The Three Ds of B2B Content Marketing Strategy

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Does the B2B content marketing experience have to be a snooze fest in order to be informative? Apparently not, or a brand like Intel wouldn’t be bringing in 2 million readers each month, according to this recent article. Sure, some of their content consumers may be sleep deprived, but we’re betting that they turn to their pharmacist when they’re ready for a sleep-inducing remedy, not to Intel’s Facebook page. Those content consumers keep coming back because they’re getting something good.

Not all of us can be Intel, of course, but so what? Unless you’re marketing a giant global brand, you don’t need 2 million audience members for your marketing content. Here’s what you do need:

– An audience of existing customers who are engaged and intrigued by your published content
– An audience of qualified prospects (who look like your existing best customers) who are ripe for conversion if you get the right content in front of them

And you need these audiences in any size that justifies the cash and bandwidth you’re spending on content marketing when evaluated against the rate of return on your content marketing investment.

In other words, you don’t need to be like Intel – you need to borrow from the playbook of a successful B2B content marketer like Intel. And that brings us to one of our favorite topics, marketing strategy. Which in this case boils down to what we like to think of as the three Ds of effective content marketing. Let’s take a quick look:

We begin with Discernment.
By this we mean discerning what types of content your audiences want to consume. Do they want:

Product tips?
Case studies
Industry news?
Cool backstories?
Special offers?
Insider perspectives?
A forum for their opinions?
Opportunities to ask questions?
Fun stuff? (Think the Progressive “FloBron” LeBron James spot, but for B2B)
Dating advice?(Just checking to see if you were still paying attention).

Next comes Distribution.
Sometimes the wheels fall off of content marketing strategies for both consumer and B2B brands because they become focused on the “what and how often” of their message delivery at the expense of the “where”, as in “Where are we going to get our message out?”

In fact, your overall message strategy and frequency of delivery is just as important as identifying and cultivating your audience present content marketing channels, like trade magazines, social media, opt-in email marketing, and so forth.

When it comes to distribution, you need to be realistic about your bandwidth for producing enough content to justify your investment in a particular channel. But don’t be afraid to think big – remember, good content typically has a long shelf life that lends itself well to recycling. Also, don’t waste your energy trying to fit square peg content strategies into round holes. If you approach your distribution strategy with a “media agnostic” mindset – one that isn’t married to any particular platform – you’ll be more likely to score content strategy wins.

And last but not least, our old friend Data.
(Don’t look so surprised. Sooner or later, we always bring the conversation back around to data.) Data is the lynchpin that holds these 3 Ds together, and any B2B content marketing strategy that sizzles will include data in all facets of the strateogy’s execution:

Content tactics: What does your website traffic and other pieces of historical data tell you about what types of content your customers want to consume?

Distribution: What do your best customer profiles tell you about your client’s media consumption preferences?

Evaluation: What KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are you going to benchmark in order to determine the extent to which your content marketing is succeeding, or where it needs to be fine-tuned?

Related Articles:
“The B2B Secret Weapon You Didn’t Know You Had”
“5 Strategies for Creating a B2B Cult of Personality”
“5 Ways Your Website is Letting You Down”

We speak 3D, B2B, and data. English, too. Got a content marketing challenge? Contact MindEcology.