[This is a guest post by Ardath Albee and is a great follow up to my earlier post, Focus on Content in B2B Marketing and my own 5Rs for creating content]
Content is the fuel for eMarketing. With a majority of marketing efforts going digital, that means even more content is needed. The instant gratification mindset of B2B content consumers means they’re demanding more content, faster. Not just any content, but ideas, information and expertise they find relevant and helpful for answering questions they have about problems they’re trying to solve.
Designing content for 1X use is wasteful. Marketers need to create a process for content planning that helps them maximize the return from their investments in developing the content resources that fuel their online marketing programs.
To get the most from your content, embrace the 7 “R”s of B2B Marketing Content Planning:
- Re-use – ideas for content development must be expanded to create multiple assets. See my post Rule of 5 for B2B content development. Additionally, when marketers create a nurturing program across the buying process, each new lead should start at the beginning of the program with touch 1. By feeding new leads into the beginning of a program (instead of just adding them to the list for the next send) you’ll get much more use out of your nurturing program content and tell your leads a consistent story at the same time.
- Re-purpose – The same content can be modified for use with different personas and verticals to increase relevance and personalization rather than relying on general, one-size-fits-all content to meet the needs of a variety of audiences.
- Refresh – Content gets stale over time. Put it on a refresh schedule and spiff it up to keep it in tune with constantly shifting markets. For example, if you reference research conducted a year ago, is there a new source that will increase relevance?
- Recycle – Don’t toss out content that’s no longer pulling the audience it once did. Change the title, heads and subheads and reword the bullets or key points. The theme is probably still appropriate, but consider how you might also use it in different ways. For example, if you have 3 or 4 articles on a related topic, can you now combine them into an eBook with a fresh take?
- Re-route – Find new and interesting ways to use and distribute your content. If a nurturing program has run its course and the content wasn’t publicly available, create a place for it on your website. If a video you used in a blog post relates, pull it through to the landing page for that content. Think about new “arrangements” of content as resource centers for prospects and/or customers.
- Response – When a content asset provokes a big response, figure out why and create more content with those characteristics. Another way to consider response is to plan for content as a follow-up to other content. Give your company a reason to reach out continuously to those who find a particular topic relevant. Hold some in reserve to use as an offer during an inside sales call to follow-up. This gives the rep a business reason for the call (to offer the content) which is much better than, “Are you ready to buy yet?”
- Retire – Even if you do 1 – 6 above, there are times when content should be retired. For example, if your company’s positioning changes and your content doesn’t match. If the market has shifted and it’s no longer relevant. There could be a number of reasons. The point is that if content is no longer appropriate, leaving it hanging around sends a mixed signal to your audience. If it can’t be re-purposed, refreshed or recycled, take it down.
To manage all of this you’ll need a content inventory and a schedule for when each of the “Rs” should come into play.
This is only the beginning of the “Rs” we can use for B2B marketing content planning. The sooner marketers start thinking about content as strategic assets that must be managed accordingly, the more traction they’ll start to gain from the ways in which they use it.
Who has more “Rs” to add to the list?
Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She applies over 20 years of business management and marketing experience to help companies with complex sales use eMarketing strategies to generate more and better sales opportunities. Ardath is the author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. You can find more of her B2B marketing insights on her blog at http://marketinginteractions.typepad.com/