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B2B content creation is much like creating anything else. It takes hard work and time to create something of quality that people will admire and use for years to come.
Think, for a moment, about carpentry. There are hacks who will sell you a product that will inevitably break within a year. But there are also master carpenters that create a lasting product that you will enjoy for years to come.
Normally, an enduring product cannot be created in the matter of a couple hours. It takes time, skill, and knowledge of industry best practices.
The same can be said about content creation.
A new study from BuzzSumo sheds some light on some of the B2B content marketing best practices we need to know to create everegreen, top-quality content.
But first, let's look at why it's important to create high-quality content in the first place.
Why Content Creation is Worth the Effort
One study from Content Marketing Institute showed that content marketing produces over three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs around 62% less. To any seasoned content marketer, this comes as no great surprise. That's why content of all types within our B2B PR agency.
Yet people still grapple with content marketing. What's the problem?
Digging a little deeper, the content creation process is at the heart of the issue. In fact, one study found that around 36% of content marketers struggle to produce engaging content.
If you are among this number, what can you do to up the success of your content? A lot of it comes down to knowing the right B2B content marketing strategies and how to use them.
A New Study Sheds Some Light
The team at BuzzSumo used its algorithm to scour over 52,000 pieces of content within the B2B digital landscape. Using social media, they got a bird's eye view of how people interact with content to see what content types work best.
The study looked at B2B articles with a high engagement rate. On average, the content in this study got 1,029 social interactions -- which tips the scales considering that on average content gets a median of 4 social interactions.
So what exactly makes successful content more engaging?
Let's take a look at how we can improve our content creation to better reach the mark and give us better overall results -- both with tidbits from the BuzzSumo study and other valuable tactics everyone should use in content creation.
10 Awesome Ways to Create the Best B2B Content
1. Determine Your Audience
You can create the very highest quality content, but if it doesn't interest and engage your audience, then it's essentially useless.
Use a free analytics program like Google Analytics to determine who make up your audience. This will give you a general picture of the demographics you're dealing with -- for example, age, gender, and location.
Once you understand your current audience, create a persona about your target audience -- those whom you would like to reach with your content. This could include such information as...
- Role within company
- Company size
- Pain points
This information will be invaluable as you start to create content.
2. Create the Right Headline
We have long known that headlines make a big difference in the success of content. But what exactly makes one headline better than other? A lot of it boils down to phrasing.
The BuzzSumo study found 6 key phrases that got the best results. Here they are, starting with the one that got the highest engagement:
- "The Future of"
- "How to Use"
- "Need to" (without "Know")
- "How to Create"
- "Here's How"
- "You Need to Know"
These phrases can be used as a springboard for upcoming content ideas. Think about what your audience needs to do, or what the future holds for your industry. Then use these headline phrases to give your B2B articles a boost.
You can even use these to give your older posts a leg up. For example, do you have a post with great information that isn't performing the way you would like? Try refurbishing the title with one of these phrases and see how it does.
3. Focus on the Right Length
The length of your content also plays a huge role in your overall B2B content marketing strategy.
The BuzzSumo study found that the majority of brands are publishing short form content (under 1,000 words), with 39,136 articles in this category. On the other hand, there were 10,688 medium-length articles and only 1,868 long-form articles.
This leaves a great space for your brand to fill the gap with longer form. While short-form content creates a great intro to your brand, it is the longer content that tends to get better results, both in SEO and in social interaction.
Look for areas where you can add your expertise to the mix with longer form content that provides an in-depth look at an issue within your industry. Also look back at your backlog of articles and seek ways to reenergize them.
Videos are universally known as the most engaging content across multiple industries, both B2B and B2C. A study from Hubspot shows that 87% of businesses are currently using video in their content creation -- a number that has risen from 63% just two years ago, and 83% of marketers say that video gives them a good ROI.
BuzzSumo's study reveals video to be the evergreen content star. This means that it holds its value and is shared on social media much longer than other forms of content.
Even with these numbers, though, many small- to medium-sized businesses shy away from video creation. Why? This is partly due to the amount of work usually associated with video.
While there is admittedly work involved, it probably isn't as much as you would think. There are video tools, such as Lumen5, that will pull all of the content you need. With such programs, you can easily be in and out within an hour, and have a high-quality video to show for it.
5. Use Infographics
The visual nature of infographics, along with the snack-size content they offer, makes them a versatile form for any brand.
Following videos, infographics are the most evergreen content that you can use, according to Buzzsumo.
With tools like Canva, infographics are a resource that any brand can create. It take a fair chunk of time to create, but you'll have a timeless resource for people to enjoy.
How can you use infographics within your content strategy? You could use an infographic to visually portray facts, figures, and statistics that your brand has uncovered. You could also use infographics to help your audience visualize a step-by-step process, such as a guide or how-to subject.
There are so many ways that you can use infographics to portray information -- you are really only limited by your imagination.
6. Create Helpful Guides
Backlinks are a solid part of both B2B PR and content marketing best practices. After all, links back to your site is what gives you more authority in the all-mighty Google universe. And this recent study sheds some light on how to get more backlinks from your content.
Out of all the types of content studied, guides in general get more backlinks -- on average, they receive 10% more backlinks than other types of content.
But how exactly can you create a guide?
Look for a topic that hasn't already been written to death -- the more unique your guide is, the more likely it will perform well and get you backlinks. Once you've chosen your topic, provide in-depth information that people won't find anywhere else.
Remember, guides should not read like technical manuals. True, you want them to be in-depth, but they also need to be engaging and conversational.
7. Test It Out on Twitter
Why Twitter? Twitter is an ideal place to test out your content, since it allows people to find your content through organic reach. Other networks, like Facebook, make organic search nearly impossible and force users to turn to paid content promotion if they want to see how audiences receive their content.
If you have a topic that you would like to test out, then create simple content that won't take a lot of time to create, yet will be enough to test the waters. For example, if you'd like to see if your audience would be interested in the latest internet security tactics, create an infographic that outlines the abbreviated points. If it does well, you might create a more in-depth blog or guide on that topic. If it flops, you will have saved yourself needless time and energy.
8. Keep Content Fresh
The famous writer's block...it even happens in content marketing. How can you keep it from hindering the success fo your content marketing? There are a few tactics you can use to keep your content fresh and relevant.
For starters, look at what people are talking about on social media. There are marketing tools, such as BuzzSumo, that can show you what content is most popular on social media within your industry. Such tools give you a window into your audience -- what is liked, shared and commented on. Sift through the content to see what topics you can improve -- perhaps with a different opinion or new angle -- and make into your own.
Also, keep an eye on new trends and developments within your industry. As soon as a new tool or method hits the surface, be the first to create educational content about it. Since there's likely relatively little content about it, you can be the go-to source for your audience.
9. Use Analytics
Admittedly, analytics can at times be dry. But this information really is your lifeline. The success of your content depends on your audience. Analytics gives you a picture of how your audience receives your content -- and what changes you might need to make along the way.
There are many metrics that can help you to strengthen your strategy. For instance, the amount of visits you get from organic search can tell you whether the keywords in your SEO strategy are working.
The number of people who visit your post and how long they stay on that page, including the bounce rate, tell you how engaging your post really is.
Armed with this information, you can adjust your strategy. If you notice that some posts get better results than others, work to find out what makes those posts different. Is it the length? The title? The topic? Once you pinpoint the reason, it will help improve future posts.
10. Promote It
So you've created content -- now what? The truth is that good quality content doesn't automatically attract audiences. Even the best content needs to be promoted in order to compete in today's hectic atmosphere. People are often so distracted that if content doesn't appear in their feeds, they most likely won't find it through organic reach alone.
How do you add content promotion to your content strategy? This is where knowing your audience comes in handy. Once you've chosen the content you would like to promote, use audience targeting features on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, to make sure that the right people see your content.
As you continue to promote content, your audience will start to follow you. As your audience grows, the need to promote content will diminish.
Check out this info in our free checklist -- and embed it into your site using the code just below.
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Creating the best B2B content is absolutely attainable for any brand, no matter the size. All it takes is dedication, consistency, and knowing how to do it. We hope this information gives you the tools to create long-lasting and engaging content for your brand.
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