Enterprise Content Marketing: What Works in 2021-2022
Enterprises have derived substantial benefit from content marketing campaigns for more than a decade, and are increasingly investing in content marketing in the post-Covid era. CMOs report that the top reasons for engaging with content marketing are: (1) lead generation, (2) thought leadership, (3) talent attraction, (4) customer engagement, and (5) employee engagement.
In the digital world of 2021-2022, enterprise content marketing is mostly found through Google and LinkedIn organically, which flattens the competitive landscape for enterprises, as smaller, scrappier companies can be seen just as easily if they understand the ways that those channels evaluate and rank content.
In this guide, we cover:
- The goals and KPIs of enterprise content marketing
- Understanding your audience
- How to perform enterprise content marketing that produces results
- Effective content distribution
The Goals and KPIs of Enterprise Content Marketing
We outlined the main goals of enterprise content marketing above; in the following chart, you’ll find the KPIs associated with each goal.
|Enterprise Content Marketing Goals|
Many of these goals will overlap, but establishing your goals and KPIs will allow you to create a clear, organized content marketing strategy, the results of which can be tracked and measured. Once your goals are established, the next step is understanding your audience.
Understanding Your Audience
The target audience for your content is intrinsically tied to your goals. If you’re trying to generate leads, drive conversions, or create sales tools, your audience consists of your potential customers. If your goals are improving customer satisfaction or fostering positive conversation about your brand, your audience is existing customers. That’s why segmenting your audience is a prerequisite to understanding them.
Within each audience type, there are often 3-8 personas. The most well-executed enterprise content management campaigns know their personas, and have a column for the personas targeted in their editorial calendar.
|Potential Customers||The Buyer, The Troubleshooter, The Veteran, The Researcher, The Learner|
|Current Customers||The Return Buyer, The Troubleshooter, The Evangelist|
|Potential Employees||The Recent Graduate, The Industry Expert, The Prodigal Worker|
|Current Employees||The Experienced Manager, The Newcomer, The Ladder Climber, The Compassionate High Performer, The Disengaged|
Each persona should be fleshed out via a storyboard that can be referenced by new team members joining the campaign. Here is an example:
Once you understand who your audience members are, it’s now time to turn your attention to what they want. There is perhaps no better way to do so than to borrow from the related field of SEO, for which search intent is a foundational concept.
Understanding Search Intent Via Keywords
Keywords—marketing speak for what Google users type into the search bar—are what connects your audience to your content. Successful content marketing relies on figuring out why people type a particular keyword in, also known as search intent. Google searchers have varying interests, from solving a problem to researching a product to purchasing. If one of your enterprise’s goals is lead generation, some content will target transactional keywords, which indicate a buying intent. You can see a list of search intents in this article.
Enterprises should have a primary audience in mind for each individual piece of content, and write for that audience; as well as a secondary and tertiary audience in many cases. Alongside targeting different audiences, it’s a good idea to organize content by either search intent or keyword “hub” as dictated by the Hub & Spoke model of SEO. Essentially, Google favors websites that produce content on every facet of an idea, allowing that content to rank higher in the search results. Employing this model is particularly effective for content marketing within a niche vertical.
How To Perform Enterprise Content Marketing
Once you understand your audience, it’s time to create the content. Content generally fits into these categories:
- Blog posts suit search intents that are direct questions or indications of a problem that needs to be solved.
- White papers suit research-oriented keywords similar to the way blog posts do, but they involve more research and authoritative conclusions as opposed to the editorial content you’d find in a blog.
- Case studies suit visitors who are new to the brand and don’t yet have a high degree of trust.
- Videos suit several audience types, particularly those whose curiosity about the brand has been piqued; they serve to deepen these visitors’ engagement.
All of these content types move website visitors along in the content marketing funnel, which is how marketers track visitor progress towards conversion.
Writing Excellent Content
The process of high quality content creation can be summarized in the following way, taken from this article on thought leadership content marketing:
|Writing Thought Leadership Content in 3 Steps|
|1. Take care of the reader||Guide the reader through the article before it begins; provide context, a thesis, and orientation.|
|2. Stimulate the reader’s mind||Engage the reader with original insights; provide lists, interesting statistics, charts and tables.|
|3. Conclude with practical next steps||Give the reader practical next steps for research or action, including links to other pages on your company’s website.|
Giving your readers what they want
To satisfy your visitors, you should answer their search intent with interesting, well-thought-out content that understands the audience, understands the query, and over delivers. To achieve this, your content must provide six vital elements:
- Simplicity. Be straightforward in answering your visitors’ search intent
- Vocabulary. Write using words and structure your target audience will expect.
- Specificity. Use examples that illustrate your points in a clear and concise manner.
- Originality. Capture the reader’s attention by giving them new information and show them your unique approach.
- Clear next steps. Let them know what their next steps are.
- Consistency. Publish content regularly; at least twice a week.
Following all six of these signals to your readers that you respect their time. This makes them feel that your content is worth reading over other websites that bury the lede, or otherwise makes it harder for readers to quickly find what they’re looking for. This establishes trust with your audience, and emphasizes that you’re at the top of your industry for a reason.
Enterprise Content Distribution
When you’ve created the best content available on the internet, you naturally want people to read it. That starts with deciding which channels to prioritize for your content. Below are the 5 best channels for content distribution.
|Company blogs||By publishing regularly, you can build a consistent readership and become a regular morning or lunchtime web-surfing destination. This also helps your main website build domain authority, leading to your more targeted landing pages ranking more highly in their own right.|
|Email Marketing Campaigns||Whether through newsletter signups, contact form fills, or account creation prompts, you should be creating email lists that are segmented according to the personas you’ve created above. This will allow you to send the best of your content directly to their inbox. Keep in mind, however, that I don’t recommend sending a daily, weekly, or even biweekly email. An email every 4-6 weeks that presents your article in a condensed form will garner much higher engagement than spamming your audience’s inboxes.|
|Unlike other social media platforms, the main reason that anyone interacts with LinkedIn is for business. As a result, you can expect anyone reading a LinkedIn post to be much more seriously minded than on other platforms, and this makes it an excellent channel on which to post content intended for both lead nurturing and recruiting.|
|Public Speaking||Your status as an industry leading enterprise will afford you more speaking opportunities than smaller companies. The best of your content can be adapted for these speeches, and the nature of presenting adds an in-person authority that other mediums lack.|
|Webinars||Webinars allow you to present your content to an audience that has demonstrated more interest than even a daily reader of your blog. This allows you to present more in-depth deep dives that would lose a casual reader’s interest.|
What you might notice though, is that you can easily reuse content for each of these. What you send in an email, post on a blog, or present as part of a keynote speech should always be tailored to the specific audience of that channel, but you will already have completed the lion’s share of the work. This is why content marketing results in such high ROI compared to other marketing techniques. Finally, the last step at any enterprise is to secure need leadership buy-in for your content marketing campaign. When presenting your plan, we recommend focusing on:
- The long-term value of an SEO-driven content marketing initiative
- The stakeholders and time commitment involved
- Budget considerations and the break-even point
Getting Help with Your Enterprise Content Marketing
Finally, let us know if you need help with any aspect of content marketing. Our firm has experience working with dozens of enterprises, both in ghostwriting content directly and consulting on companys’ current campaigns. Reach out to learn more.