We’ve all heard the phrase: “Content is king”. So why is it that only 43% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy? There is no excuse.
Having a documented strategy has a big impact on success; 65% of the most successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with just 14% of the least successful. So, if you are one of the many without a content strategy in place, this needs to change.
Think of content marketing as a journey. If you don’t have a clear destination in mind, you will likely end up taking a wrong turn (or two) along the way. Naturally, this will lead to inefficiency in terms of both time and resources, and more often than not, it will cause frustrations as a result of missed deadlines. But how do you make your journey successful? You need guidance: a clear destination and a plan to get there. In this context, think of your goals as the target location and your strategy as the map that will help you reach it – starting to see the importance?
Content marketing has an enormous influence on purchase decisions and will often provide the boost needed to push your buyers down the sales funnel. This is especially true within the B2B market where buyers have to rationalise their decisions not only to themselves but to their bosses, too. But it’s easier said than done: for your content to be effective, you need to ensure it’s placed in front of the right people, at the right time, in the right place and delivers the right message.
That’s a lot of things to get right – so how do you do it?
The role of the content marketing roadmap
If you want to make an impact with your content, you need to nail the message and delivery. And this is where your roadmap comes in; it will document the high-level strategy for your content team to follow. To clear up any confusion: your roadmap shouldn’t detail every piece of content you plan to create, but instead offer a bigger picture view of your projects, providing clarity around priorities, ownership and purpose. Hence the ‘high level’ strategy.
With the help of a B2B content marketing roadmap, you will be able to align your strategy, pain points, objectives and timelines to provide a solid foundation to support your approach. Essentially, your roadmap will provide clarity to your strategy and ensure your content remains consistent, relevant and above all, effective. It will offer an overview of your goals and how they will be achieved, facilitating collaboration and ensuring all deadlines are met.
Where to begin
The first step to mastering your B2B content marketing roadmap is to do your research. You need to identify exactly where you are and where it is you need to go. So, begin by defining your goals (both long and short-term) to set expectations and ensure you have a clear path to follow.
Next, evaluate your current position: Conduct a content audit to identify any relevant resources that can be reshared or repurposed; identify any obstacles you’re facing and assess how you will overcome them; complete consumer, competitor and market research to gain relevant insights to help inform your decisions; align your offering to your customers’ needs (think about how you can present your business as a solution) and encourage employee engagement by hosting workshops and regular meetings.
Get to know your audience
This next stage of your B2B content roadmap is arguably the most important. If you fail to effectively define your target audience, your content will likely lose relevance and fail to achieve the results you desire. So, to ensure you are creating the right content for the right people, you must develop in-depth buyer personas.
To maximise the effectiveness of your buyer personas, you should think about answering the following:
- Who are you trying to target?
- What’s their role? How much influence do they have in the decision-making process?
- What are their motivations? Wants? Needs? Goals?
- Can you identify any pain points or challenges they need help to overcome?
- What does the customer journey look like? Timeline? Who is involved?
- Where do they source their information?
- When and where are they most active? Are they any channels you should prioritise?
- What content formats do they prefer?
- Do they have any common objections? If so, how can you overcome them?
- What does the competitor landscape look like?
On the road to success
Now the foundations are in place, you can move on to the star of the show: your B2B content marketing roadmap. Your roadmap should enable your team to work collaboratively by offering a visualisation of the who, what, where & why behind your B2B content marketing.
At this stage, you’ll want to outline your:
- Goals: you will have defined these earlier, but it’s important they are kept at the forefront of your mind throughout the whole process. Your content marketing goals should be aligned with both your overarching business objectives and the broader marketing team’s goals.
- Initiatives: these are essential themes of work that create context and steer you towards your goals. Your content marketing roadmap should enable you to plan your initiatives around each of the B2B marketing funnel stages.
- Schedules: a key aspect of your roadmap should be deadlines. To ensure you can meet targets, you should devise timelines for content creation that everyone within your team can access.
- Activities: this represents the content that falls within each of your initiatives, including everything from blog posts to videos. With the help of Google’s Hero, Hub & Hygiene model you can plan and refine your content creation and make the buyer journey easier.
- Status: it’s important to track the progress of both your activities and high-level initiatives to understand whether deadlines and being met, and if not, why.
With just 21% of marketers saying they have been able to successfully measure the ROI of their content marketing campaigns, it’s clear some assistance is needed. To get you started, here are some tips to help you track your campaigns effectively:
- When deciding which metrics to monitor, always ensure that you keep your goals in mind. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you will likely want to pay close attention to metrics such as website traffic and page views. Remember: relevancy is key.
- Focus on actionable metrics i.e. those which provide data that you can act upon.
- Don’t just collect your data; analyse it.
- Use any insights obtained to optimise your roadmap and increase the value of your content.
So, there we have the basics of a B2B content marketing roadmap to put you on the path to success and accelerate the achievement of your results. If you’re looking for help developing your B2B content marketing roadmap or strategy, be sure to contact us for a free consultation with one of our B2B marketing specialists.