Ask any digital marketing expert, and they’ll tell you that no campaign can work without amazing content.
However, even stellar content can fail at generating actual leads and converting visitors into buyers without a solid content marketing strategy.
You can publish informative, helpful blogs, even gain impressive traction with catchy videos. But unless you know where your campaign is headed, how it needs to get there, and why, your audience is going to lose interest in a blink without you getting any real benefit from your content.
Worse, you could be spending huge marketing budgets on all the wrong tactics. In which case, it would be way better to not spend on a marketing plan at all!
To keep your content marketing sharp and for you to gain real, meaningful results, you need a content marketing strategy that works specifically for your type of business.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
B2B content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves publishing written and visual content with the main aim of generating quality leads, driving conversion rates, increasing efficiency, and maximizing ROI.
Unlike B2C marketing where you target individual consumers, B2B content marketing involves targeting businesses–this means companies that need your products as raw materials or your services for them to successfully operate.
B2B content marketing typically has the following characteristics:
- Focused on nurturing long-term relationships
- Shaped around long sales cycles instead of quick decisions
- Appeals to logic and problem-solving instead of emotions
When building a B2B content marketing strategy, however, it’s crucial to bear in mind that you will still be targeting people.
So although the focus on emotional appeal may not be as much as when you’re doing a B2C campaign, it still pays to shape strategies that appeal to both human emotion and logic.
In other words, content has to be attractive, attention-grabbing, and relevant, while being educational and useful for audiences driven to find business solutions.
Why Does B2B Content Marketing Matter?
B2B content marketing is indispensable when you’re trying to gain brand awareness and share expertise within your industry. It’s even more so if you’re working your way into an already saturated industry where the competition is steep.
Boosts Brand Awareness
There’s nothing like quality content to bring your brand in front of your target market. By utilizing different content formats, you can successfully create and increase awareness about the products and services that you provide.
All sales start with the awareness that your brand exists and that what you offer is valuable to your market.
Establishes Thought Leadership
Content types such as blogs, case studies, and industry news, among many others, are fantastic at establishing your brand as a thought leader within your niche.
A strong content marketing strategy can let your audience know about your expertise, thereby creating trust and credibility.
Effectively Generates Leads
Engaging content is still the most effective means through which to generate quality leads. Segmented and personalized email newsletters, in particular, are still arguably the most effective at driving conversions and ensuring follow-through in marketing campaigns.
With B2B marketing, the journey from awareness to purchase can take a much longer time, however. This is because organizations typically go through deliberations and require approval from decision-makers before buying.
Unlike with B2C marketing where you can reasonably expect almost-immediate conversions from online and social media content alone, you have to be aware of where your market is in their buying journey in order to be effective at reaching them where they are most susceptible to receiving information about you.
Nurtures Long-Term Customer Relationships
With B2B marketing, your audiences are most likely more concerned with dealing with brands that they already trust and have a long-term relationship with.
That’s why a short-term campaign just won’t work with B2B marketing. Longer sales cycles alone mean that you have to find a way to keep audiences engaged and retain your existing customer base.
Content marketing is an effective means to consistently put out educational, informative content that your market needs and will keep going back to you for.
How to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing strategy will depend on a few things, including your industry and audience. There is no one-size-fits-all in content marketing, just as in any type of marketing strategy.
Still, these steps will help give you a headstart:
- Build Buyer Personas
First things first: Know who you’re addressing. The way you shape your content, the type of content you publish, and even where you publish will depend on your audience.
An effective strategy starts with conducting thorough research on your target. This will help you build buyer personas, or representations of your audience, that will help you target your audience more effectively in your content strategy.
Buyer personas will also give you valuable insights on your target market’s buying behaviors, where they spend their time, and what types of content appeal to them the most.
- Know Your Brand Position
To create a content marketing strategy that works, you have to first determine your brand positioning. This simply means where you stand as compared to your competitors from the perspective of a consumer.
This will help you craft a marketing plan that works around qualities that set you apart from other brands, plays up your strengths, and causes you to stand out.
- Pinpoint Campaign Goals
Once you have your buyer personas and brand positioning down to a tee, you can now define your campaign’s objectives.
Other factors that can impact your goals include which stages in your audience’s buying journey you want to address and customer pain points.
Identifying market pain points is crucial for determining where you can most successfully come in to provide solutions. The best way to identify these pain points or problems is by asking your customers themselves.
This can be done through market surveys and interviews.
- Choose the Right Content Types
Today, some of the best-performing content types are long-form content and short videos on social media. But there are many others that you can use, depending on who you’re trying to reach and what kind of information you want to share.
Here are some of the different content types that you can use:
- Landing pages. Your web pages are at the forefront of your online content marketing. These need not only to have engaging written and visual content, but they also need to be optimized to increase your chances of ranking high on SERPs.
- Social media content. Different social media platforms have their own advantages, too. For instance, Twitter is great at building a community, while Instagram is ideal for showcasing attention-grabbing visual content.
- Blogs. Whatever your industry, blogs are a must-have. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as providing in-depth, educational content, promoting your brand, and sharing your expertise.
- Infographics and visual content. Infographics are tremendously helpful for breaking down complex concepts. They come in handy if you need to share statistics and numbers in order to effectively convey your message.
- Videos. Videos are huge in today’s digital landscape. Short reels, live videos, and TikTok content, in particular, are great for sharing nuggets of information that are easy to digest and remember.
Every content format has its own advantages and disadvantages. Knowing which types will benefit you the most is key to a content marketing plan that generates more and better leads.
NGP-IMC has 25 years of success in crafting strategic and impactful content marketing plans that bring businesses right in front of their market and generate meaningful results. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can do that for you too!