B2B Inbound Marketing shows us that we must get close to our audience, but with a different approach than that of B2C. Companies make their decisions more rationally and less emotionally in comparison with the end user, and their actions are conditioned by their budget and achieving their goals. Trust, reputation, and the image itself of a company influences its B2B success; if there’s a tool that can help us to improve sales, project security, and convince sceptics, it’s content.
B2B content marketing triumphs with companies for its effectiveness when it comes to increasing conversions. According to data collected by WebFX, 69% of B2B organizations use content marketing: 86% do it to create brand awareness, 70% to generate leads, and 63% to create loyalty with their customer (however, these goals are not mutually exclusive). An effective B2B content strategy provides each client with the right message, supported by technological solutions that allow you to personalize each with big data, lead nurturing, and lead scoring analysis techniques.
Before we dive into the most important kinds of content or goals, here’s a little reminder of what B2B content should be and the characteristics that should be highlighted:
Content should provide value, be specific, and be directed to the Buyer Persona (BP) and their interests
It must be contextual, related to the company, sector, and product
It must be functional and solve the doubts of our BP
It must provide product information and adapt to the funnel stage: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
It must capture the attention of the user. The user’s attention span is limited and our content focus on maintaining the user’s attention.
It must be helpful; it has to resolve the user’s doubts. Important: they won’t all be the same doubts, it will depend on the stage of the sales funnel in which we are.
It must be informative; it must clearly explain the Buyer Persona’s doubts.
It must be relevant; the content should focus precisely on what’s important.
It must be inspiring. In the interest of maintaining the user’s attention, it must inspire the user, providing new points of view and information.
It must be pertinent; it must provide information that relates to the topic, but, at the same time, that also relates to the BP and the funnel stage in which the reader is.
It must have good positioning and be easy to find, written to be positioned well through smart SEO usage. If you don’t make the effort to be found, why would others try to find you?
B2B content marketing goals
The use of content marketing is defined by the goal you want to reach. Defining your business goals is the first step to an effective strategy. Here’s an example: the tone, language, and message change if the goal is to create brand awareness for a brand, acquire leads that don’t know our product, win over leads that know our product but haven’t bought anything yet, or make the clients we already have loyal.
Each task requires a concrete aspect: the previous knowledge of this group’s needs to adapt to their interest level and convince them at their pace. And when it comes to creating content, know how to focus on different topics related to what the BP is looking for; this way, we can offer dynamic and diverse content, always within the range of interest of our audience, that personalizes the content and makes it professional.
Beyond this, there’s a series of elements that we have to study and keep in mind before sitting down to create content: the Buyer Persona and pillars of our strategy.
The Buyer Persona should be analyzed in extreme detail. Consider these questions: what problem are you trying to resolve? Problem approach → solution: create content based on the concerns of the BP and give them the answers effectively in a way that grabs their attention. Why is content unique? Singularity is an asset for content consumption. To stand out, find a different approach to the topics at hand, add additional information that your close competition doesn’t have, use creativity to think of new formats that surprise users and, at the same time, give them what they’re looking for. Utility and uniqueness go hand in hand in the most successful content.
Once you’ve analyzed the Buyer Persona, the content must be adapted to where and how your content is consumed. This means the medium and format chosen. For working hours and professional goals, the best content can be downloaded in an asset with lots of data; for free time, entertaining podcasts featuring experts will work much better. With the first idea, we push conversion and with the second, we improve our brand awareness: different goals and characteristics for the same client.
Your B2B marketing content must be backed by a solid strategy that is used as a reference to match the rest of the company’s actions. Study brand and product positioning to be consistent with the rest of the company’s messages. Observe the value proposal: it’s imperative to know what differentiates us from the rest and strengthen it. We can analyze the competition and see what trends are in fashion from other content creators in our sector.
The Business Case of a product or service is also very useful. It helps us to understand the benefits, costs, and risks of our content marketing and sort through the topics and audiences to address. And the strategic plan collects B2B marketing goals and decides how we are going to measure them, which is information we should have before we start to think about content.
The most used B2B content
Once we’ve done the documentation work beforehand, we can design content with more ease. Something that we agree on is that the focus is not on our product, but on the client, if they decide to buy, when, and how. That’s why we must have the buyer journey present and take on all the stages so the user isn’t “abandoned” ever:
It’s not just about having an impact with unique content and waiting for conversion; we have to design workflows that accompany each user from learning about our brand until conversion. We must build loyalty to that client through a flow of complementary content that we personalize according to their interaction with us; workflows are essential tools to effectively impact the potential customer with valuable content at every step.
Trial and error is the best way to identify what content formats work best with your audience, given that there’s not one solution that can be applied to all businesses. These are some of the most popular B2B content marketing strategies:
Blog: probably the most common way to publish content. Blog posts are useful for web positioning as they provide greater visibility and reach for your proposal.
Video: videos have a visual impact and, with luck, can go viral and reach new audiences. They are usually shared on social media.
Podcasts: podcasts are the format that has grown the most in the past few years. We have less time to read and listening to podcasts can be combined with our daily activities: driving, working, cleaning. Through podcasts, we can use experts to help showcase the materials we’d like to work with and create brand and product awareness.
Ebook: this format is especially useful for lead generation. It offers a more detailed concept and we ask for information in exchange for the download; therefore, we include the client in our database and we can begin a circle of communication with them.
Infographic: infographics allow for more creativity with design and are perfect for providing data and statistics
Success stories: as we mentioned before, companies value the loyalty and confidence that we project, so success stories that show our hard work are an excellent way to convince potential clients and improve our image.
One question that can come up is how often we should provide content. Everything depends on our goals, the number of Buyer Personas we have, and the capacity to generate the content (our own resources). From there, we can create an editorial calendar that combines funnel levels, BP, and topics, according to our priorities.
Once it’s created, how do we share it? This is another common question. The main platform of B2B content distribution is our website or blog. And if we’re talking about social media, the queen of B2B marketing is LinkedIn. With more than 310 million active users a month, it’s the professional network par excellence, followed by Twitter and Facebook.
Content marketing is full of challenges in a digital environment with high competition and consumers that have short attention spans. This shouldn’t discourage us; on the contrary, it’s a challenge to invest resources and creativity in creating attractive, attention-grabbing, effective, and unique content. You know what they say: in marketing, content is king. Give it the care it deserves and we’ll reap the results.