It’s no secret that content marketing has become a priority for marketing professionals across a variety of different industries in recent years, and the results speak for themselves. According to a report from Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.

B2B businesses especially can benefit from an effective content marketing strategy. B2B services will always be in high demand and prospective clients value any content from B2B companies before ultimately selecting one. The key is auditing your content to decipher what’s most valuable.

Auditing Your Content

All B2B businesses have content readily available to be shared with their target audience, even those that have never officially put a content marketing strategy into practice. Of course, a well-published blog and social media channels are sources of content, but even if you have neither of those, chances are you have leadership and team bios, a story of how your company originated or a list of core values for your business. These are all examples of content that we compile during the audit step of our SAME process. It’s a proven process we use that’s results-driven and unique for every business. It starts with your strategy, and then the real fun begins with the audit research.

Once you’ve gathered all the available content for your B2B company, you’ll want to create a system for organizing and scheduling it, while also documenting your specific measurable goals and objectives for content marketing. While it can be tempting to jump straight into the deep end of the content marketing pool with plans to publish high-quality videos, long-form blog posts, whitepapers and daily social media posts, bigger doesn’t always mean better. In fact, keeping it simple is one of the best ways to establish a plan that will work for your business.

Content Strategy Drives Better Thought Leadership

As all B2B marketers know, employees are the face of any business and the primary source for generating new leads and clients. Hiring an employee is a serious decision that requires a lot of thought. It’s not as simple as deciding on a meal at a new restaurant. For prospective customers who interact directly with your team members, trust and a strong relationship are essential aspects of the business-customer relationship. Knowing this, thought leadership will be a key component of your content marketing strategy.

What began as a buzzword that was often thrown around in public relations and marketing circles has grown into a real tool that can be used to build personal and business brands, particularly for team members. Through the process of elevating their thought leadership, your employees will become the go-to people in their industry. Think Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos. These men obviously had brilliant ideas, but by establishing themselves as thought leaders, they were able to turn Apple and Amazon into two of the largest and most profitable companies in the world. We’re not saying that if your associates become thought leaders, your B2B business will rival the top 100 companies in terms of success. However, the concept remains the same. Thought leadership driven by strategic content marketing will create the gravitational force you need to inevitably gain more customers. Just by being active team members with a history of helping clients achieve their goals, they are already on the path to becoming thought leaders. Like a dash of Tony Chachere’s seasoning on a delicious meal, relevant content is what takes it to the next level.

Bringing it All Together

As a B2B marketer, your goal is to expand your customer touchpoints by guiding your leadership team through the content marketing process which shows them exactly how to get to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, thought leadership. Elevating thought leadership is a process, but it starts with great content.

A Demand Metric report stated that 60 percent of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it, while 70 percent would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advertisement. Blogs, social media posts (particularly LinkedIn) and live videos are just a few of the examples of content that your leadership team can and should be sharing.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean publishing content just to do it. There needs to be a reason, which is what the strategy portion of our SAME process provides. You want your employees to understand their clients, the questions they are asking and how they get information in order to make a decision on which B2B business to select. Talking through your strategy with your team, and specifically showing them the importance of sharing valuable content, will provide a better idea of the types of content to share.