Using content for marketing in B2B companies has caught on with a fervor that continues unabated. And, even though only a small percentage of B2B marketers say they are consistently effective with it, most of them will produce more content next year.
It boggles the mind that we’d keep doing more of something that we aren’t sure is working.
But, what concerns me is that rather than trying to fix the effectiveness issue, marketers are running full steam ahead. And now their sights are set on scale for B2B content marketing.
From what I can tell, scale seems to mean publishing more content.
Problem 1: Publishing more content isn’t necessarily content marketing.
Problem 2: Creating more content that’s not any more effective than what you already have is not going to help marketers reach their goals.
To solve this issue, I’d like to ask you to reconsider how you define scale for B2B content marketing. If you do, then you can fix both problems above and cover more ground, hence gain scale.
Rather than creating more content, create content that resonates and motivates buyers to take action.
I’d wager that you have enough content.
I’d also bet that you can improve that content—refine it until it gets the results you intend for it to produce.
Look at how it could work together as a storyline to motivate engagement and the consideration of whatever change you’re trying to convince buyers to take on. Refine it some more.
What you need to reach scale is a content marketing program that does what it’s supposed to do: quantifiably contribute to the achievement of business objectives.
The reason content marketing is not seen as effective is because most B2B content marketing programs are still campaigns. As such they are only geared for short-term outcomes (read: activity at a moment in time) when most B2B complex buying processes are longer term requiring sustained, progressive engagement. Focusing on the whole process brings the quality metrics, such as customer acquisition and revenues (read: the important stuff).
Here are some questions to use as you evaluate your existing content for effectiveness:
- Who does this content speak to?
- What question does it answer?
- What stage of the buying process does it address?
- What does it ask its audience to do? What comes next?
- Why is that relevant to them?
- Has the content made the case for why they should do that?
As you work through these questions for every piece of content for a specific audience in relation to solving a problem your product or service solves, you should start to see ways to refine your content, as well as linkages that develop from one content asset to the next.
These links will help you create transitions. Each of these decisions to take a next step with the help of your content builds engagement. It also builds momentum toward the outcome or business objective that’s the guiding light for this content. Think continuum, not campaign.
Nothing goes out the door perfectly. It takes vigilance and monitoring of audience response and behavior to shape your content marketing program to effective outcomes.
It will pay off in a number of ways:
- You’ll gain a really good understanding of your audience and what motivates them
- You’ll see what it takes to shape the story to drive the outcomes you want—and they need
- You’ll develop consistency in messaging that enables easier transitions—through each stage, to salespeople, and through conversions
Armed with this success, you’re now ready to scale. By scale I mean replicating successful programs to additional audiences, verticals, problem-to-solution scenarios, account-based marketing, and more.
Scale for B2B content marketing is about replicating success, not about volume or speed of publishing.