What is content marketing?
Businesses utilize blogs, eBooks, case studies, market research, videos, podcasts, and other types of content to attract, engage, and convert visitors to their websites.
It’s the most cost-effective marketing strategy, and it may help a business accomplish long-term objectives, including brand awareness, lead creation, revenue, and expansion.
A digital marketing or content marketing strategy is a game plan for how these content assets will be created, developed, distributed, and marketed to achieve a specific goal.
What do we mean by B2B content marketing strategy?
Nowadays, every company recognizes the value of content marketing; they’ve heard the accolades, seen the reviews, and analyzed the data. If they haven’t already, they will be well behind the competitors.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (Content Marketing Institute, 2017), three times more leads are generated than paid search advertising.
Even though every firm understands the value of content, only a tiny number of companies implement content marketing strategies or programs. Indeed, just 39% of firms had a written content marketing plan in 2018, and while that number grew to 65% in 2019, there are still 35% of marketers who don’t have one.
By B2B content marketing strategy, we mean a plan to create content that helps a business attract other businesses. Everyone consumes different types of content; knowing who you are targeting and their needs, etc., is essential and helps you reach the right people in the right way and further turn them into your clients.
Important points to focus
There is plenty of data available. Some of it is fine, while others are bad, but most of it is outdated. As a result, one of the most critical tasks for organizations is to stand out and give users useful, relevant information.
Your prospects don’t have time to read anything that doesn’t address their most immediate concerns, and the truth is that they are uninterested in your product, service, or new office location.
These are just a few of the most typical mistakes made by B2B content creators!
A content marketing strategy might fail for several reasons like;
- A lack of preparation
- Buyer personas do not exist.
- There are no agreed-upon goals or key performance indicators.
- There is no differentiation or uniqueness.
- There will be no marketing efforts.
Your prospects expect the following from you;
- Answers to their questions.
- Solutions to their firm’s problems
- Comparisons of different goods
- A product or service review
- Pricing-related documents
As a result, your B2B content marketing approach has to be revamped. Stop writing for your company and start addressing problems for your customers.
For whom are you producing content?
It’s a question you should ask yourself, and many of you are probably thinking about it for the first time.
Of course, some of you already know the answer – CEOs, marketing directors, technicians, and engineers — but few have gone through the process of researching and analyzing their client base and issues before developing a B2B content marketing plan.
As a consequence, your content (although well-written and engaging) may fall short of your target audience’s expectations and fail to engage them. Sure, it grabs attention and produces views, but there’s no follow-up after the first click or watch.
You progressively limit the amount of information you post after growing unsatisfied with how long B2B content marketing may take to achieve results.
The beauty of content creation, on the other hand, is that there is never a wrong time to begin. Make sure you know who you want to talk to and how you want to speak to them before producing.
So you must know your target audience and their needs properly!
What are the issues you’re attempting to resolve?
As harsh as it may sound, marketing isn’t about you. It has nothing to do with your company, product, or service; in fact, it has nothing to do with what you do.
It’s all about helping your customers.
Consequently, the focus of your B2B content marketing strategy should be on solving your clients’ business problems. They don’t want to communicate with a salesperson; they want answers, help, and guidance.
You can earn customers’ confidence right away by educating them and demonstrating that you understand their problems and help them solve them.
So, are you solving the problems?
What distinguishes your content?
Even if you have a B2B content marketing strategy in place, there’s no guarantee that your content will generate views, traction, leads, or sales until you create unique and exciting content.
It’s easy to produce blogs, eBooks, and other types of content, but no one will find it valuable if you’re saying the same thing your competitors or other businesses are saying.
But, perhaps, more importantly, the majority of the information supplied does not answer “difficult questions,” does not provide comparisons, and does not correspond to how individuals search or educate themselves.
As an expert in your field, it is your job to answer people’s questions, give comparisons so that they may educate themselves, and guarantee that the material you create is 10x better than what’s currently out there.
What are the keywords you’d want to be discovered for?
It is a word or phrase that visitors type into their web browser when looking for something on the internet. For example, if you want to get an app developed, your keywords would be “app development.”
Keywords are commonly used to search for products on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other sites. They’re also used in eCommerce search engine optimization marketing campaigns to rank products in search engines.
Your content must be labeled so that search engines can discover it. This includes making your content search engine friendly (SEO).
SEO is advantageous since it is costless and, when done correctly, may bring targeted visitors back to your website.
How to do keyword research? Keywords and search intent
You’ll need to back up your ideas with keyword research when you’ve come up with some. It’s pointless to give away something that no one wants.
However, there may be occasions when you know your prospects have a particular issue or obstacle but cannot discover terms that correctly express it. It’s preferable to seek closely related terms or to hold the phrase itself and develop a sphere of influence around it over time in these situations. This may be accomplished by frequent content development, public relations, and promotional efforts. It’s an excellent method to establish authority on a subject that no one else has addressed, but it takes time.
Instead, targeting general keywords with minimal competition is frequently considerably easier. Looking for keywords with low to medium competitiveness and high search volumes is intelligent (more than 50 searches a month).
You must understand the intent of each search in addition to targeting phrases for your content. For example, keywords that begin with ‘how to’ are informative; the searcher’s goal is to learn something new. Then there are transactional searches, such as “purchase marketing automation” and “subscribe to the b2bml blog.” The goal is to engage in some sort of activity or make a transaction. Then there are navigational searches used to locate specific pages, such as ‘login’ or ‘b2bml website.’
What sorts of material are you planning to use?
When we say ‘content material’’ we’re referring to blogs, eBooks, case studies, infographics, and videos, as well as any other type of content asset you could create.
Each form of content has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and how and where you use it will influence overall engagement. A brief promotional video on Instagram, for example, will much outperform a blog article on LinkedIn on the same topic.
In today’s world, it’s safe to say that we live in the age of video and consumable media.
Take, for example, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. People like to gaze at things. It’s less complicated and more engaging. Reading has a place at the table, but it’s generally only done when people – your prospects – have the time, which isn’t always the case.
You should also think about how your target audience consumes media and where they go online. The way your prospects consume information should inform your B2B content marketing strategy.
Do you create and distribute your content using a content management system (CMS)?
After establishing the foundation for your activities, it’s time to create and publish your content. You’ll need to use your customer profiles, keyword research, and a content management system (CMS) to host and distribute your content to develop realistic ideas.
The suitable CMS is crucial since it will not only help you with your B2B content marketing strategy and development (as a platform, calendar, and archive), but it will also be the basis of your website.
What marketing channels will you employ?
We urge you to think about this thoroughly.
All social media channels are, for the most part, free, but they differ in terms of the target audience, ease of use, and return on investment.
Twitter is great for spreading brand awareness and conversing with others in your industry. Still, it’s not great to get direct leads or promote your content (because the platform is inundated with the material). Expect to see more quotes, data, and infographics on Twitter.
On the other hand, LinkedIn is great for building relationships, showcasing expertise, conversing with other industry professionals, and establishing authority. You may expect to see more blogs, articles, comments, and discussions on LinkedIn.
Every social networking site serves a different function, so it’s up to you to determine which ones would be most beneficial to your business.
What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
When firms cut costs in the past, marketing was almost always the first item to go. This wasn’t due to poor marketing; rather, it was owing to marketing teams’ failure to measure and assess initiative performance (there were no analytics platforms back then).
Now make sure that everyone understands how your B2B content marketing strategy benefits the company.
This indicates that your content marketing strategy will require a clear definition of “success.” As a result, make sure you and your team agree on the metrics you’ll use to track progress toward a goal. For example, by March 2020, the plan may be to increase lead generation by 50%. This is a SMART goal. It is specific, measurable, attainable, timely, and relevant.
To assess performance about this goal, you’d most likely look at “conversions” and track them until March 2020.
Apart from goals, you’ll need to set up attribution reporting to correlate value to specific marketing campaigns.
How to brainstorm ideas? Do you have any repurposed material, to begin with?
Before creating new material, please look at what you already have and how it is functioning. In our experience, it’s significantly quicker to update old content and use it as a foundation than it is to create whole new assets.
With a bit of tweaking, your old content may be repurposed to increase organic traffic and lead generating activities (new information, calls-to-action, and connections to other relevant content).
Brainstorming ideas: You may start brainstorming content ideas for your B2B content marketing plan. Some of the brainstorming content ideas for your B2B content marketing strategy are;
Collaborate with marketing and sales to develop concepts relevant to your personas’ pain points. We’ve found that starting with a single image or topic is the most effective method to produce content.
Original content is frequently less about coming up with a new notion than giving an old one a new spin. Take, for example, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. At their most basic level, they’re the same! What is the unifying theme that goes across all of these movies?
So, wherever possible, strive to do things a little differently! This will make your B2B content marketing approach more noticeable and attract the correct people. Instead of creating a blog, you might create a video or break an eBook into several podcasts. Take into account how your target audience wants to engage with and digest your content.
Another essential aspect to consider is;
Where should a B2B content marketing strategy begin?
Determine your objectives.
Determine the goals of your B2B content marketing strategy before you begin creating content: what do you intend to achieve by doing so?
Your goals should be SMART
As a result, you’ll be able to focus on goals that will have a more significant impact.
You could want to increase website traffic, lead creation, or revenue, for example. Your goals will ultimately determine your B2B content marketing strategy, including what content you create and how you promote it.
Target media outlets will quickly pick up this kind of material (if you have a public relations team, they’ll be able to leverage a lot of the above information – particularly research studies), helping you obtain high-quality backlinks.
However, suppose you aim to create leads. In that case, most of your content will be focused on assets like eBooks, white papers, market research studies, and product demonstrations, which are typically gated behind forms. The purpose of these content pieces was to increase conversions.
For example, a material developed mainly for brand awareness is generally at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey – the reader has yet to learn about your firm and its solutions.
Buyer personas should be created.
A fictional representation of your ideal customer is known as the buyer persona. It’s based on market research, real-world information about your present customers, and some educated estimates.
Buyer personas help you understand and relate to the people you want to sell your products and services to, as well as the problems and commercial concerns they face.
How do you go about creating buyer personas?
1) Begin with your consumers and conduct research;
Examine your existing consumers to determine if any patterns or underlying trends emerge. This data may then be used to define your personas in broad terms.
To build buyer profiles, consider conducting interviews with existing customers. Compare any informed guesses you’ve made with the data you have on your clients.
To avoid generating too many personalities, concentrate on the fundamental pain concerns and business challenges that the bulk of them confront.Your B2B content marketing approach would be far too wide if personas were not well defined.
2) Determine their goals;
What are your ideal customer’s goals, and how can you, your product, or your service assist them in achieving them? By thinking backward and forwards, you may develop profiles that suit who you’re searching for (and using the data you already have).
Of course, you won’t be able to achieve all of these objectives., but that is irrelevant. It’s all about getting to know your prospective customers and providing them with answers.
3) Determine how you can assist them.
Understanding what you can and cannot accomplish for consumers is critical since it guarantees that working. It’s crucial to work with clients that are a “good fit” for your company.
4) Speak with potential clients
To completely grasp the entire purchase decision process, you must interview both prospects and consumers (both good and bad to determine fit). Take advantage of the data you have about potential consumers to figure out how and why they ended up at your business.
5) Speak with your salespeople.
Who does your sales team deal with daily? What are the questions they are being asked, and who are these people? Use your sales team’s knowledge and experience when developing profiles because they have the most exposure to those you wish to work with.
6) Investigate your rivals
Another excellent way to determine who you should be targeting is to look at what your competitors are doing with their content, social media, and paid advertisements. You may use their method to refine your personas as a starting point.
What is a content audit? How it helps in identifying gaps
After you’ve developed your buyer personas, you should conduct a content audit. A content audit includes looking through your content assets and categorizing them according to buyer journey stages.
The process of documenting and analyzing all of your website’s content and its performance is known as a content audit. It helps you to see what you already have (and what you don’t), as well as what you need to produce more of. If you distribute content to certain stages during your content audit, you may also learn which parts of the buyer’s journey are lacking in content.
What role does content have in generating leads?
When it comes to B2B content creation, it is crucial to know how and when to use particular content assets like blogs, eBooks, and case studies to attract, engage, and convert website visitors.
Consider this: in today’s world, your prospects may find you through a variety of channels, including
- organic search
- social media
- email marketing
- offline events
- paid advertising
Yet almost all of these paths lead to content relevant to their interests, right?
20 advanced techniques for B2B content marketing
1. Behavior-based personalized nurturing journeys
One tried and tested way to increase your content marketing efforts is to create personalized nurturing journeys.
Using a simple automation system like GoSquared, you can nurture prospects based on their behaviors on your website.
You may utilize automated emails, and on-site chat prompts to control which files have been downloaded, which pages have been seen, how many times the visitor has visited your website, and much more.
2. Content is passed on quickly, which leads to sales.
By quickly scheduling a demo, you may schedule the appointment when the lead is most interested. If you utilize the traditional approach of forms and handwritten responses, you risk your leads forgetting why they filled out the form in the first place.
This is when a tool like Drift might come in handy. Instead of downloading an item containing company information and waiting for a response, Drift allows leads to schedule a demo straight away.
3. Valuable employee support
Even if your workers aren’t developing an engaged audience, essential employee advocacy includes asking them to comment on the CEO’s post or sharing links to their profiles. It essentially translates to “posting to crickets.”
On the other hand, advanced employee advocacy may be accomplished by teaching your worker’s audience building, growth, and engagement to do their company-related postings effectively.
4. Content that solves problems for critical phases of the purchase cycle and audience groups
As discussed earlier, always create content that’s beneficial for your audience.
5. Search Engine Optimization for YouTube
Many B2B content teams write just for search engines such as Google and Bing. Another significant search engine, YouTube, is entirely ignored.
To obtain comparable results, you don’t have to publish to YouTube every week. Even one SEO-focused video each month may boost brand recognition and generate new leads.
6. Conduct a competitive analysis of Google search results
It’s possible that using blog posts to hack your rivals’ brand name will be highly successful. They typically generate more leads and sign-ups than any other form of blog content when they rank well in search engines.
7. Upgrades to gated assets’ content
Downloads for generic assets might be brutal to come by. Offering gated assets as upgrades to your blog material is one technique that works incredibly well.
You should aim for 3 to 10 different downloadables to improve the relevance of what you’re giving in your blogs.
The downloadable produces significantly more leads because it is relevant to the content.
8. Case studies in the manner of tutorials that are beneficial to readers
Case studies that are overly stiff and stuffy might turn off potential consumers for B2B enterprises that service small businesses.
Make a tutorial-style case study blog article instead.
Suggested read: Marketing strategies for small business 2021
9. Access to valuable gated assets like templates and calculators
Helpful material are downloaded more than PDF like
- video tutorials
- other instructions
Because these goods save your target audience time rather than asking them to spend time reading.
Whether or not they become consumers, these items are valuable.
10. Intelligent popups depending on user behavior
Popups are intelligent and data-driven. This is why they are so effective. They come with various complex triggers and targeting options, allowing you to tailor the user experience while remaining as unobtrusive as possible.
Promoting example, you might put up a popup for a free trial when someone sees three pages on your website. Alternatively, you might offer a free ebook download once someone has read 40% of your blog content.
Developing popups based on user behavior enhances the user experience and your popup conversion rate since they are more relevant to the person.
11. Product education for snackable
Another expert suggestion is to create bite-sized content about complicated subjects like your product, industry, thought leadership, and so on.
This method may be used to teach new and existing customers about your features, or it can break down complicated industry-related knowledge and thought leadership, such as the usage of artificial intelligence in marketing or growing corporate culture.
12. For marketing and reach, use digital PR.
Many small firms do not hire press specialists. B2B content marketing teams, on the other hand, are usually required to conduct their digital PR.
You may even contribute to the blogs of companies in your industry if they aren’t competitors.
Use these opportunities to gain access to gated assets or high-converting blog pieces that have been proven to generate leads.
13. Retargeting ads that are segmented
Create Google Analytics, and Google Ads accounts to target the right people with the right offers. You may also segment your remarketing audience by industry or user role.
14. Adwords for high-converting assets on Google
Create Google Analytics, and Google Ads accounts to target the right people with the right offers.
You may also segment your remarketing audience by industry or user role.
15. Promote high-converting blog posts with Facebook ads
Promote your high-converting blog content as well, such as those that generate the most email subscribers, asset downloads, lead forms, chatbot talks, or free trial subscriptions.
Consider advertising your most popular blog posts on Facebook or other social media platforms once you’ve determined which ones are the most popular.
16. A dictionary or library for meaningful subject clusters that are SEO-driven
Creating glossaries and libraries improves your chances of ranking for high-volume vital phrases that would be difficult to rank for otherwise.
This approach may be used for a few critical clusters on various themes, or it can be saved for particularly closely related ones to your solution.
17. Virtual events with cutting-edge material that addresses common concerns
Virtual events may be quite effective at generating leads if you get one thing right: the content. Make sure the information is cutting-edge, original, and addresses problems to attract the most qualified leads (read: attendance) to your event.
18. Partnerships in B2B content marketing
Content marketing collaborations are another underutilized strategy.
You may create manuals, webinars, ebooks, events, and more with industry firms and influencers.
Don’t limit your search to companies with which you can collaborate. Individual consultants should be taken into account as well. Working with essential people gives you the opportunity to be included in their social media posts and marketing mailings.
19. Journalists are interested in proprietary research.
Upwork has published its Future Workforce Report for the last four years, which provides valuable information on freelancing development and the gig economy and how US companies hire freelancers. The B2B content marketing team develops a press release, results in the deck, trends report, and infographic based on the survey results.
Their public relations team distributes the report to journalists and bloggers, and its data receives a lot of exposure, visibility, and backlinks each year. You can do the same.
Suggested read: Influencer marketing and top 8 influencer marketing tools.
20. Effective backlink outreach with incentives
Backlink outreach is all too easy to dismiss as worthless, irritating, and ineffective. On the other hand, the quantity of backlinks to an SEO page or post significantly influences its ranking.
On the other side, backlink outreach requires a lot of time and work. Before sending an email to a prospect, you should do some research on them.
Here are some creative ways to encourage your prospects to connect to your SEO-friendly blog posts and web pages:
- Make a gift of token of their choice if they publish your links.
- Give them a free lifetime deal on your products if they promote your links.
- Include a link to them in a guest post you write for another website.
The most effective B2B content marketing initiatives are based on a solid plan that includes the required quality and quantity of material and the appropriate distribution channels.
You won’t be able to employ all of these techniques at the same time. You should stay away from it as well. Examine each one and decide which one will work best for your team. Then pick the best ones to put into action.
Always keep in mind that there is always room for growth.