Content Marketing Playbook
The 1 Line Description
When to use it
Part I - Designing a Content Strategy
Role of Content in B2B Marketing
Content marketing exists to attract, inform and convert prospective customers at each stage of the customer lifecycle. Good content strategies map the customer segment to the funnel stage and objective while being robustly measured.
Types of Content
- Content strategies should be considered in terms of owned (blog), earned (PR) and paid (advertorials).
- Content also has different roles and lifecycles - e.g. content hosted permanently on your website vs topical and tactical content.
- Also key to distinguish between content you provide for free without requirement for interaction and content leveraged for transaction - e.g. customer data (“lead magnets”).
Content Production Sanity Check
Before being greenlit for production, content ideas should be appraised against the following checks and measures:
- What are the specific goals and expected outcomes?
- Which stage of the funnel/buyer journey is the content designed to impact?
- Who is the content for?
- How will the content be distributed?
- What is the expected reach?
- How will we convert the audience to customers?
- What is the cost of production and promotion?
- How are we are measuring all of the above?
- Tip: conduct a series of content marketing experiments with explicit outcomes at particular lifecycle stages before committing to developing a full editorial calendar.
Connecting to Business Goals
- P&L forecast
- Marketing funnel forecasts
- - From where do you anticipate leads and customers to originate?
B2B Customer Segmentation
Prioritising Market Segments
Identify your ideal customer profile
Decision Making Unit
- Map out the archetypes involved in the purchasing decision of your product.
Understand the specific audiences you’ll be creating content for by developing personas.
Value Propositions & Messaging
The value proposition canvas helps you distill your Unique Selling Points (USP's). This should inform the overarching content narratives and topics you focus on (e.g. “microlearning”).
Part II - Creating Content
Generating Content Ideas
- Predicted demand - e.g. keyword research via SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends, and social trends (via listening tools such as Mention). Map out keyword volume and
- Predicted impact - what content is currently popular? e.g. researching content via tools such as Buzzsumo.
- ‘Inspiration’ - You can also use these tools to gain inspiration from competitors or other publishers and reverse engineer their content strategy.
Use a content backlog to manage ideas. You can also manage your content production pipeline in Trello.
^ Via Hubspot
Part III - Distributing Content
- Audiences are most effectively built on the back of existing audiences. Partnering with organizations and individuals to co-create content is therefore the fastest way to create an effective content engine.
- Create a content calendar and maintain lists of relevant and receptive promoters.
- Great content is the best tactic.
Channels & Tactics
- Signal Mapping: select channels holistically based on their likelihood of reaching your target audience. What are they searching for? What do they read? What events do they attend?
- Maintain a list - or segmented lists - of all partners and individuals friendly to the business and request they read and share all content. Also use these lists for advertising custom audiences.
- Partner with event organisers to email relevant content to their community members.
- Make deals with niche publishers to host or syndicate content on their site.
- Email popular content curators to include content in their newsletter roundups.
- Co-create content with partners / repurpose for advertorials, in order to access the organic and paid reach of their networks.
- Consider the content required to support a channel sales strategy.
- Supporting sales reps by ensuring they’re equipped with the content (print & digital) they require to educate and persuade prospects throughout the purchase cycle.
If you only do a handful of things, execute the following sequence to amplify the reach of content:
- Publish on the website blog (if applicable) as well as on Medium.
- Create tracked UTM links and use a URL shortener.
- Post content to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, via Buffer. Make sure you include any relevant hashtags and account handle tags.
- Promote content with social ads to either custom/lookalike audiences or segmented defined audiences.
- Post (or hire a freelancer to post) content to relevant social groups. Maintain a list of groups to post for each topic (product management, insurtech etc).
- Email/message employees/partners/bloggers and ask them to repost. If content is co-created or references a company or individual, ask them to promote it.
- Email your list of curators for inclusion in their newsletters.
- Publish in a monthly newsletter.
- Ensure all employee signatures include the latest blog post and social pages (e.g. via Sigstr).
Part IV - Content Lead Conversion
Retargeting (e.g.Facebook lead ads)
Lead Management & Nurturing
- Manage your lead databases in a sales CRM such as Hubspot.
- Score your leads based on their interaction and engagement with your ads, content and website.
- Feed this data to sales to allow them to prioritise leads accordingly.
- Tip: use Clearbit or another data enrichment tool to gain further intelligence on your email leads and website visitors.
- Track content engagement and effectiveness KPIs in Google Analytics, Hubspot, and in the native advertising/publishing platforms you’re using.