B2B content marketing is different from B2C content marketing. Most experienced marketing professionals know that targeted audiences in B2B have different needs and reasons for buying compared to B2C. Even the way B2B marketers promote their content will typically be different. Below is part of an inforgraphic created by MarketingProfs that illustrates a few of these differences:
Despite all the differences mentioned in the infographic, B2B content marketing has one major thing in common with B2C content marketing. Whether the content you’re creating is for a typical consumer or for someone at a business, the fundamentals of creating engaging content are the same. While there may be some debate about what content marketing tactics you should be using, it’s important take an objective view and identify the techniques that actually work.
In this article we will look at some of the more promising B2B content marketing tactics that may be used to more effectively promote your business and brand with your targeted audience.
1. Sell the Story Before You Sell Your Product
This is the most important thing to do. Providing a compelling narrative about benefits your product or service provides will make a big difference in promoting your brand. Businesses spend money for one very specific reason: It’s either going to help them make money or save money. Businesses don’t spend money unless they see the advantage of what you provide. They will be listening to the radio station “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me) which is just how business works.
The way your business helps them make or save money will be different based on the kind of products or services you provide. But at the end of the day, you’re either helping them make money or save money. This is the information that a manager will communicate with a higher executive or business owner to get their approval. With a focus on the tangible value you provide, it’s easy to see how this feeds into creating effective content for your targeted audience. You are usually on the right track when you create content that’s focused around the concept of tangible value.
Be sure to focus on the fundamentals and provide engaging content. No matter how you look at it Content is a way to tell a story. Focus first on the story you want to tell and then sell your business within the content. Discuss how your product or service solves a problem or challenge that your customers have and develop a narrative that revolves around this. Also include a quality call to action that motivates them to take the next step to learn more and follow up with you.
2. A Good User Experience Matters
The cornerstone of effective content marketing is a good user experience. This is where your marketing funnel meets your sales funnel and how visitors turn into qualified prospects and then customers.
If your visitors don’t find your content interesting and compelling they will not progress down the funnel. They need to connect with your brand in some way and you need to differentiate your brand from your competitors through your use of content marketing.
Creating moderately valuable content is good. However creating highly engaging content that different customers can identify with is great. User experience matters for the basic reason that it leads to brand loyalty.
You don’t want to promote your brand as being the cheapest option, but rather the best option that meets their needs. Offer a unique experience that breeds customer loyalty.
3. Create Content that is Multi-layered
Even if you’re an experienced in B2B marketer, it’s worth clarifying what it actually means to create content that is engaging, and multi-layered. The best content incorporates aspects of both text-based and visual content to promote an experience that is as engaging as possible.
This consists of three categories that include:
The text is typically the aspect that businesses struggle with the least. It’s often the only category that businesses have experience marketing with. However, the other two categories are just if not more important.
Using the right images help promote engagement since most people need visual clues to help connect with what they are reading. Images can be anything from screenshots, to diagrams and custom made infographics.
When it comes to videos you don’t always need to use expensive professional videos. Depending on your product or service a basic non professional video may be all that you need. While a picture is worth a thousand words, they say a video is worth 1.8 million words.
4. Collaborate to Get Cross-Pollination
When it comes to the process of creating content, it’s easy to forget about one of the most important factors of content marketing. That’s promoting the content to your target audience.
There are many tools that you can use to promote content, but one of the most effective ways to promote content is by using guest posts. This means requires that you collaborate with other businesses and develop either partnerships or work with other businesses that have products or services that complement your own.
Your partners and collaborators can produce articles that are posted on your site which are promoted to your audience (and vise versa). By doing this both you and your partners are able to increase exposure for your content and send traffic back to your respective sites or social media profiles. This is about as “win-win” as you can get.
This cross-pollination approach is essential for not only getting your content out in front of more people, but for helping establish your online authority in your industry niche.
If an executive or decision maker from a company sees informative and helpful content on your site this will certainly promote your online presence. However if they also see your content on other industry relevant sites, that tells them you may be an online authority.
There are also benefits of hosting other people’s content on your site. This is essentially content curration without having to spend the time creating the content yourself. Your audience will see that you are providing high-quality content from relevant sites and will see that you have a good understanding of what is valuable. Doing this consistently will build your reputation with your audience within your industry.
5. Look for Ways to Boost Your Content
There are many stats that show how effective it is to add simple infographics to text based content (as shown in item #1 above). Many people are visual learners. Beyond info graphics we enter the world of video. Integrating any type of compelling video into your content will improve the overall experience and engagement of your visitors.
It’s important to note you need to have a “compelling” not a “high quality” video. The content should always provide value to your target audience. The main thing is to make your video content is just as engaging as your text based content so that it’s valuable enough to engage your audience.
Every business will have their own approach to this process, and there are no set rules. Generally by adding strong visual media you will engage people who visual learners who may not be into reading a lot of text, and it breaks up the monotony of plain text based content.
6. Tracking Metrics is the Key to Success
In the digital marketing process you will to be doing a lot of trial and error experimenting. You may have success with some things and lots of other things will not work at all. Even with careful planning there is no way to accurately know beforehand what kind of content will resonate with your audience.
Fortunately that’s why we have metrics that can be tracked. You may initially stumble since you’re operating on assumptions about what your audience wants. However once you’ve started trying out different kinds of content you can then keep track of your score.
Tracking the success or failure of your content marketing efforts allows you do two things:
- Helps you develop a marketing strategy that’s focused around something your audience relates to
- Keeps you from making the same mistakes over again
This promotes long-term consistent growth and success in the world of digital marketing. You will be able to avoid tactics that don’t work and develop strategies based on tactics that actually work for your business.
7. Consider Using Social Media Advertising
Paid advertising can pay a role in promoting B2B content marketing. If you are a business that is marketing to other businesses you probably will focus on the importance of using LinkedIn.
According to recent information posted on Hubspot comparing LinkedIn with Facebook for Business, LinkedIn is far better at lead generation. However Facebook has a much larger base of active users that spend on average 35 min per day vs. LinkedIn where users spend just 17 min per month using the platform. While users do not spending nearly as much time on LinkedIn as Facebook, they are more likely to be in a buying mindset.
LinkedIn and Facebook are good for different things. While Facebook provides access to ten times more prospects, and offers a great place to generate brand awareness/engagement, LinkedIn beats Facebook when it comes to actually generating tangible leads. When you consider using these platforms the one to use depends on what industry you are in as well as who you are trying to reach and your marketing goals.
B2B content marketing presents many unique challenges when it comes to both creation as well as promotion. You need to understand your targeted audience and continuously provide content that connects with their problems and challenges.
Make sure that you’re creating content that informs your audience using compelling stories and include valuable information. Don’t just bombard them with details about your products and self-promotion.
Recognize the importance of a good user experience and the potential to promote brand loyalty within your content marketing efforts.
Collaborate or use partnerships with other businesses in your industry and embrace guest posting and use it as a promotional tool.
Make sure your content has quality and depth, and include great copy along with strong visuals.
Track important metrics and learn how to create good content for your targeted audience that confirmed by data to ensure your marketing efforts are more successful over time.
Consider using paid ads on social media, using platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to promote awareness for your brand and promote leads.
If you’re able to do these things consistently you will have a higher degree of success in B2B content marketing and make a significant impact.