The B2B Content Marketing Stack

March 31, 2015 Will Lam

B2B Content Marketing Stack

As a content-focused organization, your main priority should be on moving the meter to produce valuable content that your audience cares about in order to bolster your inbound marketing efforts and generate leads.

It’s easy to get bogged down while running a content marketing team, but when you don’t know about the bottlenecks or inefficiencies your team has, any optimization will have a compounding effect downstream .

Less valuable content at a slower pace means fewer qualified leads, which means lower sales and so on.

Whatever tools and processes you have in place should enhance your marketing team’s efforts to justify its existence (and greater investment) based on the ROI your team produces. Hopefully, you’re bringing in more revenue than what you’re spending to create content and fuel your marketing engine.

The challenge

The number of marketing technology companies has nearly doubled between January 2014 and 2015 from 947 to 1,876. Unfortunately, there isn’t any one tool that helps you get a handle on content marketing in one fell swoop.

It’s overwhelming to stay on top of the sheer number of marketing tools out there, in addition to whatever “stack” or suite of tools you’ve adopted so far.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to arrive at a general consensus about what makes the "perfect content marketing stack".

But much like how David Heinemeier Hansson (“DHH”), co-founder of Basecamp, and creator of Ruby on Rails web development stack, succinctly puts it: “Ruby on Rails is Omakase”.

A team of chefs picked out the ingredients, designed the APIs, and arranged the order of consumption on your behalf according to their idea of what would make for a tasty full-stack framework.

Much like how David has come up with the “Rails Way” when it comes to web development, I’d like to think that we as content marketers at Uberflip, marketing to marketers,  know a thing or two about creating an airtight framework for content marketing teams to run like a well-oiled machine.

The prescription

Keep in mind that this is geared towards B2B companies that are invested in content and have a team dedicated to consistently producing valuable content.  

Now that we have that out of the way, what we need is a framework that takes into account the entire content marketing process and to plug that into the greater marketing organization’s purpose - a prescription, if you will, that’s broad and robust enough to meet B2B marketers’ expectations and address their unique challenges.

The problem lies in the sea of marketing technology products when trying to understand the full picture of a lead’s lifecycle from the top of the funnel all the way down to the close, while making better-informed decisions and being more productive.

When you look at the touchpoints of marketing, you have to consider lead capture, contact management, email marketing, social media, SEO, content marketing, analytics, and so on when building your marketing ecosystem.

The Stack

The entire B2B Content Marketing Stack should be set up in a way that focuses your efforts with an end-to-end holistic approach.

The stack I am prescribing helps streamline our efforts at Uberflip, from creating content, organizing content via an editorial calendar, managing content with our CMS, generating leads and distributing content, all the way to automating your marketing efforts to bubble up hot leads for your sales team to take action on. And, finally, it enables you to have the analytics to learn, measure and improve your content marketing efforts.

Content Creation: Google Docs 

Google Docs is a no-brainer in terms of writing and collaborating. It helps the content creation process by providing a canvas for your team to edit, comment, highlight and get the most out of your team’s writing efforts. 

Editorial Calendar: Google Sheets 

We stick to our own in-house spreadsheet and share it via Google Sheets to host our editorial calendar, content ideas, as well as a list our previously created content so we’re not duplicating efforts. It doesn’t have to be fancy or sophisticated to be effective.

Content Experience Management Platform: Uberflip

We use our own platform to create, manage, optimize and automate all of our content—blog articles, social media posts, videos, eBooks—in our Content Hub. Since Uberflip is built for B2B Content Marketers, we also manage lead generation within our content through contextual CTA placements to capture contacts and gate our premium content. Since our platform integrates with your marketing automation, it fits into your content marketing and B2B lead generation efforts, we have all those bases covered.

Distribution: Buffer 

Buffer offers an easy way to share content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.  You’re able to schedule when your content is shared as well as get a host of analytics around what content has been performing the best in terms of engagement and sharing.

Marketing Automation (includes email marketing): HubSpot 

Probably the most flexible marketing platform in existence, as it starts from a reasonable $800 / month for its Professional package and scales up from there, HubSpot will cover all bases that let you grow into their Enterprise package, assuming your revenue grows just as fast as your needs. They offer a world-class marketing automation suite, excellent UX and design, and integrates perfectly with Uberflip’s Hubs and CTAs.

If you’re already on another marketing automation platform, you might be better served sticking to it unless you’re fully committed to switching to something like HubSpot.

CRM: HubSpot CRM (substitute Salesforce if you already have it)

Though a relatively new entrant to the CRM market that HubSpot has made entirely free, it integrates perfectly with HubSpot’s Marketing Automation software.  If you’re already using another CRM like Salesforce and your entire organization has bought into it, it’s better to stick to it rather than switch to something else.

Analytics: Google Analytics

Pretty much the standard set of Analytics that you really need.  Google Analytics covers everything you need from standard web analytics, event-driven analytics, powerful segmentation, Mobile Analytics and even cohort analysis.

Extras

While the above tools comprise the core of our B2B content marketing stack, here are some other tools to consider based on your unique needs.

Lead capture: SumoMe

SumoMe is a free lightweight tool to capture leads with their fly-out List Builder, Smart Bar, and a host of other free analytics tools such as heatmaps. You can’t really beat free when it comes to their tight integrations with services such as MailChimp, Aweber, MadMimi or Constant Contact for your email marketing.

Video: Wistia

If video is part of your content marketing strategy, Wistia is affordable and its analytics give you insight into viewing trends, heatmaps and its lead generation feature integrates perfectly into what we’ve previously mentioned.

SEO: Moz

If your organization is heavily focused on SEO, Moz is a tool that will give you strategic insight into your content marketing efforts and how you rank compared to competitors as well as a host of other products, which include FollowerWonk for social, and Fresh Web Explorer and their industry leading Keyword difficulty tracker and Moz Analytics.

Conclusion

The tools mentioned above create a tight stack that’s interwoven to help you see the big picture—"the forest from the trees”—all the way down to seeing the individual leaves of those trees, taking into account analytics on individual contacts. 

What’s in your content marketing stack? What do you think belongs or doesn’t belong?

See how your marketing software stacks up. Try our tool, Grade My Stack!

About the Author

Will Lam

Will is a Product Marketing Manager at Uberflip. Outside of Uberflip, he likes lifting heavy things and putting them down, is horrible at Ruby on Rails and iOS development, and prides himself on being a coffee snob.

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