You’re the owner of a small B2B tech company with a great piece of software. You know your offering is better than all the others on the market and you can explain to anyone listening exactly why.
If you could just get in front of the right people — those potential customers who would be bowled over if only they could see your product in action — your business would soar.
But alas! The market is noisy and your product, albeit superior, is just another in a vast sea of similar offerings. Worse, your marketing budget is tiny, if it exists at all.
You know you must educate your target audience about your software. But with limited resources, you just don’t know how. After all, you’re not a marketer. You’re a small business owner busy pouring your blood, sweat, tears and talent into elevating your technology product to the next level.
Content marketing may just be your secret weapon.
Content marketing is critical to the success of any business — but it’s especially important for B2B software providers who sell a complex product that requires a thorough explanation to articulate its benefits.
Content marketing allows you to meet your potential customers where they are, educate them in a way that addresses their needs and desires, and ultimately build trust and lasting relationships with your brand.
Your competitors are already doing it.
- 73% of B2B companies already have content marketing programs in place. (Content Marketing Institute)
- Small technology companies spend between $2,500 and $5,000 per month on their content marketing efforts. (Kiwi Creative)
That’s because it works!
- B2B companies engaged in content marketing between 2016 and 2021 — posting high quality content consistently (at least weekly) — saw an average return on investment of 748%. (FirstPage Sage)
When you can put the right content marketing strategy in place — with clear, well-defined objectives and a consistent approach — it will be a game changer for your business.
Let’s go through some simple steps that will help you put an impactful content marketing strategy in place today.
1. Clearly define your target audience
Before you even start writing, you should understand exactly who your ideal customer is. Identify who wants or needs your product and what their journey looks like as they research their technology options.
- What type of company needs my product?
- What’s the job title/function of the person making the buying decision?
- How many years has he been in this industry or role?
- What is his budget for this product?
This can be a short exercise that takes you only five or 10 minutes. Keep it flexible and agile. Update your target audience as you do more research or it changes over time. LinkedIn’s 7 questions for defining a target audience may help walk you through the process.
2. Research your target audience’s trends and challenges
Your target audience is probably anyone who buys software for their company — CEOs, CTOs, IT managers, marketing directors and others. What keeps them up at night?
With a few Google searches, you can find valuable information about your target audience.
- Peruse their industry publications and read what they are covering. For a quick start, scan headlines and look for common themes. This is a great way to quickly identify the trends and challenges your target audiences is up against.
- Check out your competition! Your competitors are rich with valuable information that will help your business. They have blogs, case studies and other content speaking directly to YOUR target customers. Find it, read it, keep an eye on it.
The more research you do about your target audience and their trends and challenges, the better your content will be.
Start researching and keep researching — it should be an ongoing part of not only your content marketing strategy, but also your business.
Just to get started, spend at least a couple hours initially to skim the surface and start to get inside their heads.
3. Generate some content ideas
Now that you’ve identified your target customer and researched the trends and challenges common in their industry or business, you can generate some ideas for content that will speak to those concerns.
It’s great if your product directly helps address their challenges, but not all content you create must center on your product. In fact, your content should really be customer-centric — speaking to them, about them.
Remember, content marketing is about building relationships and trust with highly valuable and relevant content over time — so when the person reading it eventually has a need, you’re top of mind.
4. Commit to consistency by creating an editorial calendar
Consistency is critical with any content marketing strategy! It’s absolutely essential that you post content on a regular basis — not just here and there when you think about it.
Be intentional. After you brainstorm your content ideas, create an editorial calendar and assign those ideas to specific days. Certainly be flexible — swap out a topic when another more relevant one pops up. But always have an idea ready to go.
The biggest motivation killer is not having a clear direction at the outset of a project. You editorial calendar will keep you on track! Content Marketing Institute has some great editorial calendar tools that make creating one very easy.
Creating content takes time, so be mindful about how frequently you can realistically write and post high-value content.
Don’t get caught up in the “something is better than nothing” mindset. To break through the noise, you have to be providing your audience with real value.
The rule of thumb is to post to your blog at least twice a week, but set a goal that works for you and stick to it. You can always adjust it later.
5. Identify a home for your content — hint: it’s your website!
The obvious place to post your content is on your website. You own it, so create a blog section and post there.
Most importantly, your site lets you track all the metrics associated with your content.
You will be able to easily identify what content is resonating with your audience and what isn’t. You can begin digging deeper into the higher-traffic pieces that your audience cares about.
Your website is also a great place to start building your email list. Require readers submit their email address for high-value content — such as research reports, case studies and e-books.
6. Determine how you want to distribute your content
Once you have a content on your site, you need to make sure it gets in front of the right people. There are several ways you can do this.
- Social media: Pick a social media platform where your most connected to the people you want to see your content. This is most likely LinkedIn. Post all of your content there. Include captions that make it conversational. Ask your network to share it too!
- Email newsletter: Leverage your email list to hit folks with your content right in their inbox. Be consistent — perhaps sending a newsletter quarterly, monthly or even weekly. And create compelling copy for the email subject line and body to get your audience to open it.
7. Consider other forms a content that will resonate with your audience
Long-form content like blog posts and articles that we’ve mostly covered today will be the crux of your content marketing plan, but there are other great pieces you can add to the mix.
Consider also including:
- Case studies – celebrate your success stories by telling your customers about the clients your product has already helped! Check out HubSpot’s guide to writing case studies.
- Infographics – people are visual, and they love numbers. Create a compelling graphic that highlights some of the most relevant statistics your customers should know about. Canva has a simple guide and multiple templates for creating compelling infographics.
- E-Books – they take time, but e-books that provide highly valuable information around a particular topic impacting your target audience can be a great addition to your content mix. And by gating this high-value content, they can help you build your email list! MailChimp’s 7-steps for writing e-books is a great place to get started.
- Podcasts – record that conversation you’re having with a colleague about an up-and-coming trend, edit it for length and clarity and post it to your site. It’s a great way to show your audience that you are a thought leader in your industry. Descript offers this step-by-step guide for podcast beginners.
Now that you have a solid content marketing plan in place, it’s time to start generating some great content.
There are a lot of great free resources and tools available to guide you through the entire writing process.
Hubspot, for example, has several blog post templates you can download for free.
Reach out for a free consultation!
If content marketing is on your list of priorities, but you just can’t find the time to do it, let’s talk!
Email me at [email protected]
Call me at (773) 818-5729