Best Practices in content creation in B2B markets

In a crowded and ‘noisy’ digital world brands are challenged with providing content that is valuable, highly relevant and engaging. Dense or ‘heavy’ content has shown to deflect customer interest, where short and simple content, that is presented in easy formats, gets more visitors who actually stay on the web pages.

Today, most companies are creating content and measure results in organic traffic numbers and page ranking position or how many leads were generated.

But how does really content benefit the brand?

In a recent study eMarketer found out that over 41 percent of marketing professionals prefer to know how much more likely people are going to buy their product as a direct result of the content they have created or pushed. To put it simply: can we quantify in dollars the sales as a result of content and what is the return on investment of content creation? Of course, this is hard to derive. Other intangible benefits that are hard to measure are the changes in brand opinion as a result of content.

Experts at the SVForum Marketing and Social Media Forum last week presented Best Practices for content marketing in B2B markets.

1. The top most recommendation is to take the Lean Startup approach. This method lays the principals to accelerate the development of businesses and new products. When it comes to content marketing, the idea is to create content fast and refine as you go along.

2. Being constantly aware of the trends in your markets by looking at what’s trending and why. Then, referring to your content where any piece should be looked at and assessed, from videos, Infographic, Tweets, blog entries, webpages, ebooks, downloadable content, newsletters, etc. Measure how many people are visiting each content element, how long do they stay on a page or a video, etc., how many downloaded your content, how is the content being shared, how often, etc.

3. Look at win-loss in terms of conversion rates from a visitor to a customer. Customer Retention is also an important indicator if you are ‘doing it right’.

4. Use gamification when possible.

5. Use your own company resources to create quality content. Not only marketing can create content; other departments, teams and employees may have stories to share. For example, sales teams can record their pitches, and then, using a company internal game, sales people would vote on the best video or pitch. Then, the marketing team can use this authentic quality video as great content. Further, the winning pitch can become a training resource for on-boarding sales staff or be a resource for all sales teams. This way, marketing doesn’t have to have the burden of content creation for the sales force.

6. Share more than your own brand – A recent study found that 88 percent of brands only share their own research and views with their readers, making it difficult for their audience to view them as objective sources for information.

There are several key factors to consider in B2B:

The buyer personas – Who are they?
Understanding the players within the customer organization is key. What is the organization culture? What are each persona’s needs, their greatest pains, concerns, etc.? Who are the influencers? Who are the power players and who are the top financial, marketing and technology executives? What are their goals?
The buyer/customer journey – What is the buying process at the customer’s organization? Who plays which role in the purchasing process? Different decision makers may be at different stages of the buying journey which will require creative ways to engage them and get their attention in favor of your product or service.
Visibility into the entire selling process. Tracking, managing and measuring data about the process, from initial engagement, conversion, sale, retention, etc. For effective marketing and sales strategies, use automation systems to devise data-driven decision making, which can help to better understand the markets and the stakeholders, as well as buyers’ needs.

Check SVForum’s World Cup Tech Challenge on June 4th at the Microsoft Campus in Silicon Valley. The 2nd Annual event will showcase 25 startups representing 17 countries who will be competing for the Cup. The event includes keynote speakers.

Another event is WITI Summit (Women In Technology International) which will be held May 31 – June 2nd in San Jose. The annual event focuses on tech-savvy women from around the world.