How We Bake Distribution into B2B Content Marketing Strategies

Learn why B2B content distribution doesn’t need a strategy, plus how to make it work from the ground up.

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Victor Eduoh

Lead Strategist @ VEC

If you knew prospects won’t care, let alone, read content pieces your team creates, would you still invest in distributing them?

I won’t.

And that’s because:

Creating and distributing content isn’t just to appear on all possible marketing channels, but to ultimately influence pipeline. But that’s only possible if prospects read said content when they find them. 

It’s why, for me, B2B content distribution is:

  • Not just for ranking highest.
  • Not just for backlinks. 
  • Not just for traffic. 
  • Not just for likes. 

Yeah, I also believe…

B2B Content Distribution Doesn't Need a 'Strategy'

Tactics? Fine.

But treating distribution (or repurposing) as an afterthought or something that requires a ‘strategy’ of its own is a recipe for failure. Distribution should be baked into your SaaS content marketing strategy design and execution from the get-to. 

And I’m not alone on this: 

As they say, data doesn’t lie. 

So what says data on how top-performing B2B marketing teams operate, relative to distributing content? 

Per research by the Content Marketing Institute

This insight is instructive. 

The least successful teams tend not (19%) to have a documented content marketing strategy. It appears they try to make up for that by using paid distribution channels (57%). Unfortunately, it still leaves them in the ‘least successful’ camp.

Compare that with top-performers. 

Most (at 64%) document their content strategies. Unsurprisingly, they also use more distribution channels across paid and organic. Probably because creating a strategy reveals which channels target audiences hang out, making distribution easier. 

This proactive approach is why we bake distribution into every B2B content program we strategize. So in the first of this 2-part series on B2B content distribution, you’ll see how we do just that. 

In Part II, I’ll detail how we keep distribution in mind when crafting each piece. I’ll also reveal next-level tactics from B2B SaaS companies crushing it with content distribution. 

But Part II is exclusive to “Growing with Content Newsletter” subscribers:

How We Bake Distribution into Content Marketing Strategies

We hold ourselves to high standards at VEC Studio. For instance, our 1st core value keeps us focused on growing ONLY if we help others (clients, teammates, partners) grow: 

You may be wondering… 

How does that relate to content distribution? 

First, we don’t celebrate growing our revenue if the content marketing strategy we design and execute for clients isn’t helping them grow. Achieving such mutual growth is possible, only if the pieces we craft get found (and read) by clients’ target audiences. 

Distribution plays a huge role in whether pieces get found (and read). So when designing content strategies, we address two foundational questions.

1. Who Will We Craft Content For?

The word ‘craft’ is for a reason.

It stems from how we define high-quality SaaS content. In VEC Studio’s lingo, high-quality content is one someone finds so valuable: 

  • They actually read it from A-Z (or long enough) 
  • Subscribe for more (join our client’s audience) 
  • Sign up (become a user/customer) because of the content 
  • Advocate for their team to signup (i.e., become an internal champion for us) because of the content:

Content that ticks all boxes above isn’t created for generic audiences, as you can imagine. It is crafted with relatable stories told in the right context for someone specific —an ideal customer persona (ICP).

This isn’t new. 

It’s a principle long recommended by renowned authors. For instance, John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize-winning American author, once said:

John may have been a literary author, but his wisdom holds for successful B2B content marketing. Otherwise, what you distribute won’t matter to people who matter to your business (i.e., your ICPs) because you didn’t craft it for them in the first place. 

So at the strategic level, ask:  

  • If target ICPs find my distributed content (whether through organic tactics or paid media) will it earn their attention? 
  • If it does, will they go on to consume it? 
  • If they do, will it compel them to think and act favorably? 

Answering these questions transcends creating bland buyer personas and JTBD theories. Specifically, you should know: 

  1. WHO your target ICPs really are, 
  2. WHAT problems they crave to solve, and 
  3. WHY they need to solve those problems (i.e., the desired outcomes pulling them to solve those problems).

Insights from the points above yield a strategic framework for crafting content that earns the attention of target ICPs.

…a strategic framework we call ICP StoryScripts:

This framework is how we craft story-driven content more likely to earn ICPs’ attention when distributed. It actions the first of the two foundational steps in baking distribution into content strategies.

…which brings us to the 2nd step.

2. What Channels Do ICPs Hang Out?

Time and change have something in common.

They’re always changing!  

In the past, when people sought information, the usual next turn was Google. Some still do and SEO still has a place in content distribution. But like time and change, that’s no longer the default for most:

I reckon this decline is higher for B2B decision-makers.

Increasingly, B2B buyers (your ICPs included) are signing up to newsletters they trust for helpful info (not spam). They are finding content through social media and asking peers in communities, Slack groups, etc., for recommended resources.

Stats —like this and this one— say it all: 

So when designing content strategies, we don’t hope on Google or look for where to distribute content after hitting publish. 

Instead, we:

  • Find all the channels where target ICPs hang out 
  • Keep what works on those channels at heart when crafting every single piece of content 
  • Create excerpts for company-wide and internal subject-matter experts (SMEs) to distribute crafted pieces. 

This makes distribution on those channels seamless:

How do we uncover what channels ICPs hang out? 

It’s not rocket science, we: 

  1. Ask existing users/customers where they hang out.
  2. Peruse marketing and product analytics tools.
  3. Study self-reported attribution (i.e., prospects’ responses to the ‘where did you find us?’ contact us/book a demo form field). 
  4. Research forums like Quora and comments on niche communities on Slack, Reddit, Facebook & LinkedIn groups.
  5. Observe where clients’ competitors distribute content. 
  6. Examine where competitors’ users/customers hang out. 
  7. Create owned distribution channels (i.e., newsletters, community forums, etc.). This puts our clients in control of how they distribute content. More on this in part II of this series.

So there you have it. 

[1] Who will we craft content for and [2] what channels do they hang out? is how we bake distribution into content marketing strategies. Get this foundation right, and you’ll set your team up for crafting content worthy of being distributed. 

And we practice what we preach. 

We tone most of our content for B2B marketing executives (who we craft for). And distribute excerpts of published content via our newsletter and LinkedIn (where they hang out). 

That’s how we drive sales outcomes like this: 

It doesn’t end there. 

Most distributed content excerpts won’t yield direct sales leads, as the example above. But because we craft for specific ICPs and distribute where they hang out, our pieces pull them to sign up for more. 

In other words, when they find excerpts of our content, they just go on to read the entire thing, after reading many: 

  1. Join our community (or newsletter) audience, and
  2. Even share our content with teammates and others who end up also joining our community (or newsletter). 

As you can tell from these screenshots: 

In part II of this 2-part B2B content distribution guide, I’ll show how we achieve results like the ones above for ourselves and clients. Hint: It’s by keeping distribution in mind when crafting content. 

And writing for one ICP at a time: 

Also in part II, I’ll expose tactics of B2B SaaS companies crushing it with content distribution. But these (and our checklist for proactive content distribution) are exclusive to “The Studio” subscribers:

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Victor Eduoh

Lead Strategist @ VEC

Founder, Lead Strategist @VEC. Thinker, reader, words-crafter, and husband to Omosede. Besides crafting product-led stories, I love scouting and grooming rare marketing talents.

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