Businesses need to understand how their content performs on two levels:
(1) Program management: How is your content serving the rest of your organization? To what extent is it helping you make your business more efficient? What steps can you take to make your content more effective?
(2) Empathetic: How effective is your content in serving the needs of your audience.
You can think of the first as the operations behind your content, focused heavily on the tracking of performance and alignment to strategy.
Meanwhile, the second is less tangible to measure. It requires the continuous flexing of left- and right-brained muscles.
Kapost has published a few more blog posts that you can read for a primer on content marketing vs. content operation:
These articles explain how to structure your content program. The following sections explain why with a laser-focus on the roles that marketers need to take on.
Understanding the Roots of B2B Marketing
With B2B organizations, deal sizes tend to be larger than with B2C companies. Buying cycles also tend to be longer, with more time spent in consideration stages. It’s common for marketers focused on ROI, to hone in on pure lead generation metrics and analytics. But this aggregate-level data may not shed insight into the human decisions that guide how transactions unfold.
In a recent interview, Steve Woods, co-founder at NudgeAI and Eloqua, explains that the number one rule of technology is that people prefer to do business with fellow humans.
“If you want to get an account, you need to get someone who will be your coach—who will push hard enough to get the deal closed,” he explains.
The primary function of content marketing is to understand the roots and foundation of a potential B2B transaction. Know what conversations drive deals forward. This information gathering will serve as the basis of your research. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to create content that is loved, informative, and helpful.
The roots of B2B content marketing are in conversations with people.
There’s a tendency within content operations teams to strive for perfection. For instance, your content review process may require a compliance team. You might also have multiple authors of pieces, design work that needs to be completed, and education among team members for how to use a resource.
The overall content operation creates the mechanics that bring multiple business arms together. Let’s say that your business hosts a resources hub, for instance. This section of your website may include:
- Case studies
You have all these assets working together to move audiences through a lead generation funnel. In order to spark initiative and to capitalize on momentary interactions with customers, content marketing teams need to make sure that teams release resources on a regular basis. It’s critical to design processes that make operations more efficient as a whole.
Learning to Allocate Resources
Content marketing is meant to be engaging, fun, and imaginative—that’s not just for B2C teams. It is, to some extent, prescriptive. But there are other resources that best serve the purpose of answering questions. As your company grows, you’ll need to develop help desk material, chatbot copy, and other resources to support customer success. Your team will also want to create onboarding material.
It will be important to distinguish the different types of content creation that need to take place. Content marketing is only one piece of the puzzle. Organizations will need to understand the types of content it needs to develop and how each of those types relate back to ROI.
Making More Valuable Assets
It’s easy for content operations to become disorganized. Teams may have ideas, on a whim, to create resources. But will these resources really make marketing easier over time?
Content marketers need to make sure that businesses are telling stories in ways that drive outcomes. Content marketing assets are more valuable based on:
- The results that they generate
- How much time they save
- Whether they add value to your customers
Content marketers can devote their time to building content assets as products. Even a resource as simple as a blog post is one piece of a technology stack and content operation. Your sales team can also use this same blog post to have more valuable conversations with prospects. Your paid channel advertising team can then use this same resource to form copy for campaigns.
Marketing is an additive process, from practical, budget management to creative perspectives. B2B content marketing leads hone in on what this messaging and positioning needs to be.
Content belongs throughout the funnel—not just at the top where content marketing is often limited. Consider the resources that a business needs to publish to keep prospects and customers engaged: white papers, infographics, guides, customer stories, blog posts, etc. While some of these assets serve as TOFU education, the truly impactful content moves audiences through the funnel. Other types of content include corporate communication, such as press releases that tell stories to media.
As you dive into how content functions at your company, you’ll notice how critical your storytelling, messaging, and communications assets are. Most likely, you have a suite of analytics tools that help you connect dots between your content and transactional outcomes. If not, now you have the business case for building up those technologies to support the people and process within your content operation. To help connect your operation, check out the content operations tools we’ve created just to that end.