Creating a B2B Marketing Content Strategy, a TABTF guide

If you run a business or in any way have marketing as part of your remit, then chances are you have marketing content and strategy on your radar. 

Content is sometimes referred to as: media, marketing collateral, or stuff we use in the first third of our sales funnel. It is the information, blog posts, podcasts, infographics, white papers, etc. we prepare with our target market in mind that allows us to move someone from being a prospect to becoming a marketing qualified lead. Marketing content is all about the target market, in contrast with sales collateral which is all about the product or service you are selling.

B2B Marketing Content Strategy done well looks like: 

Get your prospect list to respond favourablyBoost your brand’s relevance with your audienceGive you insights and data you can use to iterate your content More easily turn prospects into marketing qualified leads, and set them on their way to becoming sales qualified leads

If you’re curious as to what a b2b Marketing Content Strategy looks and sounds like, where it originates from and how it systematically unfolds to support the commercials of a business, keep reading for everything you need to know about a b2b Marketing Content Strategy.

B2b Marketing Content Strategy: what is it?

Sales funnel diagram and summary

A b2b Marketing Content Strategy describes 

what content in which format (Video? Audio? Text? Design?)with what messaging will be distributed in which places

as the first third of your sales funnel in order to convert your prospects into qualified marketing leads over a period of approximately 4 to 8 weeks. Marketing Qualified leads then go through a process to convert them into sales qualified leads.

Of course, the natural sales cycle is a factor and can shift the time frame up or down depending upon what you’re selling and to whom.

The B2b Marketing Content Strategy is anchored in the insights you have about your target market. Note that a Target Market is a clearly defined segment understood from both a Macro and Micro perspective. 

Finally, the content marketing plan design is dynamic. We bend and flex in real-time during the execution stages to optimize performance. 

What goes into your B2b Marketing Content Strategy?

1. Target Market

We start with full clarity on your respective Target Market that best supports the commercial goals. This is the market with the highest probability of converting into a sale that realizes the new revenue the business is after. If you are interested in learning more about defining a target market – check this out. <Link to Target Market Article>

2. Your Ideal Client Profile

We resolve the Ideal Client Profile for the business. This is a profile of the individual that represents the professional personality and activities common to the people in your specified Target Market. <Link to Target Market Article>

If we have multiple Ideal Client Profiles, then we prioritize each one: high value, medium value, and nice-to-have. Together, we determine the Ideal Client Profiles that marketing should invest in now that best serve the commercial targets. 

3. Industry Deep Dive

We determine which Ideal Client Profile and its corresponding Target Market that we will complete an Industry Deep Dive for. This is a deep dive into the industry through the filter of your Ideal Client Profile. This view crystallizes the opportunities for you to leverage now for the best possible results according to your Ideal Client’s Perspective. 

These insights are the best possible insights we can leverage to move your Ideal Client Profile through the marketing funnel and into the sales funnel.

These insights inform the content messaging format and execution plan.

Marketing content takes your target market and turns them into industry heroes. Sales Collateral heroes your product or service.

A b2b content marketing plan includes: 

P.O.S.E for media mentions (strategy)

  • Paid (media) is ad spend that goes behind a post, banner or blog.

  • Organic (media) is anything that lives on your brand-owned media channels.

  • Shared (media) comes from your network. They share the content with their network.

  • Earned (media) is the holy grail in media. This is where mainstream media (online and offline) picks up your content and references and links it in their own media.

The order that we want any firm to engage in P.O.S.E is directly proportional to where they are in their marketing lifecycle.

In our world, we get a lot of businesses at ground zero, because TABTF works with smaller companies who don’t necessarily have in-house marketing resources. If you’re trying to move from ground zero, we begin with Organic media, followed by Shared.

Shared content also serves as a feedback loop, because if people are sharing your content, that indicates its good content, whereas if people are ignoring your content then that piece of Organic content you’re sending out is not viable.

Once we’ve gone from ground zero to one (by publishing at least 3 pieces of Organic content), we can look back at how our content has performed and determine what works, and what content is worth putting €500 per month behind, which is now Paid content.

Earned content, or the holy grail of content, occurs when another publisher picks up your content and writes about it on their own platform. Difficult to achieve, this type of media gets conversations started about you in a human way. This is great because the focus of this content is on reputation, and this genuine interest persuades sales without directly marketing the product which conceals the sense of being sold to. 

At TABTF, we have defined six categories of marketing content:

  1. List: Stand-alone information or facts collected and presented together in one place

  2. Analysis: Examining and interpreting information or data

  3. Prediction: Content that describes what to expect in the future

  4. How-to: Step-by-step or methodology

  5. Social Proof: Learning from case studies, stories or experiences of others

  6. Entertainment: This content ranges from cat videos to memes, and is anything we engage with to “switch off.” 

The insights gathered from your Market Research should inform which category of content will work best here. 

  • Content messaging (operational plan)

  1. Content Design (operational plan): what your content is going to look like

  2. 90-day execution schedule (execution plan): a plan for how/when/where content distributed between your prospects of the next 90 days

  3. call to Action (strategic): According to our sales funnel, the Call to Action should invite prospects to engage with a Free Good. 

  • Landing Pages the content drives to (operational)

  • Scripts, and automated email sequences that respond to individuals accessing content (operational)

Final Thoughts

A b2b Content Marketing Strategy used to introduce prospects to your sales funnel, and convert them into marketing qualified leads. It describes what goes into your content, in what format your content will appear, the key messages, and where your content will appear in order to reach your perfect-for-you prospects. 

Your Target Market, Ideal Client Profile, Industry Deep Dive, and Content Marketing Plan are the key components of your b2b Marketing Content Strategy. 

A Content Plan describes:

P.O.S.E., or the order of Paid, Organic, Shared and Earned media. The content-type content messaging content design90-day execution scheduleLanding page set up scripts 

Done well, you can see results like:

Prospects responding favorably boost in your brand’s relevance with your audience insights and data you can use to iterate your content more easily converting prospects into marketing qualified leads

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