A common trend among B2B companies developing online communities around their event topics, is that the marketing team does not have any influence on the content that is generated to drive engagement. A big mistake!
Hey marketing team, you need to be owning or at least having direct input on the content that is published, whether it's the blog, website, white papers or ebooks. And important to clarify, that ownership of content means who is ultimately responsible for directing what content is written.
Editorial will always claim they're the topic experts, which in most cases is true. But their objective is to publish headline grabbing news. Marketers on the contrary know the conditions needed to drive more visits and leads to your website via content.
Don’t forget, while you need to think and act like a media publisher a B2B online community is not a news portal. You're generating quality content to add value to your readers which ultimately drives engagement and leads! Simple.
If the marketing team is not owning or at least having an important say, then I suggest you keep reading and make some needed changes.
Here are some guidelines on how marketing teams should approach B2B content:
Plan your content: Create an editorial calendar, with the areas/topics and keywords you want to position and you want to be found. Here are some samples on it looks.
Align yourself with your writers: Every quarter both marketing and editorial need to decide what will be written for that period
Yes you need to allow for some improvisation + fluidity, but in essence you need to have a content plan
Remember you are not a news portal: The content that you are producing should be solving specific questions / needs / pains of your target market or buyer persona, in other words it needs to be evergreen content.
If you happen to write newsy stuff, okay, but this type of content is not evergreen and does not add real value to your audience.
Credit: Direct Marketing Institute, also check more on the evergreen subject.
Think keywords / Topics: Naturally the needs / pains / wants of your target market will revolve around certain keywords, your articles / blogs / content, therefore each content piece needs to focus on one of them.
Needless to say those topics need to have some relationship to the product you sell or event you market.
Tell the reader what they should do next: The content you are developing has a particular goal and objective (attend an event, download something, call you etc), therefore make sure you are specifically asking them to do so.This needs to be aligned with the lead generation tactic you are using. Webinars, events, ebooks, presentations, surveys etc.
Time your content right: This is fundamental, the timing of that content needs to be aligned with specific launches, events, product releases etc.Remember we are talking about driving leads / sales here
Be prepared to do it yourself: Whether it is creating the outlines yourself, writing blogs, uploading, publishing etc, you need to be prepared to do it yourself. I am sure you've heard that saying "help others help you".
Even if this is not your case and you manage the content creation process, you will need to be prepared to educate/guide/illustrate your writers with the specific direction you want to take with the content.
How do you win the heart of your editor/content writer?
Well to win anyone’s heart, you need to give before you get. Some thoughts here:
- Come up with ideas and suggestions on topics and outlines that you'd like them to write.
- Use data to help you prove your case. Data back up always wins and HubSpot's research website is packed with marketing data. We love it. If you have your own data even better.
- Offer to do the admin part yourself (upload, find images, SEO optimisation, publish it etc)
- Write up the outlines yourself. In fact all marketers should be doing this.
This is a typical outline that anyone would work from.
An outline serves as a draft for what is to be written, at least it must contain the following elements: Suggested title, keyword/topic area, body content and finally what do we want the reader to do.
For better illustration purposes this is the outline I have used to write this post
Call to Action:
Events are a great source of content. Here are some article and content ideas for those of you who run events
- Every speaker can become a Q&A / interview potential for editors to expand on through the magazine / publication / blog
- Every telephone conversation can become an interview that goes on the website
- A list of speaker potentials (20-50) from a particular event, can become a list of “The ones to watch in …..” and these will be the top 10 that will be speaking at your event
- At events bringing a HD camera will drive opportunities for a video chat or quick interview – these can be shared as video and/or transcribed with highlighted soundbites for content
- Seed questions asked at every touch-point between your organisation and the market. These will become potential material for content marketing ebooks or presentations
- Previous event slides or sessions can become case study downloadables.
Tools to help you pique your content ideas
- HubSpot Blog Idea Generator: While it is not a perfect tool it is great for mental blocks.
- Ubersuggest from Neil Patel: A free tool that will let you know what are the potential keywords you should pick and position within your content, very handy information around searches per month and cost of PPC for specific terms.
- BuzzSumo: You put a keyword or a website and it will give you a report of how much of it has been shared and great to give you ideas on additional content to write.
I'm sure you've got the message loud and clear - if marketers are not owning and directing the content marketing orchestra, they're just not maximising the real potential and power of content. Marketers will continue simply executing marketing campaigns as opposed to delivering a marketing campaign that truly drives results and wins the heart of your CEO.
What is your scenario - who's owning your content?