In the world of marketing, content marketing is a huge buzzword. It’s an effective way for businesses to speak directly to their customers and offer solutions or answers. And that’s what builds trust, which in turn can lead to increased conversions.
However, when it comes to B2B businesses, content marketing can seem challenging. Unlike the average consumer, B2B clients are big-time decision-makers and executives and don’t have much time to read through pages and pages of marketing content. Additionally, B2B buying often involves high average order values and long-term commitments, not to mention a longer sales cycle.
So, the question remains: How does content marketing help B2B brands win over clients? Is it even possible?
Yes. And we’re going to show you how.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
B2B content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content across various channels with the goal of increasing brand awareness, traffic, leads, and sales for B2B companies.
While the principles of B2B content marketing are similar to those of B2C, they differ in the decision process and promotion channels. In B2C, the buying journey is often quick and straightforward, with a consumer searching for a solution or product and then making a purchase. However, in B2B, the purchase funnel is long and complicated. It could take weeks, months, or even longer to guide a prospect to purchase!
B2B enterprise content marketing requires a different approach, and you must tailor high-quality content ideas to the buyer’s journey at every stage of the B2B marketing funnel. It’s crucial to understand that B2B buyers take longer to reach a purchase decision than B2C buyers, which means your content calendar should look different from that of a B2C brand.
But in order to make a content calendar, you’re going to need some content! Let’s delve into some best practices for B2B content marketing.
B2B Content Marketing Best Practices
Here are B2B content marketing tactics that integrated marketing agencies use and YOU can also use to help turn your leads into clients.
Before creating any content, it is crucial to set specific goals for your B2B content marketing strategy. These goals should align with your overall business objectives and should be measurable.
Whether you are trying to drive organic traffic, generate leads, increase brand awareness, or improve conversions, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve is paramount to the success of your content marketing efforts.
Establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals will help you stay focused and track your progress. For example, if your goal is generating leads, you can set a target number of leads within a given time frame.
By setting and tracking your goals, you can determine which strategies are working and which need to be adjusted to optimize your B2B content marketing strategy.
Identify Your Customer Personas
Like many companies, your B2B business might have more than one type of client, especially if you offer different products or services. Therefore, being familiar with these different segments of your target audience will be helpful when creating your content.
To identify your customer personas, you need to learn their motivations, values, and types of communication they prefer. You can research and analyze your real customers by conducting surveys, engaging with them on social media, and studying their behavior in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.
By understanding your audience, you can build a B2B content marketing strategy tailored to each of their needs. This approach will allow you to speak directly to your target audience, build trust, and provide value to them.
Understand Your Sales Funnel
Understanding your sales funnel is essential to creating a successful B2B content marketing strategy.
A simple sales funnel looks like this:
Awareness → Interest & Evaluation → Desire → Action.
In reality, the B2B sales funnel is a lot more complicated than that. You need to work with your sales team to get a clear idea of what your specific sales funnel looks like.
You can use different types of content at different stages of the funnel to move them through the process. For example, in the Awareness stage, you might create content that focuses on educating your potential buyers on the problems they face. In the Interest & Evaluation stage, you can create content that speaks to the benefits of your products or services.
Once you understand your sales funnel, you’ll be better equipped to create a content marketing strategy that effectively guides prospects through the funnel and toward a purchase decision.
Create Engaging, Relevant Content
Creating engaging and relevant content can be challenging for B2B companies because of the technical expertise often required. The content can easily become bogged down with technical jargon, making it unengaging and boring.
It is essential to make your content engaging and easy to scan. Here are some tips for doing just that:
- Break content up into manageable chunks.
- Use headings and subheadings to help readers quickly find the information they need.
- Style your text with bold and italics to emphasize important points.
- Use a more conversational tone to make your content more engaging and approachable.
- Explain concepts in a way that anyone without prior industry knowledge can understand.
- Make content about the buyer’s concerns, wants, and needs rather than just promoting your products or services.
- Focus on creating quality content that aligns with the buyer’s journey at every funnel stage.
Be sure to structure your content to nurture leads down the content marketing funnel. Use a variety of content formats to appeal to B2B buyers, including:
- Complete guides
- Templates and checklists
- Case studies
- Industry studies
- Weekly newsletters
Finally, ensure you distribute your B2B content on the right channels. While a candle business may excel on Pinterest, this is not the best platform for a B2B business that offers sales software. Some of the channels that work well for B2B content include:
- The company’s site
- Industry publications
- Email marketing
- Internet search engines
Know Your Keywords
If you aren’t using keywords in your blog copy, you’re missing out on the chance to get new visitors to your site and build domain authority with search engines. Keywords play a crucial role in any inbound or content marketing strategy.
To begin, research the most relevant and profitable keywords in your industry, and understand the intent behind those keywords. Some keywords may signal an interest in your product or service, while others may indicate research or informational queries.
Google Keyword Planner allows you to discover how popular specific keywords are, giving you an opportunity to rank highly for ones that are actually attainable. Soovle gives you a comprehensive view of what keywords are most popular in your industry based on the terms you want to rank for. And to see how your competition is doing, SpyFu gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how your competitors’ paid and organic search campaigns are performing.
Once you have identified the right keywords, include them naturally in your content, including in headlines, meta descriptions, and body text. However, don’t overstuff your content with keywords, as this can negatively impact user experience and search engine rankings. Instead, aim to create high-quality, informative, engaging content that naturally includes your target keywords.
Using the right keywords, you can optimize your content to attract the right audience and rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Hire External Writers
Not everyone has the time, resources or writing skills to produce quality content consistently. That’s where hiring external writers can help.
By working with freelancers, marketing agencies or other online services, you can get fresh, unique and high-quality content that aligns with your brand’s voice, tone and style.
One such platform is Zerys, an online service that allows you to bid out writing projects to writers with various experience levels. Zerys also provides content strategy tools and editorial calendars to help you manage and track your content marketing efforts.
When hiring external writers, make sure to provide clear instructions, deadlines and expectations. Review their work carefully to ensure it aligns with your goals and message.
In addition, consider setting up a style guide and editorial calendar to maintain consistency across all your content. This will help ensure that all your content is well-written and aligned with your brand’s voice and style, even if it’s written by different writers.
Focus On Visuals
Did you know that 94% of content with visuals gets more total views than text-based content? Eye-catching images are essential to grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their newsfeed or keeping someone on your website for longer than a couple of seconds.
Several resources are available to help you create engaging visuals, even if you lack design skills. Unsplash offers high-resolution imagery that is free to use, while 123RF provides a great variety of images at a reasonable price. If you need to create something unique but don’t have the design skills to do so, Canva is an online design platform that offers a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop tools, making it easy for anyone to create visually appealing content.
Incorporating infographics, videos, and other interactive content can keep your audience engaged with your brand. When done correctly, visual content can help enhance your brand’s image and attract more leads to your business.
Unfortunately, the Internet moves faster than your fingers can type. However, that doesn’t mean you must create new content daily. Repurposing content allows you to leverage existing content and give it new life.
Revisit old ideas and think of new ways to present them. For instance, you can turn an old blog post into an infographic or a video or break it down into social media posts. This is your chance to breathe new life into the content you have already created!
Curating content is also an effective way to repurpose content. Have your team spend a slow week writing blog articles, but don’t post any of them just yet. These prepped blogs will come in handy when things get busy at the office or if your go-to writer is sick.
Remember that repurposing content shouldn’t be an excuse to be lazy. Always strive to create high-quality, valuable content. Repurposing content is a way to maximize the impact of content you have already created.
Don’t Forget About Social
Social media lets you engage with your audience, answer their questions and promote your content. Sharing your content on social channels increases its reach and helps to amplify your message. Your social media and content marketing strategies work together to drive traffic to your content and, ultimately, to your website.
While posting blog articles is a good start, B2B content marketers should also consider posting links to landing pages where viewers can download premium content. Because the people following you on social already know a bit about your business, they will likely fill out a form on a landing page without reading a blog first.
Check Your Analytics
The final step in any B2B content marketing strategy is to track and measure the success of your content. This step is key to determining what is and isn’t working and making necessary adjustments to your strategy.
Make it a habit to check your Google Analytics at the end of every week. You can measure the number of visitors to your website, the pages they visit, how long they stay on your site, and their actions while there.
You can also use analytics to determine which of your content is most effective. Use key metrics to gauge how well (or badly) your content performed. These metrics include:
- Number of leads generated
- Organic traffic
- Social reach and engagement
- Search rankings
- Number of quality backlinks earned
Remember to track your social media engagement to see how your content performs on these platforms as well. Social media analytics tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer can help you track metrics like reach, engagement, and conversions.
By measuring the performance of your B2B content marketing strategy, you can continuously sharpen your approach, make data-driven decisions, and optimize your content for better results.
Examples of B2B Companies That Successfully Used Content Marketing
So which companies should you look up to when it comes to B2B content marketing?
Here are a few.
HubSpot has one of the best marketing blogs in the business. HubSpot has done a great job creating content laser-focused on its audience’s needs. HubSpot divides its blog into two distinct sections: marketing and sales.
Buffer is another excellent example of a B2B marketing company that uses content marketing to win over buyers. Its content uses more data and research than most B2B publishers. Using data is an effective way to approach content because B2B buyers want to be 100% sure a solution will work for their company. Why? Because they’re spending more money than the average consumer.
LeadPages, a solution that offers landing page templates and testing services, does B2B content marketing well. Their blog focuses on content that’s relevant to their prospects. Topics include lead generation, A/B testing, and how to stop lead leaks. LeadPages also has a popular podcast, weekly webinars, and free educational marketing resources.
B2B content marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. And content doesn’t have to be boring. If you need help with content creation or developing an effective content strategy, trust a B2B content marketing agency to get the job done.
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