When you think about generating targeted, quality content for your B2B site, what does the process involve? Is it a sole marketing writer working alone in a cubicle, coming up with ideas, doing a little online research, and churning out a steady stream of blog posts? Or is it everyone in the company working as a team, doing a little of this or that to get the job done?
If you’re like most companies, the job of generating B2B content probably falls to the marketing team, if not one person in particular. And if they’re like most humans, they’re struggling to keep up. (“I’ve got time!” said no one ever.)
Despite being a growth content agency, we at Nectafy ironically found ourselves in that same position—struggling to keep up with consistently producing good content for our own website. In the first eight months of 2021, we only published one blog post. That was a problem for two reasons: First, without new content, our website wasn’t attracting new leads. That fact alone was stunting our growth. Second, it’s the principle of the thing: We should be doing for ourselves what we do for others. The service we sell to clients is creating good content for the purpose of attracting leads; clearly we should be providing ourselves with the very same service.
So, eight months into 2021, we committed to making a change. But since a lack of time was the root of the problem across the board, we knew the task couldn’t fall to just one person. We would have to share the job of consistently creating good content among our small group; we would also have to put some processes in place to ensure we didn’t fall off the wagon again.
So far, our plan has worked: In the last three months of 2021, we published 33 blog posts. And along the way we also discovered some nice benefits of getting everyone involved. Below we’ll share some of those, along with the tactics we used in our revamped B2B content marketing process. Hopefully they’ll prove helpful to you if you’re struggling with a similar issue.
B2B Content Strategy: How To Get Everyone Involved In The 4 Phases Of Content Production
For us, the content generation process has several phases, each of which presents unique opportunities for different team members to get involved and apply their specific area of expertise. The four phases include: goal-setting, strategy, writing/producing, and project managing.
Who’s Involved: Founder And/Or Executive Team
One of the first conversations we have with new clients is about goals: What are their business goals for the year, and what portion of those goals do they see as being driven by content? The answer provides the foundation for the B2B content strategy we craft.
It only made sense to apply that logic to our own company. Considering the number of new clients we need to reach our growth goal for the year, how many leads we currently bring in, how many of those turn into opportunities, and how many become clients, we determined that we need to produce 100 blog posts in 2022.
In a small company, the founder or CEO will be the one setting growth goals; in a larger company, it might be an executive board or management team. Any B2B content strategy works best when it’s supported by higher-ups, not just the marketing team. When executives and managers support content as a growth tactic, that attitude trickles down to everyone else, which just makes the whole process work better.
Who’s Involved: Strategist & Personnel With Customer Knowledge
A key part of our B2B content marketing strategy is, well, strategy—you can’t just produce content you like without some idea of whether or not it will attract the right leads. (Technically you could, but the results wouldn’t be what you hoped.) A strategist is someone with content planning skills and SEO knowledge who helps ensure your content reaches its desired audience. They’ll do research to find the right ideas, and plan a content calendar to help you stay on track with production.
Supporting Process: Within our company content calendar, we created a “Blog ideas” tab where anyone can add an idea, anytime. (Sometimes ideas are sparked when we talk with clients or coworkers, or do research online.) This list can be used as a starting point for the strategist; it also gets more members of the team invested in producing the content. But not every idea comes to fruition—if the strategist finds that an idea isn’t likely to attract the right audience based on keyword research and knowledge of the buyer persona, it’s usually not worth the time it would take to create it.
After the strategist plans a number of future posts, it’s a good idea to run those plans by someone else to support their relevance. Salespeople, for instance, likely have their finger on the pulse of your ideal buyer; they may see some ideas as not useful to the customer. Managers or other personnel may be able to help position your ideas to reach the most relevant audiences. If you’re not doing everything you can to produce the most relevant content, then you’re missing out on the value of the exercise.
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3 Writing/Producing Content
Who’s Involved: Knowledge Workers, Writers, Video/Audio Content Producers
Together, content producers and subject matter experts generate your B2B content. Your company's knowledge workers have a special understanding of your industry or specialty; their expertise is valuable for attracting potential buyers. Writers and video content producers may not have that knowledge; and on the flip side, not all knowledge workers have expertise in writing or video producing.
So, don’t just send a writer off to find generic information on the Internet for blog posts. Instead, pair up a variety of content producers (for video, audio, and the written word) with knowledge workers—what we call “subject matter experts,” or SMEs. The interviews or discussions that happen as part of these collaborations can then serve as the foundation for content pieces. The end result will be several well-produced pieces of content that are chock full of insights for your target audience.
Supporting Process: Finding the time to do the actual content production is often the most challenging part of the process. To ensure that production actually happens, we decided to block out time on the calendar as a team to focus on content.
Once a month, on so-called “NectaDays,” we don’t schedule any other meetings or client work for a five-hour block. During that time, we’re all content producers for Nectafy—some of us might be recording a video; others may be writing. We’ve all chosen a topic we’re most interested in and spend the day working on it. At the end of the time block, we’ll reconvene on a video call and share screenshots of the content we’ve created. It’s rare that a piece would be ready for publication by the end of the day, but there are always six or seven pieces of content well underway that can be published throughout the month.
4 Project Managing
Who’s Involved: Editor, Client, Technical Administrator
Once content has been created, our editor gives it a thorough review to ready it for publication. Next, it gets passed to the SME for a final check and approval. And finally, our technical administrator is responsible for posting content to the website. That brings the process to a close, by which point nearly every person on our team has “touched” the content in some way.
Supporting Process: We use Favro as our in-house project management tool. Moving task-related cards from “Doing” all the way to “Done” helps us see who’s working on what at any moment, and which articles are up next in the pipeline. (It’s totally satisfying to move a card!) We also make use of the Snag tag to notify team members when there’s an issue preventing content from moving forward, and the Comments section to provide status updates.
The Benefits Of Team-Produced Content
It might seem like having so many “cooks in the kitchen” would slow down content production, but so far that hasn’t proven to be the case. Everyone has a designated job to do, which has proven to move things forward fairly efficiently.
And there are other benefits to team-produced content. For one, getting multiple people involved in creating helpful, authoritative content for our company helps build our knowledge base of all the topics that are relevant to the people we want to work with (that’s you). Everyone on the team teaches and learns more.
It’s also been a helpful way to remind everyone on our team of what we do—this is the experience our clients are getting when they work with us. That gives us fresh insights into the main service we provide in the marketplace and helps us improve.
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As a Nectafy client, you’ll experience this very same content production process from beginning to end. Companies that work with us are all-in when it comes to growth content—their CEO is energized about its potential, they have knowledgeable subject matter experts who are excited to share their knowledge, and they have teams who are enthusiastic about learning from one another. (Take a look at how one Nectafy client’s SME strategy has helped its website get more than 2 million organic views annually!)
By involving more than just the marketing folks in your efforts to grow the business, you maximize both the quantity and quality of your content. If this sounds good to you, please reach out—we’d love to help!