By Heidi Cohen published November 2, 2011

5 Actionable Tactics for More Efficient Content Marketing

Content marketing supports B2B marketers’ top marketing goals: generating leads, converting qualified leads into paying customers, and building branding, reputation, and awareness. As a result, 45.3 percent of marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend (based on Bizo’s “Strategic Marketing Priorities” research).

This shift is attributable to the fact that prospects are increasingly using web-based information to research purchases and vet suppliers and that content marketing-driven leads are more cost effective. The problem is that B2B marketer’s budgets aren’t properly aligned with channels’ use and effectiveness because most B2B marketers allocate 30 percent or less of their marketing budget to content creation and dissemination (according to Curata’s B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Survey Report).

Unfortunately, finding the time to create content for these marketing efforts was a challenge for nearly 70 percent of the surveyed B2B marketers. But this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming chore provided that you have the right processes in place.

Here are five actionable suggestions to help you efficiently manage the time it takes to produce great content for your B2B marketing campaigns:

1. Organize your content marketing function

Assign an editor to be in charge of all of the content marketing functions across your organization. This editor’s first responsibility should be to develop a process to ensure that your firm creates information that your target market needs, which will in turn ensure that you can meet your business objectives.

To this end, it helps to think like a media entity and plan for your content needs in advance. The best place to start the editorial development process is to create an editorial calendar where you map out the major content categories associated with your search marketing strategy and outline the educational and informative topics your target market might be interested in during the buying process. As you build your calendar, you can also incorporate any special marketing promotions you might want to highlight in your content, such as relevant product launches, industry conferences, or seasonal events.

2. Implement content creation across your organization

With a limited marketing budget, you’ll need help from your firm’s product and customer experts to create content that successfully supports your sales process. Therefore, it’s vital that you get the appropriate employees involved in the development process. This means your research and development, product, and operations staff should all be involved in writing content, suggesting relevant topics to cover, or sharing customer feedback. Also, involve your front line staff as they will have the clearest insight into what your prospects and customers want to know and where their concerns lie.

The critical factor here is that you incorporate these content creation responsibilities into your staff’s overall job responsibilities to ensure that they are given the proper attention. Furthermore, it’s helpful to provide positive reinforcement for their participation, which can be in the form of corporate recognition, editorial credit, or special incentives.

3. Reach out beyond your organization for content marketing support

Find and leverage other people’s content to help bolster your content offerings. Consider suppliers, distributors, and customers as resources you can turn to for additional content.

The challenge in working with outside resources is that what goes in the content isn’t necessarily under your firm’s control. As a result, fees or other incentives may be necessary to entice them to develop useful information that will align with your goals.

4. Use a variety of content formats

Different people absorb information in different ways. So to optimize your efforts to engage your target audience and provide useful information at every step of the purchase process,  it’s helpful to create content in the form of videos, photographs, audio, presentations, and interviews in addition to text-based content. This also makes it easier to distribute your content across multiple platforms and reach more people.

Additionally, using an assortment of content options can facilitate content creation for individuals who are concerned about their ability to communicate in any one given format. Your goal is to remove the barriers to getting more content creators.  For example, an executive who may be nervous about his or her writing style might be perfectly at home talking in front of a video camera.

5. Provide content support

To ensure content and brand consistency, you should have resources in place to support optimal quality. Among the vital resources you should have on hand are:

  • Copy editing to ensure that the grammar and word usage are correct
  • Graphic design to enhance any post that would benefit from unique design elements
  • Technical assistance to ensure that the content is posted and formatted correctly and includes relevant links and other elements.

These resources can come from within your organization or you can outsource these functions to external providers.

The bottom line is that if content marketing is important to your organization’s business goals, you need to ensure that it gets the support it needs to succeed. To this end, you must integrate your content plan across functions. To gather the appropriate information, make content a part of everyone’s job, and provide related support to produce content that is in line with your brand voice and overall offerings.

Are there any other suggestions that you would add to this list to help B2B marketers create content marketing in a time-efficient way? If so, we would love to see your suggestions in the comment section below.

Author: Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financial services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter @heidicohen, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Other posts by Heidi Cohen

  • http://franstips.com/13-Powerpoint-Tips-for-Diabetes-Symptoms Fran A

    Heidi Nice post here very informative and practical advice.  Thank you

  • http://people.csail.mit.edu/pawand/ Pawan Deshpande

    Graphs and survey data on this post are from: http://www.getcurata.com/b2b_marketing_trends_survey_report

    • Heidi Cohen

      Pawan - 

      Thank you for supplying the link to the full survey. For clarification, Curata is HiveFire’s curation product. 

      Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen 
       

  • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/blog/the-open-marketer Amanda Maksymiw (@amandamaks)

    Heidi,
    I especially like #2 – it is great to look to your internal resources for content creation.  You never know where you will find a great writer and the source could surprise you.  And on the other hand, you can’t find great writers internally don’t overlook your staff for another key component – idea generation! 

    As always, keep writing and sharing great content.

    Amanda

    • Heidi Cohen

      Amanda– Thank you. Many marketers assume that most employees can’t  or don’t want to write. But as you point out, they know your business! Use them as resources and they’ll surprise you. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen