In the B2B marketing world, content is used primarily to 1. Attract new prospects, and 2. Develop the relationship over time until the prospect is ready to see a salesperson, a process known as lead nurturing. For these two purposes, business marketers need to have on hand an array of very particular types of content assets. A good way to determine what’s available, and what additional content you need to create, is to perform a content audit. Advice about content audits is widely available—much of it about website content analysis, but I am proposing an audit specifically designed to serve B2B marketing needs.
Here’s a 3-step process for conducting a B2B content audit.
1. Identify the content you have on hand. A mature company will have stuff all over the place, so look thoroughly. There may be some hidden gems you can put to good use. To stimulate your thinking, here is a working list of the types of content assets to search for:
- Archived webinars
- Blog entries
- Case studies
- Research reports
- White papers
2. Categorize the content. Here’s where life gets complicated, since there are myriad variables by which you can analyze and sort your content. Here are some suggestions.
- Medium (as per the list of content types, above)
- Objective, meaning its marketing purpose, such as how-to, use case, testimonial, comparison
- Application, or where it is used in the marketing process, such as lead generation, lead nurturing, thought leadership, awareness, retention
- Market segment it is targeted to, such as large enterprise or SMB
- Customer’s buying process stage, such as awareness, needs identification, solution identification, vendor selection, purchase, usage
- Industry target, if applicable
- Target job function, if applicable–these might be IT, marketing, manufacturing, etc.
- Target job role, if applicable–these might be decision-maker, technical buyer, end-user, etc.
See how complicated this can be? But wait, there’s more! You may also want to add to your spreadsheet useful data like:
- Owner–who created or manages the asset?
- Freshness indicator, such as “ready,” or “needs updating”
- Date when the item was last updated
- The URL where the item is housed
- Notes and comments
3. Identify the gaps. Once you tag each asset with these indicators, you’ll be able to assess the comprehensiveness of your content library, and where the gaps may lie. For example, if you need to generate lots of inquiries, but only have a few items that are suited to attracting prospects, you’ll have to go create some new material. This also goes for important industry targets that may need more fresh content to support your efforts to pull them in and move them along their buying process.
I welcome your ideas on how to improve the B2B content audit. And if you’d like to discuss this and other best practices in B2B marketing, Mike Moran and I are offering a solid training program for companies who want to fine tune their digital marketing program. Have a look at our seminar content here, and let us know if we can help you achieve your objectives.
About Ruth Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools in the U.S. and abroad. Crain’s BtoB magazine named Ruth one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc., the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. Learn more at www.ruthstevens.com.