You have a marketing scheme that you built from the ground up, using your inside knowledge of your company and your marketing wiles as a blueprint to guide you. All of your tools and channels are greased and ready to roll, and you’re feeling confident—congrats! That’s the first big step toward successful marketing, and it’s a doozy. But without any gas, your marketing plan isn’t going anywhere. What feeds an effective marketing machine? Well-researched content, and lots of it.
B2B content marketing research is all about asking the right questions. By asking the right questions to guide your research, you will gain a clear picture of your audience and what
content may be successful for your client, as well as a better understanding of the competitive landscape you are working in as a marketer in your industry.
Some good questions to get you started include:
- Who is my audience?
Age, sex, location, etc. are all important data points to help you draw a picture of your target audience.
- What does my audience care about/what problems are they looking to solve?
By understanding the pain points and problems that your audience deals with, you can better position your brand as the solution to those problems.
- What content are they already reading and sharing?
By asking this question, you can gain a better understanding of the types of content and the topics that your audience is currently interested in, helping you to fashion your content accordingly.
- Where are they currently shopping?
Understanding the types of brands that your audience is already buying helps you to understand the type of user experience and products that they already like, and how your product or service can augment or replace it.
- Where are they when they are online and how do they like to receive their content?
As a marketer, having the right content is only half the battle. You have to be able to deliver in a way that your potential clients and customers are comfortable with. For example: you love sloppy joes, but if someone sent you a sloppy joe in a plain white business envelope it wouldn’t be very appealing, right?
After you have determined the right questions, it’s time to move on to finding some answers. You should use the questions that you developed at the start of your B2B content marketing research to guide you. Here are some smart and easy places to start your content excavation:
- Social platforms and feeds
Research which social platforms your audience members use and interact on and pull content right from their feeds and profiles. This approach is simple and is also a great way to get accurate content culled right from the source—no guess work necessary.
- Websites and blogs frequented by your audience
If you have a list of websites and blogs that you know your audience visits regularly (typically adjacent brands or competing brands), use this list to research content topics and ideas based on what is popular on those sites. There are several ways to do this easily and effectively:
Use a keyword research tool to gather data on which content items garnered the most traffic and attracted the most links.
Use a content analysis tool to run reports on specific domains. These reports will generate data on the number of social shares by content type.
- Search content by topic based on topics your audience finds interesting
Begin your search with a general search term, then use the results to get more specific into branch themes and more niche topics.
Throughout your content research process, you will begin to see patterns and themes develop. Use these as a guide for generating your new content by referring to them as over-arching ideas and topics that can be broken down or augmented as needed to find a suitable fit for your audience.