Creating a B2B content marketing strategy for your business is a daunting task, as it not only involves satisfying the top of the funnel goals like brand awareness and audience education, but opportunities hidden deeper in the funnel as well.
In this piece, we’ll start by briefing the concept of B2B content marketing and discuss six important tips for creating a top strategy. A practice that should help you succeed with your content marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond.
What is B2B content marketing?
A set of strategies or practice of using content to attract and engage audience, and generate new leads while retaining the existing customers. Fine, we have the bookish definition here.
But what exactly does it bring for your brand?
Remember, B2B content marketing strategies revolve around catering the likes of your audience throughout the marketing funnel. Here are the statistics to showcase that.
According to the 2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the best achieved content marketing goals since the last year were creating brand awareness (86%), educating audience (79%), and building credibility (75%).
On the other hand, lesser B2B marketing professionals stated they were successful in building subscribed audiences (45%), producing sales/revenues (53%), and building loyalty with existing customers (63%).
What do you think the latter three figures have in common? The emphasis on creating quality, lasting relationships with both customers and non-customers, and creating bottom-line results.
Therefore, when working for the audience, it’s not a wormhole to glory exercise as there are plenty of considerations you need to work on.
Later in the upcoming pieces, we’ll discuss some powerful success stories on how businesses have mastered the art of B2B content marketing and did quite well in their industries.
How to create a powerful B2B content marketing strategy?
It doesn’t matter if your content marketing efforts are directed towards a typical consumer or an SMB, the basics of creating quality content remains the same.
Hence, starting from the preliminary tactics is the key.
What’s your story?
For many, content marketing might be about aggressively creating, publishing and distributing content to their desired audience. But talking about the dramatic aspect is what I want you guys to focus on at the moment.
We’re looking for a compelling narrative here, a story that can take your brand to the next level.
First, you should know there’s a belief in the B2B marketing realm that businesses aren’t going to invest in every other opportunity they come across. But only when they have a clearly defined reason: it’s going to make them money.
Apparently, the approach your business use to make money for other businesses depends on your product and service offerings.
Still, at the end of the day it’s all about generating money, either saving or making them money.
Talking about such tangible value in question, we can easily see how that can translate into the way you create content.
For the record, there’s nothing wrong about creating content engulfed around the understanding of producing something tangible.
Remember, it’s all well till the point it starts affecting the quality of your content. And the problem is when your content pieces start to become overly self-promotional, or too straightforward that they forget what it’s like to sound engaging for the readers.
This is why the element of storytelling comes into play to keep your B2B content marketing strategy on point.
Consider the Netflix TV show, 13 Reasons Why. The cast often used to do monologues with an encouragement for viewers to use their helpline if they’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other mental issues.
Here, the story is emotional and thought-provoking, especially for younger, high school audiences.
The story can be educational and inspirational, for instance, how Patrick Bet-David, owner of the Valuetainment channel, uses the example of LeBron James on his quest to become the GOAT in basketball to promote his next upcoming book.
Empathizing your audience
No matter what style your story opts, your content needs to be engaging. Sadly, the readers won’t keep extracting value from your piece once they’re asleep halfway through it.
The answer is simple, sell your story before selling your product.
If you’re struggling to create your business story, these should help you.
Keenly observes your audience—what industries do they reside in? What is the impact of those industries in the field of inspiration? Is your product solving a problem?
Create an engaging narrative on how your product will change the lives of your audience.
The narrative doesn’t have to be complex Shakespearean, but should be powerful and engaging enough to keep your audience tied to its valuable, informative chunks.
User experience is the priority
Talking about the importance of how audience experiences our content is never enough. Understandably, as user experience is the cornerstone of the grand content marketing game.
In other words, that’s the point where your marketing funnel meets the sales funnel.
Your B2B-based content is not only about getting the message across for the sake of promotion, but also getting businesses to move through the buyer’s journey and convert them.
Simply speaking, you’re moving them through the sales funnel (as displayed above). And that’s only possible when your audience finds your content compelling and engaging.
Although that’s a great start, but it alone doesn’t solve the problems you’ve promised. Your audience needs to connect with your content in a way that makes them perceive it as a distinguished piece in their mind.
Putting it simply, there are countless numbers of moderately good content pieces on Google. But readers only remember those that identifies with a variety of audience segments with a distinct message.
Speaking of user experience, it matters as it eventually leads us to brand loyalty. Just give a thought why people are willing to spend over a thousand bucks on iPhone 11 over any other moderately priced, easily affordable smartphone.
Offering the cheapest rates for your offerings isn’t enough to lure customers at your door, the user experience you provide is what drives them willingly.
As it is often said, a strong product may survive you today, but a strong brand will make you for tomorrow.
Having your content at the cross-roads
When content producers are all out in the quest to create top-quality, commendable content, they often forget one of the most important factors of content marketing and later wonder:
How the hell am I supposed to promote this thing?
Yes, you might’ve started counting a number of content promotional tools at the moment, but right now I am going to talk about one:
Guest posting—landing on someone else’s territory and marking your space with a win-win flag.
Often, guest posting is somewhat taken as an undervalued approach in content marketing. Seemingly, not all businesses are comfortable teaming with others in the field.
Why should you be okay? You’re trading platforms, not any business secrets. Here is me contributing an article on Customer Think back last year.
The purpose is to acquire a backlink, maximize the exposure for your content, and send some decent traffic back to your website.
Putting your content at such cross-roads not only puts your piece in front of more eyes, but also helps in building your online authority in the industry.
Someone viewing your newly published content piece on your site is good, yes, you’re getting visitors. But when the same visitor views the same piece published on any high profile website under your name, it indicates you may be having a top online authority.
You can do the same for other businesses as well, allow them to publish quality content on your platform.
Your visitors seeing you showcasing top articles from some of the leading websites or SMEs will certify you as an authoritative figure yourself.
It’s a two-way benefit, something that forms an important part in your B2B content marketing strategy development.
Creating multi-layered content
If you’re going head-to-head with the latest content marketing trends, you should know what it takes to create multi-layered content.
However, a quick refresher on what does multi-layered content look like wouldn’t hurt.
Normally, any content piece should have ideal proportions of textual and visual content to make it as engaging as possible.
Apparently, textual content is the easiest one to create and digital marketers have the least problem when it comes to marketing wordy content.
But images and videos are equally important, if not more, to allow the readers have a flavor change, especially when going through extensive pieces.
Adding static images and infographics wherever appropriate keeps the content afresh without making the readers doze off.
Talking about videos, let’s admit that doing video marketing is not everyone’s cup of tea when you don’t have any prior experience in it.
The good news is, your video content doesn’t need to come out of Christopher Nolan’s movie making book or captured through professional HD video cameras. A moderate quality smartphone can also be used as a great tool to make great videos.
For instance, see how Neil Patel makes videos of his blog content to cater audiences with different learning preferences. Similarly, every business might have their own approach on how to a blend visual and textual content.
If you look at my blog, I keep my articles at around 2000 words or more. Exactly, not a light reading for most visitors. Therefore, I try to add few visuals along the way to keep things running.
Coming back to your B2B content marketing, a strong, but relevant use of visual content is good for readers who are more of visual learners. Second, breaking huge, tedious blocks of text gives the mind a breather, especially when you’re dealing with important clients at the corporate level.
Using metrics as a long-term strategy
Through your B2B content marketing strategy building process, actually you’ll be working a lot on experiment basis.
As blunt as it is, but you’ll be trying a plethora of different stuff that doesn’t end up working well.
Still, that’s okay, even after you’ve done a thorough keyword research and wrote a top-quality blog, it’s very difficult to say which piece will get the most clicks and resonate with your readers.
This is why we have metrics to our rescue!
Understandably, the initial failure is due to working on assumptions, and not facts. And tracking the success and/or failure of your content marketing endeavors helps you conclude these couple of things.
- You’re aware of the mistakes you’ve been making throughout your efforts
- You learn how to make a marketing strategy that revolves around your audience and their needs
We’re talking about long-term, consistent growth here.
It doesn’t matter if you were inspecting social shares, traffic, customer retention, post engagement, backlinks, bounce rate, or other numerous metrics to gauge your content marketing performance, the idea is to learn which tactics do work for your growth and which don’t.
Starting to align things in order may seem almost negligible as of now. But these baby step victories are which will strengthen your marketing campaigns and translate into success in the long run.
Harnessing the power of paid ads
I believe, every content marketing article is incomplete without discussing the significance and use of paid ads.
Although it’s a separate, fat domain in the digital marketing in itself, but let’s try to keep things as simple as possible in this piece.
Whenever we hear about paid ads for B2B content marketing campaigns, LinkedIn is the first tool that comes to mind. And rightfully so, as many people have experienced success on the platform specifically designed to bridge the gap between businesses.
But, it doesn’t mean that other social media platforms aren’t lucrative enough. For instance, Facebook ads where users are allowed to throw a bigger net and meet people who actually pursue B2B content.
Fine, we can hear people argue at this point that Facebook isn’t laser-focused in its targeting, and they’ll be just wasting their money over there.
Even though both platforms function around user input and cater ads and content relevant to the queries inserted by the users, besides that, Facebook tempts businesses to dive deeper and target users on the basis of their behavior, life milestones, demographics, and other valuable personalized data.
See the total number of shares on a demand generation topic and decide for yourself who should be your winner.
What can we conclude from this? Judging a book by its cover is not a wise option, try to stay open for other alternates as well.
Preparing a well-equipped B2B content marketing strategy is just the tip of the iceberg, no doubt, you’re in for a difficult road ahead.
Luckily, the above tips should help you create relatable, compelling stories without overselling yourself unnecessarily—quite a start for your content marketing odyssey.
Understand the importance of user experience and brand loyalty that you can build from your content marketing efforts yourself.
Collaborate with other businesses and create top-caliber pieces to catch as many eyes as possible.
Create the perfect blend of visual and textual content with great images, infographics, and videos to cater a versatile learners base.
Experiment with metrics as much as you can and learn what’s working for your campaign and what’s not.
Lastly, step out of organic marketing shell and start leveraging the power of paid ads as a powerful boost in your B2B content marketing efforts.
In the upcoming pieces, we’ll dive more into the subject and potentially discuss some success stories on how companies were able to grow big through competent marketing strategies.