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The Optimal B2B Content Strategy Framework

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The Optimal B2B Content Strategy Framework

It’s surprising that, despite the data proving that marketers who have a documented content strategy execute more effective content marketing, as many as 63% of businesses still don’t have one! Content strategy is much more than just an editorial calendar. It’s a documented strategy that includes objectives, and how these align with business goals and brand values. It also captures KPIs that will allow you to prove out your content marketing ROI. As technology offers more opportunities to personalize at scale, reflecting unique audience segments in your strategy becomes even more important.

91% of all B2B marketers use content marketing, yet barely a third of those would say their content marketing approach is mature or sophisticated. The following framework will help you formulate and refine your approach.

1. Define The Buyer Stages And Audiences

Not all buying journeys are identical. A simple journey might have three distinct phases such as awareness, consideration and decision. Think about the unique questions your audience are trying to answer in each of the phases, and what the entrance and exit criteria are for each of the phases. If there is a free trial or evaluation period, you might need to add a phase to capture unique goals and objectives. Determine the point at which your customer demonstrates an intent to solve their problem. With many B2B brands, audiences often research products continuously to maintain awareness of what’s available without actually signaling they intend to solve their problems.

In this exercise, you will begin to understand the actions and touchpoints required for your customer to reach their goal. You can use an experience journey to visualize the buying scenario mapping key ‘moments of truth’ against the appropriate buyer stages. Think of these moments of truth as waypoints where an insight or understanding is motivating the customer to take an action.

2. Identify Customer Challenges And The Pain Points Your Brand Needs To Solve

When Sirius Decisions talks about best-in-class campaigns, they counsel brands to start with audience needs. In this second step, it’s time to look at your personas and get granular. In however many stages you decide to use, each persona’s customer journey strategy needs to be documented. I like to include:

  • Need: What does your persona need to accomplish in each phase. At the top of the funnel, the needs may be broad like, “I’m looking for a way to increase my department’s productivity” while deeper in the funnel the need might be “I want to compare different team scheduling applications.”
  • Mindset: What is your customer thinking during a particular phase. Are they worried about anything?
  • Challenge: What obstacles are ahead of your customers?
  • Engagement: Where is your customer being engaged? What websites, industry events, even conversations with peers counts here.
  • Strategy: Given all of the above information, what strategy seems the best fit?

You can use this information to inform the content strategy for each phase. Convert the information into pain points and brand messages that answer those pains. Determine how you will deliver the content and what the calls to action are.

3. Align Your Content Plan To Your Customers’ Pain Points

You’ll likely uncover the need to create more content than you have time or budget for, so it’s important to be strategic about how you prioritize. After you’ve analyzed where your most pressing needs are, summarize the priorities in statements that start with a verb. For example, “Drive consideration of [product] among [audience]” followed by a short statement about how you will achieve the priority, such as, “We will produce content that compares our product against our top three competitors.”

Then list out the big bets you’re going to make with content that supports the priorities. For each asset you intend to create, detail out the form factor for the asset as well as any supporting content (like blog posts or organic social posts). Include the business objective, publishing channels and a summary of what the asset will do. Finally, roadmap all of the work you will do during the quarter to bring the content to life.

The Blake Project Can Help: Content Strategy Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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