Content marketing is possibly the most useful B2B marketing tool available today when it comes to long term sustainable lead generation. A well-executed content marketing strategy can very effectively promote and ultimately grow any business. SaaS, financial institutions and other business service companies typically find a strong content marketing strategy is far more cost-effective than traditional forms of paid marketing. 

Good content marketing involves creating and distributing effective information. This can be through written articles, blogs, infographics, podcasts, or videos. Content marketing is rarely the medium for hard selling advertising of your brand, products or services. Firstly, good B2B content generates interest, raises awareness, and builds credibility for your company. Secondly, the creation and promotion of content that positions a company as a leader. Through education and resources, you can cultivate long-term customers.

The key to leveraging content marketing as a B2B company is offering customers something of value. It is important to focus on what your client needs. Share how you can help in a format that works for them.

So, how can you as a B2B company best use content marketing as a strategy to grow your business?  With any strategy, it takes planning, execution and creativity. 

How to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Audience Research

Knowing your audience is essential for any B2B content marketing strategy. This is the first step to understanding their needs. Proper audience research will help you clarify the needs and habits of your target personas. Another tool to try? Internal surveys of existing customers. They can share the benefits and value that they see in your product or service.

With well-crafted research, you can get started. In addition, this information will help you understand which content pieces will cultivate new business and serve client needs.

Keyword Research and Mapping

Keyword research and mapping is a critical exercise to help understand how to reach your audience. First, it helps you understand how your potential customers are thinking about your service. In addition, you can use these queries to plan your content.

For B2B companies, keyword research and mapping is vital for on-page SEO. Finding opportunities to be a resource for clients helps direct traffic to your website. Finally, with the right resource in place, you create brand affinity and over time the potential for a transaction.

Execution: Delivering the right content

Landing Pages

Landing pages are a key piece of a good B2B content strategy. Become a resource center for your potential customers by developing well-designed, robust landing pages that offer hyper-focused content that gets to the heart of a decision-makers question. These pages are easy to plan and create using audience research and keyword mapping. It will also help spot holes of content that can be filled by crafting solid landing pages. After those pages are created, you can run split tests and heatmap analysis to continue to innovate and add content. 

On-Page Content

In addition to landing pages on key products, services or industries, well curated content that can live on your website and promoted through email and social channels is also key. Using your audience research and keywords, create longtail pieces that answer client needs. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to share product differentiators. Finally, blog content is also a valuable way to keep your existing customers engaged and informed. You can strengthen relationships and cultivate referrals. 

Leveraging LinkedIn

LinkedIn is currently considered to be one of the best social platforms for business-to-business networking and research. B2B marketers can effectively leverage LinkedIn to promote their content and reach an audience primed to receive business-centered content.

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Make Your B2B Content Creative

You can do more than Spec Sheet

B2B companies often get stuck in thinking that they will be unable to ‘wow’ their audience with the technical specifics. However, the challenge for B2B content strategists is getting creative on the delivery of the message. Sometimes changing the format of the information can have a dramatic impact on how your audience. Think fun visuals, movement, or even a joke. Finally, it’s important to know your audience. Maybe dry, straightforward info is what they’re looking for. Listen to the data, and note what kinds of pieces your clients are sharing. Reinventing the wheel isn’t always necessary.

However, don’t be afraid to test new things. Switch your weekly blog to a quick podcast. Try using testimonials from community members in your newsletter. They may have more impact than the infographics showing the financial benefits of your product. This type of creativity and iteration is what strong B2B content marketing agencies can support you with. 

Explore New Channels

The power of content marketing for B2B companies is that there is no one-way to do it. Each industry and company will find their own nuanced formats and promotion plans that work for them depending on their audience, geography, industries and goals. Therefore, B2B companies are free to try out new ideas and test their creative chops. Developing online calculators, interactive maps, and user quizzes may resonate well with your clients. Finally, writing and placing articles in industry magazines or news outlets may be how you get in front of your target decision makers. Each of these have various pros and cons, but none of them are off limits.

Keep it Fresh

A challenge for a lot of B2B marketers is coming up with new ideas for long-standing services or products. However, without thinking of new ways to talk about products, articles and design pieces can start to feel stale and reused. In other words: boring. To avoid falling into this trap, make sure you are keeping up on the latest news and trends in your industry or in your customer’s industries. Ideas for new ways to talk about your brand may come quickly through current news or changes in a field. Finally, be open to looking at your existing content through a new lens, say through a different geographies needs or a beginner versus a seasoned user of your service. Frequent surveying of your customers as well as periodic new social media and audience research will help you make sure you are always feeding your marketing team new ideas for content. 

B2B Content Best Practices

When executed correctly, content marketing can be highly effective in raising brand awareness, growing your customer base, building relationships with existing customers, and positioning your company as an authority in your niche — all of which are vital to B2B business success. Above all, you should focus on serving your audience needs. The rest is just testing.

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