Whether you’ve got years of content built up, or you are just starting out, the content part of content syndication is a crucial piece of success. When you’re formulating your B2B content plan for syndication, you may pick out existing assets to share, or plan new content. The most important aspect is to think about the value of your content in the eyes of the person consuming it. This approach helps you see content syndication as an opportunity to get your best, most valuable resources out there for your audience to connect with. And, the more value they get out of it, the more likely you are to convert them down the line.
If you’re ready to syndicate content and need some tips on selecting and creating your best content for lead generation, you’re in the right place.
What Kind of Content Can Be Syndicated?
Remember that you can syndicate any type of digital content, whether that’s blog posts, original research, videos, infographics, or an interactive microsite. You can amplify whatever content you think will help you connect with your ideal audience.
But while you can syndicate any kind of content, it helps to think about gated vs. ungated content, and what your goals are for the content you create.
Gated content is a lead generation strategy, whereas ungated content serves to enhance SEO and promote brand awareness. Examples of ungated content include blog posts, infographics, and YouTube videos, while gated content typically takes the form of white papers, ebooks, or webinars.
The main difference is that gated content is hidden behind a form asking for the viewer’s information.
Here are some of the most effective gated and ungated content types for a B2B audience, and how they can be used in your lead generation strategy:
Blogs continue to be one of the easiest and fastest ways to get your message across, as they can help address your prospects’ questions while steadily building an audience from organic traffic. This content type is usually consumed at the awareness stage and is almost never gated. That means you can potentially use blogs in syndication to generate traffic and views but should not count on blogs as the most effective content type for lead generation.
Infographics present insights in a more concise and digestible manner—perfect for catching the attention of potential clients and instilling awareness about your brand. These visuals can easily be shared on social media, which can help redirect prospects to your company website or an associated landing page. They are another content type that is not commonly gated, and should be an interest and traffic generating asset, rather than a lead generation tactic.
Case studies not only tell but show your customers what you can do. When done well, case studies demonstrate to your prospects how a company like theirs has benefited from your products or services. They are another example of content that is best used at the top of the funnel, when potential customers are searching for information. They can be used to generate awareness of your brand, products and services—and can help drive organic traffic to your website—but case studies are almost never gated.
It’s official: Video is now one of the most influential content formats in the B2B buying space. Take it from the experts at Brightcove, who found 95% of B2B buyers regard video as a critical element in the purchase decision-making process. Video is a powerful and effective way to showcase your product or service, enlighten your customers and clients, and extend your reach to a new medium. From demos to educational how-to videos to explainer videos, the lion’s share of your online video content should be ungated to drive awareness and engagement, motivate social shares, generate backlinks, and improve SEO. YouTube has always been the go-to site for video, of course. But more recently, sites like LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are increasingly focusing on video…and driving results.
White papers can be a very effective content type during the consideration stage, where prospects are considering solutions. By showing your business has sufficient knowledge and the appropriate tools to address their specific pain points, white papers help establish your brand credibility and position you as a thought leader, while simultaneously guiding your prospects further down the sales funnel. They are a content type that is almost always gated, a primary lead generation format.
Like white papers, eBooks are another long-form gated content asset that can help a business establish credibility and expertise. Typically more visual than white papers, and often broken into sections or chapters, ebooks can help you demonstrate expertise in a more creative way. People who download ebooks are actively looking for information or education, and this is one of the most popular formats for content syndication.
Video webinars and on-demand master classes/training videos enable B2B marketers to deliver engaging, personalized buying experiences to B2B prospects, making it easier for them to navigate their customer journey. Both of these types can function as live events. You should also record them and serve them up as on-demand assets for viewers who can’t attend the live session. In both cases (live or pre-recorded), they should be gated and used to generate leads.
Planning and Creating Assets for Content Syndication
You can think about the right mix of content assets as you continue to flesh out your content marketing and content syndication strategy. But let’s jump into the practical steps you’ll need to take to develop content for an effective syndication program.
How to Plan Content to Complement the Customer Journey
The content part of content syndication is not just about picking out a few content types from the list above. You’ve got to connect content with the actual person you’re trying to reach. That’s why it’s so important to understand your ICP and choose the types of content that will meet them where they are at the right time to tell your story.
A typical B2B customer journey consists of four main stages:
When you’re planning content, make sure you’re addressing the most important topics in the most appropriate formats at the right stage of the customer journey. Try asking yourself, “What does this person need to know right now, at this stage in the journey, in order to continue being interested and potentially buy my product or service in the end?”
Once you’ve got an idea of those answers, you can plan out content topics at each stage of the funnel to answer those questions and move your prospects along in their journey.
Remember, while different formats will work well for different topics and intentions, you’ll want to make sure to plan for at least one high-value piece of gated content. That way you’ll already have an ebook, white paper or other enticing offer ready to go when it comes time to syndicate your content.
How to Create Content for Syndication
A typical content creation process for most of the main content types will have phases including idea generation, a content brief, research, outline, copywriting, design and quality control. The way it works for your particular business may work a little differently, but if you’re looking to get started with the basics, follow these steps.
- Ideation. Generating ideas for what content to create is an important part of any content creation plan, and there are many ways to go about it. Query internal or external subject matter experts; survey your own audience; look at what content has performed well for you in the past; conduct SEO research to determine which keywords and topics your audience is searching for; conduct a content audit to identify gaps in your existing library or determine areas in which to expand.
- Making a content brief. By detailing the precise requirements of your asset and ensuring that the content created meets those requirements, creators can work more efficiently with fewer wasted efforts on edits and revisions. Plus, having a clear reference for the desired outcome can be helpful in case of any questions or concerns during any later stages of production.
- Researching the topic. In addition to conducting in-depth research on the specific aspects of your topic, look for primary or third-party research you can include to help support the points you’re making. Tip: Linking out to authoritative sources helps SEO for your ungated content.
- Developing an outline. Determine the broad subtopics that relate to your main topic, and then flesh out each subtopic by adding additional ideas/points. For more complex content projects, you may need a more detailed outline with more levels to your outline, such as sub-sub-topics.
- Writing the first draft. When it comes to writing up the content you’ve planned, you may be planning to draft up blogs and ebooks yourself, or you might hire a team or freelancer.
- Reviewing the draft. No matter who writes the draft, it’s best to have someone else on your team evaluate and edit your first draft. This ensure the writing is well-organized, grammatically correct, appropriate and complete. It’s also an opportunity to compare the draft against the asset brief and outline.
- Revising the draft. Based on the feedback you get in the previous step, revise the copy. Then, rinse and repeat until all stakeholders are happy with the outcome. Remember, this could be you working with a freelance writer, your content manager working with an on-staff writer, or a number of other team configurations.
- Designing the asset. For some content formats, such as a blog post, the design step can be as simple as choosing a stock image to use in the featured image slot. For other more design-intensive assets like infographics, interactive checklists, or eBooks, you’ll want to work with a graphic designer or freelance team to produce the completed piece. If you’re working with video, this visual stage will involve a video editor in addition to design work. And, let’s not forget, this stage will involve review and revision just like the writing stage outlined above.
- Quality control. Every completed piece of content should go through at least one last layer of quality control. Common issues at this stage include missed typos and misinterpretation of design instructions. This is the last content step before releasing anything should be one last check for quality.
- Repurposing. Consider producing one asset (like a white paper), which you can then repurpose into different formats, such as an infographic, blog post or even a short video. In fact, Ross Simmonds, CEO at Foundation Inc., likens content syndication to process of “creating content once, but distributing it forever.” Planning content for content syndication should include repurposing existing content into different formats, allowing you to reach different audiences via different channels.
Delivering Your Content with Syndication
When you’ve got a pretty good base of content that answers your prospects’ most important questions and helps them along the customer journey, it’s time to think about how to distribute it. Most companies understand how important it is to publish timely, relevant content on their own website and social channels like LinkedIn. If you’ve made it this far in this article, we’ll assume you’ve got that part locked in. But, how do you go beyond your own channels to reach a wider audience and pull in more traffic and leads? That’s where content syndication comes in.
With content syndication, it’s common to start with a top of funnel topic or asset to distribute with a content syndication partner. Remember, gated assets work best with content syndication. To get the most top of funnel leads possible, cast a wide net with one of your more general topics. To get more granular or further down the funnel, pick a gated asset you created for the decision stage.
If you need a refresher on how content syndication works, we’ve got your primer here.
Nurturing Your Content Syndication Leads with… More Content
Once you and your syndication partner have enticed your audience to sign up for the top of funnel asset, your content job really kicks in. You’ve got to have at least a basic level of content ready for follow up—aka lead nurturing, because normally, these leads will not be ready to pass to sales. The are simply not warmed up enough yet.
Email nurturing is the process of building a relationship with potential customers through a series of personalized and targeted emails. This is where your mid and bottom funnel content comes into play as material to use in your emails. And, the way your new lead interacts with what you send—by opening messages with particular subject lines, or clicking on certain assets for example—helps you to learn more about his/her preferences and needs. This helps you to segment, personalize and continue nurturing.
The important actions in your nurture campaign—for example, viewing a pricing page—should have points attached to them in your lead scoring model. And, as your nurture program continues, the leads with the right need, timeline and budget will score up enough to be passed to sales as a qualified lead.
To Succeed with Content Syndication, Create Meaningful Content That Engages Your Target Audience
There are many essential components of a successful content syndication strategy—which should include everything from a full understanding of your ICP to deciding the channels you’ll use to syndicate content, and so much more. But creating purposeful content that really connects with your target audience requires time, effort, and a real investment in your content creation process.
Let this article serve as starting point for understanding the content creation process. Then, take the next step by creating your own content that truly resonates with your audience and drives growth for your business.
If you want to learn more about how content syndication can be a powerful lead generation strategy for your organization, download our free Quickstart Guide to B2B Content Syndication, which tells you all you need to know to get started.
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