We all know ‘content is king’ in digital marketing. The right content plan is a part of B2B marketing strategies, and it can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. But, a common assumption about B2B content is that it’s pretty dry. If you also think B2B content is all about dull informative pieces, you certainly need to rethink this. B2B content marketing is all about creating and promoting well-written, informative, and engaging content and promoting it through the right channel to your target audience.
You will be amazed to know that successful B2B marketing teams spend around 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Content marketing is more effective than traditional outbound methods for lead generation. But it does not mean publishing a lot of random blog posts is the key to success. Instead, B2B brands should have a robust lead-generating content marketing strategy.
So, here’s a detailed guide that will cover the major aspects of content marketing for B2B-focused businesses. Let’s get started.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
The aim of the marketing efforts of a B2B company is to make other businesses familiar with their products and services. Content is affordable, customer-focused, and one of the most effective ways to connect with the target audience to generate leads. It is a buyer-centric, compounding, measurable, and scalable marketing tactic. Also, B2B marketers prefer content marketing as it’s a key to successful inbound marketing. So, B2B content marketing is centred on creating and distributing content to engage the audience and generate and nurture leads to boost sales of the business.
The B2B content marketing strategy can be defined as a blueprint to get content ideas and objectives aligned to gain traffic, generate leads, and convert businesses into customers.
B2B Content Marketing vs. B2C Content Marketing
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic approach. It focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and to drive profitable customer action. This definition remains the same for both B2B and B2C content marketing. So, what makes B2B content marketing strategies different from B2C content marketing? Let’s understand the key differences.
- B2B Content Marketing– Content is a vital component of the marketing strategies for professional services. The target audience for B2B marketing are the people who make decisions on behalf of a business or organization. So, it targets their needs, interests, and challenges. The B2B customers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise and are driven by logic and financial incentive. Most importantly, B2B customers look for actionable elements in the content that they can use to grow their business. But it does not mean B2B content should only be educational or informational, rather it should balance three elements – useful, engaging, and high-quality.
- B2C Content Marketing – It targets individual customers purchasing for themselves. B2C content can be fun & entertaining as emotions drive customers. The significant difference between B2B and B2C content is the target audience, which impacts the overall content strategy. Content is created based on the factor that motivates the target audience to make a purchasing decision. B2C content strategy is also more straightforward than B2B because only a few decision-makers are involved.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Here’s a helpful step-by-step guide for B2B content marketers to make a winning content strategy.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Before you start to plan for the content strategy, know who you are targeting. First, ask yourself questions like what your target customers want and what they expect from you. Then, you can research and make notes based on factors like background, demographic, goals, fears, and objections. Creating a buyer persona is another helpful way to better understand the target audience. To do this, content marketers must talk with people who deal with customers every day, like sales reps, customer service reps, and account managers. Once you know what customers want, it will become easier to craft winning content.
Step 2: Define Goals
Content marketers often struggle while setting goals, but it is an important component of a content strategy. It is crucial to set SMART goals to plan a content strategy because you should know what you want to achieve from your content. SMART goals mean that the goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It is advised that you write down the goals and share them with your team so that they understand the goal and the purpose of the content.
Step 3: Brainstorm New Content Ideas
Content ideas are the heart of great content. Look for inspiration around you and keep an eye on competitors. You can use a competitive analysis framework to assess your competitors’ strategies. Along with this, you can have a brainstorming session with your team to discuss fresh ideas. Remember, no idea is a bad idea, so be open to all the ideas and find ways to incorporate them into your content strategy. After that, ask your team to list down the top-performing blogs of competitors but avoid copying them; instead, use them for inspiration.
Step 4: Explore Various Types of Content
While creating a buyer persona and doing audience research, you will get to know what type of content your target audience likes and wants. So, choose the content format according to the target audience’s requirements and spend your time and efforts delivering it in the best way possible. A pro tip for content marketers is that you should not stick to one single format because other things may also work for you. So, keep experimenting and work with new approaches.
Step 5: Run a Content Audit to Identify Gaps
If you have executed the content strategy and posted the content, don’t assume that the work is done. Just as business assessment tools are used to evaluate a business, similarly, you should also assess your content strategy. The next step is to run a content audit to identify your weaknesses and strengths. See whether your content is performing as per the expectation or not. Ask yourself a few questions and try to find out their answers to:
- What is your strongest performing content?
- Did you get the expected results?
- Is your target audience targeted?
Evaluation of content can be time-consuming, but it will help improve your content strategy for the future.
Popular Content Formats that Work for B2B Brands
Content can take many shapes, but ultimately it should keep the audience engaged and deliver results in the form of business growth. Here are a few popular content formats that B2B brands must use.
- Blog Posts should answer the popular and common questions of the audience and address the pain points. But, remember to follow SEO best practices.
- Infographics are an interesting and popular content format that summarizes the information in visual form. It is eye-catching, and represents processes or data easily in chart or diagram form.
- Case Studies show how your products or services have helped your customers.
- White Papers are authoritative reports that address complex issues and propose a solution.
- Email Newsletters help you stay in front of potential or current customers.
How Can Company Expert Boost Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy?
Smart B2B content strategies help increase customer engagement and achieve overall business objectives. However, if your content strategy is not achieving these set goals, you can seek help from experienced experts at Company Expert. Additionally you can go through the list of popular playbook products that Company expert offers to help B2B brands create a winning content strategy.
- Content Idea Generation is an effective tool that can help you create interesting content that will resonate with your target market.
- Content Planning is important for creating compelling content, and this tool aims to help B2B brands create the right content to ensure brand consistency and tone across the marketing.
- Content Repurposing is a helpful tool that helps you alter content to create another piece of content from it. It is a beneficial tool if you want to save and stretch resources.
Along with the playbook products, Company Expert can help you create a marketing system for a sustainable and repeatable path to growth. So, feel free to contact our highly specialized consulting team.