How to Boost Your B2B Content Strategy and the New, Free LinkedIn Page Feature that Can Help
Whether you’re learning how to start a B2B content marketing strategy, or brushing up on the basics, or looking to achieve mastery through our new Content Suggestions feature, you’ll find everything you need ahead.
Content marketing is a practice that’s been around far longer than its current label. It involves planning, creating, and distributing materials that are interesting and useful to your specific audience, but do not promote your product or service directly. Brands use this method to develop brand awareness, trust, and affinity with the potential customers they wish to reach.
Meanwhile, B2B content marketing refers to the creation and distribution of professionally oriented content for the same purposes. The idea, most often, is to help people solve business problems and do their jobs better, while subtly guiding them toward your brand and solution.
Why is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy Important?
According to the latest B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93% of the most successful B2B marketers say their organization is extremely/very committed to content marketing, compared to just 35% of the least successful. This data also suggests that documenting your B2B content marketing strategy is of great importance:
“Strategy” can seem like an ambiguous word, and with good reason: it is broad in scope and should account for almost every element of your brand’s digital presence. The word strategy originated from the Greek term for “general,” and encapsulates the gravity of a general’s duty in planning for battle; they must decipher the strengths and weaknesses of each soldier, they must anticipate the enemy’s maneuvers, and they must fully understand the lay of the land.
Digital strategy isn’t quite so weighty as wartime, but in a crowded marketplace with competition rising and attention shares shrinking, the stakes are high. As such, modern companies must adopt a general’s mindset and see the big picture.
Simply put, creating a B2B content marketing strategy is a must for virtually any business that wants to succeed today. It’s something we intuitively understand, but the data also continues to make it clear.
Why do B2B and B2C need different content strategies?
Now, you might be wondering why B2B and B2C businesses need different types of content strategies. First, the decision process and customer journey tend to be a lot longer for B2B than for B2C. A lot more stakeholders are involved, and decisions tend to involve a lot of back-and-forth between businesses. Having a robust content strategy creates more opportunities for your prospect to engage with you throughout the process. For B2C, there’s less of a need, because the journey from awareness to conversion is much much shorter.
B2B prospects will also want to see evidence of your expertise and prestige within your field. This kind of trust is best built up through that continuous content strategy: making it clear that your team can deliver on your proposal. Consumers are more likely to seek that information out through external reviews and comparisons, which are much more difficult to create for B2B businesses.
How B2B Content Marketing Strategy Is Different
A typical B2C buyer (the individual shopping at Staples) is only looking for one product—not much cost or risk to the transaction, and therefore not much research to buy. Selling to consumers like this is pretty easy—give them a sale to jump on or a reason to make an impulse decision on a cool new pen or keyboard protector and boom: purchase made.
However, a B2B buyer (the purchasing manager for the regional branch of office supply stores) is more skeptical and more informed. They are coming to you with a list of preconceptions, pain points and needs. On the one hand, this can be seen as a challenge: your customer won’t be wooed by a clever tagline or convinced by a flash sale. You could, however, see this as a benefit to your content strategy—because every question your customer has, every argument they might make, every pain point they have, are all great opportunities for content. Mapping out these pain points in the buyer’s journey and identifying key buyer personas is much easier to do with a more educated buyer. Specific content execution comes later, but it’s also helpful to brainstorm some specific example ideas about what completed content might look like for each step in the buyer journey and for each buyer persona. This example post sketch will help Sally later on when she’s coming up with content ideas for each piece of the overall strategy.
Put yourself on a path to better B2B content creation.
There’s not one, clear path to creating quality content that works for your company. It’s an ongoing process—companies need to consistently provide information that clients and prospects find valuable and moves them closer to a purchase decision.
Use data-driven marketing research to help you measure the effectiveness of your content. Use SEO tools like Google Analytics to find out what content performs well and what fails to gain traction. Google Search Console will help you find keywords that can drive quality content. Olga Mykhoparkinam, Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty, notes, “The majority of the content we create is for B2B audience and it has a strong focus on SEO. Before creating a piece of content, we do keyword research to see what the content needs to be optimized for. For example, our top-performing post is one about Slack alternatives, which targets this very keyword. This article alone brings us more than 100 new users every month. The purpose of the article is to present the reader with an overview of Slack alternatives and present us as the best choice. It works incredibly well and articles like these are the main reason we now have over 10,000 active users and more than 50,000 website visitors every month.”
Remain open to fresh thinking—you just might find your target audience reacts really well to long-form articles when you figured they would be more likely to embrace webinars and visual content. Reach out to your customers and have conversations to help you identify areas that interest them. Connect with your sales team to find out what prospects consistently identify as pain points. Keep up with the topics covered in your trade journals to see if there is material you can build upon and make especially relevant to your products or services.