6 Steps To Easily Create B2B Content And Improve ROI

March 23, 2017

Content is now a rapidly growing strategic part of the marketing mix. Investment in content supports digital channels, social media, thought leadership, marketing automation and sales enablement. Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows enterprise marketers spend 25 percent (on average) of their total marketing budget on content marketing and 47 percent say they plan to increase their content marketing budget in the next 12 months.

With this opportunity comes the potential for “wasted” content marketing efforts and budgets. Most organizations create videos, papers, collateral, articles, case studies, blogs and other educational resources in a highly fragmented fashion. As a result, the content they create is often not aligned with their customer’s needs.

Organizations should start by reengineering the content creation process. This involves putting in place a content architecture and disciplined processes for creating, aligning, reusing and distributing content. Doing this can significantly reduce spending on wasted content that does not directly support the client research process or generate measurable sales outcomes.

Specifically, reengineering the content supply chain would help align the sales and support process, ensuring new content generates measurable sales outcomes and justifies its expense.

It would expand distribution of content to customers, prospects, sales representatives and influencers. 

When I review accounts, I see most content is stuck at the “top of the sales funnel” in digital, social and mobile channels. Except in e-commerce, very little of this content is being delivered through primary or “human” sales channels that drive deeper into the sales funnel and generate the actual sales. By packaging, parsing and distributing content through more channels, it impacts more customer interactions, and significantly improves return on investment.

Here are 6 things you can do to improve your content creation and distribution:

1. Document the Customer Engagement Process

Many organizations do not have a formal content creation process. So to begin, create a customer journey, from awareness and interest to decision-making, installation and maintenance. Include high value scenarios describing the market segment, role, customer experience and intent (what they need to accomplish).

2. Conduct a Content Inventory

Create an inventory of all marketing and sales assets. Include everything from brochures to images, videos, cheat sheets, O&M manuals, presentations, web pages, info graphics, press releases and ads. Score how well they support the customer’s engagement, the customer’s needs, and the sales process.

3. Map Content Assets with the Customer Journey

Match valuable assets found in Step 2 with the customer journey identified in Step 1. Identify content gaps for each step in the customer journey. 

4. Create a Content Publishing Architecture

As marketers adopt more advanced marketing practices, the volume of marketing content and the complexity of managing it will continue to grow. The content architecture is a plan for prioritizing, developing and repurposing selected content assets and new assets designed to fill content gaps in the customer journey, address unmet customer needs and directly support sales and marketing objectives.

5. Put in place a Content Publishing Process

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. One detailed piece of content can be turned into a blog post, web page, webinar, white paper, case study, social post, factoids for social posts. Think of ways to repurpose content so they can be delivered efficiently through web, e-mail, influencer and face to face meetings in support of moving customers through the sales funnel. Don’t forget to communicate new assets with a public link that can be shared by your salesforce to their customers via an email. 

6. Build a Marketing Automation Program

With all this high value content now mapped to specific customer journeys, think of how easy it would be to send a highly relevant automated string of emails to someone that completed a web form for a top of the funnel piece of content. Educating customers starting from the early stages builds your brand, improves mindshare, and positions you as a knowledge leader in the topic. It also improves all your other drive to web marketing ROI over the long term.

Following these steps really boils down to understanding your customer needs, indexing your current content assets, mapping the customer needs with your content, identifying your content gaps and putting in place a process for efficient repurposing and distribution.

Ideally, these six steps will help your organization create more and more valuable content to maximize the return on investment in marketing and selling assets.

Bill Scully has over 15 years of digital consulting, and in-the-trenches business experience.  Bill has served as a Municipal Marking Manager for USFilter, the Director of Digital Marketing for Siemens Industry, and the Siemens International Search Engine Consultant. He is a master at uncovering and supporting customer intent, and now runs Digital Marketing Fuel, LLC a Digital Marketing Consulting Agency helping in-house Marketers improve their web presence.

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