B2B Articles - July 20, 2022
By Steven Rafferty, Content Specialist
Content is one of the most crucial tools for inbound B2B Marketing. That means creating compelling content is the key to achieving better results. But there’s a big difference between creating more content and creating better content.
Iteration helps B2B marketers improve their content and get better results. It aligns with agile workflows and solves the most common content challenges. It also helps identify new opportunities and promote continuous improvement across your platforms and campaigns.
Last year, Hubspot asked over 1,500 marketing professionals about their strategies and plans for the coming year.1
These statistics demonstrate the role that content plays in marketing. But what do marketers expect in return for their content investments? And what factors drive content’s success?
The Content Marketing Institute’s 12th Annual Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report reveals that marketers rely on content to achieve a range of priorities.2
When asked what led to content marketing success across all of those objectives, the same respondents pointed to “the value our content provides” more than any other factor.
If content that provides value is “better content” and “better content” drives better performance, how can iteration help us ensure that we’re producing content that provides value?
Agile project management started in the world of software development. It helps teams working on complex projects that needed to adapt to changes as they progressed toward their objectives. The method worked so well that it was quickly adopted in other business areas.
Applying the agile methodology to marketing isn’t a new idea. But with all the attention paid to agile marketing strategies, campaign planning, and performance analytics, iteration's role in content creation is often overlooked.
Andrew Miller has described agile content creation as “a high-intent growth lever” that “uses data science and an iterative approach to continuously optimize and deliver solution-focused content.”3
When you develop solution-focused content, you get buyer-focused messaging. You key in on specific pain points and offer valuable solutions. That helps drive more conversions and establish your brand as a thought leader.
To plan and produce “better content” through iteration, you must continuously cycle through four stages: Discovery, Briefing, Optimization, and Measurement. These stages will help you identify value propositions that speak directly to buyer pain points. They also help marketers research and craft messaging that resonates and evaluate the results.
When your content speaks directly to buyers about their pain points, it is genuinely buyer-focused and will get better results. But getting to that point isn’t easy. That’s why agile content creation relies on incremental development and regularly implements feedback.
The three biggest challenges that marketing professionals face when it comes to content are:
When you embrace an iterative approach to content creation, you not only produce more effective in general, but you create built-in solutions to these struggles.
Buyer-focused messaging and solution-focused content provide value that engages audiences to drive better performance from content marketing. Iteration invites you to keep working even after publication to make revisions that lead to incremental improvements.
Measurement and optimization are part of the iterative process, so measuring content effectiveness becomes an essential and ongoing part of digital content creation.
When your content creation process is in-tune with what your audience values, you’ll find new ideas and opportunities everywhere you look. It’s easier to consistently produce quality content when you’re engaged in a feedback loop rather than broadcasting statements.
At this point, you might be thinking that an iterative approach sounds great in theory, but you may be wondering how to implement it in your day-to-day work. The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are many ways to use iteration to improve your existing content and plan new content.
One way to identify opportunities to use iteration to improve your existing content is to focus on iterating on both your copywriting and content writing. They’re both places to look for changes you can make to improve performance. As you work on iterating in these two ways, it will begin to influence your approach to planning new projects.
Some content marketers think of copywriting as what advertisers do rather than an essential element of their toolkit. That’s not the case, and you can’t afford to neglect the value that good copywriting can add to your marketing content.
Investing time and effort into each word on elements like email subject lines, CTAs, blog headlines and subheadings, and other crucial, load-bearing structures in marketing content is worthwhile.
Spending time experimenting with iteration on the level of word choice in these critical areas is one way to test your ideas for improving content in ways that will enhance its performance.
It’s easy to measure the results of your changes by looking at their impact on open and click-through rates, form conversions, and the time visitors spend on a page.
When we focus on copywriting, we think about specific results as a measure of content’s effectiveness. But crafting effective content also requires considering the content's value for the audience.
When it comes to a blog, a case study, or a site page, we have to ask whether it responds to the buyer’s needs by offering them value. In agile marketing, every piece of content, paid ad, and social media post does double duty as market research. The data collected should be used to plan the next sprint.
Are you creating content for different stages of the buyer’s journey? Does the content you create for each stage nurture buyers from being aware that they have a problem to being ready to evaluate options and make a decision?
An iterative approach to content writing allows us to repurpose big content ideas in ways that lead to “better content” for specific audiences. It encourages us to ask whether we treat buyers as individuals or abstract concepts like audience or market segment. When you see your audience as individuals, you’re more likely to create buyer-centric content for them.
When you start focusing on strategies for making content and copywriting more buyer-focused, you should expect it to influence your thinking about what comes next.
Discovery is the beginning of the iterative cycle, but that doesn’t mean it’s disconnected from the other stages. You can discover ways to make your content more solution-focused and buyer-centric from almost anywhere.
When you do, you’ll know how to plan it, present it, and measure its impact. You’ll learn to focus on whether it’s valuable to your audience. That’s what you need to know to understand what to do next.
With an iterative approach, there’s always a next.
1 Hubspot, Not Another State of Marketing Report, 2021
2 CMI, 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 2022
3 Fast Company, Agile Content Development: An Iterative Process, March 7, 2022
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