How to build a B2B content marketing and lead generation engine
These are the 8 steps we go through when building a B2B content marketing and lead generation engine.
Clearly establish who you are targeting and what they are searching for.
Create a B2B content plan based on pillar pages and topic clusters.
Create quality B2B content based on the topics in your plan.
Regularly email your new content to customers and leads.
Promote your content through free and paid channels.
Builds a B2B prospect universe.
Track your website visitors from all sources (organic, PPC, email, and repeat visitors).
Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 as many times as you can EVERY month.
Here at Brightly, we follow a simple process to generate B2B leads for ourselves and our clients. We like to call it our content marketing and lead generation engine.
Although the core process is quite straight forward, there is a lot that goes on in the background during the preparation and running of a programme like this, however, to get you started, we have summarised the 7 key steps to setting things up:
1. Clearly establish who you are targeting and what they are searching for.
Create buyer personas and clearly identify who your decision makers and influencers are, what key issues/problems they face during their day to day work, how you can solve them and what keywords or phrases they would use when searching for answers or researching online?
Carry out keyword research to find out what the most popular terms and phrases are based on your audiences needs. This will allow you to focus your content and create a more effective content plan.
You can read more about keyword research here.
2. Create a B2B content plan based on pillar pages and topic clusters.
Optimising your content based purely on keywords is no longer the best way to rank on search engines. The modern, more effective approach is to adopt a pillar page and topic cluster model for your B2B content. A pillar page acts as a cornerstone for a large portion of your content which then has lots of pages covering related topics that link to your pillar page. These are called topic clusters. It’s useful to create a site map with all of your pillar pages and topic clusters as this can form the basis of your content plan.
You can read more about developing a B2B content plan here.
3. Create quality B2B content based on the topics in your plan.
Creating content every month is crucial to helping you get found and attracting more visitors to your site. Initially this will be mainly blogs and case studies and built around the target keywords, phrases and topics.
Ensure that all content is designed to attract, engage and build trust in your business. The content needs to help solve your audiences problems, answer their questions and be useful to them. Over time, this will grow your brand authority and voice in the industry.
For each piece of content, include a strong call to action (CTA) which links to premium or gated content. We want interested people to interact or download your premium content so that they can be identified as a warm lead.
Finally, make sure that your content is SEO optimised. There is no point creating great content if it never gets found.
You can read more about premium and gated B2B content ideas here.
4. Email your content to customers and prospects
Email marketing is a powerful lead nurturing tool. Every time you create a new piece of useful content, it allows you to notify all of your customers and prospects. This approach will keep drawing them back to your website and allow you to build your brand, relationship and trust in your business.
5. Promote your content through free and paid channels.
The great thing about B2B content is that it can be used many times across lots of channels. In addition to emailing the content, try developing an influencer outreach campaign (e.g. bloggers, news sites etc) to see if they will share, feature or comment on your content. You can also encourage your sales teams and employees to share your content within their business social channels.
The same content can also be promoted using paid channels such as Google Adwords or Linkedin sponsored content.
6. Build a B2B prospect universe
To extend the reach of your content, start to proactively build a prospect universe to send your content to. Through prospect research, you can identify decision makers and influencers within businesses that match your target criteria and email them your content.
The core data can be built from a variety of sources including internal or external data and researched to make sure it’s clean and up to date.
7. Track your website visitors from all sources (organic, PPC, email and repeat visitors)
One of the most important steps is to make sure you have the right tools in place to track and act on all activity. We use Hubspot to track the whole process from first visit to lead to sale. Tools like Hubspot will allow you to alert sales teams when visitors interact or download premium content so that they can follow up at the right time. We call these alerts ‘hand raisers’.
You can read more about the tools we use here.
8. Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 as many times as you can EVERY month.
This approach will take time to develop and perfect. By monitoring which content performs best and constantly testing and optimising your CTA’s and premium content offers, your conversion rates will increase. Don’t just do it adhoc or try it for a few weeks, you need to look at it as a long term investment. When you have got your lead generation engine performing, it will keep delivering and you will have the control to scale it up or down.