B2B companies have their work cut out for them when it comes to content development. The content needs to be valuable. It needs to be entertaining and engaging. And it needs to drive business results on and on, every quarter, every year, all year long!
How’s a content marketing manager supposed to keep the content rolling without breaking a sweat?
There are a couple of ways to make things easier for content creators. Strike that—there are four major ways to streamline content development. And they are:
1. Define Your Goals
To optimize your content development process, you have to be able to articulate what exactly you want your content to do. In other words, what are your goals? Are you trying to generate qualified leads? Improve thought leadership? Increase brand awareness? Educate your audience? Entertain them? Or boost your rankings in search?
There are no shortage of B2B marketing goals, so before you even start to streamline your content development process, it’s time to gather your team and make sure everyone’s on the same page as far as what your organization is trying to accomplish. Once you have a set of clearly defined goals, it’ll be much easier to figure out what types of content—and what topics—you’ll need to create.
For instance, companies trying to boost brand awareness or thought leadership can plan to schedule a white paper or submit an in-depth guest blog to a highly trafficked industry publication. Want to educate and entertain potential customers? Keep your blog updated with informative blog articles and produce short-form video. Have a client ready to buy? Send them a case study with input from one of your brilliant SMEs. Defining your goals helps you better define your content development process.
2. Keep an Idea Reserve
Producing content at a continuous rate is no walk in the park. Quite the opposite—it’s a marathon. And if you’ve ever been in a race, you know how exhausting it can get. You also know those intermittent drink stations—the tables with the cheering people handing out paper cups full of water—are invigorating. They provide the boosts of adrenaline, confidence, and life-giving H2O that keep you pumping.
Apply the same idea to content development: Along the way, pick up ideas and make a collection. Keep your customer’s pain points in mind. Ask coworkers for input. Read the news in your niche and collect op-ed articles with which you can craft counter pieces. Tap into your sales team and ask them for common questions from clients.
When you’re aching for new content ideas, reach into this idea reserve (which you can save in a document, a spreadsheet, or some other collaboration tool—see below) for your next potential blog or video idea. It will streamline your content development and save you time and brainstorming energy—and the emphasis on responding to customer questions and industry op-eds will increase trust in your audience.
3. Get Organized with an Editorial Calendar and Collaboration Tools
A not-so-minor detail, every great content development strategy begins and ends with an editorial calendar, complete with deadlines attached to who’s responsible for them. For B2B companies with a dedicated-but-small content development team that could mean something as simple as a spreadsheet.
For companies with larger teams or a network of out-of-house freelancers, that could mean investment in more robust collaboration and project management software such as Airtable or Trello, both of which keep tabs on projects, grouped by deadline or other categories. This kind of software is also great for collaborating with multiple team members. They often provide message boards and instant message systems for easy communication and idea-swapping. And, of course, they track assignments and timelines in one neat and tidy place, which makes it easy to spot bottlenecks or projects falling through cracks.
The other benefit to using a dedicated editorial calendar and project management software for content development? It’s much easier to keep tabs on content that’s being approved by multiple stakeholders, such a quality, legal, and compliance.
4. Focus on Quality, not Quantity (and be Concise)
Besides lack of organization or ill-defined goals, one of the biggest wrenches in an unoptimized content development plan is, well, poor content. If you’re focused too much on blasting blog posts or videos out there 24 hours per day, how good can any of it be, really? Eventually all that low-quality Google bait starts to blend together, and then people will stop coming for it.
Instead of carpet-bombing the Internet with mushy, same-y content, take a more precise and focused approach: Find a story that only your company in your niche can tell. Interview an internal SME and refine that story until it’s crystal clear, concise, and easily digestible. Delete unnecessary words in long-winded articles. Cut out the fat in video walkthroughs. And keep your mind on your goals.
But keep things consistent, too. It may sound like we’re being contradictory, but once you’ve followed these tips for streamlining content development you’ll keep quality and quantity nice and high. Now that’s a goal.
If you’re looking for more major ways to streamline your content development, hit us up. We’re always open to collaborating and helping companies improve their content marketing efforts.