Brands are always looking for ways to promote their products and services. Content marketing is one way to do so because it allows you to create informative, practical, and exciting content for your audience. Additionally, it can help you establish a better relationship with vendors, partners, and clients. However, unlike B2C marketing, you can’t always push your B2B content in the consumer’s face as much as B2C brands can. For this reason, you need to think through your content marketing strategy carefully.
B2B content marketing is how brands use content to expand their audience, strengthen and develop brand affinity, and ultimately drive leads and sales by appealing to other companies. Appealing to these businesses is all about curating content by being value-driven, taking a professional tone, and building relationships. What sets B2B content marketing apart from other types of content marketing is that businesses exclusively use it for other companies rather than just the run-of-the-mill consumer content.
B2C Vs. B2B
One of the main reasons some businesses fail with their content marketing strategy is that they often forget to shift from B2C to B2B. There is a definite difference between the two that you need to be aware of. First of all, your B2B content article won’t hit the point if the reader can’t apply the actionable components to their content or business. This isn’t to say you can’t write the occasional off-topic think piece. However, as a B2B content marketer, being recognized as an industry thought leader should be your priority. Along with that, while B2C has a large target audience, B2B strategies are designed for a smaller market with a focus on content strategy. Moreover, while B2C content usually always demands a more personalized and emotional touch, good B2B content takes on a more professional tone and being value-driven.
Often described as boring and dull, B2B content marketing strategies have had to shift. Previously this content was mostly about a company and its products, and used business jargon. However, now because nowadays, recognizing the importance of content marketing is just the first step, creating and distributing interesting content is another.
Types of B2B Content
Before we dive into how to boost B2B content, we first need to understand the different types of content that businesses can use to effectively and creatively distribute their message.
1) Social media
While LinkedIn is considered the “professional” social media platform for B2B businesses that provide professional services and products, you should not limit yourself to LinkedIn alone. Instead, use whatever social media channel that makes sense; it could be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Pinterest. Alternatively, if you conduct business internationally, you can use social platforms which are popular in the countries in which you do business. By using social media platforms, you can establish relationships with your target audience and create a presence that allows your audience to chose them before any other company when they need your products or services.
Another great B2B marketing strategy is email newsletters. Newsletters can help you do pretty much everything from promoting your company’s latest blog post or case study to talking about any upcoming events you might be hosting. The great thing about newsletters is that audiences already want your content because they have to give their consent to be on your mailing list. Another great thing is that they don’t need to be limited to just one; newsletters can be sent out weekly, monthly, or quarterly and can cover different topic areas that are important to your company’s audience. This allows you to be more specific in your newsletter content and helps you target a larger group of your audience.
3) White papers
White papers should be among some among your company’s most valuable content. In order for a white paper to be effective, it must be well-researched and sourced, as well as educational and beneficial to your target audience. Ideally, they should usually be between 5 and 10 pages long.
As a B2B company, you should establish your brand as a subject matter expert, the provider of the most excellent product on the market, or an expert in a particular service area. Writing white papers will help you establish credibility, and they can use them to generate traffic to their website by sharing them on social media or sending them via email. White papers also have the advantage of being able to be broken down into smaller pieces. So, companies can use snippets of their previous work to create a new article or turn it into an image for social media.
eBooks, like white papers, can be some of the best content your company provides. The only difference is the page count, with the ideal eBook containing ten or more pages. It takes considerably more time and energy to research, write, and edit these. Even so, you can print as many as you wish. If you have the resources to do so, you should aim for at least two a year. Publishing eBooks, like white papers, will assist in establishing credibility and competence in the eyes of your audience. You can also divide it into smaller sections, much like a white paper. You can use parts of your eBook to create new white papers, develop articles and guest posts, and make content for social media.
5) Blog articles & guest posts
Blogs are one of the best ways to communicate with audiences, so you need to use them wisely. The main idea is to provide valuable content with practical information to educate and provide value to audiences. Many content marketers make the mistake of writing about their services and features in a salesy tone rather than providing value-driven content. Whether it is an article, a guest post, or a press release, these should all work within your company’s B2B content marketing funnel.
If you run a company blog, you need to make sure to update it regularly with new content. The larger the company, the more resources you have to commit to producing content regularly. Ideally, you should, at the very least, publish a new article once a week. You can also cross-promote their content by including a paragraph in your newsletter or using a quote to introduce a social post. The whole point is to draw people to your website and keep them there; the more audiences look around and learn about your company and its products, the better.
Another content strategy that companies can use is guest posting. Rather than only creating content for your earned media channels, you should also consider writing guest posts for third-party websites. It will be more work because you will also need to continue to develop material for your website, but it will be beneficial to your credibility in the industry.
Benefits of Guest Posting Include
However, when sending out a guest post, you need to look for high-value websites with an audience which is relevant to your business.
Thirdly, press releases are another excellent option for content marketing. To successfully create a press release, you should include newsworthy information about your company, including a list of achievements, success stories, or the latest technology that you’ve developed.
If you are unsure of how to write the perfect press release or guest post, you can get support from PR agencies like Pressfarm, who will guide you through the process. Pressfarm works with startups and companies of various sizes to create newsworthy content which can capture media attention and inspire your target audience. From email pitches and press releases to guest posts and press kits, Pressfarm’s PR professionals and expert writers create valuable content to help you gain media coverage effectively. They can also help increase your brand’s online visibility by helping you feature in relevant search results across different search engines.
6) Case studies
If you want to show off your experience in your industry, case studies are a great way to do so. While it is yet another form of content that you can have on your website, use in email pitches or proposals, and share across a multitude of channels, the main benefit of case studies is that they allow your company to prove its capabilities to your audience, whether you are selling a product or providing a service.
7) User Generated Content
While this is primarily used as a B2C marketing tactic, you can still use user-generated content to achieve the content marketing goals for your B2B brand. The trick to doing so effectively is to consider UGC as more of a collaboration than a social campaign. Encouraging existing consumers to produce and publish content on social media, whether sharing their brand experiences or telling personal stories, gives you access to one of the most powerful tools for engagement. Another great thing is that UGC works beyond social media. It also includes online reviews, brand advocate blog articles, videos, testimonials, and charts on online forums and websites.
How to Boost your B2B content marketing strategy
Now that we have looked at the different types of B2B content let us look at how you can boost your content marketing strategy.
1) Develop Documented Content Strategy
While many individuals and companies seem to know that there is a need for content, many people often overlook the need to document their content strategy. This should be the first thing you do because it will help you work more efficiently. After all, documenting your strategy shows you the big picture, like what type of content should be planned, topics to cover, as well as potential gaps to fill in your content strategy.
You need to start the process by outlining your goals and metrics they would like to see. From there, you need to identify who your target audience is. This will help you target your content to get the right people. In order to do so, you need to fully understand your audience and build on demographic and behavioural information to create detailed representations so that you can provide more specific content to your audience.
Once you’ve done that, it is time to lay out your plan. This can include what topics you want to cover, what platforms you plan to use, and what type of content format works best for you. Ideally, you need to outline a clear schedule that helps you visualize where their content marketing strategy is going and keeps you on track.
2) Conduct a content audit
Perhaps the most overlooked part of a content marketing strategy is a content audit. Many marketers are unaware of its importance, and some confuse it with a content inventory. Which is simply a list of asset names or classifications. A genuine content audit is a quantitative and qualitative examination of all of your company’s digital material. With criteria such as accuracy, relevance to your target audience, engagement, visibility, and conversion taken into account. An audit provides much-needed insight into which assets or pages are functioning well and which are underperforming. It does take quite a bit of time and effort for companies to go through everything from product sites to blog articles to white papers and videos, but it will be beneficial in the long run.
Once the initial audit has been completed. The logical next step is to try and identify the types of content you do not have. This means you also need to make time to do a content gap analysis. You need to ask yourself whether you lack content for your specific audience, whether your wealth of content is more focused at the top of the funnel rather than the middle and bottom, and whether your content misses the mark on questions of informational needs that customers may have at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
3) Craft content for all stages of the buyer’s journey
A majority of the time, audiences that come to your business are going to have different needs. Whether they are doing basic research or looking for a specific solution to a problem they face. Everyone is on a different journey. The buyer’s journey comprises three main stages: the awareness stage, where they realize they have a problem; the consideration stage, where they know what the problem is and researches potential solutions; and the decision stage, where they are ready to decide after further research. Customer journey mapping has become a standard technique in many B2B firms as the focus on customer experience has grown. This visualization enables companies to “walk a mile” in their audience’s shoes. The map (or infographic) depicts the customer journey’s essential stages. It also tracks their motives, issues, queries, and feelings as they work toward a goal or make a purchase.
By defining the content needed to support each stage of the journey. You can add to an existing journey map (or construct your own in partnership with a customer experience team). Either way, it is important to determine whether content assets are needed to answer your audience’s inquiries at a specific stage or to persuade them to make a purchase choice.
3) Create an email marketing strategy
While email marketing is one of the leading B2B content marketing strategies. Studies have shown that less than 50% of companies use it to build a subscribed audience. Most business professionals believe email marketing increases customer retention, so if you do not collect emails. You will not realize the potential email marketing can offer for your overall content marketing strategy.
To collect email leads through content marketing. You first need to create a call to action on your website and blogs, encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter. You can also collect email addresses using a lead magnet, such as an eBook or white paper. Because audiences will view them a good return for their personal information.
4) Prove content marketing ROI
Content marketing ROI provides many benefits for a company. Many content marketers find it easier to secure budgets when they can prove ROI. If executives at a company can’t see how much money they’re making from content marketing. They might be hesitant to invest more in the future. Therefore, you need to track the activity on your website. Find our how much of this activity is as a result of your content marketing activities to get a good image of ROI. To figure out how many users are converting to leads on your site. You should use landing pages and shortened tracking codes.
You can also track how many people become customers when they nurture leads with content like email marketing and webinar.
5) Gather a content marketing team
Having a team to generate and implement your company’s content is beneficial in a variety of ways. For starters, it streamlines the process and improves the consistency of your content quality and quantity. Furthermore, when you have a team working directly with you, you gain a deeper understanding of the brand. Which improves the material that you produce.
Your content marketing team doesn’t need to be large. For a smaller company, a team of 1-2 individuals can develop content and steer the strategy in the right direction. At the same time, if your company is growing and wants to create more in-depth content. You will need to scale your team to keep up.
Regardless of whether your company is B2C or B2B. You need to develop a solid content marketing strategy to get your message out there. While the process takes a lot of time and effort, if done correctly. Your company will gain the attention it deserves through a multitude of content on various platforms. Ultimately, the right B2B content marketing strategy will help you generate leads and drive sales.