Two colleagues smile as they work together on their company’s B2B content marketing strategy.
July 5, 2023

The Complete B2B Content Strategy for 2023

by Michael Brenner

In today’s competitive digital landscape, understanding and implementing a robust B2B content strategy is crucial for B2B brands. This article will explore the key components that contribute to a successful B2B content strategy and provide actionable steps to help you build and execute your own strategy effectively.

By incorporating the components and action steps outlined in the sections below, you can build a comprehensive B2B content strategy that drives traffic, generates leads, and ultimately drives reliable revenue and growth for your business.

Quick Takeaways

  • The foundation of a strong B2B content strategy is defining your target audience.
  • Successful content marketing requires a documented plan and KPIs that help you track and improve results over time.
  • You can maximize content ROI with smart tactics like SEO, content amplification, and thought leadership content.
  • Many companies outsource some or all of their B2B content strategy when they don’t have the resources needed to execute in-house.
  • Your strategy should be adaptable. It’s important to listen to audience feedback and make adjustments to improve your content over time.

The Components of a Strong B2B Content Strategy

Defined Target Audience

The first fundamental pillar of a successful B2B content strategy is a deep understanding of your target audience. In 2023, businesses must go beyond generic buyer personas and truly grasp the challenges, needs, and pain points of their ideal customers. 

It’s best to use both the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) framework to define organizational traits of your target business buyers (i.e. industry, company size, budget, etc.) as well as buyer personas rooted in the motivations and needs of individual purchase decision makers at those companies.

Relevant Content Pillars and Topics

To effectively engage your target audience, your content strategy should revolve around a few core content pillars and topics. These pillars are overarching themes that align with your brand’s expertise and resonate with your audience.

By focusing on these pillars, you can create a coherent content ecosystem that educates, informs, and inspires your potential customers. Develop a content calendar that incorporates various formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts to cater to different preferences and consumption habits for each pillar.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in attracting organic traffic to your B2B content. In 2023, SEO continues to be a vital component of a successful content strategy. 

Conduct thorough keyword research to understand the terms and phrases your audience uses when searching for information related to your industry. Use SEO tactics to build your content around these keywords with intentionally-designed titles, headings, meta tags, and body text. 

Additionally, focus on optimizing the technical aspects of your website, such as page load speed and mobile responsiveness, to improve your search engine rankings and user experience.

Documented Content Marketing Plan

A well-documented content marketing plan is like a roadmap for your B2B content strategy, and it’s essential for earning successful results. In fact, 80% of organizations that are extremely successful content marketers have a documented plan vs. 48% of lower performing companies.

Graphic highlighting SEMRush statistics that show 80% of high-performing content marketers have documented plans vs. 48% of lower performers.

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Your plan should outline your goals, target audience, content pillars, distribution channels, and key performance indicators (KPIs). It should be clear about tasks that need to be completed, their deadlines, and the individuals or teams responsible for completing them.

By having a documented plan, you ensure that your team is aligned and working towards a common vision. It also provides a critical reference point for evaluating the effectiveness of your strategy and making data-driven adjustments as needed over time.

Consistent Publishing

Consistency is key when it comes to B2B content marketing. HubSpot research reports that both large and small blogs should be publishing multiple times per week in order to 

HubSpot statistics report that both large and small blogs must publish multiple times per week to earn organic traffic and build brand awareness.

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Maintaining this type of schedule requires advance planning and close management. Develop an editorial calendar as part of your documented content plan, and intentionally plan out the frequency and timing of your content releases.

Over time, frequent and consistent publishing will help to build anticipation and nurture your relationships with your target customers, all while positioning your brand as a reliable industry resource.

Content Amplification Strategies

Creating great content is only half the battle—an essential part of maximizing ROI is amplifying your content across all channels where your target audience engages. Content amplification can be done in many ways, like reposting to social media or email, partnering with influencers, or using content syndication software.

Optimal content amplification strategies vary by type of content, company, and industry. To earn the best results, experiment with different tactics, track their performance, and adjust as needed for the most possible exposure.

Thought Leadership Content

B2B buyers want to work with providers who are leaders in their fields and have expertise in their industries, and thought leadership content is key to establishing this position in the eyes of your customers.

To publish thought leadership content, feature your internal subject matter experts and cover important topics that showcase your knowledge and expertise. Provide it in ways that are clear and compelling to your audience, and use different channels and content types to do it.

Data-Driven Performance Reporting

Data is the lifeblood of most business strategies today, content included. To understand your content strategy’s importance and make adjustments to improve it, you need to execute data-driven reporting that measures key performance indicators (KPIs) such as rankings, traffic, views, leads generated, and more.

Start by determining the KPIs most important to your business, and if possible, use analytics tools and platforms to automate analysis and obtain sophisticated insights. Establish a cadence for reporting, standardize templates, and regularly meet with your team to review results.

Building Your Strategy: 6 Key Steps to Follow

Now that we know the most important components of a B2B content strategy, let’s look at 6 steps you can take right now to establish one for your business.

Define Your Audience + Goals

Use the ICP and buyer persona templates we already discussed to create a complete, accurate definition of your target audience. This is an essential first step. If you don’t know who your content is targeted to, it will more than likely get lost in a crowded digital marketing landscape.

Rather than aiming to cast a wide net and hope for the best, be specific about who you want to engage with your content and who would benefit most from purchasing your solutions.

Next, set defined goals you can use as benchmarks to measure future success. Frameworks like SMART goals—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—can be used to guide your team through the content goal-setting process.

Assess Your Resources

What resources are available at your organization to dedicate to your B2B content strategy? Executing a content strategy—including content creation, publishing, SEO research, performance tracking, and more—all require manpower and technology to execute.

If you know you don’t have the resources internally to execute at the level required to succeed, you may want to think about outsourcing parts of your strategy.

Keep in mind that outsourcing does not have to equate to handing over your entire strategy. While some companies outsource content in its entirety, others choose specific parts of their strategy to hire outside resources for, as shown in the breakdown below.

Alt-Text: Pie chart breaking down the different ways companies outsource some or all of their B2B content strategy.

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Create a Strategy and Plan

Next, build your strategy and execution plan. Include representatives from all departments and teams that will contribute to your B2B content strategy. If you outsource to an external company or consultant, you should be working closely with them as well.

Start by developing your content pillars and determining channels based on your business and audiences. Then, create your detailed execution plan to carry it out.

Execute and Track Performance

As you execute your plan, actively track its progress and performance using your plan document and KPIs you’re using to measure success. Stick to your reporting plan and adopt the right tools and processes to help your teams stick to it.

Be Adaptable

Remember: Your B2B content strategy is all about your audience. Thanks to the internet and modern technology, you’ll be able to learn much from your audience in the forms of content engagement data and direct feedback  as you execute your strategy. Use these insights to refine and improve your strategy over time for better results.

Over to You

A strong B2B content strategy encompasses several key components that work together to drive success. Understanding your target audience is paramount, going beyond generic buyer personas to truly grasp their challenges and pain points. Developing relevant content pillars and topics that align with your brand’s expertise and resonate with your audience helps create a coherent content ecosystem.

Incorporating search engine optimization techniques ensures that your content attracts organic traffic and improves your search engine rankings. A well-documented content marketing plan provides a roadmap for success, while consistent publishing builds brand awareness.

 Amplifying your content across various channels maximizes its reach, and thought leadership content establishes your brand as an industry leader. Data-driven performance reporting allows you to measure the effectiveness of your strategy and make data-driven adjustments.

By following the 5 key steps to building your B2B content strategy, you can combine these many moving parts into a well-oiled content machine that drives traffic, leads, and sales.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.