Did you know that 75 percent of B2B buyers today rely more on content when making a purchasing decision than they did just one year ago? So how do you know if you are giving them the right information, in the right place, at the right time?
Think of it this way—a builder wouldn’t start construction on a building without a blueprint in place. In much the same way, your content approach needs to be carefully mapped out with goals and objectives before you can begin deploying strong content that your audience will love.
Seventy-two percent of B2B marketers say creating engaging content is one of their top content marketing struggles. Can you relate to this challenge? If so, how can you overcome this hurdle?
Using data wisely is a strong strategy. The following seven tips describe how you can leverage data to create engaging content:
- What are visitors looking for on your site? You may not realize it, but your visitors could already be telling you want they want to see on your website. Review your website’s search analytics to see which popular terms they expect to find on your site.
- Harness the power of Google. Do you have Google Analytics set up on your site? If not, make that your first action item after reading this article (make sure you read to the end though; you don’t want to miss any of this sage wisdom). Similar to the first tip, examine what keywords visitors are searching for to land on your site. You should also look at Google Trends and the Google Keyword Planner to make sure you are covering popular topics within your industry.
- What’s going on socially? When news, events and resources are popular, people talk about them on social media. It’s no longer word-of-mouth—it’s word-of-social. Use social media management tools to keep an eye on industry hot topics that you should be covering for your audience. As a bonus tip, follow influencers in your industry (and try to get a follow back) to help spread the word when you publish new, relevant content. Be bold—ask them to contribute!
- Keep an eye on the competition. How are your competitors addressing industry hot topics? Chances are that many of them are producing content to educate and engage their audience, so check out their website and / or blog to see what they are covering. If they have a newsletter, subscribe to it. Going back to the last tip on social media, be sure to follow them to see what content they are promoting, and what is popular with their followers.
- Share industry news and perspectives. It’s important to follow industry leaders and professional associations that are covering hot / trending topics on a regular basis. Be sure to add your own voice to the article so you aren’t just recreating someone else’s work. Tell a personal story related to the industry update; it will help the reader relate to your author and business.
- Review your existing content. Don’t overlook your own website analytics to see what pages or topics are popular with your existing visitors. One tool we like to use is heat map technology (and confetti maps), which give a more complete picture of how visitors interact with our content. For example, are they scrolling to the end of the article? Clicking on videos or calls-to-action? Are returning visitors interacting more than new visitors? There also may be opportunities for historical optimization. I could write a whole blog on this (in fact, keep an eye out for that soon), but it really comes down to taking old pages that are performing well and updating the content, images and calls-to-action to optimize the page for your visitor.
- Interview your professionals. Your data doesn’t all have to be digital-related. Take time to meet with staff that are out in the field meeting with clients, prospects and business contacts. What are their pain points? What do they want more information about? Chances are, they’ll have great insights into what you should be writing about.
From there, determine what format makes the most sense for each piece of content. For some, it might just be a quick blog or press release. For others, it could be multiple formats (e.g., blog, video, podcast). See if there are ways you can repurpose your content across many different formats to deliver the content to your audience in ways that are convenient for them.
Take the information you’ve gathered and build a content calendar. It helps to keep you on task and hold your team accountable for deadlines. Most important, it can house most (if not all) of your digital assets so that you can see everything you have going on in one spot. This can help you fill in gaps for times when you are low on content, and it also helps ensure that you are giving different services and products the right amount of coverage.
Before you start writing, here are a couple key considerations to develop effective content:
- Know your audience: Think about your audience…what are their pain points? When and how do they search? These days, people want to be educated, not sold to.
- Create content for different levels of the sales funnel: At the top of the funnel, you should deploy general content that defines an issue and outlines solutions. As you work toward the bottom of the funnel, you should address how you can help readers solve that particular issue.
Finally, but critically important, take the time to measure your results to see if they are achieving your objectives. Creating engaging content that produces results should be a continuous process: Plan – Build – Promote – Analyze – Enhance (repeat). The more data you can mine that identifies what your visitors really want to read, the easier it will be to create content they will love.