Content marketing is getting more expensive and difficult every year. There are millions of videos and blog posts published each month. That is why more companies work with a B2B content marketing strategist to meet their goals.
Choosing the right B2B content marketing strategist to grow your business doesn’t have to be confusing. Start by checking if they apply these critical skills.
1 Setting Effective Marketing Goals
Before a content marketing strategist does anything else, they need to have good goal-setting skills. Specifically, strategists know how to set measurable and realistic marketing goals for their engagements. If you are a unicorn startup with 100,000 people on your email list, adding 1000 customers might be reasonable. Alternatively, a B2B consulting firm like Deloitte or McKinsey will have different marketing goals entirely.
Do not settle for vague goals like “growth” or “more sales.” Such ambiguity will doom your content marketing strategy to frustration.
Bonus: A content marketing strategist will tend to be more successful if they use a proven goal-setting methodology like OKRs as defined in the book “Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth” by John Doerr.
2 Listen To Multiple Audiences
In Star Trek The Next Generation, Deanna Troi served as the Enterprise’s counselor and a key advisor to Captain Picard. As an empath and counselor, she was highly skilled at listening to people. That’s one of the reasons why Picard was often able to solve problems through negotiation.
An effective content marketing strategist knows how to listen effectively to their client, whether they are in house or acting as a consultant. They can meet with your company’s subject matter experts, ask the right questions and draw out compelling content ideas. Without a high degree of listening skill, the strategist will struggle to maintain the positive working relationship required to achieve long term results.
The second layer of listening for marketing success requires market research skills. A strategist might engage in social listening by reading comments on its LinkedIn page or Capterra reviews. This type of listening helps to ensure that marketing content is relevant to your target market’s needs.
In my content marketing efforts, interviewing has played a crucial role in the content creation process. For example, an interview formed the core of one of the most popular articles in 2020: “We Close 60% of Our Inbound Leads”: Inside JustCall.io’s Marketing.
In contrast to a journalist, interviewing for marketing content requires a different approach. Content marketers with good interviewing skills can balance two objectives. First, they speak and listen in ways to maintain a positive relationship with clients. Second, they interview based on the needs of the company’s audience.
Let’s illustrate with a quick example. Your content marketing efforts next month are focused on driving sign-ups for a webinar. You work with the content team to produce blog posts and social media content to connect with the audience. Interviewing skills help the strategist understand the content marketing efforts’ goal and then develop meaningful blog content and social media posts. At the end of the process, the strategist has a better working relationship with the client, and the webinar attracts 100 sign-ups from your ideal target audiences. That’s how interviewing produces a win-win result.
3 Good Content Marketing Strategists Know Copywriting Like Claude Hopkins
Content marketing is not journalism or creative writing.
Instead, it is using aspects of storytelling, reporting, and creativity to achieve a business result. That’s why content marketing professionals need to develop copywriting skills. At a minimum, studying copywriting giants like Claude Hopkins, Dan Kennedy, Joe Sugarman, and others should be part of your skillset.
Let me demonstrate copywriting in action:
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4 Use Storytelling To Make Your Content Memorable
You might not be a novelist but storytelling vital for success as a content strategist. Sure, you can gather exciting statistics for your blog posts. Like it or not, data on its own doesn’t create a feeling or that much of an impression.
Instead, look for ways to tell a story.
Let’s say that you are promoting a product like CoSchedule. It is a helpful tool to promote your business across multiple social media channels consistently.
What’s the story, though? If I were marketing CoSchedule, I would look for a customer story about its difference in customers’ lives. For example, “Jane used to spend 10 hours per week on social media posts. She barely had time to respond to comments and likes. By using CoSchedule, her social media posts only take 2 hours per week, and she has much more time to focus on fully executing the company’s content calendar without working past 5 pm, ever.”
Tip: When it comes to developing a compelling business story, I like the model that Matthew Pollard mentions in his new book “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking: Work the Room. Leverage Social Media. Develop Powerful Connections.”
5 Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Skills To Attract Traffic
Content marketing is closely linked to search engine optimization. That’s why a content marketing strategist needs to be familiar with SEO tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, UberSuggest, Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs. Without this grounding in SEO, your content marketing outcomes are likely to be random rather than predictable.
Your content marketing process should not be limited to SEO research. However, I recommend including SEO as a research input and then optimizing SEO from time to time. Ultimately, SEO remains one of the best distribution contents for marketing content.
6 Reporting To Measure Progress And Clarify Next Steps
Producing reports may not be sexy, but it matters! Without regular progress reports, it will be all but impossible to know whether you are making progress towards your goals. Reporting skills mean that you can prove which marketing content is performing and the value of those results. If the report shows a disappointment, then a strategist will look for ways to optimize your conversion rate.
Can A Content Marketing Strategist Grow Your Business?
Content marketing is a powerful marketing strategy. Yet, it is not right for every business. Some companies are uncomfortable with publishing. Others are more excited about the potential offered by other SaaS marketing channels. To discover if content marketing is a good fit for your business, contact me today for a free assessment.