Consistently producing high-quality content is a challenging task; it takes time, effort, and a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Effective content is one of the essential elements of business communication. Whether it is for branding or sales, the capacity of a business to reach the target audience is paramount for its success.
It is of utmost importance that the right content reaches the right audience at the right time. The right content has the potential to create value for the target audience and turn potential customers into long term buyers. It fuels your business by creating value and goodwill by making you a socially responsible business entity, which in turn helps in driving sales to your business.
The right content and content marketing strategy can only help a business to become successful in the digital world.
Let’s see what the stats are saying;
At the beginning of 2019;
56% of B2B content marketers will be spending more time on content creation, but only 27% of those content marketers consider it to be successful. (CMI’s research)
93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only 42% admitted that they are effective at it. Moreover, 84% of marketers from the ineffective group revealed that they have no documented or specific content strategy.
(A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
Now, it is evident that content marketing is making a difference, but how can you generate quality content at scale?
According to the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”; this goes for everything, yes, it goes for producing quality content too.
The framework for developing a great content strategy is too broad. Let’s just go through the main steps of this framework.
1. Audience: Know it!
Mostly, every organization has various key personas, but they haven’t defined them. As we all know, relevance is the key driver of content engagement, so the first step towards creating quality content is to know who you’re talking to because then only your audience will engage with your content.
To understand your audience at a motivational and emotional level, you need to have detailed personas. This is quite important when it comes to marketing where complex and long sales cycles are common such as B2B marketing.
You should know that not all personas are equal. You can have multiple personas in your business or niche, but the key to the success of your business lies in finding and prioritizing the one that’s contributing the most to your business growth. Its time you should invest in building rich buyer personas if you haven’t already.
2. Purpose: Define it!
It is true that you must know your audience, but just knowing your audience is not enough; you need to understand how your business or brand can provide value to them.
What does your business excel in?
Classifying between what your audience values and what your brand does will give you the grounds for the content you need to work on. After understanding this, you can create meaningful content for your audience.
3. Your customers are struggling: Find out where!
Now that you have determined your audience, your priority personas, and you know how can you add value to your content, it’s time to understand the customer journey.
Mostly, you should focus on the areas in your customer journey where they are getting stuck. Sometimes in a growing business, you need to focus on reducing the friction points from your funnel because that can have a major impact on your business.
You should start at the phase where your audience is struggling to get the information they want to make the final decision.
Once you have identified the friction points in your funnel, you should start focusing on your content efforts to create valuable resources to help your audience find the answers to the critical questions they have, eliminate any risks in moving forward, position your brand as a credible source.
4. Critical questions your audience may have: Figure it out!
To answer all the critical questions your audience may have, you need to identify the right questions.
The first step here is to use all the information available from your business– you will find the insights specific to your customers that can help you eliminate the friction points here only.
The two key areas you need to focus on are:
- Mine analytics: Here the analytics can be from anywhere, be it your social media data to know what the chatter is, or your website’s data to understand which pages are engaging with or how much is the bounce rate or the analytics available across your various channels can provide you with the insight to generate new content ideas to reduce or completely eliminate the friction in your customer journey.
- Sales and Customer service: Sales and customer service teams are always talking daily with customers and prospects about their concerns and what they need. Marketers must understand that these conversations can be used to inspire new informative content.
5. Generating Content: Plan it!
Creating content at scale requires efficiency, and the best way to create efficient content is to plan out your ideas from the beginning.
Here, you need to consider how your content idea can be used over different channels. After you have figured out your target audience, your focus, and how you can add value, you can then create a content framework that will help you to think about how you can effectively execute your topic ideas.
It can be a blog series that can be later used or converted into an infographic or video, or it can be an informative white paper that can be broken down into smaller pieces of content for key platforms.
Most marketers just dive in and start creating their content without planning. However, mapping ideas from the beginning can help marketers create a connected content ecosystem.
Now that you know how to generate high-quality content at scale, you should know the importance of creating a scalable content strategy?
A sound content strategy is a critical element when it comes to B2B marketing. According to the statistics, almost 90 percent of B2B companies used content to drive profitability last year, and it doesn’t end here, almost 43% of them increased their content marketing budget to add more staff in the content marketing departments.
These statistics suggest that companies are under tremendous pressure to create a ton of content to serve the insatiable appetite for content. The content can be anything, and it can be a blog post or a podcast, or whitepapers, photos, webinars, etc.
You cannot put time as a constraint on producing high-quality content as it can take hours or days or even months to create a piece of high-quality content. If you have unlimited resources, then everything will work put, but if you don’t, then you will have to try some creative approaches to maximize your work.
Let’s look at some approaches that you can take to maximize your content marketing efforts:
Recycle and repurpose
Starting from scratch is not the only thing you can do while developing a piece of content; you can always recycle and repurpose any content. It will help you to get the maximum return on your content investment. For instance, you can turn your white paper into something else like an infographic or a blog series or a video.
If you start working with a multiuse mindset, then you will see your approach to content creation change. You can even take a piece of content that you have published earlier, and you can give it a new life by refreshing it or mentioning a different angle in it.
Putting the right technology in use
In the present era, you have access to a ton of software and tech that can help you scale your content. You can use Buzzsumo to identify the best keywords for a topic and to see the top-performing websites and pages that are using those keywords.
‘Better writing means better results,’ you can write about a trending topic and present a new angle, but if it is poorly written, then it will be just a turn off for your audience. Producing quality content is crucial in the digital world, and if you don’t have an editor, then you can invest in an AI-driven active content governance platform. It will help you in predicting and improving the impact of your content before you deploy it.
Lastly, you can use analytics software such as Google Analytics to see how your content is performing post-publication and then plan and allocate your resources accordingly.
Having more efficient processes
You can save a lot of time if you have an efficient and repeatable process. You can create templates and workflows for each content format you publish to spend more time actually doing the work than figuring out how to do it.
Remove the confusion to speed up the process and keep your content on point. Another thing you can do is to audit your content and inventory reports regularly to avoid duplication and identify any missed opportunities.
Are you still skeptical about content marketing and its potential?
Well, Let’s take a look at a few companies and see how they have effectively used content marketing. (Source)
Cisco has been consistently using social media and content marketing to scale its marketing campaigns.
A couple of years ago, Cisco’s marketing team wasn’t sure about how effective these strategies were, so they thought of promoting their newly launched router solely on social media to use it as a case study to measure the ROI of its content marketing strategies.
With its digital campaign, Cisco reached its goals for $100,000 less than expected.
The Senior Manager at Cisco, LaSandra Brill, said that the company is going to use these results as the basis for their future product launches.
Toshiba has proven that B2B brands can generate new clients from around the world using content marketing.
Back in 2011, Toshiba wanted to promote awareness of its renewable energy solutions, so they created a ‘smart community.’ Thus, the company invested in a massive SEO campaign to boost their rankings.
Finally, Toshiba’s campaign helped them generate around 160,000 global followers on LinkedIn.
Marriott has taken content marketing to the next level by creating a new ‘global creative studio’ that will produce various pieces of content for the travel industry.
Marriott strives to become the number one travel content publisher in the world, said David Beebe, Marriott’s vice-president of Creative, Content Marketing, and Global Marketing.
Here is a quick review of the main points:
- It is of utmost importance that the right content reaches the right audience at the right time. The right content has the potential to create value for the target audience and turn potential customers into long term buyers.
- It is evident that content marketing is making a difference; 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only 42% admitted that they are effective at it. Moreover, 84% of marketers from the ineffective group revealed that they have no documented or specific content strategy.
- You need to have a 5 step framework to generate high-quality content at scale;
- Know your audience
- Define your purpose
- Prioritize stages in the customer journey
- Figure out the critical questions your audience may have
- Plan from the start
- You can use some approaches to maximize your content marketing effort:
- Recycle and repurpose
- Putting the right technology in use
- Having more efficient processes
- Finally, the benefits of content marketing can be virtually limitless, but you need to set the bar high to keep seeing better results.