Did you know just 32% of B2B content marketers have a documented strategy?

Doesn’t it sound strange that something like this would happen so frequently in business, of all places?

That data comes from Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report.

It may explain why only 30% of B2B companies rate themselves as “effective” in their content marketing strategy.

Content marketing gets as complex as you want to make it. But starting from a strategic high level, it’s simple.

Your strategy needs these elements to succeed:

1. Specifically Defined Audience

Your B2B content needs to be written for an exact role at another company. CMOs at manufacturing companies, CTOs of financial companies, or whatever it may be.

That gives them a more personal experience. And when they sense that, they trust your content much more and act with greater frequency and urgency.

You may have several audiences. Buyers want content targeted to their industry and problem, and to a lesser extent, their role.

2. A Definition of Success 

How do you know when your content marketing strategy has done its job? 55% of B2B content marketers from that Content Marketing Institute Report don’t know.

So, define what success means for you. One way to do is:

  • Take a baseline of the number of buyers taking your most desired step
  • Work at increasing the number who do that

It’s hard to get buyers to act. So any time you do that, you’ve gotten at least a sliver of success.

3. Consistency, And You Can Forget about the Glitz

You do need to have consistent touches with your audience. At least one per month. And at least 4 pieces on the topic for B2B buyers.

But you don’t need to be fancy. B2B buyers love text. According to The Economist, 91% of veteran business pros and 61% of generation next pros prefer text articles to any other content format.

4. What Do You Write About? 

The #1 rule is: make your content something your buyer can use. This can be in their business life, or specifically in their buying decision.

Research published at Harvard Business Review says prospects really want content that teaches them something new about their business and gives a compelling reason to change what they’re currently doing.

5. How Sophisticated Does Your Content Need to Be? 

Your content needs to be smart and insightful. But, don’t succumb to the temptation of going overboard.

Make it simple to consume. B2B buyers have so much time. And besides, you never hear a buyer say,”Your content was way too easy to read.”

6. Should You Have Images and Call-Outs?

Yes you should. Ultimately, buyers want text and useful information. But, images and call-outs make it easier to consume, and they can highlight the most important info.

Plus, since they break up the text, they make prospects go through the text faster. Prospects love to read documents that feel like they’re moving along quickly.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Repurpose Your Content

With a single piece of content, you may be able to republish the same idea several times. A special report can become a few blog posts, a newsletter, and several social media posts.

You can be as creative as you want in this regard.

8. SEO Keeps Long-Term Traffic Rolling In

It’s hard to get your content to rank high for your target keywords. But when you make that happen, you can grab an awful lot of qualified traffic.

And SEO itself doesn’t take a lot of work. Simply include 1-3 target keywords in your page title, URL, and a few times throughout your document.

Make sure your keywords come across naturally, not sounding forced. If they appear like the latter, your prospects get turned off and stop reading.

9. Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Finally, today you have to promote your content. In nearly every niche, so much is available that you have to actively work to get yours in front of your audience.

Putting yours on your social media channels helps, but it’s far from the only thing to do. Promote your content to your newsletter. Have your sales team manually email it to prospects.

Rub shoulders with influencers, and let them know when you have something they and their audience might like.

Content Marketing = Down and Dirty Hard Work

You won’t get a quick fix with content marketing. That’s a guarantee. But when you keep at it for the long term, you get an awesome ROI no other marketing method matches.

Use the elements above, and you have a foundation for content marketing success.