Clients often ask me, “How in the world did you find your team of writers?” Mod Girl Marketing has had the same solid, effective gang of content marketers for the better part of a decade. In this industry, that achievement is a nugget of pure gold! Bloggers may be a dime a dozen these days, but finding true masters of the writing craft who also know a thing or two about marketing is quite another matter entirely. Truth be told, in the early months of founding my company, it took a lot of sorting, weeding and prospecting to find the right partners.
What ultimately worked for me was looking for self-motivated people with entrepreneurial spirits who worked for themselves and had degrees in professional fields like business, marketing, teaching or journalism. They were people with a passion and a natural intellectual curiosity. They read the news every day. They had spent some time out there, working hands-on in the niches they specialized in, be it healthcare, technology, finance, real estate, or marketing management. They were people who appealed to me in their cover letters — not just with their technical abilities and work histories, but also their communication styles, people skills and ability to deliver results under deadline pressure.
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Over the years, my team has come up with a list of eight essential pillars to a successful content marketing plan that has helped us deliver amazing results for our B2B clients:
B2B content marketing research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that successful B2B content marketers had two critical habits: they document their content strategy and they review this strategy continuously to ensure efficiency. It’s not enough to have a lunch meeting and toss around ideas. A content marketing plan should be written down and shared among your team members. You’ll want to include the following:
– Clear objectives: Who is your audience? What do you want to say?
– Goals: What measurable organizational goals can your content help you achieve?
– Accountability: Who is in charge of the writing, the editing, the optimization and the distribution?
Every week, you should take some time to determine when and how tasks will get accomplished. Do it on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee or in the evening with a plate of dessert — whatever works for you! Fill in your key time slots and prioritize. Send out any memos or questions you need answered Monday morning. We like to use tools such as Sprout Social,Basecamp, and Slack to network with our team members about joint projects we’re working on and to update our editorial calendar with “to-do” list items and helpful research links.
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3. The Right Tools
One of the reasons businesses love working with us is that we give them access to over $40,000 worth of digital marketing tools. What better way to turbocharge your business than to get all that value, without having to learn new software or invest in the technology yourself?! We simply deliver the most useful reports generated from programs like Buzz Sumo to help our clients improve the quality of their content curation. Trello is another neat program to check out when managing complex projects with many moving parts — and, best of all, it’s free!
The most important thing for a content marketer to remember is that good copy is not about the brand: it’s about the consumer. As we discussed in another recent post, “The real genius comes in reflecting those interests back to people through imagery, tone, words and design. Branding goes beyond a recitation of benefits to touch the heart and soul of what a consumer wants.”
So how do you find this elusive target audience and market to their needs? Here’s a few places to begin:
– Conduct surveys among existing customers.
– Invest in CRM software that tracks customer relationships from prospecting through sales.
– Use Google Analytics to monitor your best and worst performing posts using Google Analytics.
– See what’s trending on your Facebook Insights and Twitter Followers dashboards.
– Set up meetings with your sales and customer support teams to find out what issues they’re encountering.
– Keep a pulse on what your top competitors are doing to determine voids and possible areas for improvement.
What distinguishes a good blog from a great blog is sometimes just a matter of exposure. You can write the most innovative posts all day long, but what good are your posts if no one can find them? Sharing and distribution are an equal slice of the content marketing pie. The average content marketer uses 13 different vehicles for content promotion, which includes everything from social media and video sharing sites, to PR Web and social bookmarking. Check out 17 of the best content distribution vehicles here.
6. A Vision of Value
What problems are your readers looking to solve? What information do they need to know right now? What visuals do people enjoy looking at and sharing with their friends? These questions are all paramount to the savvy content marketer. We spend a lot of time digesting consumer trends, reading industry publications, skimming the headlines and honing our craft.
In our experience, the most valuable B2B content:
– Intrigues with facts, figures, links, images and infographics.
– Uses bold language, action words and tells a story.
– Harnesses a tone that is direct, friendly and professional.
The best B2B content marketers don’t bore their audiences with standard descriptions of benefits and features. Leave that up to the sales people! Instead, they aim at convincing prospects to recognize that an issue exists and leading them to making their own conclusions on how, when and where to do business in the future. This advice may sound a little vague, but the exact “how” of accomplishing this goal is best discussed one-on-one with a content strategist, as every business is unique.
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7. Measurement Tools
According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 5% of B2B content marketers feel they are “very successful” at measuring and tracking return-on-investment. YIKES! How can you write more compelling content and build upon successful topics if you don’t even know what’s resonating with your audience? A discussion of all the tools and measurements goes beyond the scope of one article, but Google Analytics is a great place to start assessing your content’s performance if you haven’t already. Also, Writtent has a great article on how to measure content marketing success. Lastly, we go more in-depth on this topic in our post: 5 Elements You Need For A Successful Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy.
8. Corporate Culture That Fosters Thought Leadership
Mod Girl Marketing works closely with internal point people to ensure that the content strategy we develop fosters thought leadership and gets your experts out in front of a large audience. No one knows your company better than the people eating, sleeping and breathing the culture day-in and day-out. We do a lot of the leg work, but we pick your brains for internal subject matter, strive to answer questions customers bring to your support team, and identify opportunities to nurture customer relationships through each step of the buying process. Content and customer relations cannot be viewed as separate departments. Your company culture has to treat each department as spokes on the same wheel, which all work together to move the vehicle of progress forward.