Mind the Gap: The Missing Link to B2B Content Marketing Success

Many B2B marketers have a disconnect between the content they’re producing and the content their customers actually want. If your content doesn’t hit the mark, buyers won’t respond. Here’s how to identify and fill your content gaps so you can wow customers and get them to take action.

Mind the gap sign with speeding train in London underground

It’s every content marketer’s worst fear … 

You devote a lot of time and resources into producing a piece of content. You think the topic is interesting. The design is eye-catching. The writing is clear and concise.

But then you publish the content, and nothing happens. No likes … no shares … no rush of leads banging on your door wanting to buy your product …

So, what happened?

You likely missed the mark and put tons of effort into a topic that your audience doesn’t care about.

But there are steps to take to ensure this won’t happen again.

Take stock of your existing content and compare it against what your audience is talking about. You’ll likely find gaps between the content you’re creating and the content your audience wants. Then, create new content that fills these gaps.

Follow these seven steps to fill the gaps in your content: 

1. Conduct a content audit.

It’s hard to get to the finish line if you don’t know your starting point. Audit your existing content to see what you have on hand. For example, you can audit your: 

  • Web pages
  • Blog posts and articles (in your company’s publications and external publications)
  • Sales content such as brochures, sell sheets and data sheets
  • White papers, ebooks and research reports
  • Presentations (e.g. keynotes, webinars and SlideShare decks)
  • FAQs and emails where you answer customer questions
  • Social media updates and replies
  • Demos
  • User forums and support groups
  • Customer advocacy communities
  • Case studies and testimonials

When you audit your content, you’ll likely discover that you have much more content than you thought you had. You’re likely sitting on tons of material that you can turn into valuable content for prospects, leads and customers.

As you go through the other steps in this process, determine how much of your existing content should be refreshed, overhauled or repurposed. 

2. Map content to your buyer personas.

If you haven’t updated your buyer personas since Lost went off the air, it’s time for a refresh. The more your content appeals to each persona, the more successful your marketing will be. Here are some questions to ask when you update your buyer personas:

  • What are their job titles?
  • What types of companies do they work for?
  • What is a typical day like for them?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are their top goals?
  • How have their challenges and goals changed from the last time you worked on your buyer personas?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What stage(s) of the sales cycle are they typically involved in?

3. Map content to each stage of the sales cycle.

In Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said they selected vendors who delivered a mix of content that was appropriate for each stage of their buying process. When you look at each buyer persona, determine if you have enough content to engage them during the following stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Investigation
  3. Evaluation
  4. Decision
  5. Loyalty/advocacy

 4. Tune in to the right channels.

Are your customers hanging out somewhere without you? Don’t miss the party!

According to Oracle’s Cross-Channel Marketing Report, 67% of companies want to integrate their key marketing activities across channels. However, only 43% say they understand the customer journey and adapt their channel mix accordingly.  

Research how your customers are using different channels. For example, do they ask questions about your products on Quora while you’re investing more in Facebook? Will they respond better to a white paper or a webinar? How are they arriving at your website?

For more tips on boosting your cross-channel engagement read, “How to Tell a Consistent Story Across All of Your B2B Marketing Channels”.

5. Fill your promotional gaps.

Do you have a product launch coming up and not enough content to support it? Are you gearing up for a big trade show and need content that will lure buyers away from other booths? Add these upcoming launches and events to your editorial calendar.

6. Answer customer questions.

One of the best places to find content ideas is from questions your customers ask. What are they emailing you about? What are they posting on your social networks and in your support forums?

Are there any questions that appear over and over? Have you answered these questions in your key content assets? If not, add them to your editorial calendar.

7. Go beyond sales content.

Many B2B marketers create the same type of content all the time. For example, it might all be educational or sales focused. However, varying your content can keep you on your toes – and keep buyers engaged. Create content that does the following:

  • Entertains
  • Educates
  • Engages
  • Persuades

When you go through these steps, you’ll find quite a few gaps in your content. Decide which gaps you would like to fill right away. Which areas are the most critical? Where will you get the biggest bang for your content investment? Add this content to your editorial calendar.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the Editorial Calendar Template to take action and fill those content gaps.
  2. Read “5 Keys to Creating Content That Engages Different Verticals” to learn how to maintain a consistent voice when speaking with different audiences.
  3. Share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business. 

Download the Editorial Calendar Template to plan your content
and stay on track.