Shakespeare, Grapefruit, and B2B Content Marketing

Yes, I mean William Shakespeare. Several years ago as a struggling novelist, I went through the nearly 5,000 books in my library, acquired from my undergrad work in English Literature and passion for learning. I was looking for an overall pattern or structure to great literature that had withstood the test of time.

Also, a question was beckoning me: How do you tell a good story?

Let’s face it—most B2B content is not a page-turner. However, the overall structure of your content marketing strategy can leave leads begging for more.

As you know, our role as a marketer is to make shift happen whether that shift be a change in perception or qualified leads for sales. The goal of marketing is to create awareness, interest, consideration and demand (AICD)—and in that order.

Here’s how to make shift happen with B2B Content Marketing.

story-arcFirst, think of your overall content strategy as a play, novel or short story separated into three Acts. Act I should lead up to the climax, which occurs in Act II. Act III is the denouement and should resolve the conflict of the overall content story. In other words, solve the problem presented in Act I. Then, start plotting your strategy out according to the process of marketing mentioned above (AICD).

Second, it’s content assessment time. Ask yourself these questions: What content is on-hand? What content are competitors using? What is unique to your products or services and how can you leverage this for your organization’s benefit? What content can be created that will further sales or meet other content objectives?

Third, create and discuss ideas internally. Also, look for “pre-“ trends, which is more advantageous than only staying on top of trends in your industry. Informally present ideas to executives, peers, the BOD, engineering, sales, etc. Grab a glass of grapefruit juice and stop by a colleague’s office or workstation. Or, you could stalk them outside the restroom—your call.

Fourth, develop a 6-month plan. Map out the content deliverable, stakeholder, dates and the promotion strategy comprehensively.

Following the plan is the Fifth step. Dates may get pushed out but…just keep going. Content may change so have a backup plan. New content ideas will come up…plan on it and risk them if they’re logical and feasible. Ensure your Marcom peers remain diligent on metrics – response rate, CPC, CPL, etc. Always quantify the results weekly or bi-weekly and then share data unilaterally and bilaterally within the organization.

Six, keep the momentum going by planning for an additional month each month so that by month 6 of your original plan, you’ll have about 6 more months of content strategy ahead of you. Get new ideas from: competitors, customers, sales, engineering, marketing colleagues, founder/s, CEOs/Presidents, BOD members, investors, outside influencers (analysts, media, pundits, etc.), and your partner eco-system.

Lastly, repurpose your content. Why shouldn’t you? The entertainment industry does it all the time. First the short story or book, then the movie or television show and then the sequel to the movie or book, and then, what we have all been waiting for with bated breath… a daily calendar with pictures or excerpts. For example, “Day 263: The Grapefruit is an excellent detoxifier. Live large and eat a grapefruit today.” Seriously, repurposing content saves budget dollars and internal resources, including a precious one—your time.

As a recap, the content marketing strategy in a nutshell:

  • Think of your content strategy in three Acts and plot out according to AICD.
  • Assess your content and potential content.
  • Create and discuss ideas internally.
  • Develop a 6-month plan.
  • Follow the plan, prepared for contingencies and adaptation.
  • Keep the momentum going by planning an additional month every month, thereby having a 6-month plan at all times.
  • Bonus: Be ready to repurpose your used content.

Looking for examples? Look for my next blog post!

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