A 2020 Content Marketing Institute report shows that up to 69 percent of B2B marketers use some sort of content marketing strategy.
With such stats, we can conclude that B2B content marketing is critical if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
And speaking of curves, the content marketing learning curve isn't that steep.
Still, you have to know the basics of inbound marketing and, most importantly, implement everything correctly.
Put differently... you're likely to get the results you're hoping for if you know what you're doing.
By the end of this article, you will know what B2B content marketing is, why you should use it for your business, and the strategies to use to get results.
Let's dive right in!
What Is B2B Content Marketing?
This is the process of generating and distributing content that adds value to your target audience.
The idea is to guide a potential client through the customer value journey from awareness to engagement, subscription, and conversion using content.
Quick note – B2B content marketing isn't the same as B2C content marketing.
The two are entirely different, as outlined in this infographic by CMSWire.
Which B2B Content Format Is Most Effective?
Even though content comes in a variety of forms, these three formats work best when it comes to keeping your audience engaged and educated.
This is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of content marketing.
You see, when done correctly, blog posts can help you:
- Establish authority in your industry.
- Get cited by other websites. The ripple effect is better ranking in SERPs.
- Generate content that you can convert into other formats, such as infographics.
To get the most out of your blog posts:
- Be creative with your headlines. You can use headline tools to help you with this.
- Look at industry trends to help you get started with ideas.
- Optimize your content to attract links and traffic.
Some popular blog ideas that will help put your brand on the map include:
- How-to guides
- Beginner guides
- Ultimate guides
- Product guides
- Frequently asked questions
Sidenote – Google algorithms use FAQs, popular topics, and questions as part of its Knowledge Graph. In essence, if you get it right there's every probability of appearing in the number one spot.
Up to 92 percent of marketers say video is a crucial element of their marketing strategy.
Further, Zenith predicts that an average person will spend about 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021.
A whopping 75 percent of millennials trust a video source according to PRNewswire.
Plus, Aberdeen Group reports that marketers who use video get 66 percent more leads compared to their counterparts who don't.
Video helps boost your brand's awareness. Wyzowl reports that 81 percent of businesses that use video marketing sell more.
Some video strategies you can use to market your business include:
- Explanation videos
- Videos that advertise your products or services
Did you know that infographics are the fourth most used type of content marketing? And that the use of infographics by B2B marketers grew by 67 percent in the last four years?
As a serious B2B platform, you can't ignore infographics.
Pro Tip – Make sure that your infographics are attractive and that the graphic elements are on point.
On top of that, the information has to be reliable and exciting.
That way, you'll create a resource that is easy to share and link like this one from Hubspot.
Here are a few tips to help you get started with infographics:
- Create your info in a way that tells a story
- Make the headline interesting
- Use tools us as Canva to design your infographic
Other equally effective B2B content formats include:
- Case studies
- Long-form articles
4 Benefits Of B2B Content Marketinh
Now that you know the various formats your content can take, the next question becomes, "How will my business benefit from content marketing?"
Here's a rundown of reasons you should adopt a solid B2B content marketing strategy.
It Generates Targeted Traffic And Qualified Leads
The primary benefits of content marketing for B2B is that it helps drive visitors to your website.
The beauty of it is that this strategy works without using a sales pitch.
You can move your potential customers down the sales funnel as long as your content helps them find answers to specific challenges, needs, or pain points
Whether through video or blog posts, your content should provide valuable information about how your product or service helps solve your target buyer’s problems.
Be sure to use Google Analytics to see how many qualified leads content marketing is generating to your website.
The idea is to track the most successful pieces of your content.
It Increases Conversions
The thing is...
You'll build trust when you create valuable content for the right audience, and most importantly, post it at the right time.
With time, customers become more confident about your product and services, leading to more conversions and referrals.
Aside from boosting conversions, target content allows remarketing.
If a qualified lead reads a blog post about your new course, for instance, you can follow the customer to social media and display an ad of the same service on their feed.
Or, you can send a follow-up email as an extension of your blog post.
That way, you will get in front of your potential customer a couple of times with related content, increasing your conversion rate.
It Boosts Your SEO Efforts
Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand.
A well-thought-out content marketing strategy will help your B2B SEO in several ways including:
- Better ranking for targeted keywords and phrases
- More citations and mentions for your brand
- Demonstrating your thought leadership
Apart from developing content for your website, you may also consider inviting expert guest contributors.
Contributing authority third party websites will help your brand attract Google love.
It Increases Your Brand's Following On Social Media
Creating high quality, engaging content is one of the best ways to grow your brand's footprint on social media.
Through B2B content marketing, you can leverage the power of social media to reach your target clients, whether it is Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
It is essential to mention that you should be strategic when using social media as a content marketing tool.
Stick to the 10-4-10 rule to help you grow a social media following that appreciates and values your content.
Remember, 45 percent of social media users will unfollow a brand if it focuses too much on self-promotion.
And because there's a 71 percent chance that a customer will recommend a brand on social media, it makes perfect sense to hire a social media selling expert such as Harrison Baron to help you balance the equation.
5 Ways To Distribute Content For B2B Marketers
You have created killer content. It provides value and solves your target customer's concerns.
But, how do you get it out there?
Here's an overview of five content distribution strategies for B2B.
Share It On LinkedIn
Social media allows you to place content in front of your target clients in a few clicks.
Of course, it helps if your brand has a sizable following.
Still, you must choose the social media to post on carefully.
According to Statista, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for B2B.
Nine out of ten B2B companies are using the platform, with more than 50 percent of buyers saying they have used LinkedIn to make a buying decision over the last 12 months.
As Harrison Baron puts it, LinkedIn is a lead generation machine. This is where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives hang out.
Email marketing is super effective for B2B content distribution.
Well, the average expected Return on Investment is $42 for every $1 you spend.
Now, that's quite something, right?
Building an email list allows you to have your "own" audience. The best part is that you're in charge of messaging, how it appears, when to send it, and the number of times to send it.
Branded email newsletters are perfect for getting more eyes on your content and engaging with it.
The best email subscriber list should include a blend of your current and potential customers.
Sharing content with your current subscribers allows you to reconnect with your customers. It also strengthens your position as a reliable resource.
Sharing B2B content with potential clients helps build trust and authority. That way, when the customers are ready to buy, you will be their preferred choice.
Retargeting Ad Campaigns
What do you do if people come to your website and don't convert or sign up for your email newsletter?
We're talking about visitors who've shown some interest. You know, the ones who hang around for a while but are not clicking your CTA button.
You can place your new content in front of these prospects with retargeting campaigns.
Retargeting your traffic with content benefits you in two ways:
- It ensures your brand remains top in the mind of your potential customers.
- It expands the reach of your content.
It takes a minimum of 6 points to generate a qualified sales lead. It, therefore, makes sense to use new content as touch-base.
Pro Tip – Because using retargeting as a way to distribute and promote B2B content is time-consuming, make sure that the quality of your content is top-grade.
Well-curated, downloadable guides, for example, are excellent for remarketing.
Guest posting is one of the best ways to market your B2B content.
By guest blogging on a website with over 500,000 readers every month, for instance, not only will you drive traffic to your site but also get a bigger audience to know about your brand.
The smartest B2B companies are guest blogging. Do you know why they're doing it?
…because guest posting is one of the best strategies to establish authority, attract quality traffic, and grow credibility!
Influencer marketing is here, and the sooner you embrace it as a content marketing tactic, the better it will be for your business.
And if you're still not sure about using influencers to extend your content's reach, here are a few stats to ponder;
- 70 percent of teenagers trust influencers than traditional celebrities (Think With Google)
- 49 percent of customers rely on influencers to recommend the best products or services (ION)
- 6 in every 10 teenagers follow influencer's advices over celebrities' (Think With Google)
- Influencer marketing campaigns bring in $6.5 for every dollar spent (AdWeek)
- 22 percent of B2B marketers regard influencer marketing as the most cost-effective method to obtain new customers.(Convince&Convert)
With such numbers and statistics, you have every reason to start using influencer marketing to grow your brand's presence.
Still, be sure to do some research to make sure that you're picking a big-time influencer and, most importantly, one followed by a significant portion of your target audience.
Now, let's get to the gist of the matter...
Content Marketing Hacks Every B2B Marketer Should Know
At this point, you have a better understanding of B2B content marketing and what it is all about.
With that out of the way, here are tips you should start implementing right now.
Lead Customers Through The Buying Process With Your Content
You want to take your target client from awareness to conversion with your content. Remember, the goal is to make the reader purchase your product or service.
Here's a brief overview of how to your readers at different stages of the value journey.
At the Awareness Stage
Your content should address your potential customer's pain points. The best content formats at this phase include educational videos and blog posts.
The idea is to make sure you're providing better solutions than other brands in your space.
The Evaluation Stage
As the name suggests, a customer is weighting their options at this stage.
Your content should be about telling the prospect what's in for them if they choose your product or service.
You can use content formats such as detailed reports, product demos, and white papers to pass the message.
At The Decision Stage
You have given your prospect enough reason to choose your product.
Still, you need to remove any doubts he/she may be having as you seek to close a deal.
Here, you can send emails reminding your prospects about the benefits of using your products coupled with discounts, free trials, etc.
Sell Your Story First
Sure, you want to acquire the customer a soon as possible. But that's not the way it works.
The number one reason a B2B company is going to spend money on your business is that your product will help them make some money in return.
Even then, this doesn't mean that you should churn out self-promotion content all the time.
You have to promote your business, but you have to offer your target audience something more tangible.
So, focus on telling a story with your content, even as you seek to promote your business.
Here's a perfect example of an entertaining video by Moz.
In addition to its education video, the company is taking time to have some fun.
In this video, the company wants to get a customer hooked first and sell the business within the content.
When selling a story before your product or service, make sure that your content is super engaging. Keep the narrative as simple as possible.
You don't want to lose your reader's interest before they grasp what you want to communicate. On top of that, make sure that you have a strong and compelling call to action.
In-Depth Audience Research Is A Must
Content marketing is all about having a deep understanding of your target audience.
Well, because the better you understand your readers, the easier it is to create content that addresses their needs. And, by extension, the easier it is to take them through the value journey.
Here a few tidbits to help you get deeper insights about your buyer persona.
- Are there questions your potential customers still trying to find answers to?
- Have you ever spoken to your buyer persona in person?
- Are you collecting every data about your customer?
- Are you working together with your sales teams to find more about your target customer?
When creating buyer personas, you shouldn't use assumptions. You want to be sure that your content is "talking" to the right target. Otherwise, you risk not achieving results with your content marketing efforts.
Other buyer persona mistakes to avoid include:
- Creating few or too many personas
- Asking questions to the wrong people
- Creating personas during a market bubble
- Failing to create personas as soon as you've gathered information
As a rule of thumb, you should build content-actionable personas. That way, you will know what content to develop and provide the information your audience needs.
Provide Value With Your Content
Your content has to provide value to readers – there are no two ways about it.
Look at it this way...
Millions of blog posts get published every day.
Sadly, most of this is regurgitated content that offers little to no value.
You don't think so?
Well, all you gotta do is Google the phrase "how to lose weight."
That's right – a staggering 700 million-plus pages have featured that keyword in one way or another pop up.
Do you know what this means?
It implies there's a lot of content around this keyword – most of which, as unfortunate as it may sound - offers no value.
The point we're making here is this – you're not going to be successful with content marketing if you create thin content.
Sure, you'll find content on virtually anything on the internet.
But, your job is to provide a fresh look at a subject in a way that no one else has before. Or, you can build upon what already exists and make it better.
Review the content on your website from time to time to make sure it's relevant and informative.
Sidenote – Did you know that thin content will not only drive people away from your site but also increase the bounce rate – and that's not good for business!
Post Multi-Faceted Content
You have fixed thin content.
You’ve ensured that everything is up to date and without the fluff.
Is that enough to help you outperform your competitors?
Well, you need to do a little bit more. You have to create multi-layered content.
What is multi-layered content?
How do you generate it?
What does it look like?
For starters, this is content that blends text and visuals for the highest possible engagement.
More specifically, this is the type of content that combines text, images, and videos.
The idea is to make sure that your readers can break from long runs of text to look at an image, watch a video or study infographic.
Again, the secret to enticing your reader to keep reading down a web copy is to keep it engaging. In other words, your content should engage a prospect and, most importantly, move them down the sales funnel.
Apart from that, your multi-layered content should be of high quality.
The last thing that you want to upload on your website is a blurred video with poor sound quality. At the very least, your video should be clear enough to pass your message effectively.
The same goes for your infographic and any other content format you may create.
Check How Your Content Is Performing For Long-Term Success
B2B content marketing involves a significant amount of experimenting.
In other words, what’s working today may not give you the same results six months from now. Put differently; there's a chance that some things may not work.
While you can do all the planning and researching before you create a blog post, for instance, you're never sure what kind of content is going to resonate with your target audience, especially if you're starting.
On the flip side, however, you can track which content is working.
The ripple effect is that you'll avoid guesswork as your brand continues to grow.
When you track your content's performance you will:
- Avoid unnecessary mistakes.
- Create a clearly defined content marketing strategy that'll give you the results you're hoping for based on experience.
- Eventually enjoy consistent growth once you get the hang of things.
Tracking your content's performance is a time consuming and rigorous process. But it is worth the effort once things start to become more apparent.
Promote Your Content
Indeed, you have to produce high-quality content to compete effectively in SERPs.
Even then, content creation is one part of the equation. You have to promote your material to generate visitors and leads.
While there's an array of ways you can put your content in front of your readers, guest posting remains one of the most effective.
It makes perfect sense to collaborate with other established businesses to help get your investment off the ground.
By posting on authority websites, you're not only giving your content more exposure but also gaining high-quality backlinks to help you rank better.
It is worth insisting here that you should aim to post on industry-leading websites. That way, you appear as an authority to your readers and, by extension, your target audience.
And, as your brand grows, you should consider allowing other people to guest post on your site.
Remember, when it comes to B2B content marketing, the concept is to show prospects that you understand what you're doing. Most notably, it's about letting them know what is valuable to them.
The more you showcase your prowess within your industry, the higher your reputation, and the more respect you command.
Recycle Your Content
Also known as repurposing, this involves coming up with ways to recycle your existing content.
Benefits of repurposing content for B2B:
- It helps increase your reach.
- It allows you to repackage your less popular content and get the most out of it. You can, for instance, turn an unsuccessful e-book into a series of blog posts to drive traffic to your website.
- It helps you reach a new audience. People who missed your first post can read it six months later when you repurpose.
- It allows you to diversify your content by creating it in different formats.
- It helps you meet the needs of your target audience at every buying stage.
- It helps you make the most out of your content marketing efforts.
- It helps boost your SEO efforts by enabling you to get more backlinks.
There's every reason to repurpose your B2B content to improve your marketing, save time, and grow your brand's online presence.
The Bottom Line
B2B content marketing is challenging.
You have to be above average when it comes to creating and promoting your content.
You can stay ahead of the curve if you know how to go about it and, most importantly, execute your strategy correctly.
As a rule of thumb, make sure that you provide value with your content. Avoid self-promotion as much as possible.
On top of that, work with link-minded partners to help you promote your brand.
After all, it is a numbers game and the more industry authority websites you work with, the easier it will be for you to achieve your goals.
To your success!
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
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