Generating leads, getting your business ahead of the competition, and succeeding in areas that matter — all are possible with the right B2B content marketing strategy.
There’s not a lot you can’t do with content, in all honesty, it’s why every business you come across is engaging audiences with it in some way shape or form.
You’d need to be crazy to not consider SEO or blogging in the modern day — two of the main areas marketers tend to gravitate towards whenever B2B content marketing is said out in the open.
It all sounds so simple on paper, but developing your own content strategy can and will take some time to perfect.
You see, there is more than one way to approach it based on variety of factors that will apply to you and your business specifically. Plus, content marketing is somewhat of a waiting game compared to the instant results generated from, say, a social media advert.
You won’t be able to monitor results overnight for the most part, which kinda sucks if you’re a B2B company looking for instant success, but have you ever heard the saying: ‘slow and steady wins the race?’
Yeah, that applies to B2B content marketing strategies too…
If you’ve never formed your own B2B content marketing strategy before — or are simply looking for inspiration from an agency that gets it, well, you’ve found the right post!
What is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy Exactly?
We’re starting off right, by clueing you in on what the term ‘B2B content marketing strategy’ means, as some of you aren’t as experienced in the every-expanding world of marketing.
Besides, even if you do know what the term means, refreshers are always welcome. Marketers, marketing managers, or anyone in marketing are prone to forget things considering how much they do in a single company.
Forgetting some things comes with the territory from time to time.
It’s probably easier if we break each part of it down, rather than give you a very cookie-cutter type of outliner:
- B2B: A business that works with other business directly to generate revenue
- Content Marketing: Marketing that employs the use of quality content to garner interest from audiences
- Strategy: An outline of long term goals or an overall aim tied to a brand or business
Put all of the above together and you have a B2B content marketing strategy! should have a pretty good idea of what the hell a B2B content marketing strategy is, at least from a rather basic standpoint.
What’s more, your marketing-based content strategy here acts as a roadmap of sorts, and will keep you heading in the right direction. Sure, you could create as standard, without considering the long term, but by doing so you are only going so far.
Which brings us to our next talking point.
Why you need a B2B Content Marketing Strategy in the First Place
You need a content marketing strategy to keep you on the right path, to ensure that every action you take is the right one — an action that will bring you closer to your goals.
Expect to get lost without a content strategy in hand, lost in your marketing-orientated goals, and business goals by proxy.
Your B2B marketing strategy is there as a guide, to keep you, and other members of the team on the same page with every move made. Moreover, these strategies can be used as a rough guide for all future content marketing efforts!
In other words, just because your content marketing fell short of the mark the first time doesn’t mean that this experience can’t aid you for the next go around.
Is it tougher to form a B2B content marketing strategy over a B2C one?
That depends on what you’re hoping to achieve and the type of content you’re going to put out.
But, generally, yes.
Businesses Tend to Have Different Wants and Needs
Businesses are harder to market yourself towards because they think and act differently. With B2C content marketing, you might be able to get away with more direct forms of advertising, but for businesses, an alternate approach will be required.
Why are businesses so difficult to market towards?
Multiple reasons, the most obvious being: they tend to spend money differently, and will only engage with businesses when they feel like it will offer value.
And that’s not to say that customers don’t value what you’re offering them. We’re simply stating that businesses tend to move with an additional layer of care.
Here’s an example: a quirky viral marketing campaign might work for your everyday person on the street, but businesses might not be as impressed.
Your best bet in marketing your brand to these businesses is to impress them — offer them information or something of value that they can incorporate into the brand and be all the better for it.
Informative/engaging blog content that covers popular topics in the market tied to your target audience is easily the best way of doing this.
And yes, content marketing is an indirect way of appealing to businesses.
Indirect Marketing 101
If you’ve spent enough time researching topics surrounding B2B content marketing, then you’ve more than likely come across the term ‘indirect marketing‘ before.
Indirect marketing is a way for businesses to market themselves in a very counter-promotional type of way. The idea is you create content that is engaging enough to lure leads in, who then spend enough time around you to recognise your abilities/qualities.
From there, through consistent content, these business are worked down your funnel, and eventually equate to a sale — or, sales, if you’ve managed to prove your worth to them.
Here’s a quick rundown of the various types of indirect marketing, for reference:
How You Can Create an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy
So we know what a B2B content marketing strategy is, and how different it is from B2C content marketing, but how do you go about creating this type of content strategy?
There’s a process, one that you can use again and again. This process, it’s one that we find works exceptionally well, regardless of the market or industry you’re wanting to market to.
Before we cover how you do it, understand that every B2B marketing strategy is unique to the business/brand that created it. The objectives and methods might be similar to those you see in other brands, but the finer details will be exclusive to each brand, respectively.
We’re going to go step by step here, so that you can keep up, and so that every point is made crystal clear.
A quick rundown of how we’re going to break this down for you:
- Start with your audience
- Monitor your competitors
- Outline your goals properly
- Create quality and consistent content
- Collaborations and link building
- Promote your content effectively
- Learn from the end results
Now, let’s start with arguably the most important part of any content strategy: your audience.
Start with Your Audience
Without an audience, your content strategies don’t exist, it’s that simple.
The first thing anyone should do when formulating their own B2B content marketing strategy is look at the types of businesses they want to work with. Consider the size of these businesses, who they work with directly, and what their long term goals are.
Creating buyer personas is how you can do this without settling on the companies you think could be great but lack the evidence to back it up.
Take your buyer personas and try to segment them into subgroups based on areas of interest, how they behave, how much they’d typically spend to work with you, etc.
You’re doing this so that you can outline what types of content they’d likely stumble across so that you can create that content outright!
Consider What you’d Find Interesting
Optimising content for your target audience is obviously the goal here, just don’t get lost in the content marketing sauce by doing so.
Ask yourself: would I want to read this type of content? If the answer is no, then, chances are, what you create is going to come across as way too forced and won’t inspire businesses to interact with it.
Remember, content marketing is an indirect play, meaning you need to offer something of value to your base. Businesses have a keen eye for mediocre content marketing, so try to keep quality control at a set standard.
Practically anyone can write a bunch of blogs that are pumped full of keywords and have it rank on Google. It’s whether or not the readers of said post read it through to the end and take something away from it, that’s the important part.
Monitor your Competitors
Part of developing your own B2B content marketing strategy involves paying close attention to what rival businesses are doing, and adapting, or tuning what they do to serve the needs of your target audience.
Take a good look at what they’re currently doing to engage with their audience — also, look for any gaps (areas that they don’t do so well in).
Once you’ve done that, start to think about what you do that is in any way different from them. It might be that you don’t do a lot differently, which is fine, as long as you’ve gotten something useful from your research.
We’ve said it countless times in blogs all over the Canny site, still, we’ll say it again for clarity: you can learn a lot about yourself by turning your attention to your competitors.
Competitor Research will Help Outline Keywords
Have you decided that blogging/SEO is the play but aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to keywords?
The answer to these questions lie in what your competitors are doing. Head over to their website and pay attention to the words used in the titles of the various blogs you see before you.
See those? Yeah, they’re the keywords you should be looking to implement within your own posts. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the exact same keywords.
With the right SEO tool (like Ahrefs) you can find variations of the same word, variations that could have a higher search volume, and therefore give you much better website traffic over your competitor!
The size of your business will determine the types of keywords you go for. A larger business could possibly push for those in a higher bracket, although we find that those with a low difficulty are still just as viable, if not more.
Outline your Goals Properly
We know we’ve just finished touching on competitors, and how much you can learn from them in a B2B content marketing strategy sense, but still. Your goals should be your own — they should also be measurable in some way or another.
You want them to be measurable so that you can gauge whether or not your efforts were a success or a failure. Otherwise, how else are you to know?
If you’re not sure on how to outline your goals properly, then look no further than the SMART objective method. SMART stands for the following:
Use each of the above to mind map your marketing goals. Oh, and try to be as honest as possible when answering the questions you ask yourself in order to find your goals.
Telling lies will only affect your marketing efforts overall (and not in a good way), since your goals are coming from the wrong place.
For example, asking yourself ‘who can I realistically appeal to?’ and responding with a company that is operating in a much higher weight class will only lead to wasted time and resources.
Again, stick with the SMART method and everything should work out alright.
Create Quality and Consistent Content
Consistency trumps all. Meaning you should be looking to populate your website with a steady flow of content between now, and whenever you want your current marketing campaign to end.
Although, in saying that, there are companies that are constantly plugging away, adding new content each and every week — some do it daily, like us, at this moment in time).
It’s this level of consistency that has allowed us to remain relevant, while showcasing our knowledge of things like B2B content marketing strategies amongst other key areas of expertise.
There are many reasons why our content marketing strategy works, and one of them revolves around how consistent we are. Consistent in the quality of our output, and by how frequently we post.
You’re currently reading this blog, surely that tells you something?
Creating one good piece of content could attract the right kind of attention from other businesses, only some will want to see more before they decide to reach out and touch base.
Try to Spruce Up Your Content
The great thing about the content in content marketing is that it’s open to complete and utter interpretation. How you want to showcase yourself is up to you, in line with the marketing goals and what your audience will zone in on.
That being said, one of the biggest tips we can give is this: try not to box yourself in if possible.
SEO expert Neil Patel is a wizard when it comes to content marketing, and he states that to create something engaging you need to create multi-layered content. In other words, try not to rely too much on text/copy.
Implementing visual elements, such as video, and animations through things like gifs, can add so much to static content, making for a more memorable experience.
Also, by presenting content this way you set the bar quite high in that readers will expect all content covering these topics to have a multi-layered approach.
Studies have shown that our brains process visuals around 60,000x faster than text. If that doesn’t convince you, then nothing will.
Struggling? Go with an Agency Instead
If you’re still stuck on how to form the content side of your B2B content marketing strategy then you could source what you need from somewhere else.
There are creative agencies everywhere these days, all of whom we have no doubt, understands the importance of original content when marketing one’s self to other businesses.
We certainly understand this.
As a creative agency ourselves, we understand the difficulties that come from crafting content that gets results, while balancing everything else you have going on in your regular day-to-day.
We know because many of our clients were in that exact position before they came to us looking for help with their content/content strategy. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more about what we’ve done/can do for you.
Don’t let quality content fall by the wayside citing a lack of time as the reason, seriously.
Collaborations Help Boost Content Through Content
So you now have your content sorted — an integral area of the B2B content marketing strategy — what now?
That’s easy: you boost brand exposure through collaborations with like-minded businesses. You do this via guest posting, which is the act of crafting more content that sits on an external website linking back to your own.
You might think that crafting content strictly for promotion is a waste of time and resources, but hey, it works. More so if you can post on a website that has a much higher authority than you.
Besides, what we’ve just described is essentially free advertising for you, your brand, and your content too!
You never know who might be reading your posts on other sites which plays perfectly into your hands. And who knows, maybe they find their way to your site and begin consuming the content on there.
Backlink Building is Another Thing to Consider
Collaborations include backlinks, which is another area you need to give some time and attention if you want your content to be in a strong/stable position.
Backlinks aren’t that difficult to obtain, however, the act of backlink building is a time-consuming one as it involves reaching out to other websites and businesses directly.
And there’s no limit to the number of sites you can touch base with.
Think of backlinks, or inbound links, as internal votes that tie one webpage to the other. The more votes a page or website has, the better it will fare within Google and other search engines from an order standpoint.
Guest posting is one of the more popular ways of securing backlinks. Still, that does require you to craft content first, which can take a chunk out of your day.
Another option would be to simply ask a website if you can place a link on there in return for a link on yours. Or, you could list your site in noteworthy directories which could lead to an increase in website traffic to boot (depending on which you end up on).
Backlink building is an essential part of your B2B content marketing strategy, an area that many miss for some reason or other. Perhaps due to how lengthy the process can be.
Promote your Content Effectively
We’re sticking with the post game in this section to talk about promoting your content effectively once it’s up and running.
Having that content there is one thing, it’s another to promote it. And yes, SEO is technically a form of free promotion but there are ways to help amplify the success of the content produced.
However, it will cost you.
Pay per click (PPC) is one of these methods, where you pay for adds associated to specific phrases, so that whenever your audience searches for these terms your posts are the first they see before the organic results are displayed.
PPC can be quite expensive, so if you can’t afford that, then maybe running ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could be better options for you.
If you are going to run ads, make sure that you use platforms that your target audience uses. It’s pointless going for the cheapest of the bunch just because it will save you some money if your audience doesn’t frequent this spot!
Learn from the End Results
Easily the most important part of any B2B content marketing strategy is how you respond to the results once a campaign has reached its end.
If you used the SMART method to outline your content marketing strategy then you should have a pretty good idea of how you’re going to evaluate the results. Applying tracking metrics should provide the right kind of insight.
The word in the title is ‘develop’ and there’s no better way to develop than to learn from your successes or failures.
Don’t be afraid to try something different with your content marketing, even if it fails, there’s bound to be something within the experience that will aid your successes in future campaigns.
We know we said businesses are a lot harder to market towards, but that shouldn’t stop you from employing some outside the box thinking from time to time.
If the content is good/interesting enough, you should have no problems at all in attracting the attention of other businesses!
How to Develop a B2B Content Marketing Strategy that Succeeds
At the core of everything you do content-wise should be your own brand, remember that.
We say that because it’s true, and because there are businesses out there that conform way too much to the status quo of their own market, which explains why they aren’t turning leads into sales — or generating quality leads at all.
Try not to think of content as this fixed thing. Content is a chameleon in that it’s highly adaptable and can apply to brands in a B2B lane, and a B2C market.
To recap, the main things you need to consider when creating your own B2B content marketing strategy include:
- Always keep your target audience in mind
- Don’t create content that you yourself wouldn’t consume
- Utilise multi-layered content to stand out
- Learn from your successes and your failures
- Hiring a creative agency is an option if you need it
If you end up deciding you do need the help of a creative agency, know that Canny is on hand to help you wherever needed. Our content creation skills are stellar, as too are our content strategy skills.
Talk to us, let us know what you need help with and we’ll go from there!
B2B Content Marketing Strategy FAQs
Is B2B content marketing different from B2C content marketing?
From a fundamental level yes, with B2B content marketing you are targeting businesses specifically. Whereas with B2C, your aim is to reach individual customers who don’t represent a larger brand.
What do I do if my B2B content strategy isn’t working?
If for whatever reason your B2B content strategy isn’t generating the results you want then you might want to consider altering your content so that it does. Ideally, you should wait a few months before reworking any of it. Remember, content marketing is a long play.
What makes great B2B content?
Striking that balance between informative and engaging content is the recipe for great B2B content that grabs the attention of your target audience. Try to solve any problems they might be having, doing so is a sure-fire way of generating quality leads.