From driving traffic to generating leads to building trust among your key audiences, the benefits of content marketing are endless.
B2B companies spend an average of $185,000 per year toward content marketing efforts, and their budgets are constantly growing. While this number speaks to the benefits of content marketing, it also emphasizes an important point: your B2B simply cannot afford a content marketing strategy that fails to reach, engage, or inspire customers to take action.
Not to mention, with as many as 80% of B2B companies using content marketing strategies to help reach their business goals and nearly half of B2B marketers reporting they expected their budget to increase in the next year, the market is more crowded than ever.
Your company needs to produce content that not only cuts through the noise to reach your audience, but also results in them seeing why your solution is better than that of your competitor.
So, how can you scale your content marketing so it aligns with your business growth strategy?
In order to answer this question, we first need to cover the content marketing problems that often get in the way of success.
What Are the Top B2B Content Creation Challenges?
Failed B2B content marketing strategies boil down to these four obstacles:
- Speed: the struggle to produce content consistently and quickly to meet the ever-increasing demands from various stakeholders
- Engagement: the need to produce content that stands out and captures attention
- Measuring Content Effectiveness: the need to understand how content is performing and what is resonating with your target audience
- Personalization: the ability to build deeper relationships with target audiences through content
However, it is possible to overcome these content challenges with a strategic, optimized, and scalable content marketing plan. Below, we’ll outline each of these challenges in more detail and exactly how to overcome them.
How to Use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business
It’s no longer enough to create content that simply achieves your marketing KPIs, such as an increase in traffic or leads. Content marketing has evolved to take on a more holistic role; it should be thought of as the gateway to your audiences, stakeholders, and the general public.
At Foleon, we use the term “content operations” to describe the combination of people, processes, and technologies that allow you to create content that meets your business objectives. Recognizing that not everyone who creates content has the interest of marketing in mind, content operations move beyond the traditional limits of content marketing to impact your bottom line.
While there are countless steps that go into creating your content operations, addressing each of the four barriers to content marketing success is a great place to start.
How to Overcome the Top B2B Content Creation Challenges
1. Speed: Produce Consistent B2B Content at a Fast Pace
If you’re like most companies, your marketing department consists of just a few employees (or for 52% of B2Bs, as little as one employee serving the entire organization). From employee bandwidth to approvals, it’s easy for the content bottleneck to get in the way of publishing relevant information at a regular pace.
While keeping up with the need for frequent, consistent content is nearly impossible for a one-person team, taking a fresh look at how your content marketing functions within your larger organization can make all the difference.
To speed up your B2B content creation, take a look at how your content strategy impacts other areas of your marketing strategy, as well as your business as a whole. How much of your content caters to customers in the “awareness” stage, versus those who are farther down the funnel? What action do you want readers to take after seeing your content? How will you know whether your content is successful? (More on that later.)
The takeaway: to create content at a fast, consistent pace requires an efficient process, understanding of your goals, and an awareness of what your target audience is looking for.
2. Engagement: Create Engaging, Interactive Content
No one likes a one-sided conversation, especially when the one doing all of the “talking” is a brand that’s trying to engage potential customers.
Once you’ve established the purpose and subject of your written copy, consider the format in which it is being shared. For example, companies directing visitors to the same old PDFs are missing out on a major opportunity to interact with customers. Despite being used as universal operating format, PDFs are difficult to view on mobile devices and provide zero opportunity for a two-way conversation.
Changing the format, or digitizing your content so that it’s interactive, highly visual, and experiential, makes for a much better user experience. Not only can your design evoke emotions and address pain points, but it can also leave your audience feeling like they’ve gained something from interacting with your brand.
The takeaway: The format and design in which your content is presented should enhance the information you’re presenting, capture your audience’s attention, and lead them closer to a desired action.
Read all about how the European Investment Fund (EIF) uses Foleon to speed up content creation and boost audience engagement here.
3. Measuring Content Effectiveness: Understand how compelling your content really is
Arguably the most important aspect of any content marketing strategy is whether it’s yielding a return on investment (ROI). According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of B2B marketers use metrics to measure content performance, 65% have established KPIs, and 43% measure content marketing ROI.
Many organizations get so caught up in metrics that they lose sight of which ones actually reflect their target audience. Content intelligence, which helps with everything from how smoothly your operations are running to the type of content that resonates with your audience, can make or break your B2B’s understanding of how well your content marketing strategy is performing.
Having a grasp on how well people are resonating with a piece of content (for instance, a downloadable asset), which specific sections of the downloadable asset readers are most engaged with, and the way individual prospects are engaging with a piece of downloadable content is incredibly insightful for marketing and sales teams. Through these insights, marketers can adjust their content in real-time, and salespeople can determine the best timing for targeting a prospective customer.
The takeaway: With the right metrics, you’ll be able to adjust your strategy on the fly as you learn which content and formats resonate with your audience groups, which sales prospects to target, where you should be spending your budget, and how you can increase your team’s efficiency.
4. Personalization: Build deeper relationships with target audiences through content
Consider the topics and elements within your content marketing strategy that will create the most value for your customers. If you’re employing buyer personas and a buyer’s journey that cover the various audience segments, industries, and funnel stages for your target audience, you likely already have the answer to these questions (if not, here’s how you can create buyer personas, implement a buyer’s journey, and adjust your content accordingly).
Personalization has evolved far beyond including your prospect’s name in nurturing emails. When customers visit your website, they expect your brand to understand their wants and needs in a way that makes their lives easier.
As we established earlier, a major benefit of content marketing is that it allows you to establish trust with your audience. However, if your audience visits your website and finds that your content fails to answer their questions – or even worse, is irrelevant to their topic of interest – such an interaction can lead to the opposite of trust.
So, how can marketers overcome the problem of content personalization? First, consult your trusty personas and your buyer’s journey to determine what problems your customers will be looking to solve as they enter different stages of the funnel. Then, create content that’s accessible, engaging, and useful.
The takeaway: When a prospect sees true value in your content, they’ll become an unofficial member of your marketing team by interacting, sharing, and ultimately driving traffic to your website.
The Future of Content Marketing
Meeting the demands for speed, engagement, metrics, and personalization is no easy feat, especially in a landscape that’s saturated with content marketing material. The good news? There are many content creation platforms, like Foleon, that can help your company create content at scale and adjust your marketing strategy in real-time using the power of modern analytics.