Are you frustrated with B2B content strategy advice that assumes you are the leader of a well-staffed content marketing team?
The Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2B content strategy study revealed that 55% of companies have a small (one-person) content marketing team responsible for serving the entire organization. So 1 out of 2 B2B businesses has a one person team.
Is that you?
If so, we need to discuss how you can work smarter. You can’t outmuscle your better-resourced competitors, but you can outsmart them.
B2B Content Strategy Team Strengths
Small B2B content strategy teams have inherent advantages:
- Speed: A small team can ideate, create, and promote content within days versus weeks. In today’s socially-enabled marketplace, speed is a strength that can turn into a profitable, competitive advantage.
- Focus: Paying attention to one thing at a time increases that chance that projects that will get finished and “shipped.”
- Maneuverability: Being able to ditch a bad tactic and pivot to another more promising program is valuable to any marketing organization. Being small, with limited resources, forces you to have this maneuverability.
Big teams have inherent weaknesses:
- Big budgets breed lazy thinking: Being able to place a bet on every content tactic prevents a team from creatively conquering resource constraints.
- “CYA” approval processes stifle innovation: As a team grows, processes are introduced to centralize ideation, resource allocation, and approvals. Soon, if not watched, the process becomes a “cover your ass” mechanism that cripples new idea generation.
- Lack of urgency: Large marketing organizations usually have many campaigns going at the same time. Tactical diversity spreads the risk but also removes a sense of urgency. One idea doesn’t need to yield results quickly because another idea can pick up the slack.
Given a choice, it would be great to have a big team that operates like a small, scrappy, startup. But, you aren’t in that boat. So here’s what you need to do to play a bigger game.
How B2B Content Strategy Davids Beat Enterprise Goliaths
Strength Focus vs. Weakness Obsession
Every content team has a strength. Find yours and leverage it.
One of our clients has a large library of crowd-sourced photography. They’ve used it to fuel their Instagram + Facebook juggernaut. The same client has seen Twitter’s use by its audience dwindle. Instead of resurrecting Twitter, they’ve shifted resources to social platforms where they naturally excel.
Agree On One Goal
Small teams work best when they can focus on one goal. I’ve never had a client kiss me, but one came darn close when we succeeded in getting their leadership team to approve trimming their seven goals down to one.
Identify the goal that single goal/metric that will have the most impact on your B2B content strategy goal. A few could be:
- Increasing the number of new users to the website
- Increase marketing qualified leads for the inside sales team
- Increase sales qualified leads from targeted prospects in specific sales territories.
Once you have a goal, remind the leadership team that you only care about moving the needle on that goal. Adding goals means adding budget and team members.
Adopt A Specialist’s Mindset
For now, you only have the resources to be very good at a handful of skills. As a one-person team, these skills should be:
- SEO: Attracting ready-to-buy traffic from Google.
- Landing Page Optimization: Turning visitors into leads through high-performing landing pages
- Content Optimization: Understanding how to systematically improve your content
- Social Distribution
- Social Selling
Fortunately, these are essential skills for both small and large teams. Investing the time to achieve even a novice level of skill will yield dividends. Resist the urge to spread yourself thin chasing the latest content marketing gizmo.
Social Platform Triage
It would be nice to have a person dedicated to each social platform and another specialist devoted to the new platforms sprouting up every week. A small content team needs to make tough choices and do social platform triage.
Start with a blank sheet of paper. We’ll assume that there aren’t any “must-have” social platforms. Now answer these questions:
- Which social platform does my target customer feel comfortable using?
Which social platform does my target customer trust?
Which social platforms do the influencer of my target customer use?
One large professional services firm used these questions to settle on a strategy that focused on YouTube and iTunes. They used LinkedIn and Twitter just for content distribution. They won’t win any social media “engagement” awards, but they are successfully growing their client roster. These choices are scary but necessary.
Find and Leverage Allies
Richard Hatch, the first winner of the hit show Survivor, won by creating the reality show’s first and most enduring tactic – the alliance. Hatch realized that he couldn’t be everywhere at once. He used his allies to spy on his opposition and stay one step ahead of everyone. You can take a page from Hatch’s book.
In a B2B organization, there’s usually a sales leader responsible for hitting the revenue number. The sales leader should be your first ally. This person knows what your audience wants to know, what value propositions resonate with each customer segment, and which information (AKA: content) accelerates the sales process.
I recommend building a bridge to the sales team even if you are siloed in the marketing function. Even high-level information from the top salesperson can improve your content marketing efforts.
The Best Way To Start Boosting Your Impact
The ultimate content marketing strategy maximizer is starting with a clear objective. Working toward a well articulated and agreed upon objective will keep you focused on the most important tasks. While the five tips we’ve discussed are powerful, they only work if you know your destination. Start with your objective and move from there.