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In recent years, the role of content marketing in product promotions and brand promotions has grown manifold. It has helped businesses improve their visibility in front of prospective customers and, in turn, generate more leads.
In fact, it’s been found that content marketing is thrice as effective as traditional outbound methods when it comes to lead generation. As a bonus, it also costs 62% less when compared to other outbound methods. So, it’s obvious that B2B content marketing is becoming more popular.
But randomly publishing blog posts or producing videos on YouTube is most certainly not the key to success.
So, how should you go about it?
Content marketing requires methodical planning and proper strategies in order to grow your business. Especially when it comes to the highly competitive B2B domain, where 91% of marketers have found it to be helpful.
Before we delve deep into the best B2B content marketing tactics, let’s understand the basic concept.
What Is B2B Content Marketing?
B2B refers to the art of appealing to other businesses with the power of content. A major aspect of B2B content marketing is informing other businesses about what you do and how it can benefit them.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to generate leads and drive sales.
Other factors like brand voice, tone, and marketing goals are also important to consider while creating your content. On the surface, it seems like any other type of content marketing.
So, what’s the difference?
B2B content marketing caters to only businesses, not consumers.
Because of this fundamental difference, the kind of content you produce will also be slightly different. In B2B content, you need to make sure you give actionable tips.
If a business doesn’t see how you can help them, they aren’t going to be interested in your products or services.
As a content marketer in the B2B space, your focus should be to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. You should try to network with other business owners as they might be your potential customers.
In B2C content marketing, you can create content just for the sake of entertainment. Think of 9gag or BuzzFeed. Their main aim is to keep their audience engaged or entertained. That’s something you can’t do with B2B content marketing.
B2B content is mainly aimed at boosting brand awareness. B2B content marketers need to focus on creating content that is engaging, useful, and high-quality.
How Can You Create an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy?
Now that you’ve learned the basics, let’s move forward. Creating B2B content and promoting it isn’t very hard. But if you want to excel at B2B content marketing, you need to understand how to develop a strategy for your business.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind for your B2B content marketing strategy.
Identify Your Ideal Target Audience
Before you can even get started with B2B content marketing, you need to learn about your audience. You need to realize and understand the content needs and expectations of your target audience to come up with the right strategy.
Not sure where to begin?
You can start off by creating a customer profile or persona for your ideal client. Collecting data about them and their buying preferences will help you develop a better, more detailed persona.
For B2B content marketing, you can create such personas for the companies you’re targeting. You should look to create such personas for the people in charge of making purchase decisions, not just the CEOs. The key to B2B content marketing lies in the details.
Set Clear Campaign Goals
Any B2B content marketing strategy needs to serve a particular purpose. For example, to grow site traffic, improve engagement, or increase your search engine rankings.
You need to set precise and clear goals for your campaign and individual content pieces as well.
If you aren’t clear about what you want to achieve, you may end up wasting your time on irrelevant things. Having a clear focus is key to your B2B content marketing success.
Whenever possible, set quantifiable goals. For example, get 1000 new newsletter subscribers in 4 months. It’s equally important to set realistic but effective goals for your B2B content marketing strategy.
Research Content Ideas
With a specific audience and goals in mind, you can focus on finding content ideas for your B2B content marketing campaign.
Research can be as simple as looking up what your competitors are doing or finding keywords to use in your posts. You can use tools such as BuzzSumo, Quora, or Feedly to find trending topics related to your industry.
With the help of these, you can look at the same content ideas from different angles or come up with new ideas. In either case, keep in mind that you need to consider user intent.
Think about what your potential customers are searching for and what they can accomplish by reading an article. Once you are clear about these aspects, you can begin jotting down new content ideas.
Create Content That Converts
In a B2B domain, there are two numbers that matter the most – your lead generation rate and conversion rate.
Which is why the next step in B2B content marketing is to figure out how to create content that will help you convert your site visitors into paying customers.
Lead magnets like ebooks, free trials, email courses, content upgrades, etc. offer prospects incentives to make the jump. It also helps to have a compelling landing page that pushes and promotes these offerings.
Effective B2B Content Marketing Tactics
1. Incorporate Storytelling
One of the key elements of a successful B2B content marketing campaign is the ability to connect with audiences. And good storytelling allows you to do just that.
It enhances the selling aspect and simplifies the process.
Since every business has a story to tell, this shouldn’t be difficult to implement. What you need to remember is that even though B2B content marketing is focused on businesses, people make the purchase decisions.
You’re targeting key decision makers in these companies. And you need to wow them, and show the value you offer them.
As it is, they’re exposed to a lot of marketing content with no personality. Connect with your B2B prospects on an emotional level, captivate them with your stories, and see your conversion spike.
The three key tips to infusing storytelling into your B2B content marketing plan are:
- Get a holistic view and understanding of your client’s business.
- Map out a clear and distinct product/service journey for your customers.
- Strive to educate prospects, leads, and customers with informative and insightful content.
But what does a good “storytelling” B2B content marketing campaign look like?
Look no further than Tim Ferriss and his video on speed reading that promotes his podcast.
Image via YouTube
2. Don’t Stop at Blogging
For a successful B2B content marketing campaign, you should never place all of your eggs in one basket. That can be a disaster.
What should you do then?
Diversify your efforts and go beyond just blogging for your B2B content marketing needs.
Yes, B2B blogging is effective, but it’s not the only solution.
And if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to go beyond just posting regular blog content. You need to leverage B2B content marketing in ways that your competitors aren’t.
B2B content marketing is an evolving landscape and you need to constantly update your approach to it. While blogging is a necessity, you need to create more value by offering other forms of content in conjunction.
That may include:
- Creating informative, visually appealing, and informative infographics or gifographics
- Leveraging video content marketing to its full potential
- Hosting informative and insightful webinars with industry thought-leaders as guests
Here are the top 8 methods that you can use for B2B content marketing to grow your business.
Image via Content Marketing Institute
3. Focus on Personalized Content
Regardless of your niche, your target customers will appreciate any effort you make to deliver a personalized experience. Sometimes, you’ll need to go the extra mile to succeed at B2B content marketing.
Nobody likes to be put into one general category. They want to feel special and appreciated.
So, how can you do that?
Personalized content is one way to deliver that.
That’s why you should focus a good chunk of your effort into creating and sharing personalized content with your prospects and customers. It will go a long way to help you stand out from the rest of the crowd and build stronger relationships with your audience.
Personalization done right will help you create content that isn’t just more interesting. It also addresses how your product solves a prospect’s problems and touches their pain points.
You can elevate your B2B content marketing game by using your audience data to figure out how to deliver personalized content.
So, how can you customize your content?
You can categorize and personalize content based on:
- Segments – This could be on the basis of demographics, purchase behavior, industry, job title, etc.
- Personas – As mentioned earlier, developing consumer personas will go a long way to help you create personalized content.
- Stages – Another effective means to categorize is according to the stage of the sales funnel they are in.
In the content creation process, it’s easy to lose focus on how to promote the content you are working on.
There are plenty of tools at your disposal that you can leverage to that end. But before we get into that, let’s talk about some other options.
The most important of which is guest posting. Guest posting is easily one of the most effective means to establish your industry thought leadership and promote your brand. It’s the most important part of your B2B content marketing strategy.
What is guest posting all about?
It could mean posting your original content on reputable sites like Entrepreneur.com or Business.com. It could also take the form of influencers creating content around your business on your own website or their websites.
This form of cross-pollination is important to get your content in front of more people and to establish your industry authority. It will also help you develop your online presence.
Another option you can consider is expert roundup posts.
What are expert roundup posts?
In essence, they are an amplified form of guest posting where you have multiple industry experts express their opinions in one post. You can have them talk about your product offerings or perhaps address pertinent industry questions.
5. Track Metrics and Optimize
You can’t simply turn on or off your B2B content marketing efforts. It’s an ongoing continuous process that demands a high degree of regular experimentation. You have to be mindful and alert about how your efforts are paying off.
Despite effective planning, if your content doesn’t resonate well with your audience, there’s no point. There are instances when your tactics may not produce favorable outcomes. But rather than see them as failures, look at them as opportunities to understand your target audience better.
How can you do that?
Here is the answer:
By defining and tracking metrics which can help you learn more about how your content is performing.
Knowing what is working and what isn’t will help you optimize your B2B content marketing tactics.
You need critical data and facts to make those kinds of optimization decisions. Experimenting with different kinds of content and styles is a great start.
Here’s why you need to be tracking metrics and monitoring your results:
- You can avoid the same pitfalls over and over again.
- And you can create a content strategy that is tailor-made for your target audience.
- You can also create content that will resonate well your audience.
The more you progress down this path, the better you’ll get at reading metrics and formulating B2B content marketing strategies that help your business excel.
Consistent results come from identifying what is working and focusing on those elements. Eventually, your monitoring and optimization efforts will help you reap higher returns on your investment.
6. Give Your B2B Content a Human Touch
There is a general misconception that B2B content has to be bland. If your marketing game is strong, you’ll know how to have some fun with your content.
Feeling a little lost?
Add some human elements to your content to show what working in your company is like. Give your target audience a sneak peek into the lives of the people who run the show. Introduce your employees and tell their stories.
Take a leaf from Wistia’s B2B content marketing strategy. It’s a video-software company that helps businesses upload videos online and track their performance.
Their Instagram page has multiple posts introducing their employees or from team bonding activities. It showcases a cohesive and strong company culture.
Image via Instagram
7. Explore Different Mediums
B2B content marketing shouldn’t just be limited to text, photos, or videos. Business audiences tend to get comfortable with these mediums. But that’s all the more reason for you to explore more.
You’ll stand out more easily.
One of the best B2B content marketing examples that showcases this strategy is Hexagon, an industrial IT solutions company.
To present their annual report to their investors, they decided to use Augmented Reality. It gave their investors an experience that was extremely interactive and used compelling storytelling techniques to keep them engrossed.
Image via MarxEntLabs
With this B2B content marketing strategy, Hexagon’s position as a brand that believes in high-tech design was also reinforced. They used a page from their printed report to act as trigger for the AR visuals.
Ready to Get Started With B2B Content Marketing?
Now you have a good handle on what a strong B2B content marketing strategy looks like. It’s a question of how well you can incorporate it into your existing marketing campaigns. Depending on your business, you might either need a full overhaul or just a few tweaks to your marketing campaign.