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November 18, 2022

Get the Most From an Investment in B2B Content Marketing Services

By Jenny Goldade, Content Specialist

Choosing a marketing agency for B2B content marketing services is the first step. B2B businesses must follow a few best practices to get the most from their investment. Ultimately, they should ensure the content team understands their goals and how to solve their customers' pain points.

To do this, we've compiled some advice on how to make the most of an investment in B2B content marketing services.

Learn how Ironpaper's B2B content marketing services can help you create content that educates, nurtures, and inspires buyers and customers.

Keep everyone on the same page

webcam-7109621_1920To start, a B2B business should understand the content team's strategy. How do they generate keyword and topic ideas? Once they have a topic and related keyword, how do they pick a content format, such as a blog post or e-book? (Often, the format aligns with where the target audience is in the buyer's journey.) After the agency writes a new piece, what does the review process look like? 

Questions like these are all important to better understand how the agency works. Be bold and ask if anything needs to be clarified about their methodology.

For example, these are some key areas of Ironpaper's content methodology: 

  • Write buyer-centric content.
  • Focus on substance, not fluff.
  • Collaborate to create lead-generating content.

Next, create supporting documents. Often, the content team creates these, but the business team should still provide them with valuable insights. According to Semrush's report, 57% of companies surveyed said they document their content marketing strategy.1

For example, these are a few document types: 

  • Statement of Work (SOW): SOWs outline the agreed-upon projects, like which deliverables to tackle first versus in the future.
  • Strategy Document: Strategy documents discuss buyer challenges, changes out of anyone's control, ideal outcomes, and what makes a business unique.
  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): ICPs identify specific criteria about a company's ideal customers. They often include firmographic data (e.g., company size, industry, location) and behavioral data (e.g., interacting with specific webpages or content offers, social media behavior, etc.).
  • Content Inventory: Content inventories note an organization's existing content and reveal gaps in topics, themes, and formats.
  • Content Audit: Content audits go a step further by assessing what existing content is working and what isn't.
  • Content Map: Content maps use what the team learned from the inventory and audit to identify relevant topics, themes, and formats.

Finally, remember marketing is about testing. A content team may test things that a business hasn't done before. Depending on how it performs, they may also revise the content after it's published to boost performance. Don't be alarmed, as this is a sign they're making data-driven decisions and not doing something just to do it. A Gartner survey found just 53% of decisions factor in marketing analytics.2 Businesses want to work with an agency that prioritizes testing and using that data to make informed marketing decisions.

To support this data-driven mindset, companies should focus on tracking growth metrics instead of vanity metrics. Growth metrics concentrate on data that directly impacts an organization's growth, such as the number of qualified leads and conversion rates per channel. On the other hand, vanity metrics include metrics like social media post likes and page visits. Receiving a lot of likes or views may seem promising, but it doesn't give real insight into how a business is growing.

Be a resource for the B2B content marketing team

Open communication is the key to success when working with an agency for B2B content marketing services. According to Forbes, effective communication helps increase engagement and decrease miscommunication.3 When communicating with a content team, a business should tell them what they like and don't like, share any ideas, and give feedback throughout the content creation process. 

To facilitate open communication, the agency should create designated channels for asking questions, getting feedback, and more. These channels could be via email, messaging software like Slack or Skype, phone calls, or video meetings. If a business is based in the same location as the content marketing agency, it could be an in-person meeting.

Another part of open communication involves being available for SME interviews. Content marketers know their clients are busy, so these should typically be around 30 minutes. Taking the time to give them the insights they need right away will save everyone time in the editing process in the long run.

Sharing knowledge with content marketers gives them the resources they need to create compelling content that helps solve customer pain points. These resources could include sharing industry knowledge, existing content, industry associations with relevant content, or any other information that content marketers would find helpful. 

Agencies can create valuable content when this expert insight is paired with industry research. This turns content marketers into powerful storytellers and establishes a business as a thought leader in their field.

Use Scrum project management to be more productive

Scrum is a type of agile marketing that breaks tasks into smaller chunks to work on in weekly sprints. Typically, tasks have three stages: in progress, in review, and done. This gives everyone more clarity on project statuses. Teams hold weekly or daily syncs to discuss what everyone's working on and address any blockers.

In marketing, or any field, sometimes people fail, and that's okay. With scrum, they can more effectively get back on track when they make a mistake and learn from it.

"The goal [of scrum] is if you're going to fail, which happens, fail smaller and learn from it and allow work to have a feedback loop, so as time goes on, you're more effective as a team. You're able to align quicker to what really matters, and expect that change is going to occur in the process." 

-Jonathan Franchell, Ironpaper Founder and CEO

These are some key benefits of implementing scrum at an organization: 

  • Be more efficient: Instead of an agency creating the entire content piece and then making edits, they can break the project down into weekly tasks and get feedback throughout the creation process.
  • Work faster: According to McKinsey & Company, organizations that implemented successful agile strategies worked five to 10 times faster.4 
  • Be more productive: Get a better understanding of what needs to be done first and when it's due.
  • At-a-glance project statuses: Easily see what everyone is working on and where it's at in the process.

To be a good scrum partner for a content team and make the process more effective, there are a few things a business can do. 

  1. Review and return content as quickly as possible so that project timelines stay on track.

  2. If any questions arise, be willing to participate in standups to discuss them.

  3. Work to remove any roadblocks for the team, such as an unresponsive SME.

Want to learn more about scrum? We recommend reading "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland.

Implement these strategies to get the most from B2B content marketing services

To get the most from working with a content marketing agency, a company needs to do these three things: 

  1. Get on the same page about the content marketing strategy and how to track success.

  2. Establish open communication and share valuable insights to create compelling content.

  3. Use scrum to work faster and more efficiently as a team.

By following these three steps, a B2B business and its chosen content marketing team can better work together as one team with the same goals in mind.

 

Sources

1Semrush, The State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, 2022.

2Gartner, Gartner Survey Reveals Marketing Analytics are Only Influencing 53% of Decisions, September 15, 2022.

3Forbes, Cognitive Communication: Communicating To Maximize Excellence And Business Results, January 5, 2022.

4McKinsey & Company, The impact of agility: How to shape your organization to compete, May 25, 2021.

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Ironpaper - B2B Agency

B2B Marketing and Growth Agency.

Grow your B2B business boldly. Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency. We build growth engines for marketing and sales success. We power demand generation campaigns, ABM programs, create B2B content, strengthen sales enablement, and improve B2B marketing efforts.

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