If content marketing isn’t currently part of your business’s marketing strategy, it should be. But, what exactly does B2B content marketing involve? How do you go about successfully implementing it? Keep reading, and the Snap team will tell you everything you need to know…
What is B2B content marketing?
B2B content marketing refers to the use of content (be it written, visual, or audio) to promote your business’s services or products and attract web traffic, leads and ultimately sales.
This content should aim to answer all of a potential business customer’s questions – across the entirety of the sales funnel – from initial awareness down to making a decision to purchase.
Think of it this way – whenever anyone has a pressing question to which they need an answer, what do they do?
They’ll go straight to their search engine of choice.
By producing the most authoritative, in-depth content that answers that question, your business will be among the first search results they see.
Do that for all of your potential customers’ questions, and you’ll quickly find that you become the go-to business for people in your industry – resulting in enquiries and sales. Win, win!
Becoming a thought leader
Aside from answering your customers’ most common questions, you should also use your content marketing activity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your industry.
If you’re a business that’s always publishing content about the latest developments in your industry, you’ll turn your brand into an industry leader. As per a piece of research from Edelman, nearly 90% of C-level decision-makers believe thought leadership influences their opinion of a company.
Not only can publishing thought leadership pieces boost your brand, but it can also spark conversations too. Conversations that can lead to sales…
How to develop a B2B content marketing strategy
In order for your B2B content strategy to be a success, you need to ensure you have clear objectives in mind.
You need to have a thorough understanding of your audience, decide upon which content formats you’ll use, and have a plan as to how you execute it all.
Below, we’ll set out the key objectives and actions that’ll make your content marketing efforts a success.
1. Where is your audience online?
It’s all very well going to the effort of creating a content marketing strategy, but if you aren’t able to get your content in front of your target audience, then it’s not going to do much.
A key element in creating a B2B content marketing strategy that works is to discover where your audience spends time online.
The best way to do this is to build up a series of personas about your audience. Ask and answer questions like:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are the demographics of my audience?
- How old are they?
- Who do they work for?
- What job titles do they have?
- What are their challenges and pain points?
- How can your services help them?
This data can be gathered from multiple sources, including your website’s analytics, your social media channels, industry-specific forums and chat rooms, industry publications, surveys and more.
Build up a clear enough picture of your audience, and you’ll begin to understand their online behaviour, the online channels they use most often and be able to serve up your content to them.
2. Select your content formats and channels
With a thorough understanding of your target audience, you’ll be in a position to decide upon which types of content will resonate best and generate the most engagement.
This will also influence your internal resourcing requirements (unless you are intending to outsource the production of your content).
It’s important not to think about content formats in isolation, though. You should also give some thought as to the channels the content will be distributed on or found via.
For example, as a business-to-business company, search engine visibility is likely going to be one of the best channels in terms of generating leads. As a result, the written content will be the format that’ll generate good keyword rankings and search engine visibility.
Your written content can take many forms – including blogs, eBooks, and white papers.
Whilst this written content can be published natively on platforms like LinkedIn, we’d recommend publishing it on your own website – then creating posts on those platforms directing people to it.
Get this right and your business will certainly benefit – as one piece of research found, businesses that publish written content consistently are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive return on investment than businesses that don’t.
What’s more, businesses that have websites with active blogs have over 400% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links.
3. Create a content calendar
Once you’ve decided upon the content format that’s going to work best for your target audience, it’s time to create a content calendar.
A content calendar will not only provide a central hub for your content strategy and help keep things organised, but it’ll also make your efforts more effective too!
As the Content Marketing Institute discovered, businesses that create and stick to a content calendar have 60% better results than those businesses that don’t.
Creating a content calendar doesn’t have to be difficult (a simple spreadsheet will suffice). The most important part of the process is creating content topics that are going to ‘click’ with your target customers.
There are a number of ways you can come up with effective topics for your content:
- Ask your audience. These are the people you’re trying to reach, after all! Consider putting out a survey on social media or your website to capture this info.
- Use content research tools. Tools like Answer the Public are a fantastic way of coming up with content topics.
- Ask your sales team. The chances are, your sales team is always answering the same questions from potential customers. These questions make ideal blog titles!
A note on keyword research
In addition to creating great content titles, it’s vital that you also carry out some keyword research.
After all, there’s no point in writing a blog about a topic that no one is searching for!
Don’t forget to do a content audit!
In addition to keyword research, you should also review any content your company has previously published.
By looking at your website’s analytics, you can identify old content which is performing well, and then further optimise it.
4. Measure, measure, measure
Once you’ve agreed upon your content calendar and started to publish content on a regular basis, it’s time to start measuring.
This is crucially important because if you can’t demonstrate the impact that your content strategy is having on the business, it won’t be long before hard questions are being asked higher up…
The most common metrics that are used to measure the success of content include:
- Number of page views.
- Number of conversions (e.g. completed contact forms, free trial sign-ups, purchases etc).
- Keyword rankings.
- Search visibility.
These will demonstrate the impact your B2B content marketing strategy is having, allowing you to push for further budget and resources.
With these insights, you’ll also be able to adjust and hone your strategy – dropping content topics that aren’t working and boosting those that are.
Snap: creating content that converts
If you want to create content that truly does deliver results, then get in touch.
Our growth marketing services leverage content (and other channels!), to take businesses from 0 to 100.
Find out more about Snap’s growth marketing services now
For more marketing advice, ideas and inspiration, read the Snap blog…