B2B content marketing

B2B content marketing is the cheapest digital marketing channel that companies need to be using.

61% of digital marketers are regularly posting fresh content more than once a week and of those, 89% are reporting an increase in conversions.

Content Marketing has become one of the main pillars of any digital marketing channels. Think about it, if you’re posting on social media, you need content. If you’re sending out emails, you need content. Trying to attach leads to your website? That’s right! You need content.

Without content, you are setting your digital marketing strategy up for failure.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what B2B content marketing is, how you can create a B2B content marketing strategy and some tips to writing great content.

What you’ll find in this blog post:

  1. What is content marketing?
  2. Different types of B2B content marketing
  3. Examples of great B2B content marketing
  4. Creating a B2B content marketing strategy
  5. Writing great content that attracts
  6. The key tools to use

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on the creation, publishing and distribution of content to a targeted audience online.

Content marketing is generally not used to promote a brand but instead focuses on sparking the interest of an audience in order to draw them into a sales funnel.

For example, a commercial real estate company may create a blog post titled ’10 tips for decorating your office’ and promote it on social media with the end goal of attracting business owners who are looking for new office space to their website.

Different Types of B2B Content Marketing

92% of B2B marketing leaders say that content plays a crucial role in the companies sales funnel. Meaning that when a lead is being pushed through a sales funnel, the content that accompanies makes a huge impact but to understand, we need to go over the different levels of the sales funnel and what content applies to each level.

The Content Marketing Sales Funnel

Every type of content that a B2B company creates serves a purpose to a certain level in the sales funnel. General content helps for the ‘Know’ stage of the funnel and more targeted content works well for the ‘Like’ and ‘Trust’ stage.

Know – B2B Content Marketing Funnel

The ‘Know’ stage of the content marketing funnel is all about building brand recognition and sharing high-quality, valuable content that will entice your target audience.

Some content types include; blog posts, ebooks, videos, and podcasts.

Like – B2B Content Marketing Funnel

At the ‘Like’ level, your aim is to convert people who have come into contact with your brand. Ultimately, this is where you educate your target audience about your business and the challenges you solve.

Some content types include; testimonials, FAQs, demos, and trials

Trust – B2B Content Marketing Funnel

At the ‘Trust’ level, the lead has already converted into a trial user or have got into contact with you and are considering converting.

Some content types include; contact page, enquire, and buy now

Overview of B2B Content Marketing Types

Blog Posts

Blog Posts are the most important part of content marketing.

They enable you to capture more keywords and more organic traffic, give you content to post on social media and give you content to send to your list via email.

In fact, 72% of digital marketers say that content marketing increases their engagement. Meaning that by writing blog posts, companies can get more people engaging with their website and ultimately more high-quality leads.

One of the main points of blog posts is to increase SEO and get ranking for more keywords that apply to your business. Without blog posts, this can’t happen. Google relies on high-quality content being produced consistently in order to deem a website worthy of being ranked in it’s SERPs. It’s been reported that 95% of people who use search engines only look at the first page and the only way to get there? You guessed it! Producing high-quality content.

Coming up with topics for blog posts, constantly, can be hard for someone who hasn’t done it before but the reality is, there’s always something to write about.

Here are some tips:

  • Look to your competitors – They key here is to keep an eye on your competitors content but not to copy it. See what they’re ranking for and which pages but always remember, in order for a new piece of content to rank it has to be 10x better than the number one ranking page.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner – Google keyword planner allows you to see how many people are looking for a certain keyword. It will also provide you with alternatives and their search volumes.
  • What is your target market interested in – Not every blog post has to revolve around your business. You should be creating content around what your target market is interested in outside of your business.
Google Keyword Planner search

Ebooks

An ebook short for ‘electronic book’ and uses either a computer, mobile phone or electronic reader which is used to show a book. Ebooks have multiple pages which can be navigated through like a normal book. Ebooks are normally in a .pdf file so they can easily be downloaded and sent to people.

Ebooks have only recently boomed in the digital marketing world and are yet to do so in the B2B marketing world. Ebooks are a great way to give your target audience information and allow them to keep it, and send it to others. This is particularly good when there are multiple decision-makers involved in the sales process.

Image from AppSumo

Ebooks are a great lead generation tool. More often than not an ebook will sit on a landing page and in order for someone to get it they will have to enter their email into a form and the ebook will be sent to their inbox. From here they would be entered into the sales funnel and can now be considered a lead.

Lot’s of B2B marketers shy away from ebooks as they think they have to be 100 pages long but that’s not true! Most company’s ebooks are no more than 10 pages, some even going as low as just 2 pages.

So how do you come up with ideas for an ebook to start building leads?

Well, you can look towards your blog for that. When I come up with ebook ideas, I don’t go about creating new content. I go to my blog, pick out the most successful blog post and simply repurpose it in an ebook form.

Some other ideas for ebooks:

  • Your companies 1-page overview
  • Your companies products
  • The problems you’re solving
  • FAQs
  • Client case studies

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the strongest digital marketing channel in terms of ROI. In fact, email marketing can give you $40.00 for every $1.00 spent. To give you some context, the next best is SEO with an ROI of 23x.

While the ROI is amazing, email marketing can be one of the hardest digital marketing channels to master. Mainly because of the number of emails people receive every day – standing out from the pack can be difficult.

When it comes to B2B email marketing, there are a few different types of emails:

  • Engagement emails – Once you’ve started to build up an email list, you’ll want to start sending engagement emails. The point of an engagement email is to keep a potential lead in constant contact with your brand. These emails can include blog posts, features, special offerings or company updates. Be sure to use these wisely as it’s been reported that some companies have experienced up to 25% of their email list unsubscribing from an engagement email.
  • Nurture emails – Nurture emails are really important to SaaS businesses. They help a user through their trial period and ultimately aim to convert them to a paying customer.
  • Breakup emails – You’ve gotten a lead’s email, you’ve sent them engagement emails, tried to convert them and they haven’t responded. That’s where the ‘breakup email’ comes in. It’s one last contact to a lead before you give up.

The above email from Dropbox is an awesome example of a ‘break up’ email. It’s personal, gives Dropbox a human-like feeling and shows the user what their life would be like without them.

Social Media

54% of social media users will use it to research a product or service. While social media started off as people connecting with friends, it has developed into platforms that are used to assess the quality of companies. Not being on them, could mean that your target market doesn’t trust you.

But it’s not enough to just be on it, a lot of B2B companies believe that all they need to do is post about their company and that’s it!

80% of companies online are under the impression that they deliver exceptional social media customer service, while only 8% of their customers say they agree.

Smart Insights

But the reality is, that social media is called social media for a reason. People are fine with brands being on there but they want them to be engaging. On that, if you want to build a community and get people engaging with your product, then you need to be social.

Take Adobe for example, they specialise in platforms for multimedia and their social profiles reflect that. Constantly posting visually beautiful images and videos, featuring artists and promoting webinars.

When it comes to social media, B2B companies should be focusing on one platform – LinkedIn!

Why?

Because LinkedIn is the only social media platform with only professionals on it. B2B companies literally have direct contact with the people in the organisations that they want to target. Even better, you can search by job title and reach out to potential leads directly!

Testimonials

Testimonials are the perfect way to prove your company is the best fit. When it comes to fixing problems a good testimonial can work wonders.

A testimonial is a few sentences from a past or current client that highlights how you helped them. Generally, these testimonials will be featured on your website (make sure the homepage is one of them) and can be used as content for social media or email marketing.

After you’ve signed on a client, always ask them to provide their feedback or, if you have contracts in place, you can even add a clause that gets the client to agree to write a testimonial at a later stage.

When it comes to testimonials, the more the better. Get as many as you can and get them as early as you can.

Creating a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Every bit of content marketing needs to be stemming from a content marketing plan. 93% of B2B companies use content marketing in some form but only 41% of those companies actually have a content marketing strategy.

Without a content marketing strategy, your content will be sporadic and the effort it needs will seem overwhelming. And your target market will be able to tell. They won’t be engaged and they will lose interest in your brand.

So let’s go through the simple steps it takes to create an awesome B2B content marketing strategy that will have your audience engaged and increase your leads.

1. Identify Your Goals

To kick start your content marketing strategy, you need to know why you’re doing it and where you want to be.

Keeping in mind that it can take months to see results from content marketing, set one achievable goal. For this, focus on 12 months in the future.

Some examples may be:

  • Increase traffic to website to 10,000 monthly visits
  • Increase organic leads to 200 per month
  • Have 2,000 paying clients in 12 months

Make sure these goals are KPI focused otherwise you won’t be able to measure them.

2. Identify Your Ideal Client

Painting a picture of your ideal client will allow you to shape your content to suit your target market.

Things to include about your ideal client:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job Title
  • Company – size and industry
  • The challenges your ideal client has
  • How you can help them solve their challenges

With this, you will have a good idea of the types of content and the topics of content you need to be developing.

3. Define Your Voice

This is where you outline how you’re going to communicate with your target audience. You need to pick 4 words that define your brand. This could be; fun, playful, professional, or any other million possibilities.

What’s important is when you choose these words and start sharing content, you can’t change them. They need to stay consistent.

3. Select 2-3 Content Marketing Channels

Now we’re moving into focusing how you’re going to get your message out there. It’s important that you only focus on 2-3 different channels. Any more than that, and it will become too hard to keep up with the amount of time that is needed.

As a starting point, I recommended that you include blog posts. Blog posts are the most important type of content when it comes to B2B content marketing.

Some other channels include:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Case studies

Try to choose your content marketing channels with the content marketing sales funnel in mind. You want to have content that targets each of the levels.

4. Identify The Topics You Will Focus Your Content on

You’ve picked the types of content you want to focus on, now you need to identify the topics you will create content around.

These topics should in some way revolve around your business or products. Pick topics that you think your audience will want to hear about and don’t get caught up in writing about what you think they want to here.

Look at the reviews you’ve received or the questions you are constantly being asked. Look for patterns and create content around those topics.

5. Plan Out The Next Month of Content

The next step is to create a calendar that identifies the content that you’re going to create over the next month. When it comes to content marketing, it’s important that you create content consistently and often. This means doing something every single day or as close to it as you can get.

Create an Excel spreadsheet that shows every day of the month, and start filling it with content ideas.

6. Repeat Step 5

Every month, you want to create a new calendar for the month ahead. This way you can plan for what’s coming up.

It’s important for you to know that this calendar isn’t set in stone and can be changed at any time. It’s more of a guide and a backup so you always have ideas.

Writing Great Content That Attracts

Now you have a strategy and are ready to get started, I want to share a few tips that I have learnt that really engages target audiences and boosts leads.

Many B2B marketers believe they can write but when it comes to content marketing, the rules of proper English are thrown out the window and are replaced with techniques that aim to convert.

Here are a couple of tips to get you started:

  • Headlines matter – The first thing anyone is going to see is the headline. Whether it’s on social media, the subject line of an email or a blog post. It’s the most important part of getting people to engage. So make sure you put a lot of time into it and if you need help you can use CoSchedules Headline Analyzer tool to get you started.
  • Play with the words in your headline – Try shaking things up when it comes to headlines. Use words like ‘skyrocket’ instead of ‘grow’ or use emotive words like ‘make you’.
  • Some types of content perform best – When it comes to blog posts, there’s a select few that perform the best. To find out which ones, you can see Buzzsumo’s research on over 100 million headlines.
  • Keep your sentences short – Long sentence bore people. Take out any words that aren’t needed – especially ‘filler’ words like actually and just.
  • Keep your paragraphs short – same as the above, no one wants to see huge paragraphs of text. Try to keep them to 3 sentences long.
  • Prove your knowledge with research – Try to include stats or research about your topics. This shows people you know what you’re talking about.

The key tools to use

  • CoScheduled – Plan out you content on an easy to view the calendar.
  • Google Keyword Planner – Find alternatives to the keywords that you want to focus on.
  • Ubbersuggest – See topic ranking pages of your competitors.
  • Feedly – Set up words you want to follow and get notified about content that’s posted relating to the words.

With all this new information, you’ll now be able to get started on your content marketing strategy and start building your digital brand’s presence. If you have any questions, leave a comment!

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