphasis on the substance of the content – the messages and information that will drive your audience to ultimately take action and meet your business objectives. Today, the substance of content is arguably more important than planning what to do with it. Cutting through the clutter isn’t as much about how to reach your target audience anymore as it is about being relevant and speaking to their pain points. And that content not only needs to be tied to your business objectives, but also needs to resonate with the buyer and fulfill their needs beyond the products and solutions you offer. Here’s why:
- Irrelevant content is the number one reason B2B audiences don’t engage more often, according to Marketo.
- 30 percent of all Internet users are expected to be using ad blockers by the end of the year.
- Over half of the buyer’s journey is completed digitally before speaking with sales.
Successful B2B content strategy will always require planning, but also calls for compelling storytelling that:
- Shows your company’s commitment to your mission and vision beyond products
- Is customer-centric and built on customer need-states
- Offers a strong, provocative point of view that’s authentic to your brand
- Evokes emotion
- Serves the good of the industry, not just your company
- Helps your audience overcome common challenges and be better at their jobs
At Inprela, we follow a methodical process to build B2B content strategies that resonate with the buyer and achieve business objectives. We start by assessing the landscape and market, then speak with prospects and customers to understand what matters to them. From there, we build a plan for the creation, delivery and governance of content.
1. Assess the market landscape.
– Gather data and market insights to understand obstacles, barriers, opportunities and white space for your brand to influence and lead the market through messaging.
– Analyze competitive content and messaging to find where your brand can drive new conversations.
2. Define your messaging and thought-leadership narrative.
Conduct voice of customer research and customer journey mapping to define the story and messaging that will resonate with buyers throughout the funnel. Discover what topics they find valuable, what information they need and what’s missing in your storytelling today. Distill the information into a narrative that you can infuse into all of your content and customer touchpoints for consistent, strong brand messaging.
3. Plan, create and deploy.
Unfortunately, this is all too often where B2B brands start. Not doing the upfront voice of customer research can result in a fragmented narrative, obscure brand and a confusing customer experience. Audience needs and preferences should drive everything we do in marketing, and that starts with actually talking to customers. This narrative will be the foundation to help you prioritize activities, drive the storylines and angles of the content you create, and guide what channels to use to promote content.
Build the foundation today so you can deploy more powerful and relevant content in 2019. Contact us to help you develop a customer-centric and cost-effective B2B content strategy to drive your 2019 marketing plan.
What's your take? Do you find this to be true in your work, as well? Share your comments on LinkedIn, tagging @Inprela.