A guide to B2B content marketing
Marketing directly to consumers and marketing to businesses walk a similar strategy path but with some key differences. Using content marketing to support each part of the sale funnel helps you close your deal easier. But where do you start and what type of content should you create for B2B content marketing?
The first step in setting up your B2B content marketing strategy is knowing who you’re talking to. This guides how and what you write. You don’t want to use regional slang if your audience is far beyond that region.
Your target audience will be made up of various businesses who would benefit from the product or service that you’re offering them. Usually, businesses already have these audiences in mind even if they’re not defined in detail. In this process, it’s best to write these audiences down so you can reference them later as you plan out your content.
Next, think of some marketing personas that would reside in these audiences. Part of the persona’s profile should include the types of content they enjoy. Knowing this helps determine which content types to prioritize. One important point for a B2B persona is to identify the individual buyer’s job position. You can market all you want to a business but at the end of the day, someone or a group of people are making those final decisions.
What is B2B content marketing?
An example of B2B content marketing would be a software company (like GatherContent) using content to promote its product to content agency owners and other businesses engaged in large-scale content creation.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C content marketing?
1. Audience motivation
B2C audiences are often motivated by their needs, desires, and impulses. For B2B buyers, while there is a degree of emotional motivation, most companies rely on data and logic to make their final decisions.
2. Length of the sales cycle
But with more expensive B2B products and potential customers who often need to convince several stakeholders, B2B sales can take a while. According to MarketingCharts, 74.6% of new B2B sales take “at least four months to close.” Not exactly a see-click-buy situation, is it? As such, strategies need to be a bit different for B2B marketing.
Most B2B writers charge twice as much as their B2C counterparts, for example. Kaminska-Paciorek also compares the price of B2B LinkedIn ads vs. Facebook or Instagram, which are popular B2C marketing channels. She says, "Because the investment is so high, most B2B marketers have to be much more careful with every penny they spend."
Build Your B2B Content Strategy
It’s important to remember that creating an effective content strategy is an ever-evolving process. You must remain proactive in constantly updating your content and goals as the needs, challenges, and buying patterns of decision-makers change over time.
Once you understand your prospect’s buying journey, their greatest challenges, and how your product/service can help them succeed, then you can streamline the right kinds of content to resonate with the prospect no matter where they are in the process. When you can uncover what works and what doesn’t when it comes to content strategy, you can repeat the process with new content to ensure continued success.
Carrie Bailey is a content writer and campaign strategist at CIENCE. She has a degree in journalism and previously worked in television news before making the switch to marketing. She’s written dozens of multi-channel campaigns for CIENCE clients across many industries. She enjoys creative writing and looks to her father for inspiration when it comes to wordsmithing.
How to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Remember, don’t let the whole idea of a marketing “strategy” intimidate you. It’s surprisingly simple to get started once you understand what’s involved, so if you’re ready to build a successful content marketing campaign, here’s where to begin.
1. Identify Your Audience and Their Needs
Remember, the whole point of creating content is to convert your audience into paying clients, so your content must meet their specific demands and needs. If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, they won’t move through your sales funnel.
2. Use Micro-Targeting to Narrow Down Your Focus
Start by using microtargeting. Through microtargeting, you use analytics data to reveal key information such as buyer behavior, preferences, and popular search terms or keywords. Then, you can use a variety of popular keywords in your content to help your audience find you through Google and other search engines.
3. Research Competitors in Your Niche
You need a unique selling point (USP) to draw customers, so consider what you could do better than your competitors and highlight what makes you unique when you’re selling your goods and services to prospects. Here are some tips for doing just that:
4. Define Your Goals
In other words, you’re setting a clear, realistic goal that you can achieve in a certain amount of time. The results are measurable, meaning there’s some quantifiable way you can measure your success and track whether you achieved the goal.
5. Create Multi-Layered Content
6. Measure Your Results
7. Prioritize Link Building and Collaboration
On the other hand, say you want to make a guest post on another website. Great. Not only will the post boost your exposure and increase your authority within your niche, but it’s essentially free advertising for your brand. Sounds like a win-win, right?
8. Promote Your Content Across Different Platforms
Where do your prospective customers hang out? If you researched your audience earlier, you already know the answer to this question, so your focus should now be on reaching these prospects as part of a targeted marketing campaign.
First, improve your website’s discoverability in search engines. The goal is to secure a first-page search ranking for your chosen keywords, so optimize your pages for SEO by adding meta descriptions, including alt text with your images, and using keywords strategically.
Next, run a paid ads campaign. Paid ads ensure you shoot to the top of the search rankings for specific keywords. Monday.com, for example, is one of the first search results you see when you Google “collaboration software for businesses:”
Aside from Google Ads and LinkedIn, you could also run paid ads on popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It all depends on where your target audience spends their time, so do your research to generate the best ROI from your paid ad campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions About B2B Content Marketing
Research your target audience to understand what challenges they face, and create content designed to help solve those problems. You should also check out competitors for content ideas and keep an eye on news channels. Aim for a blend of evergreen and timely content to keep your articles, videos, and podcasts varied and fresh.
Focus on creating useful content and cultivating a sense of trust in your company, and don’t be afraid to step back and make changes if something’s just not working. Remember, a strategy is a roadmap: It’s not set in stone. Let it guide you, but don’t let it hold you back when you’re ready to move in a new direction.
He is the co-founder of NP Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.