B2B Content Marketing Strategy_Prepare1 Image

Does your organization have a content marketing strategy?

Would you like to know what other B2B companies are doing?

What elements should I include in a content marketing strategy?

There is an increasing demand for content among marketers, but how can you ensure that your content marketing strategy is effective?

It’s impressive that 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing this year, but only 30% of them rate their efforts as effective.

How do you bridge such a big gap then between the planning and the implementation and what makes your content marketing successful?

  • The problem: Most of us B2B marketers — I’m looking at you — are doing content marketing without a strategy. That’s a problem.
  • The solution: We need strategy to guide our B2B content marketing. Strategy is the solution.
  • The point: I’m going to tell you how to develop a strategy. It’s not hard.

If you’re not doing content marketing, you’re in an awkward and kind of lonely position.

But it’s not good enough to simply be doing content anymore. If that were the case, then everyone would be succeeding at content marketing. Quite obviously, that’s not happening.

Here’s a few holistic stats when it comes to content marketing:

‌• 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.

• Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

‌• 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing.

B2B MARKETERS OPINIONS ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING

88% of marketers’ believe content marketing is an important component of their organization marketing program.

Yet only 52% of the marketers believe that leadership gives them the ample time to produce high quality content.

B2B Marketers Opinion About Content Marketing

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS STRATEGY IN B2B CONTENT MARKETING?

“Strategic” is one of those business buzzwords that become part of our everyday business speak. The problem is that we’ve lost touch with what strategy really is, and what it looks like.

In content marketing, strategy is about going back to the basics while at the same time looking ahead to the ultimate objective of content marketing

We’ve got a pretty good grasp on the big idea of content marketing. What we need more is a way to pull it all together into a cohesive and focused strategy.

What’s in a strategy?

Strategy is about going back to the basics.

Answer the Big Questions

  1. Why do you do what you do?
  2. Who are you?
  3. Who are you reaching?
  4. What are you trying to accomplish?

From these questions, you’ll be able to develop a strategy that will get results.

Why you business should start with WHY!

Identify your buyers

A great content marketing strategy starts by taking into consideration its audience, understanding the expectations it has to meet.

It may be a good idea to answer these questions first:

  • Do you know your target audience?
  • What do they expect from your content?
  • How should you interact with them?
  • How do they interact with each other?
  • What motivates them for their buying decisions?

Identify topics

It’s not always easy to come up with a consistent flow of creative ideas, but an analysis of your target audience, the success of your existing content, or a closer look at your analytics may help for numerous content ideas.

The first tip is to think like your target audience, in order to be able to produce the right content for each stage.

  • What would your audience like to read?
  • What topics are useful for each stage of the purchase path?
  • Does your content answer the right questions?
  • Are your topics aligned with your company’s wider strategy?

You may get many useful answers by asking the right questions and both your co-workers, your audience and many online tools may be extremely helpful.

CREATE CONTENT

What is Content?

In web marketing, “content” simply means a piece of information that’s available electronically. As a rule of thumb, good content should be interesting, challenging, entertaining and worthwhile. Otherwise, the producer (writer) has wasted his or her time.

Content creation is concerned with the research and production of different types of content that will attract a definite audience.

On the other hand, content marketing is also about using the best tools out there (like the social networks) to promote your valuable content, in order to attract and retain customers.

Content curation is an integral part of content marketing too, which is why you need a great editorial calendar. Hundreds of thousands of great pieces of content never get seen and read. If you can find those great types of content and make it easily accessible to your target audience, while adding your own unique flavor to it, you’ll stand out.

Once you have analysed your audience and have identified the best ideas, it’s time to proceed to the actual creation of the content.

A great content is a combination of value, relevance and visual appeal, along with proper formatting and length, depending on the stage of your B2B content marketing strategy, your audience and the expectations.

It is also important to prepare a good mix of content, including..

  • Blog posts
  • Videos, including LIVE Video
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Visual quotes
  • GIFs
  • White papers
  • Podcasts
  • Behind the scenes

Various types of content ensure that your audience maintains its interest in exploring your new content.

In fact, experimentation with new content types may lead to surprisingly good results, which may even make you reconsider your content strategy, adding new creative directions that may turn out to be more effective.

B2B EFFECTIVENESS OF CONTENT MARKETING

B2B Effectiveness of Content Marketing Strategy

 

 

Let’s start with some ups as in increases in percentages YOY ( 2016 to 2017.)

  • 70% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2017 than they did in 2016.
  • 39% of B2B marketers say they will increase spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.
  • 62% of B2B marketers say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing is somewhat or much more successful compared with one year ago.
  • 37% of B2B marketers reported they have a documented content strategy (a 16% increase over the 32% reported on in the 2016 report).

One of the biggest mistakes I see with businesses are marketers who aren’t committed to content marketing. Like many things in life, you can’t be “kind of in” and expect good results.

One of the best ways to commit is to write down your strategy – and refer to it often. And, part of your strategy should include how you are going to help your customers in a way that no one else can (this is your content marketing mission).

PRIORITIZING B2B MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES

The first step in building a B2B content marketing strategy is committing to measurable marketing objectives and prioritizing their importance against your business objectives.

B2B marketing plans often include both qualitative and quantitative objectives. Planning against these measurable strategic objectives allow you to report on marketing results instead of just tactical activities.

Comparison of tactical activities vs measurable results

Comparison-of-tactical-activities-vs-measurable-objectives

Because content marketing is resource-intensive, you must prioritize your resource allocation to achieve better results. For example, if you are attracting and opting in lots of active prospects than you priority should be:

  1. Qualifying their sales readiness.
  2. Nurturing their engagement with your subject matter expertise.
  3. Attracting and acquiring new prospects.

If you have the opposite priority of attracting more leads, then your investment priorities will be reversed. Either way, it is crucial to prioritize your marketing objectives. Otherwise, your campaign will be trying to accomplish too many things at once without focusing on your objectives.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Conclusion

Preparing your B2B marketing strategy is about optimizing time and time again.

Furthermore, when your business grows your needs are going to change. Any strategy you come up with should have the capacity for scaling. Effective scaling will ensure that you can continue to increase revenues while meeting the needs of your target market.

Strategy. It’s elusive. It’s mysterious. And it’s all but disappeared from many B2B content marketing initiatives.

It’s time to bring strategy back.

Content marketing is all about strategy and trends. Strategy can go beyond the three basic questions. The best content strategies that I’ve seen are those that are innovative, different, and evolving with a shifting audience.

At the very least, I challenge you to create and define a strategy. The current state of content marketing is such that you’re not going to succeed by just doing it. You’re only going to succeed by strategizing.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

 

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Make Epic Happen_Prepare1 Image

Would you like a positive change in your life?

What if I told you that you could make Epic Happen?

Are you ready to read something positive and uplifting?

We are living in truly amazing times. In our hyper-connected, hyper-local and increasingly global world of do-ers, makers, tinkerers, innovators, disruptors, and creators, now more than ever there are endless and expanding sets of collisions, connections.

Let me share with you a story of a friend of mine Stephen Ritz. Stephen became a school teacher over 30 years ago in South Bronx where he was raised. The poorest most destitute school district in the country where poverty and crime run rapid.

No body wanted to learn, but Stephen had a heart for people.

I’m deviating a little from my normal blog post to write about him and his new book. The Power of a Plant. He doesn’t even know I’m writing a blog post about him. I had purchased his book, which arrived from Amazon in short order. It came out on May 2nd.

As fate would have it my family was out of town and I had to stay behind because of business commitments. It was a Friday when coming back from a business meeting I discovered that the power was out. Boy do we ever take the internet and power for granted. However, there was a reason why this happened.

As I continued to work using my iPhone, I quickly realized that soon I would be without power.

Perfect timing which was meant to be. I picked up The Power of a Plant at dusk and started to read by an LED flashlight. According to MLGW (Memphis Light Gas and Water), the power would be on in a couple of hours. Didn’t happen.

Stephen didn’t give me a lot of insight into the content of the book, which now I understand why.

I continued to read.

The LED flashlight at times continued to flicker and I thought the batteries would run out. I couldn’t put the book down. It was riveting. It gave me another view into Stephen’s world which I knew nothing about. WOW!

Inspirational, Yes! Uplifting Yes! Lights your fire, Yes!

It was slightly after midnight when I finished his book. I was fired up. I couldn’t hardly go to sleep yet had to be up at 5:30 to conduct an all day workshop.

TEACHING WITHOUT A TEXTBOOK

From one Bronx block to the next, you could catch the same songs blasting out of boom boxes, and car speakers. The streets had a pulse all their own, as dramatic as a soundtrack.

During lunch breaks and after school, Stephen heard his students making their own beats, turning themselves into percussion machines and amplifying the rhythm of the streets.

Along with music, he used his big-voice, bigger personality and a grab bag of nutty stories from his own Bronx adventures to grab students attention.

But then what?

He was on his own to figure out the next move. Teachers as well as students routinely missed showing up for school. Nobody cared as much as Stephen. That’s his nature to love and make things better no matter what the circumstances.

Do you have that same kind of philosophy?

What’s your WHY?

He routinely questioned “How could I get students interested in content that they didn’t care about learning?”

What makes you interested in learning? For me, it was my Father. His philosophy was “The day you stop learning in the day you die!” He believed that until he drew his last breath. That’s why today I love to learn. It doesn’t matter your age.

Learn new things. Do new things. Grow your mind. Make Epic Happen.

Stephen wrestled with something we all do. How can I convince them they had the capacity to learn, after years of being told they couldn’t?

How about you? Has someone…a parent, friend, co-worker or boss told you couldn’t do it? You couldn’t learn a new skill or career?

Especially when you had no support.

THE POWER OF A PLANT

Power of a Plant Book

Courtesy Stephen Ritz & Green Bronx Machine

What if we taught students and people that they have as much potential as a seed?

That in the right environment they can grow into something great?

The Power of a Plant tells the story of a green teacher from the Bronx who let one idea germinate into a movement and changed his students’ lives by learning alongside them.

The Power of a Plant is a story of hope, resilience, and regeneration.

It all started with a box of Daffodils sent by a group in Holland to his classroom. He didn’t even know what they were and stashed them in a closet behind a steamy radiator. Little did he know they had bloomed but weren’t supposed to until spring and this was October.

They were to be planted in Poe Park. It was where Edgar Allan Poe lived and wrote “Annabel Lee.”

Good Morning America was on hand to film. Even the drug dealers stopped by to give his students a quick smile. The longer they were there planting and cleaning up the park the more attention they drew.

The results were obvious, it became contagious. It’s not the norm to see eleven inner-city teenagers come together to garden in the park, and people loved it. Newspaper photographers snapped their pictures. One of his students on Monday brought in the newspaper and said “YO RITZ! LOOK! WE’RE IN THE PAPER!”

For once, his students were getting positive feedback from their community rather than distrustful stares.

Wanting to build on that momentum he formed a group called Green Teens which later became the Green Bronx Machine.

StevenRitzandtheGreenBronxMachine

These teens tackled the courtyard at the school to clean it up and plant a green wall of growing plants and vegetables. More students were getting involved, and it was taking off.

They started to sell the vegetables and learned about working, setting goals and making money all while still going to school. Talk about unconventional…That’s Stephen.

Check out his Ted Talk: Stephen Ritz growing green in the Bronx. Over one million views.

100 POUNDS LATER

One of the powerful lessons is to lead by example. Like most kids in the Bronx they are raised on carbs, sugar, cheap and easy food. My friend Stephen was no exception. What was once a lean wiry 6’3 inch guy who can jump, shoot lights out on threes in basketball, started to resemble the shape of the ball.

His weight ballooned. One pound at a time, he didn’t even notice. It adds up fast and his blood pressure was skyrocketing with his weight. His doctor prescribed medicine, but didn’t talk to him about changes in diet and exercise.

He was taking so many pills he got them confused. Even after the 911 call and the ambulance ride didn’t convince him of his own health.

PROGRESS

Not for his weight, but for his classroom attendance. It went from 40% on average to 90%. Students were involved. They set GOALS!

They had a PURPOSE!

What began as a school project quickly turned into their shared obsession. They kept it up after school, weekends, and eventually during the summer. The first phase took about a year of effort by the Green Teens. Within eighteen months, the project had expanded to include students from other schools along with adult volunteers. People of all color.

By that summer back in 2007 Stephen had secured funding through the city to pay for sixty youth jobs.

As the garden wall continued to grow, it took up too much space and used too much electricity and water for the school. One of the students even engineered how to harness the power of the students peddling their bikes to provide energy.

Certainly there had to be a better way. By luck Stephen was presenting with the kids at a convention in San Francisco and saw this strange white plastic tower with 20 small holes that stood about 7 feet tall growing plants.

When inquiring about this, he was introduced to “The Tower Garden.” A product that another friend of mine here in Memphis purchased. Jay Martin founder of Juice Plus+ a company that produces and sells whole food supplements and other healthy products around the world.

Their mission “To Inspire Healthy Living Around the World.”

Jay a former school teacher himself and Stephen hit it off.

Stephen took to eating the vegetables they were growing. Each day he would try something new. Before he knew it, he was losing weight and feeling better.

Big Change! Have you ever fought change only to discover the benefits?

Anyway, he became obsessed with growing and eating healthy and instilling that in his students and others. 100+ pounds lighter he is the same vivacious Stephen with hugh energy and a hugh heart. Now he states he can jump higher.

Inspiring others. 

Stephen Ritz and Kids

HOPE

Do you still have hope?

Even after all of these years of being beaten down and told no in our society?

  • What’s your Passion?
  • What’s your Purpose?
  • What’s your Mission?

Passion, purpose and hope is what Stephen was giving to his kids in the classroom. These are the principles that have been his cornerstone. Even after losing twins, one before birth and the other right after. How to you go on? HOPE and RESILIENCE.  A loving wife in Lizette.

He questioned WHY? Do you ever question WHY?

Stephen has a simple theory on education.

Stop placing the blame on poverty. Poor children can rise to high expectations.

What are your expectations for yourself, others, your career and business?

Nobody rises to low expectations!

For Stephen, it all starts with LOVE.

We’ve got to love children and others before they can learn to love themselves.

One of those students for him was Vanessa. A rough girl, cussed like a sailor, no father and mad at the world. To Stephen it was all about helping her love herself and others while making a difference.

One afternoon a beat up envelope arrived in his mailbox after being forwarded numerous times since he had moved and taught at other South Bronx schools.

When he tore open the envelope he burst out into a big smile. A photograph of Vanessa floated down into his lap. It was a photograph of her in a cap and gown. Vanessa buckled down, stayed clean and gotten her high school diploma with honors.

Several years later Vanessa his helping others in the South Bronx deal with poverty, drugs and loving people to be better.

What impact are you having on others?

RESILIENCE

There are only two reasons why kids, parents and everyday people can’t do something.

  1. That your non compliant – which means you don’t want to do it.
  2. That your’re incompetent – which means you don’t know how to do it.

In either case the answer is always to teach. You don’t give up on the kid, your child, you co-worker, your friends.

Not all his administrators shared his unorthodox methods of teaching, vision and sharing. He used those setbacks, not as failures but of temporary roadblocks to a bigger mission.

What obstacles have you faced? Have you persisted through them with a goal? Mission?

The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. 

Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

If he could get others interested in greening their schools, maybe we could create a bigger disruption and change public education for the better. Look where it has taken him. That’s the Power of a Plant!

FINAL THOUGHTS 

The famous author Tom Peters once said. I’ll take a monomaniac with a mission anytime. That’s my friend Stephen.

He inspires HOPE. If a lonely teacher growing up in the Bronx can inspire change not only in himself but others. What about you?

He inspires RESILIENCE. If he can survive in a downtrodden town, failing education system, failing health, losing twins with his high school sweetheart Lizette and wife who stands by his side. What about you?

He’s won numerous teaching awards. Educators from Dubai to Canada are learning from him and implementing their own sustainable growing systems and teaching their students about life, goals, hope, and resilience.

I’m not a fan of his Cheese head hat, being a Chicago Bears fan, but he was speaking in Wisconsin and picked some up and it’s now part of his persona. I’m now OK with that.

A few years back he was invited to the White House to meet the Chef for the president. The Pope invited him to Rome. He’s not met so many dignitaries. Yet remains humble and energized.

2015-02-Pope_Francis-Stephen Ritz

We discuss Social Media Strategies and how to use it to help spread his message.

A simple mandate for all: embrace the moment and MAKE EPIC HAPPEN! We can do this! We are the heroes we are waiting for!

Take the time to Connect with Stephen Ritz onand the Green Bronx Machine:

Stephen always starts and ends with LOVING PEOPLE. No matter there status. From a kid raised in the South Bronx, he was destined for a time such as this.

Epic builds upon and demands small collective victories that combine what you feel compelled to do with what you are paid to do. Epic involves collective decision-making and honesty, rigor and integrity from teachers, administrators, people and businesses.

Epic involves a sense of support – of collegiality, collaboration and accountability, top down and bottom up, wholly systemic – with a mindset that we are all in this together and that the sum far exceeds the total of the individual parts.

I encourage you to buy his book The Power of a Plant. You’ll be inspired, lifted up and helping a great cause. A portion of the proceeds go to help the Green Bronx Machine.

As Stephen Concludes: SI SE PUEDE!

Photos Courtesy of Stephen Ritz and the Green Bronx Machine

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

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Business Self-Concept_Prepare1 Image

 

Did you know that businesses also have a self concept?

What do you think the components of the self concept are?

From small business to large organizations, everyone and every division or group forms the self-concept.

It is the overall personality of the people when they’re together, or when they think of themselves as part of a larger whole.

The self-concept of a business is made up of [Continue Reading…]

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Why Your Business Should Start With Why

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Top 5 B2B Content Marketing Trends [Infographic]

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What B2B content marketing do you create? Is the content as effective as you would like it to be? If you’re a B2B marketer who isn’t investing in content creation, you’re in the minority — 88% of B2B marketers surveyed by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs said their organization used content marketing to further their goals […]

Read the full article →

Social Media Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

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So many times I’ve heard businesses — especially small businesses — say that social media just isn’t for them. It takes too much time. They’re not sure where to start or how to keep it going. And besides, they should be focusing on actually running their business –not just posting pictures online — right? Wrong. […]

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Your Keywords Are Not What You Think

by Blair Evan Ball March 15, 2017

Are you familiar with keywords? Do you understand the importance to you and your brand in search? Those words or phrases that you input into Google or Bing to serve you results are keywords. LOCAL SEARCH – IT’s ALL ABOUT MOBILE Local search is critical for a local business. Optimizing for local search is important, […]

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Do habits affect our winning in life and business? Is there a common thread? Why do some people and businesses always seem to win? The Habits of Winners In Business To succeed greatly in business, there are additional habits that you need to develop, as well. One of these habits is the determination to win, […]

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