Initially, content marketing was mainly used in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies. However, the scope of content marketing has become so vast that Business-to-business or B2B companies are also jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
B2B content marketing is the process of making use of content to reach your target audience, strengthen your bond with them and improve brand recognition and loyalty. The main aim of content marketing is to identify leads and present a compelling pitch that ultimately improves sales. That being said, B2B content marketing is different from B2C content marketing.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C Content Marketing
The main difference between B2B and B2C content marketing is that the tone and context are exclusively meant for business to business. Hence, instead of creating consumer-facing casual content, the tone needs to be professional. The main point of creating content when it comes to B2B is that it needs to add value. If the reader is unable to relate and finds the information inapplicable to their business, the content has missed its mark. As a B2B content marketer, it is of utmost importance to be seen as a leading resource for professions in the industry. Neil Patel is an ideal example of a successful B2B content marketer.
Why You Should Invest In Content Marketing
Many businesses don’t give much importance to content marketing, assuming it’s more effective for B2C businesses. They often focus all their energy into paid ads. While paid ads are equally important, just relying on that strategy is not enough. Why? Well, two simple words; Ad Overload. Consumers are bombarded with ads on every website they visit and to battle this, most of them install ad blockers. In fact, according to the PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report, more than 615 million devices have ad-blocking software installed. Hence, content marketing is crucial for all types of businesses if they want to reach their audience.
Here are some reasons that are sure to compel you to invest in content marketing for your business:
#1. Increase Conversion Rate
The biggest benefit of investing in content marketing is that it helps drive more conversions for your business. Don’t trust us? Here are some facts:
- According to ImpactBnd, 77% of internet users read blogs
- According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog
- According to ABGEssentials, content marketing gets a conversion rate that is 6 times higher compared to traditional marketing
#2. Increase Brand Awareness
There are surely a host of customers who match your ideal target audience entirely and are probably even looking for the product you sell. However, they have no idea your brand even exists. By creating valuable content for your consumers, you will be able to rank for various searches potential consumers make and increase your brand awareness.
#3. Build Trust Among Your Target Audience
Let’s face it; there is a lot of competition out there. Every product has at least 2-4 companies fighting for consumer attention for almost the same product. In all this chaos, how do you ensure the customer chooses you? It’s simple; educate them to build their trust. By publishing unique, interesting and educational content about your product, you will be able to engage your audience, show them that you are the market experts and build their trust for your brand.
The Benefits of Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
With the rise of digital marketing, there is no doubt that competition is also increasing tremendously. The demand to create quality content that generates most organic search traffic and social shares have grown. An effective content marketing strategy has become more important now than ever, especially for B2B companies. Creating and delivering content that attracts and retains customers needs a strategic framework. To put it in simple words, business to business marketing of content is an art of developing and distributing valuable content and relevant in order to attract companies and wholesale buyers. However, before you can determine which activities need to be part of your strategy, follow the steps given below:
Step 1: Set Your Objectives
Few questions such as the purpose of your content marketing, creating brand loyalty, how to attract new business ideas need to be answered before you begin formulating a strategy. Typically the main objectives of your content marketing plan should involve goals such as building an audience, generating profits, lowering costs and retaining customers. You should also consider planning other objectives such as the frequency of uploading blogs, social media channels you plan to use etc. Once you prepare and finalize your objectives, you should spend some time creating and documenting your strategy.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
The main aim here is to build a lasting relationship with your audience through your content. In order to do so, it is important to identify and understand the requirements of your audience. The secret to creating great content is to change your perspective and think from the point of view of your target audience. In today’s digital world, there are various tools available for identifying and understanding the behaviour of your audience. Meanwhile, you need to also remember that while creating content that connects with your audience it is important to avoid extreme targeting. Extreme targeting has a big risk of abandoning large groups of potential customers (Escobedo, 2017). An effective marketing strategy involves considering all of these points while defining and creating content for your audience.
Step 3: Focus on the quality of your content
For your target audience to view, like and share your content, it is important to make it engaging, relevant and valuable. In order to improve the quality of your content, ensure that you follow the below-mentioned tips:
- Ensure that your content is keyword-rich from the beginning itself. You should make use of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) in order to boost your SEO strategy.
- While integrating keywords in your content it is also important to ensure that your content does not look like it is stuffed with keywords. Hence, it is important to avoid overusing keywords in your blog.
- Along with these methods for ranking higher, it is also important to create content that is visually appealing, add some value and is relevant to the audience.
- Make use of infographics, images, videos and GIFs for making your blogs more visually appealing.
- It is important to be creative, original and engaging with your content.
- Along with all of this consider adding other elements to your blog such as a weekly newsletter, adding a call to action, latest news and trends, polls etc. for engaging your audience.
Step 4: Choose your platforms for content distribution
The rise of digital marketing has led to content distribution becoming a very vital part of your B2B marketing strategy. In order to make your online presence felt, it is important to effectively distribute your content across various platforms. Content can be distributed across the following three main channels:
Owned channels are directly under your control since they belong to you. They include various platforms such as website, blog, email etc. These are the channels that you probably use frequently for promoting your content.
Earned media involves sharing your content or regulating HOW its shared (Baum, 2017). It involves making use of social media, guest blog articles, online communities, and other forms for promoting your content.
Paid distribution for effective marketing
Paid distribution is basically any channel that you pay for the purpose of content marketing. It includes pay-per-click ads, print ads, social media ads, etc (Baum, 2017).
Step 5: Finalize Activities For Your Content Marketing Strategy
1. Use The Skill of Storytelling
A critical goal of creating a content marketing strategy is to be able to connect with your target audience. With a good story, you can do just that! The fact is that even though B2B content marketing is focused on businesses, at the end of the day, purchase decisions are made by people. Moreover, since every business has a story behind its inception, creating content that tells this story shouldn’t be difficult. Just remember that you’re talking to key members of the company and your content needs to compel them.
Storytelling is important because the internet currently if filled with a ton of content. However, most of this content is uploaded with the aim of appeasing search engines and not actually people. Hence, by writing a story that is personal and impactful, you’re sure to catch the attention of buyers. Mentioned below are a couple of tips to follow while incorporating a story into your B2B content marketing strategy:
- Analyst and study your client and their business to get a better understanding of what type of content needs to be created
- Ensure your story takes the reader through a clear journey of your product and/or service
- Make sure your content aims to provide useful information to your customers, or potential leads by being informative and insightful
2. Use Cross-Pollination
When it comes to creating a B2B content marketing, simply creating content isn’t enough. You need to have a proper plan on how you will promote the content. You need to decide the strategy to improve the material during the content creation process itself, to ensure the tone of content matches the guidelines of the platform. While there are plenty of tools to promote your content, there are some activities you can conduct while promoting your content. Using multiple ways to promote your content is known as cross-pollination. Mentioned below are two of the most popular activities:
- Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is easily one of the most effective strategies to promote your content, especially when it comes to B2B content promotion. If you’re able to publish your content on the site of an industry expert, the credibility of content automatically increases. For example, you can post your content on reputable sites like the Entrepreneur or Forbes. This activity is beneficial as it lets your content reach a vast audience, thereby considerably improving your online presence.
- Roundup Posts
Another great way to promote your content is through expert roundup posts. These are an amplified type of guest post, where you get multiple industry experts to express their opinion in one article. You could also get these experts to talk about your product or service and how it can help them improve the challenges faced by the industry you’re part of.
4. Use Real-life Examples and Case Studies
With so much “fake news” circulating on the internet, people have become more wary about what and whom they trust. In order to gain the trust of your readers, it is important to back your content with real-life examples, screenshots, case studies etc.(Escobedo, 2017). Adding these elements can help your readers to trust your content in order to build a lasting relationship with you. Along with this, do not forget to source your article or blog really well, especially if there are any statistics, updates, latest news, facts etc.
Step 6: Monitor and Optimize
Various companies that have achieved success in content marketing would agree that the most effective strategy is to regularly track content marketing progress and ROI. This includes measuring and analyzing the results of the strategy in order to identify what is and isn’t working for your business. Conducting this analysis will also help you discover your areas of improvement and modify your strategy to the optimum level. Businesses could also consider making use of various tools Google Analytics, Buffer etc that can help track your published content.
The thing about effective B2B content marketing is that a strategy that may work for one business may not necessarily work for yours. Hence, it is important to create a unique strategy with the help of the above-mentioned tips, that fits your business perfectly and drives your sales. It is important for you to experiment, analyze and implement the strategy that works best for you and helps you crush your competition successfully!
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