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6-STEP GUIDE
TO B2B CONTENT MARKETING
THAT WORKS
70 percent of marketers report that they plan
to produce more content this year than last
year. At the same time, only 30% rate their
efforts as “effective” or “very effective.”
That means a lot of us still struggle with the
marketing aspect of content marketing. Use
the 6 steps in the following slides as a
blueprint of how to build a content strategy
that produces measurable results.
INTRODUCTION
2
3
4
5 6
DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY
& CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
1
Anyone, anywhere, with any
budget can develop a valuable
audience over time and make an
impact. In other words, there are no
excuses for not doing this well, as
long as you have a plan and execute
against that plan.
JOE PULIZZI
Founder of Content Marketing Institute
5
Before you write one word of content,
define your goals and establish
measurable objectives.
Keep in mind that content has different
objectives at each stage of the
purchase path. Each stage has its own
subset of key performance metrics that
you’ll want to take into account.
DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY &
CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
6
From Awareness to Engagement
DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
GOAL
AWARENESS
Reach your audience at scale to
build awareness and a positive
impression of your brand
ENGAGEMENT
Nurture prospects until they’re
ready to make a purchase
TRACK
• Awareness
• Branded search
• Brand recall and lift
• Website and referral traffic lift
• Page views, page per visit,
and time spent on side lift
• Subscriber/opt-in lift
• Engagement (open rate,
shares, likes, comments)
• Bounce rate decline
• Unique visitors lift
• Inbound links lift
• Leads (organics vs. paid)
• MQLs/Sales
Accepted/Opportunities (SAO)
• Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
• Cost per lead
• Qualified lead velocity rate (i.e.,
growth in qualified leads)
• Form Fills
• Revenue
• Returning Visitors
• Close rate
• Retention rate and/or
customer lifetime value
and/or upsell/cross-sell
7
AUDIENCE X finds …
INFORMATION Y for …
BENEFIT Z
Next, create a mission statement
to use as a guide for the kind of
content you will create, where it
will be published, and what
business goals it is meant to drive.
Orbit Media Co-Founder
Andy Crestodina recommends
using this template for
determining content strategy:
PRO TIP
DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY &
CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
1 2
3
4
5 6
IDENTIFY
YOUR BUYERS
Content that understands
its audience will be good
content. Content that
doesn’t, can’t be.
DOUG KESSLER
Creative Director & Co-Founder
Velocity Partners Ltd
Remember, most B2B
purchasing decisions involve
multiple stakeholders at
different levels in the
organization. Make sure
to include them all.
To really identify your buyers, you’ll
need to map out the stakeholders.
Consider:
10
IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS
Who is in the buying committee?
What motivates each member?
How do they interact with each other?
What motivates each member?
PRO TIP
Developing Personas
Begin to build personas that represent your “typical”
buyer. Personas should be based on real information
from potential and current customers.
Get the info you need to build personas by:
Asking the sales team who their prospects
and customers are
Using LinkedIn to explore roles and hierarchy
within an ideal company
Asking existing customers directly through
surveys and email
Stick to the info that will shape
your content. You don’t need
to know what car your persona
drives, how many kids they
have, or whether they’re
dog or cat people.
PRO TIP
IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS
11
1 2
4
5 6
3 IDENTIFY
TOPICS
Start by thinking like the
target audience. Quantify their
questions to understand the
categories and structure of the
content that gets ranked and
shared. Then build a content
marketing destination best
structured to answer
those questions.
MICHAEL BRENNER
CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Research
14
IDENTIFY TOPICS
When choosing topics,
include competitor research
as well. Identify what your
competitors are doing that
you can do better. Find gaps
in the conversation that your
content can fill.
With a clear picture of your target audience(s) in mind,
you can begin to research potential topics. As TopRank
CEO Lee Odden says, the goal is to “be the best
answer” for the questions your audience is asking.
What does your audience search for at
each stage of the purchase path? What
topics are they researching, and what
words and phrases do they use to find
information?
Topics to consider:
What burning questions from your
potential buyers align with your
organization’s expertise and solution?
PRO TIP
Get Answers
15
IDENTIFY TOPICS
Asking the sales staff for prospect FAQs
Find the questions your content can answer by:
Asking customer service to CC you when
they answer questions in email
Interviewing existing and potential customers
Using tools like BuzzSumo, UberSuggest,
and Google Keyword Tool.
1 2
3
5 6
CREATE
CONTENT
4
17
Create an Editorial Calendar
CREATE CONTENT
Use an editorial calendar to guide your content planning
and ensure you address the most crucial topics.
Prepare a good mix of content for each stage of the
purchase path. Types of content can include blog posts,
videos, and infographics.
18
Let’s take a look at a week’s worth
of blog posts, mapped to the
Blogging Food Groups:
Meaty, deep-dive posts including research and analysis
Main courses
At LinkedIn Marketing, we liken the
essential ingredients of blog reader
engagement to food groups:
Good-for-you posts that highlight thought leadership
Vegetables
Filling how-to and influencer posts
Grains
Bold statements to spice up the conversation
Spices
Light-hearted content that’s eminently sharable
Desserts
The Blogging Food Groups
CREATE CONTENT
Big Rock Content
CREATE CONTENT
The Big Rock model is one easy way to fill out an editorial
calendar. A Big Rock is an SEO-friendly, conversation-
owning piece of content with endless repurposing
opportunities across the blogging food groups.
As you create content, make sure each piece serves one
or more of the following functions:
• Supports a purchase decision with data
• Offers a fresh perspective on a hot topic or industry norm
• Solves a problem or answers a question
• Provides SEO value
1 2
3
4
6
AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
5
21
AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
Promote your content, both organically
and with paid promotion, such as:
• SEO
• Influencer promotion
• Employee promotion
• Targeted content
• Native ads
22
SEO
AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
Because you created quality content based on your buyers’
burning questions, your content has SEO built in already.
As people like and share your content based on its quality,
your search engine rankings will rise.
Add these features for even more SEO boost:
• Keywords in your title tag and meta description
• Keywords in your content, including header tags
• Crosslinks to and from the post and your other content
• Schema markup to help search engines understand
your content
23
Influencer & Employee Promotion
AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
Influencer promotion: Influencer marketing gives content
baked-in amplification potential. Realize this potential by
making it easy for your influencers to share:
• Send the content for their review before it publishes
• Let them know in advance when it will publish
• Send a reminder on the publication date
• Include social messaging templates they can copy and paste
Employee Promotion:
Employees are an often-
overlooked, but powerful
means of amplifying content.
Keep them in the loop when
you publish content. Give
them template social
messages. Incentivize them for
sharing. Involve employees
early in the content creation
process. Treat them like
influencers (they are). Even
encourage them to create
their own content to publish
on your Company Page.
PRO TIP
24
Targeted Content & Native Ads
AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
Targeted content
When you publish on LinkedIn, you can select a targeted
audience for each post. This free feature lets you focus your
content for each of your audience segments.
Native ads
Native ads are a paid solution that places your content in
the context of what your audience is already consuming.
Relevant, highly-targeted content performs well in native
ads, because it feels like a natural extension of the
reader’s feed.
Here’s how B2B brands use
Sponsored Content, one of
LinkedIn’s native ad formats,
to get results.
PRO TIP
25
1 2
3
4
5
ANALYZE AND
OPTIMIZE
6
26
ANALYZE AND OPTIMIZE
Iteration is the most crucial part of any content marketing
strategy. You began the process with measurable goals and
what metrics you would use to evaluate them. Now it’s time
to assess how your content performed.
Make sure to use the right metrics for assessment. For
example, if your goal was to generate leads, a post with a
lot of traffic but low lead capture didn’t meet its purpose,
even though it had high views. In that case, you would
identify why the post was popular to use for future content,
but also examine why the CTA failed to convert.
Use the results of your analysis to adjust your strategy,
always aiming for improvement over time. The Sophisticated
Marketer’s Crash Course in Metrics & Analytics can help
choose the right metrics and perform careful analysis.
27
CONCLUSION
Content marketing is more than
just content. It is content
strategically created to address
buyers’ needs while serving a
measurable business objective.
By practicing these six steps, you
can start turning random acts of
content into intentional, results-
driven content marketing.
For more in-depth tips, strategy, and advice,
download The Sophisticated Marketer’s
Guide to Content Marketing.
Today, LinkedIn has more than 433 million professionals in its network.
That’s more than two-thirds of the 600 million professionals on the
planet, representing the largest group anywhere of influential, affluent,
and educated people.
For more information, visit marketing.linkedin.com.

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6-Step Guide to B2B Content Marketing that Works

  • 1. 6-STEP GUIDE TO B2B CONTENT MARKETING THAT WORKS
  • 2. 70 percent of marketers report that they plan to produce more content this year than last year. At the same time, only 30% rate their efforts as “effective” or “very effective.” That means a lot of us still struggle with the marketing aspect of content marketing. Use the 6 steps in the following slides as a blueprint of how to build a content strategy that produces measurable results. INTRODUCTION
  • 3. 2 3 4 5 6 DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT 1
  • 4. Anyone, anywhere, with any budget can develop a valuable audience over time and make an impact. In other words, there are no excuses for not doing this well, as long as you have a plan and execute against that plan. JOE PULIZZI Founder of Content Marketing Institute
  • 5. 5 Before you write one word of content, define your goals and establish measurable objectives. Keep in mind that content has different objectives at each stage of the purchase path. Each stage has its own subset of key performance metrics that you’ll want to take into account. DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
  • 6. 6 From Awareness to Engagement DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT GOAL AWARENESS Reach your audience at scale to build awareness and a positive impression of your brand ENGAGEMENT Nurture prospects until they’re ready to make a purchase TRACK • Awareness • Branded search • Brand recall and lift • Website and referral traffic lift • Page views, page per visit, and time spent on side lift • Subscriber/opt-in lift • Engagement (open rate, shares, likes, comments) • Bounce rate decline • Unique visitors lift • Inbound links lift • Leads (organics vs. paid) • MQLs/Sales Accepted/Opportunities (SAO) • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) • Cost per lead • Qualified lead velocity rate (i.e., growth in qualified leads) • Form Fills • Revenue • Returning Visitors • Close rate • Retention rate and/or customer lifetime value and/or upsell/cross-sell
  • 7. 7 AUDIENCE X finds … INFORMATION Y for … BENEFIT Z Next, create a mission statement to use as a guide for the kind of content you will create, where it will be published, and what business goals it is meant to drive. Orbit Media Co-Founder Andy Crestodina recommends using this template for determining content strategy: PRO TIP DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGY & CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
  • 9. Content that understands its audience will be good content. Content that doesn’t, can’t be. DOUG KESSLER Creative Director & Co-Founder Velocity Partners Ltd
  • 10. Remember, most B2B purchasing decisions involve multiple stakeholders at different levels in the organization. Make sure to include them all. To really identify your buyers, you’ll need to map out the stakeholders. Consider: 10 IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS Who is in the buying committee? What motivates each member? How do they interact with each other? What motivates each member? PRO TIP
  • 11. Developing Personas Begin to build personas that represent your “typical” buyer. Personas should be based on real information from potential and current customers. Get the info you need to build personas by: Asking the sales team who their prospects and customers are Using LinkedIn to explore roles and hierarchy within an ideal company Asking existing customers directly through surveys and email Stick to the info that will shape your content. You don’t need to know what car your persona drives, how many kids they have, or whether they’re dog or cat people. PRO TIP IDENTIFY YOUR BUYERS 11
  • 12. 1 2 4 5 6 3 IDENTIFY TOPICS
  • 13. Start by thinking like the target audience. Quantify their questions to understand the categories and structure of the content that gets ranked and shared. Then build a content marketing destination best structured to answer those questions. MICHAEL BRENNER CEO, Marketing Insider Group
  • 14. Research 14 IDENTIFY TOPICS When choosing topics, include competitor research as well. Identify what your competitors are doing that you can do better. Find gaps in the conversation that your content can fill. With a clear picture of your target audience(s) in mind, you can begin to research potential topics. As TopRank CEO Lee Odden says, the goal is to “be the best answer” for the questions your audience is asking. What does your audience search for at each stage of the purchase path? What topics are they researching, and what words and phrases do they use to find information? Topics to consider: What burning questions from your potential buyers align with your organization’s expertise and solution? PRO TIP
  • 15. Get Answers 15 IDENTIFY TOPICS Asking the sales staff for prospect FAQs Find the questions your content can answer by: Asking customer service to CC you when they answer questions in email Interviewing existing and potential customers Using tools like BuzzSumo, UberSuggest, and Google Keyword Tool.
  • 17. 17 Create an Editorial Calendar CREATE CONTENT Use an editorial calendar to guide your content planning and ensure you address the most crucial topics. Prepare a good mix of content for each stage of the purchase path. Types of content can include blog posts, videos, and infographics.
  • 18. 18 Let’s take a look at a week’s worth of blog posts, mapped to the Blogging Food Groups: Meaty, deep-dive posts including research and analysis Main courses At LinkedIn Marketing, we liken the essential ingredients of blog reader engagement to food groups: Good-for-you posts that highlight thought leadership Vegetables Filling how-to and influencer posts Grains Bold statements to spice up the conversation Spices Light-hearted content that’s eminently sharable Desserts The Blogging Food Groups CREATE CONTENT
  • 19. Big Rock Content CREATE CONTENT The Big Rock model is one easy way to fill out an editorial calendar. A Big Rock is an SEO-friendly, conversation- owning piece of content with endless repurposing opportunities across the blogging food groups. As you create content, make sure each piece serves one or more of the following functions: • Supports a purchase decision with data • Offers a fresh perspective on a hot topic or industry norm • Solves a problem or answers a question • Provides SEO value
  • 21. 21 AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Promote your content, both organically and with paid promotion, such as: • SEO • Influencer promotion • Employee promotion • Targeted content • Native ads
  • 22. 22 SEO AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Because you created quality content based on your buyers’ burning questions, your content has SEO built in already. As people like and share your content based on its quality, your search engine rankings will rise. Add these features for even more SEO boost: • Keywords in your title tag and meta description • Keywords in your content, including header tags • Crosslinks to and from the post and your other content • Schema markup to help search engines understand your content
  • 23. 23 Influencer & Employee Promotion AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Influencer promotion: Influencer marketing gives content baked-in amplification potential. Realize this potential by making it easy for your influencers to share: • Send the content for their review before it publishes • Let them know in advance when it will publish • Send a reminder on the publication date • Include social messaging templates they can copy and paste Employee Promotion: Employees are an often- overlooked, but powerful means of amplifying content. Keep them in the loop when you publish content. Give them template social messages. Incentivize them for sharing. Involve employees early in the content creation process. Treat them like influencers (they are). Even encourage them to create their own content to publish on your Company Page. PRO TIP
  • 24. 24 Targeted Content & Native Ads AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT Targeted content When you publish on LinkedIn, you can select a targeted audience for each post. This free feature lets you focus your content for each of your audience segments. Native ads Native ads are a paid solution that places your content in the context of what your audience is already consuming. Relevant, highly-targeted content performs well in native ads, because it feels like a natural extension of the reader’s feed. Here’s how B2B brands use Sponsored Content, one of LinkedIn’s native ad formats, to get results. PRO TIP
  • 26. 26 ANALYZE AND OPTIMIZE Iteration is the most crucial part of any content marketing strategy. You began the process with measurable goals and what metrics you would use to evaluate them. Now it’s time to assess how your content performed. Make sure to use the right metrics for assessment. For example, if your goal was to generate leads, a post with a lot of traffic but low lead capture didn’t meet its purpose, even though it had high views. In that case, you would identify why the post was popular to use for future content, but also examine why the CTA failed to convert. Use the results of your analysis to adjust your strategy, always aiming for improvement over time. The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Metrics & Analytics can help choose the right metrics and perform careful analysis.
  • 27. 27 CONCLUSION Content marketing is more than just content. It is content strategically created to address buyers’ needs while serving a measurable business objective. By practicing these six steps, you can start turning random acts of content into intentional, results- driven content marketing. For more in-depth tips, strategy, and advice, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.
  • 28. Today, LinkedIn has more than 433 million professionals in its network. That’s more than two-thirds of the 600 million professionals on the planet, representing the largest group anywhere of influential, affluent, and educated people. For more information, visit marketing.linkedin.com.