The B2B industry is catching on to the content marketing craze. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B Report, 72% of B2B marketers are focusing on creating engaging content for their target audiences. While traffic use to be the number one metric for these marketers, other more important metrics are becoming the focus. These metrics include:
Sales lead quality (87%)
Higher conversion rates (82%)
Over the years, marketers are seeing how content can impact sales. This is especially true since more B2B researchers don’t contact the company they are looking to work with until they are 57% of the way down the purchasing path. By creating more content, marketers are increasing the chance of being found during the first 57% of the purchasing path journey.
However, even though there are more B2B companies taking on content marketing, there are still many mistakes being made. Here are five mistakes to avoid in content marketing plan in 2016.
Creating Sales Tools and Not Resource Materials
When starting a blog it is best to remember to create content that that your audience would be searching for throughout each stage of the buying cycle. Knowing that B2B researchers don’t contact a company until they are 57% of the way down the purchasing path, focus on creating content that your audience will be looking for earlier on in the process.
For example, if a company sells audiovisual services, creating content around best practices for video conferencing would be wise. This may be content a user would find before they are looking for a service but would introduce them to the brand.
Then the blog’s design does a great job at showing content they may be interested in, they may sign up for the newsletter, connect socially, or at least remember the brand and come back to it at a later date. You can also use this blog to nurture leads or send to current clients to increase their education.
Creating Content Without a Purpose or a Re-purpose
32% of B2B marketers have a written content marketing strategy. What about the other 68%? The marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results than those who don’t. This is because they plan prior to creating and broke the content creating & marketing plan into smaller more manageable actions that can be delegated to different members on the team.
Planning earlier on allows you to decide where a call-to-action can be in a new blog post so dead-ends are not created within the content. Basically, leaving users the option to only read the blog and then leave the site instead of encouraging them to click to another page on a site.
Planning earlier also creates the opportunity to identify where pieces of content can be used in different stages of the buying cycle reducing the amount of content that may need to be created ( This is especially useful for smaller teams). Or if content can be re-purposed to different types of content like a slide or a video.
Focusing on One Type of Content
Not every marketer has a team or knows how to create videos or graphics. But this shouldn’t be an excuse to not create more than just a blog post in a content marketing strategy. While on average marketers tend to create 13 different types of content for their initiative, fewer than 50% of marketer say they use tactics such as podcasts, ebooks, digital magazines, microsites, or branded content tools.
Blogs are just the start of it and while it may take a little extra time, blogs can be re-purposed into other types of content depending on the topic. By creating other types of content, you can have the same information live on other channels or 3rd party site to drive more traffic or brand awareness.
A simple screen recording video demonstrating how to use a product can live on YouTube. A Google Slide can live on SlideShare to increase chances of being found via search. A recording of a reading of the blog can live on MP3 websites or as a podcast to reach a new audience.
After creating different types of content there will be data to show which types are most effective to help determine future strategy.
Not Basing Strategy off of Content Results
When creating content it is important to base content and the strategy on results. This requires setting up tracking in the planning and development phase. Look beyond tracking just the amount of track, leads, or sales the content generates. But also track the amount of effort or hours that went in developing the content to determine the true ROI.
To track how the content performs on the site, be sure Google Analytics or another tracking script is added to the site. Tracking the content on other channels, be sure to use the Google URL Builder to create a custom URL for tracking to report back to Google Analytics. Additionally, make use of native social media analytics to track impressions, clicks, shares etc.
It All Comes Back to Strategy and Results
There are two important steps with content marketing strategy. Planning and putting together a strategy is the first step, but that doesn’t mean it is the most important. Reporting the results of the content marketing strategy is just as important.
To avoid creating dead ends in your content, focusing on one type, or not basing your content off of strategy, write down your content marketing strategy and share it with your team. Meet with them often to find out if there are any new types of content that can be made or if the plan needs to be changed. When you create new content, ask the following questions:
Who is this piece of content for?
Does it answer a question or concern in the industry?
Will the user take away anything from this post or find value in it?
What action do I want them to take?
Do we have any related content to this piece we can link to or include?