Relying solely on traditional marketing approaches is no longer a viable option. Every forward thinking business must now also use digital channels. A content marketing strategy fits an online approach perfectly because content itself is an inherent part of your website.

So, is content marketing just writing anything on your website? Definitely not. It’s a strategy that combines useful and highly directed informational content pieces with technical aspects of Search Engine Optimization. 

You’re looking to draw in, retain and expand an audience through quality content that educates and potentially converts leads to customers. It’s an “inbound strategy”. That means that instead of pushing your products or services to prospects, you let them find you willingly.

What does that mean in other words? Content and SEO highly rely on each other. You can’t have a content strategy in the absence of an SEO strategy. Without SEO concepts and practices, content wouldn’t bring any ranking benefits.

You should use your blog to express your views, experiences and knowledge of you industry, sure. However, a majority of your content must follow SEO optimization rules.

The Core of Your Content Marketing Strategy

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How to Find Content Ideas Your Audience Will Love (3 Strategies)

Marketing 3:48: min

First and foremost, you should understand why you’re even writing the content, and what content you should write. Don’t confuse “content” writing with “creative” writing or “copywriting”, because they’re 3 different things.

Content is going to refer to informational pieces that are found on sections like your website’s blog. Regardless of your industry, it is highly advised to have a blog section. It’s just good SEO for your platform, and an additional opportunity to generate inbound traffic.

On this blog section, you must think of how you aim to help your audience. Who is going to find this content? Are they going to find the information valuable? Will the content show that you’re an expert in your field, capable of providing the related products or services professionally?

B2B businesses like yours use content marketing daily to attract more leads. The information solidifies a user base, which you’ll then turn into customers with your CRO strategy. 

Keep in mind that content itself is made to attract users, not to increase sales. Your CRO specialist is going to be the one that optimizes the page for an improved conversion rate. Common tools are lead magnets, pop-ups (less advised from an SEO standpoint), free offers and the like within or around the content.

Master The Following Elements

  • Defining your audience: you have to outline the persona(s) you’re trying to reach. This is perhaps the most crucial step, as any mistake here will “flow” to the other stages. Carefully determine who are the people that you want to read your content, and then start targeting them with the appropriate keywords.
  • Keyword research: find valuable informational queries that are relevant for your business and for your target group. We suggest using Ahrefs, or the other options explained by Alex in the video above.
  • Content plan creation: after you have the keywords, you create a plan for multiple months. This will outline what’s going to be written and posted each week.
  • SEO brief creation: content must follow certain guidelines to rank organically, which are always keyword-specific. An SEO brief is the instructions for how to write content for a given keyword.
  • Proper metas: the meta title and meta description of a page are 2 of the most important SEO elements of your webpage. They must be optimized with your target keyword, but the exact way in which you do this can differ depending on the keyword.
  • Keyword optimization: use the determined keywords on specific spots within the content, such as the H1, in H2s, etc.
  • Structure optimization: structure the content in a similar way to what’s already top-ranking in SERPs, as that’s what Google will want to “see” on your page.
  • Unique content: duplicate/plagiarized content will never rank well, as Google has a database of give or take every website that already exists. Keep your content original!
  • “Evergreen” content: most of the time, your content will have a limited lifespan from a usefulness standpoint. The “top X B2B tools of 2021” isn’t a topic which will rank just as well in 2023. However, “evergreen” topics are the ones that will always be relevant, such as “the greatest tricks to increase sales”. These are just examples, make sure you do your keyword research!
  • Schema markup: a code snippet that’s best when it is custom built, rather than using a standardized generator. “Schema” is a type of mark-up which defines your in-post terms better for the search engine crawler/spider scanning your page. For example, it can “clarify” to the bot that in your context, “B2B” should be considered “business to business”.
  • Social media & email: while these are completely different subjects themselves, it’s worth noting that sharing what you write is an important part of your content marketing strategy. Social media platforms and email marketing are great tools to use in this direction.

The 2 Parts of Your Strategy

Your activity will include 2 major parts:

  1. The content strategy itself
  2. The content plan

The Content Strategy

This refers directly to what you should be writing. There’s no marketing involved in it just yet. There’s no “how many sales will this bring” put into the process. Instead, the content strategy defines the creation and publication aspects of your informational keywords. It weighs the content from a usability and target-group importance perspective. 

During the strategic stage, you’ll also take all of your found keywords and see how they fit together. That’s why you have to weave SEO together with content. Keyword must be specific to your niche, and relevant for the audience you’re looking to target.

On-page SEO

For example, for on-page SEO, you can use what’s known as a “pillar post – supporting topic” logic. You find a keyword with a lot of monthly searches (even if its organic ranking difficulty is on the higher side), and create a blog post centered around it.

This is the post that’s going to be the most important to you for that specific topic. Then, you’re going to “help” it rise in SERP positions through supporting topics. These will be blog posts with keywords that have less searches, or naturally compliment the pillar post. 

Your target group is going to find the supporting articles the same way on Google search, but there’s a little trick involved. All of the secondary posts will internally link towards the pillar in an SEO and UX friendly way. By doing this, you’re signaling to both crawlers and users that they should really check out that link.

In turn, you’re passing on link equity, or “link juice” as it’s called in SEO, towards your pillar post. All of your URLs are going to have their own ranking trends (depending on the keyword). However, this way, you’re giving a nudge towards the core page for that topic (your pillar post) with every supporting article.

Custom schema markup should also be created for all posts

Off-page SEO

As part of your off-page SEO tasks, you can share your posts appropriately on social media, depending on your content plan. You can also get in touch with other businesses in your niche and see if they’ll feature your content (careful not to create duplicate content this way by mistake), or if they’ll accept a guest post/article from you.

These are extremely good link building opportunities, as content works very well for building external references to your platform. However, more often than not, this comes at a price (they tend to be substantial ones too). 

The Content Plan

This is the tactical layer of your efforts. You’ve established your overall direction in the strategy; the content plan is how you put all of that together into actionable steps. Each task in particular is attributed to a team member, and it has to be executed at a specific time. 

Within the content plan, you’ll order which topics are a priority, in what week they should be written, if they must undergo QA before being made live, and more. As we’ve mentioned above, the metas of a page are of utmost importance. So, you could also add the title and description that each piece of content should use.

Similarly important is including Calls-to-Action (CTA) within the content, where it makes sense. Always take into account that Google will rank your posts based on technical aspects (such as keyword density, page and URL structure, etc), but also on natural language and organic text. 

The “trick” to remember

If you think about your posts from strictly a technical standpoint, they will not perform ranking-wise. The concept of “over-optimization” exists as well. Keep it natural, keep it intuitive. You’re not looking to spam a keyword or “force” Google to put you into the first 1 – 3 SERP results. Because, it just doesn’t work like that.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has reached a point where it can also evaluate the way you word your phrases. If it deems them mechanical or inorganic, not created for another human, it’s going to flag your content as not worthy of ranking.

When you’re just starting out, you could use plugins such as Yoast SEO (if you’re on a WordPress domain). It scans the content of a page and highlights parts whose readability should be improved. It’s one of the best SEO plugins available.

You can also plan out a concrete social media trajectory as part of your content marketing strategy: 

  • When an article should be shared
  • What description should be tied to the post
  • What targeting you’re going to use through hashtags
  • Potentially boosting the post’s reach through PPC ads

Bottom line: the content plan represents the steps you take to execute everything from the content strategy. It outlines all required work, and who should do what and when.

Do I Really Need a Content Marketing Strategy for B2B?

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As we’ve explained above, great SEO-optimized content directly translates to increased organic traffic. When you’re doing B2B business, this is a very important part of your strategy. You can think of it as free traffic down the line, at least for evergreen topics. 

If you create content well from the start, you’ll have a marketing channel that continuously attracts users. What’s more, they’ll be users who have already manifested an existing interest in what you’re writing about. After all, that’s why they used that search query on Google.

In turn, this raises their chances to convert into clients, since you’re offering solutions related to the topics you write about. However, you must take into account to include a convincing and powerful CTA within your content. Otherwise, the conversion probability of prospects will be much lower.

When you’re at a point where your content marketing is performing to expectations, document the results! Documenting what you’ve done right is a great step for establishing the “101” procedure for writing quality content. Additionally, you gain other benefits too:

  • Your team will steadily get better at creating effective content.
  • Achieving a great content piece won’t feel as challenging down the line as the first few times.
  • You’ll get a better grasp on the idea of a content marketing strategy overall. Applying the proper writing tactics and maximizing gain through social media as well won’t be nearly as intimidating.
  • The better results you get, the more justified your investment in quality content is. 

A Few Examples

Maybe you’re a Software as a Service provider. For the purpose of this example, it doesn’t really matter what exactly your software does. Maybe it’s a UX/UI design platform that allows very easy team collaboration. Or, it’s a support ticketing software for customer support businesses. Or, it’s a cloud-based IT software of some sort, etc.

In any case, what’s important is that you’d structure your content around the product or service that you’re offering. You can create informational web pages that explain the pros and cons of a particular type of SaaS, or the “top x reasons” to use one (after you’ve done your keyword research and SEO brief). 

Then, you include a CTA directing prospects towards your service page. Or, towards a free resource guide, for which they must sign up to your transactional-oriented newsletter.

If you provide direct services to other businesses, then you’d take a different approach with the similar concept in mind. For example, let’s say you’re a managed services provider (for development, marketing, design, project management, etc). Then, you’d create a content strategy and a content plan around the benefits these practices bring.

You could tackle topics such as “what is…”, “when to use…”, “why to use…”, etc. The overall idea is getting into the head of your potential clients. What are they searching for when they’re looking to outsource various tasks? How are they seeking to understand how the job gets done?

Content marketing is all about delivering high quality information for a relevant query, in a format that’s easy to understand.

The more you can prove to your audience that you’re the company to provide the services and the tools you talk about in your blog posts, the better.

Is my Content Marketing Strategy Important for Other Departments?

To some extent, yes. For example, it is imperative that you also share your content goals with your development team. Why? So that they can understand the full scope of your platform. There are a few SEO-friendly settings that they make to your website (especially the blog section) that’ll compliment your content ranking efforts.

Aside from this, the leadership team should also be fully aware of the implications of a content marketing strategy. Proper documentation must be kept, and the process must be streamlined for future projects or isolated tasks too. 

You must ensure that all the teams coordinate towards the same objective at all times. This means being aware, at least to some extent, of what others are doing.

Depending on your organizational culture, it might also be appropriate to share the content documentation and plan with your clients or stakeholders (if this is a service you’re providing). Other times, general summaries of your activities will suffice. 

What Should I Include in my Content Marketing Strategy?

There’s no precise template to speak of. Content strategies depend on your organization’s specifics; on what you’re trying to achieve and what you want to sell. However, there are a few elements that tend to be common. They’re worth taking a note of.

Here are 5 elements to include in your content strategy:

  1. Communicate the reason for content marketing. Since it is a SEO-based approach, content marketing won’t always yield results in the short term. This can vary depending on the keywords specific to your niche, but make this clear from the get-go. Outline the benefits of content marketing, but also that results aren’t likely to be immediate. This can net you some support from other executives or from your clients.
  2. Clearly define your content plan. As we’ve talked about above, your strategy must be put into a clear plan, with defined goals and tasks. What value are you looking to bring to the industry? How is your content going to be original, different? Does it fit your business model and objectives? What roadblocks could you encounter down the road?
  3. Understand your audience. You must deliver content that’s of interest to your target group. Think about their needs and fascinations, and work around that during your keyword research. Similarly, some topics will be a bit more transaction-focused. You can map out your content across different weeks and months, and save some pieces for specific points in your lead’s conversion journey (through newsletters, for example). 
  4. Respect your brand’s story and identity. Content marketing isn’t the place for personal opinions and beliefs. When prospects will read the information, they’ll associate it with the image of your company. Think about what ideas and messages you want to put forward as a business. How should people remember you, and how do you stand out from competitors?
  5. Use multiple channels. Once you have a great piece of content, plan out how you’ll popularize it across a multitude of platforms. LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (and more) are great places to share information, and to then direct people to your website. You can also set targeting parameters for your posts and videos too. Likewise, remember to create a cohesive whole among all channels. 

Do I Need to Update my Content Marketing Strategy?

As your business evolves, certain tweaks might be necessary to your strategy. Other times, you’ll need to overhaul it completely. Think of content marketing as a “program” of your marketing department. It grows at its own pace, but it’s intertwined with your company’s scaling ability. 

Every page is going to rank individually, based on the topic and the keyword. However, having a website with an established authority will help you out a lot in ranking easier and faster. A post about lead generation coming from Hubspot, or from a new startup, won’t have the same potential out of the gate. But, the startup can still compete if the content respects the SEO brief and makes use of industry best practices.

If you see that your content isn’t performing as well as you envisioned it, it’s time for a review. Look at your target objectives, channel strategy, team procedures and list of core topics. Is everything on brand? Have you done your keyword research properly? Are your content writers doing the best job that they could? 

If the answer is yes to all of those, then you might be in need of professional content marketing services to sort out the situation. 

Let’s Rank Your Content Together

If you want to increase your ranking for specific keywords through content marketing, we’re the experts that you need. You can outsource the entire content creation process to us, or we can provide marketing coaching to your team. 

Whatever solution you think will work best for your business, we’re eager to hear about it. One of our core working principles at X27 is creating a plan that fulfills your specific requirements. Let us know how you want to work with us, how you’ve achieved success in the past, or what your current struggles are.

We’ll take it from there.

Drop us a message right now and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Don’t keep all of those inbound leads waiting!

About The Author

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Alex Berman is the founder and chief content creator of X27 Marketing. He is passionate about promoting efficient B2B lead generation channels and executing on data-driven strategies for his clients.