I was recently talking to the marketing team at a B2B enterprise company about content marketing. With all the conversation about content marketing over the past few years, it is hard to imagine there are those who are still not incorporating content marketing into their marketing efforts, and who still don’t know how to get started. This B2B technology firm has multiple divisions selling multiple products around the world.
After I described some of the basic elements and best practices of content marketing, especially at the top of the funnel, and specifically how we approach it, they put me on the spot a bit. They asked me if I were consulting for them, what are the five things that I would tell them to do to get started in content marketing. Assuming that they are not the only B2B company still struggling to fully understand content marketing, I will share what I told them.
1. Identify an Internal Champion
If you are looking to start content marketing, you need someone to lead the charge. There are two main jobs for this person, and it doesn’t matter if they have a content marketing title or not. The first is that they set the strategy for the effort. They need both the authority and the vision to know how content marketing can be incorporated into the business. And the second function is internal education. Because a content marketing approach to marketing represents a big culture shift for many B2B organizations, someone has to sell the story to both executives and other marketers. Success will come with a broad understanding of what is required of everyone, not from a small group pushing content out without the support of others.
2. Review Current Marketing Plans
Content marketing cannot succeed in a bubble. It has to align with the rest of your marketing plans. Start with your personas and make sure you understand how other marketing campaigns are communicating with them. You don’t want to disrupt what is already happening, especially if it is working. You want to add a layer of top of funnel, valuable content to the marketing mix.
3. Audit Existing Content
Before you start everything from scratch, you need to audit all the content that already exists. For most organizations that have not really adopted content marketing, most of the marketing materials are product focused. If you are lucky there are things beyond the usual feeds and speeds type content. Definitely look for white papers, case studies, customer testimonials, explainer videos. All of these elements can be utilized as you think about content across all stages of the buying cycle. If you know what already exists, you can create additional content that connects more dots with your buyers by showing them that you understand their business pain points.
4. Establish Goals
No marketing is ever successful unless everyone agrees upon the measures of success. Again, this needs to align with other marketing efforts and not be an outlier. If your marketing team is measured by driving marketing qualified leads then that should be your metric for content marketing. If you focus on driving pipeline then you should measure against that. This way your success will be understood by the rest of the organization.
5. Create a Pilot Project
Since you can’t change everything overnight, it’s better to start with something small and develop processes around creating new content. While a content marketing effort is a long term prospect and you may not have results quickly, a pilot project for one product line or buyer persona will help you and your organization understand what’s involved in this shift to content marketing.
These are not the only things to do to get started using content marketing for your B2B company, but if you begin with these five things you will be well on your way to success.
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