It takes two big steps to even begin resolving the conundrum which tops the list of challenges B2B content marketers face.
According to Marketing Sherpa/Junta42 research, producing engaging (or relevant) content is the #1 content marketing challenge B2B marketers face. And generally speaking, it’s not for lack of funds: B2B marketers, on average, spend 26% of their budgets on content marketing activities. Money is not the roadblock; how to spend it is.
So how to overcome the relevance conundrum?
These are not small steps. No amount of funding will produce the kind of content that helps you initiate and maintain relevant dialogue until you:
- Develop and understand buyer personas
- Map the buyer journey for each persona
If you have a healthy content marketing budget, consider allocating some of the funds to persona research and development. However, developing buyer personas doesn’t automatically involve formal persona research, complete with focus groups and well-targeted online surveys. You can also collect information to inform personas by:
- Reading the blogs and other media your audience reads
- Joining the LinkedIn groups they are active in
- Talking to your salespeople—they are the closest point of contact with your audience, after all
Essentially, you want to investigate who your buyers are, what they care about, and how to talk to them. See more guidance on B2B personas in this post.
Mapping the Buyer Journey
Below are the main stages of any given buyer journey. Before you begin developing content for each persona, you need to map their specific buying journey—and how significant their influence is at each buying stage—based on their role, information needs and motivations. Only then can you produce content for them that will be truly engaging, relevant and persuasive.
Bonus Point: Squeeze that Content!
When you’re developing your content strategy and producing assets, plan for re-purposing and atomization of content (extracting key points for sharing in small, standalone bits: blog posts, tweets, quotes on a microsite, etc). Bite-sized content is especially effective for the short attention span executive.
What’s your #1 challenge in content marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.