How do you prioritize your B2B marketing initiatives? First, do a gut check – what's the status of your current marketing function? Then, ask how to...
BSMS 6: How do you start with B2B content marketing?
Content marketing shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it’s pretty simple. Start by simply answering the questions your prospects have.
Then, make sure you’re following the basic rules for B2B content:
- Know its purpose (What's the goal of this piece of content? Inform? Help someone level up?)
- Speak to a specific problem and person (Who is the person asking the question? What is their level of awareness?)
- Display expertise (Become the trusted guide. Speak their language. Show that you know the industry)
- Help people (Show up and help people do their job better – whether through a template, framework or FAQ)
Welcome to episode six of B2B SaaS marketing snacks. Today, we are talking about content. How do you create your first content marketing strategy? There's a lot of LinkedIn Gurus who will tell you certain things about creating content, but we think it's actually pretty simple. I think there's some easy ways to get started with content without thinking about it too much. And I've got some thoughts on this, but Stijn, I wanted to hand it over to you first and see what your thoughts are. How do you, how do you create your first content marketing strategy as a B2B SaaS company?
Content marketing is often completely over-analyzed, over complicated. The best content, is content that is valuable. It doesn't have to be written very well. The grammar, of course, it's nice if it's correct, but even if it's off, but it's not completely clear, after-all content is not really organized very well, all those things that you also want, you want clear well-written, well-organized content of course, but all those things fall apart. If the content is not valuable.
So when you want to create your first content strategy, try to find out what are the questions that people have, and answer the question. And if that can be done in one paragraph, then it's okay to write a one-paragraph piece of content. And if it's easier to explain it in three paragraphs, then by all means do it in three.
If the content is going to get better, if it's in three pages, fine do that. But don't let things like SEO and content calendars drive too much your early content strategy priorities. Just ask yourself what are the questions that people are having? And there are so many sources to get input for that.
Talk to your customer success team, ask them, Hey, will you speak with customers who have either used our product for a while or are starting to use it? What do they use it for? What challenges do they face? Why is that important for them? What are they trying to do that makes your product beneficial for them? And if they tell you, well, I'm using this new microphone, because I'm doing a podcast, then you could ask, Hey, why do you do a podcast? Because, I'm not connecting with my audience very well.
Why do you not connect with your audience very well? Because, our content is really not easy to deliver in a written format. And now if you're the seller of a microphone, instead of talking about the buttons on the microphone, you can start blogging about things that your audience really cares about, which might be, Hey, how do I build a good content strategy with the right topics?
So start with, asking people who've talked with your customers every day and ask them, what are our customers trying to achieve? What are they trying to do? Who are they trying to become? and that's where your content strategy starts.
And then you built it out, you can go deeper into certain topics that seem to get traction. When people ask you more questions about it, when a blog is, for example, very popular, you built more content that goes deeper into the same topic. But that's where you start. And then SEO optimization, which of course is very important. Can always be done later.
That's a really good point. I've actually given that exact advice to one of our clients before. I said, what are the questions that the customer success and sales team get asked about, frequently that are not product-related? So more specific, what's the industry expertise that they're looking for, that you can help answer for them, that you have subject matter experts on your team that can synthesize and produce answers for them. I would also add, I think I have four-point checklist for content for myself.
I think you have to know what the purpose of the content is, you have to speak to someone very specific. So you need to know who's asking the question and what stage of awareness they're in, because I think there's different types of awareness. I think you can have somebody who is completely unaware that your product even exists.
And it usually happens in an unsaturated market. So, they're happy with the way things are. And usually they're not searching for anything. So the way that you would get that content to somebody, to help them understand that there is a better way is different. That probably would not be a great blog post, but it might be something that you could incorporate into an outbound sequence.
If someone is problem aware, and they know that they have a problem, but they don't know how to solve it. That's really good content to put on your blog and hopefully rank for SEO or paid search. Someone is actively searching for a solution or they're actively searching for answers on how to solve a specific problem.
If someone is solution aware, they know that they have a problem, they know what the problem is, and they know that there are solutions that help them. And they're not... You're trying to essentially show that your product can solve that problem for them.
So that's talking more about comparisons and that's when you get into more about the features and things like that, I like to think of those as your "solutions" pages and your "industries" pages. And that's the kind of content that goes there.
And then there's product aware, which is very bottom of the funnel. And that's when you get into thinking about people know about your product, but they haven't bought it yet. And I think that's where you can get into a lot of pricing optimization. And that's when you talk about the funnel friction, things like that, how do you get people who know about us to actually buy us? What's preventing them from making that choice to do what they're doing, but better with us.
So that's, that is all encompassed in the first bullet, which is know the purpose. I think you have to, with every piece you have to educate the market, provide some takeaway or some value to them that they didn't have before they consumed your content. You Stijn, you always talked about becoming the trusted guide for somebody, right, building that trust and showing that you are a good source of information for them.
You can't force people to buy something. You just can't. They have to be ready. They have to be in the right space to implement it. If it's an enterprise solution, they have to have the right team together. They have to have the budget, but you can put yourself in front of them and keep yourself top of mind and show that you know the industry really well so that when they are ready, you're there for them.
And I think that's what a lot of content marketing should be. It's one of the reasons that we are starting this podcast to be quite frank, because for a lot of people with long sales cycles, it's not just about, you're not just competing on price. You're competing on industry expertise for a lot of these like enterprise custom configurable solutions.
People need to know that you know their space and you can configure your technology to fit their problems the best. So I think that has a huge part in that. And then the last piece, this is all over the place. So sorry about that. But the last piece is it has to help them do their current job better.
So you're trying to just help people, give away knowledge for free. At Kalungi, we like to give away a lot of templates and actual worksheets for people that can go, that will help them do what they're doing right now, help them do it better. But in order to get the next level, that's where Kalungi comes in. So if you are offering a AP automation solution, you could in theory, give people a template for tracking KPIs in the accounts payable division, and then the next level up from that is your software, which automatically tracks all that stuff.
I think making deposits, giving people resources to actually solve their problems first, is a really good place to start. And I think it's something that a lot of companies don't do enough of, when you search a lot of people treat content as an SEO grab. So they'll say the top 10 things you need to know about X. And I just don't know if those are that helpful, for collecting the right customers or potential customers at the top of your funnel. So those are my thoughts on that. Just a few additions there, sorry for rambling.
Those are some great thoughts. One thing that I would add is, I think you mentioned this, but every piece of content needs to have a job to do, what's the job to be done by the content. You're asking people to spend time reading, consuming your content, you better make it worth it, worth their while. and that means you have to answer the question, who's it for? And what's it for? And what do you want people to do next? if they just consume your content and there's no real behavior change, there's no next step, then if they believe something after reading your content and that's great. But even better, they end up doing something.