BrightTALK helps write the IAB’s Content Strategy Toolkit
As a member of the IAB B2B marketing council, we’re often asked to share our insights from our marketing experience and expertise. So when the IAB asked us to write the content strategy toolkit on behalf of the council, we were more than happy to oblige. Here is a summary of the toolkit just for our readers.
Today’s buyers are more knowledgeable about the products and services they want to buy. Buyers gather information by themselves and base their decisions on their own research. Buyers want access to content that makes them smarter and more knowledgeable, so that is why we think an effective content strategy is integral to an effective B2B marketing strategy.
For us marketers at BrightTALK, we believe that content marketing is about trying to build relationships and an approach to engaging buyers with buying-stage-relevant information. That means engaging with buyers on their terms with information that is relevant that will result in a higher chance of conversion.
Most B2B marketers are aware that there are four stages of the B2B buying cycle, so a well thought out content strategy should target every stage of the cycle to successfully align the vendor and buyer needs.
Before you begin to put together your content strategy, we recommend doing some research to firstly understand the issues in your space so you can connect the dots between your products and services to the current needs of the end users.
Content for the four buyer stages:
- Content for the unaware buyer should be interesting and timely as it needs to be interruptive to capture the unaware buyer’s attention
- Content for the tentative buyer should be educational by providing thought leadership to help guide the buyer in their thinking process
- Content for the engaged buyer should start to validate the companies vision, products and services
- Content for the invested buyer should be targeted and exclusive to the individual customer needs
Mapping out your content strategy:
What do you want your content strategy to achieve? Is it awareness, pipeline or qualified leads?
Identify the various stages that your buyers are at in the buying cycle and where you would like them to be. Begin targeting the various buyer stages with relevant content by delivering appropriate messages at the right time in the buying cycle. Don’t forget that the content should be current, useful and targeted!
Ensure that the content is accessible in a format that reflects the given buyer stage. For example, for the tentative buyer, they will source content online, from doing a general online search to reading white papers and other research. Whereas, your invested buyer is more likely to respond to a personalized email, exclusive landing page and your website.
Distribute content according to where your buyers aggregate, particularly taking into account the industry sector and the level of seniority of your buyers. You can consider thinking about where your vendors would find you.
Always track how the results compare against your objectives but remember to ensure that the metrics used to measure effectiveness are realistic against the given buyer stage. For example, metrics for the unaware buyer may be measured by the level of engagement to your white paper or webinar not the number of qualified leads until they have moved along the buying cycle. Don’t forget to also track that the referrals fit your target audience and target demographic.
Review and optimize
Continue to analyze the results to improve and optimize your content strategy. Refine and refresh content by keeping it current, useful and targeted. Help move your buyers through the buying cycle by ensuring that there is content available for them at every point of the content program.
Final note, good content marketing makes a person stop… read… think… and behave… differently.