If you're a marketer in a B2B business, you know that maintaining a well-planned, high-quality content pipeline is difficult even at the best of times.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many B2B companies struggling to produce content consistently, and many marketers are scratching their heads and asking themselves, "How can I face content challenges during the pandemic?"
A full 70% of B2B companies are finding it difficult to keep the quality and quantity of content high, a recent Finite survey of over 600 marketers found. Also, 35% of marketers said that they were struggling to produce enough content.
As companies cope with reduced revenues, dispersed workforces, and increasing uncertainty, marketers are finding it difficult to keep their content campaigns firing on all cylinders. So how can marketers face the challenges presented by the pandemic and get their content creation back on track?
Take the opportunity to revolutionize how you produce content. The first step is getting staff and key thought leaders on your side.
How to Motivate Staff to Write Content
It can be difficult to get your colleagues to contribute content. They are often too busy and don't prioritize content as part of their role. Others simply don't recognize the importance of content to the overall marketing effort and brand strategy.
Whatever their reason, you can encourage people to contribute—by answering their inevitable question, "What's in it for me?"
1. Make the content all about them
When you place your people front and center in blog posts and knowledge articles, they end up not only helping the company but also building their own professional reputation. So, once they begin to see content as an opportunity rather than a chore, they'll become invested in the process.
2. Involve all departments
It's easy to focus on a few of the higher-profile employees or departments in a company, but using expertise and insights from all departments will give your content extra dimensions. Content can also be a great brand-builder internally, both for department and for staff.
3. Give incentives
Create friendly competition by having an award for the most read or shared article of the month. It will encourage people to write as well as share the content.
4. Calculate the ROI of your content
One of the most interesting revelations from the previously mentioned Finite report is that only 8% of marketers attribute ROI to their content. Not being able to prove that your content is contributing to the company can mean you're fighting an uphill battle to get people to help you.
What is your content worth? Get ROI tracking in place for your content and show staff how it's contributing to the company's bottom line.
How to Maintain a B2B Content Marketing Production Pipeline
Whether you get content from internal staff or you have the financial resources to outsource, you can ramp up your content efforts with the following four actionable suggestions.
1. Develop a content calendar
Avoid peaks and troughs in your output by developing a content calendar with all of your key themes, campaigns, and dates on it.
Ensure that each employee knows what is expected of them and when (perhaps one article per week or per month), and schedule it as part of their priorities list.
2. Give your people space to create
Good content takes time and focus.
If it's not the core focus of someone's role, content creation often ends up on the back burner. Work with leadership and management to gain their support for ensuring that people are given the time and space to be able to focus on content. You don't want people working out of hours, producing rushed content, and becoming resentful that they are giving up their free time.
Also, now that many employees work from home, their commute time has been reduced. Present the opportunity to use that additional time productively.
3. Outsource the overflow
If you don't have the capacity to hire someone in-house, you can work with talented freelancers and content agencies on an ad hoc basis.
A good contract content writer can take some of the pressure off your team and get your content wheels moving again. The writer can work with your content plan and SEO research to produce engaging content for your target market.
4. Combine copywriting with SEO spend
Of the marketers surveyed by Finite, 70% said that SEO was an important part of their strategy. SEO is one of the most fundamental principles of online marketing; so, although 70% might seem a high proportion, it means 30% of companies are leaving out an important component of their content marketing strategy.
Strong SEO performance requires a fresh stream of high-quality content. Search engines love new content that matches what your customers are looking for.
Keyword research is crucial for developing content that people want to read. If you don't have the time or skills in-house to carry your SEO, engage an SEO professional to carry out comprehensive keyword research and pinpoint exactly what people are searching for online.
The results of that research will form the basis of your content calendar and all of the blog posts and articles you write.
* * *
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified many problems for marketers and created a number of new ones. At a time when digital content creation should be prioritized, marketers are finding it difficult to maintain a strong B2B content marketing strategy. The solutions are not always easy, but marketers must ensure that the underlying content plan is strong and tools are in place to measure the ROI of all the produced content.
Work to promote the importance of good content internally. Hire specialists to help you with SEO and content writing. Base your content on solid keyword research. Those foundations will go a long way towards solving your immediate problems, as well as giving you solid footing for the future.
Also, take some comfort in that you are not alone. Many B2B marketers are facing the same challenges as you!
More Resources on B2B Content Marketing
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- Eight Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2023 [Infographic]
- A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content: Ann Handley on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]