We all have personal calendars to contend with, especially at this time of year. We double-book social events and try to balance that with overloaded work schedules that leave us wishing there was more time. As we look towards the New Year, we make a promise: Next year, I will be more organized!
As B2B marketers, our brand’s calendar should be no different. Who are the people we need to communicate with? What is it we want to say? How are we going to get the message delivered?
Successful content marketing needs a blueprint, a timeline and consistency. I mean, don’t we all need a bit more of all three in our lives?
Why it matters
Having a marketing strategy for the year will maintain focus for everyone from sales, finance, leadership and marketing. Working with the sales team to develop the strategy may seem counterintuitive, but teamwork makes dream work, and the earlier you have buy-in from across the sales cycle, the better. The more complex the sales cycle, the bigger the need to ensure the strategy is aligned with business objectives and sales targets.
1. Plan your blueprint
- Create a 1-page summary strategy that includes:
- Who: Audience breakdown
- What: Messaging you want to communicate with each audience
- Why: Objectives for each audience – lead generation, thought leadership, sales conversion, etc.
- How: Distribution channels – how are you going to tap into these audiences? Email, social, advertising, carrier pigeon?
- Now print this off, tape it to your wall / partition / desk plant for all to see and share
2. Make it relevant
This circles back to the Who, What and Why of content marketing. Understanding the audiences, what topics interest them (asking a few close customers never hurts!), and where they typically go for information, are all imperative to your content calendar. After all, only 42% of b2b content marketers talk to their customers as they research their audiences.
If you know your audience is technical, interview your engineers on a project that they feel would interest their customers. Perhaps your sales team is hearing things that would be of value to a wider audience. Or maybe walking the floor of your industry’s biggest tradeshow will reveal topics and secrets your customers are dying to know about. Word of mouth is a powerful tool that can be leveraged, especially for B2B, so focus on the means of communication that’s best for your audience.
3. Get organized
Think about your Outlook calendar. Employing a similar calendar for your brand’s content will allow you to look ahead, plan and prepare the people and topics required throughout the year. Taking a holistic approach before the year begins, in tandem with your marketing strategy, will give you the 30,000-foot view of what’s needed, and when.
- Create a 2019 content calendar and include:
- When you’re reaching out to each target audience
- What kind of content needs to be created
- When you need to speak to the right people, for the right topic
- How you’re going to distribute this content
4. Stay regular, for your customers, of course
The key to success of your content marketing strategy for 2019 is consistency. Google will actually reward you for this. Repurposing content with a refresh counts, so don’t always feel under the gun to develop new content.
Benefits of content consistency:
- Establishes your brand as a thought leader
- Bolsters your brand identity
- Ensures your customers and prospects have new information that helps them be better at their roles
- Strengthens your SEO, findability and searchability
Talk to your audience, listen to what they are looking for and have that blueprint. After all, research has shown that marketers who document their strategy with a marketing calendar are 538 percent more likely to report success than those who don't.