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Read on for a plethora of simple-but-powerful tips, expert insights, and essential ideas to help you take your content marketing to the next level and drive organic growth.
How much energy and investment do you put into B2B content marketing?
Truth is, if the answer is ‘just a little’ or ‘not at all’ then you could be letting the potential for growth slip between your fingers.
Getting your B2B content marketing right is crucial to engage prospects. Research shows 71% of B2B buyers read blogs during their customer journey, and a staggering 70% of consumers prefer to discover brands through a blog post or article, rather than traditional forms of advertising.
And good content can empower your company with the means to make a positive impact on prospects without needing big-ticket campaigns. That’s why 90% of organizations choose to market with content, and marketers invest more than a quarter of their budget on it.
But let’s be honest: stepping into the world of content marketing for the first time can be daunting.
That’s why we’ve created an unbelievably easy guide to effective B2B content marketing strategies. Read on for a plethora of simple-but-powerful tips, expert insights, and essential ideas to help you take your content marketing to the next level...
Why is B2B content marketing so important today?
Here’s an eye-opening fact: 90% of B2B buyers cite content as a significant factor in their purchasing choices, while decision-makers read articles to research a company rather than an ad.
B2B content marketing offers you a chance to engage your target audience through valuable, well-written pieces relevant to their goals. You don’t need to spend big bucks running cross-channel advertising to grab a prospect’s eye — you can make win new business with a consistent content marketing strategy instead.
The key words here are valuable, relevant, and consistent. After all, great content:
- Offers readers genuine insights backed-up by evidence (if required)
- Information relevant to their issues or goals
- Is true to the creator’s established style and output (tone of voice, publication schedule, etc.)
Producing content that goes against these factors is unlikely to generate the results you want. Prospects looking for relevant details on a specific topic want their questions answered quickly and simply — being greeted by an article or blog post with nothing worthwhile to say will turn readers off. At best, this sends them clicking back to the results page with a sneer. At worst, it can damage your business’s reputation.
Once upon a time, around a decade ago, marketers could take shortcuts with their content. They could get away with stuffing keywords into pieces to rank higher ad nauseum, instead of taking the time to craft strong, valuable content.
As a result, too many articles and blogs in this era were written for search engines and not for readers.
This simply doesn’t fly anymore. Keyword stuffing is just one of the underhanded techniques that contravenes Google’s rules, and it could see any brand guilty of trying it penalized heavily.
No business can afford to play fast and loose with content. You can’t skip your way to the top. You might have been able to before, but now, it’s all about making content the best it can be.
B2B content marketing strategies you need to know
Now we know why B2B content marketing is important, let’s explore the most promising content marketing strategies you can try right now.
Maximize engagement by segmenting your audience
Your audience is made up of people. Perhaps hundreds. Perhaps thousands. But, regardless of your audience’s size, there’s a simple truth you must bear in mind: not all buyers think alike.
This is true in all industries, across all products and services. Your audience consists of individuals with their own interests, passions, world views, and buying habits. Your content means different things to different people. Even the different people within your audience.
So this is where audience segmentation comes into play.
Let’s be a little clearer. We’re talking about demographic variables — age, marital status, job, salary, etc. All of these are relevant because they impact the choices your target buyers make when shopping for goods.
The same is true of B2B customers, though their variables may be slightly different — monthly budget for purchases, number of employees, etc.
Regardless, segmenting your audience into different groups helps you tailor content that speaks to each respective segment best. It prevents you from trying to satisfy readers of all ages, backgrounds, occupations, etc. at the same time.
Segmenting means you can narrow your content’s focus to deliver the most engaging experience and have the biggest impact.
A core element of this process is creating a buyer persona. This is a detailed profile applying to each segment you’re targeting, reflecting their interests, their motivations, their pain points, and any other relevant facets. Your content creators can refer to these personas while working, to monitor relevance and value.
Embrace visuals to break up text
No matter how well-written and relevant your content is, though, don’t rely on text alone.
Being confronted by an entire page of words makes for a duller read than an article or post packed with eye-catching visuals. This may be photographs, illustrations, infographics, or videos — but whatever the visuals are, they bring color, vibrancy, and diverse textures to your content.
Try using images to illustrate a point you’re making, present a product you’re discussing, or just to emphasize an emotion you’re trying to evoke.
Videos, on the other hand, can expand on the text itself and create a more engaging experience overall. This conveys information in a simpler, more streamlined way, as watching a video demands less effort than reading.
Lazy, but true. This is why the average user will spend 88 percent longer on a website featuring videos than one that doesn’t.
Test your content
You have an idea for a blog post. You’re happy with it. You think it’s really going to hit the mark.
But a trusted colleague or employee has another great idea, too. And it holds water. In fact, you think it might even be better than your own.
So, you just run both, right?
Because both pieces take different approaches to the same subject matter. So, if you publish both, visitors will either assume you’re lazy, confused, or just trying to pad your site with duplicate content.
Fortunately, you can try A/B testing instead.
This is a popular technique in online advertising and creating landing pages, but it can be an effective option for content marketing, too. Create two pieces of content on one theme or product, with different voices, headlines, calls-to-action, visuals, and more. Make them distinctly different, then run them at the same time.
Keep both pieces in circulation for a limited time, and analyze each piece’s performance at the end. Consider:
- Which generated more leads?
- Which brought more traffic to your site?
- Which led to more conversions (if any)?
Answering these, and similar, questions helps you determine which of the content pieces is most effective. You can either keep that as it is or tweak it to enhance those elements which work best, to make an even better impact.
Bring your content to your buyers (wherever they are)
The secret to creating effective B2B content marketing is to keep up with your buyers’ activities and behaviors:
- Which industry websites do they visit every day?
- Which social networks do they use?
- What types of offers and promotions do they respond to well?
- What types of content do they prefer, and why?
Answer these questions to learn how you can best reach your audience by taking your content to them. But first, you need to ask the questions in the first place. And one way to do so is through a brief survey.
Send a questionnaire to buyers across your different audience segments. Here, the aim is to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience, and increase your content’s ability to engage them.
This might mean applying to publish a guest post on a popular industry website. Or it might mean monitoring social accounts more often to share relevant content with prospects, building a stronger connection through an informal channel.
The more you know about your prospective buyers, the more accuracy you can expect in your content marketing strategies. Knowing your audience takes time and effort, but it’ll pay off when your content’s earns organic growth.
Make sure your content reflects your brand values
Buyers want transparency and honesty from businesses. Nine out of 10 believe it’s more important now than ever, and 85% feel a history of transparent behavior could encourage them to give a company a second chance after a poor experience.
And hunger for honesty means your content has to be a true reflection of your brand’s values, ethics, and objectives. There’s no sense trying to essentially hoodwink prospects into taking a chance on your business by telling tall tales about who you are or what you believe in.
Your values should inform your content’s voice, style, and — most importantly — heart. Consider:
- What is it you’re trying to say with your content?
- Who are you trying to inspire or inform?
- Why does this blog post or article belong on your website, with your branding, rather than another?
This relates to the previous points regarding audience segmentation and knowing your buyers. You must know who your prospects are, what they believe in, what they want, and what they expect of you to create the most impactful content.
Make sure this remains consistent throughout your entire content marketing campaign. Don’t allow your content creators to publish posts with contrasting voices or perspectives — not only will this confuse readers, it may alienate them and suggest your brand has no idea what it actually is.
Learn from your competitors
Every business has competitors, even if just indirect ones. And you may be able to learn from yours and make your content marketing more effective by surveying their B2B content marketing strategies.
Assess your competitors’ content output to see what techniques they use. Ask yourself:
- How many blog posts or articles do they publish each month?
- Do they produce videos for a YouTube channel, and if so, how often?
- What tone of voice do they use?
- What social networks do they share their content on?
- Which keywords do they use?
- Do they have backlinks from high-authority sites, and if so, how can you outdo them?
Competitor analysis is key to see what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right. Take the time to explore your competitors’ approach to content marketing, and you might be able to refine your campaign for greater organic growth.
There are tools out there designed to help you analyze your competitors, but get the ball rolling by doing your own desk research first. Visit their site and their social accounts. Study their posting schedules, their customer interactions, and how they handle criticism.
You can learn a lot just by looking.
Target local buyers with relevant content
It’s easy to focus on a global audience with your B2B content marketing strategies, but don’t overlook your local buyers, either. This is especially important if you have a brick and mortar establishment — such a store, a warehouse, even an office — you want people to visit.
Obviously, online businesses dealing exclusively through their websites have to take a different track with this, but targeting local prospects still has its place.
The proliferation of voice search has seen an increase in the number of ‘near me’ searches. It’s easier to ask Alexa or Google Assistant where digital marketing agencies are rather than typing your search in manually. Especially when you’re on the go and need to find a local business as fast as you can.
This convenience is just one reason mobile search is expected to generate $1.4 trillion in local sales as of 2021.
And, with voice search now such a prolific source of traffic, you have to consider the way in which people phrase their searches.
Target clients may ask “where can I find a local paper shredder supplier?” or “what’s a cheap pizza place near me?”, for example. You can increase your business’s chance of ranking for a search like this by basing your keywords around common queries.
Sure, you can start by producing content aimed at local buyers, using keywords to target the area(s) you serve. But you should also take it further: create posts that touch on local events or changes relevant to your clients.
If your company is set to showcase products at a local trade show, write a post about it weeks in advance to help generate interest. Other sites or local publications may pick it up, or be willing to run a piece on your behalf.
Reveal your human side
Don’t be afraid to go behind the scenes of your business and share the mechanics of day-to-day processes with your audience.
Companies manufacturing devices or clothing might find this strategy advantageous, as revealing some of your production cycle demonstrates a commitment to transparency. It’s obviously not necessary (or advisable!) to start giving away trade secrets, but inviting prospects to peek behind the curtain can help increase engagement.
Again, buyers want honesty. They want to know the people they’re dealing with are more than just a brand. If you want to partner in business with someone, they need to know what they can expect.
Create a series of posts covering the different departments that make up your business, or share interviews with your innovators.
Ask readers to give their feedback on any content you publish, and welcome suggestions on similar pieces. They can help you create content that’s more engaging and caters to their questions or expectations accurately.
It’ll also encourage them to feel involved, rather than being viewed as “just” a buyer.
Follow an editorial calendar for consistency
Trying to come up with a new blog post or article several times a week, every week, can be taxing on even the most creative person.
You may find it easy at the start of your content marketing campaign, because you have so many options to choose from. But as you go on, you may start to struggle for ideas.
Keeping track of your progress can be a challenge, too, particularly during busy periods. And if you stop publishing regularly, you could lose authority and readers over time.
An editorial calendar helps you plan topics weeks in advance, gather research for authenticity, and make sure content is published, on time, as required.
So that’s how to do B2B content marketing and drive organic growth!
Adopt these easy B2B content marketing strategies, and you should see an upswing in leads.
There are no shortcuts or fast tracks: you need to invest in producing content that’s relevant, valuable, and appealing to your audience every single time.
Working with Scribly.io’s content marketing professionals is an ideal option for small businesses struggling with a lack of time, experience, and skills to produce high-performing content.
You’ll be free to focus on running and scaling your company, while our trusted team launches a tailored content marketing campaign targeted to your audience.
Want to learn more about how Scribly.io can help you? Just book a FREE content strategy call today and speak to one of our experts!