Is your B2B content marketing strategy successful? Or do you at times feel like your strategy needs a facelift? According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. So what sets these two groups apart, and how can you boost your content strategy to generate that kind of success?
The answer may lie in your B2B blog content. A reported 80% of B2B marketers include blogging in their marketing strategy. Yet, there is still massive room for growth and improvement in the sphere of B2B blogging. When asked about the future of their marketing efforts, another 52% of B2B marketers admitted that they expect blogging to be their most critical tactic for success in the coming year.
What is B2B Content Marketing?
Content marketing for B2B companies is all about creating content, such as blogs, videos, and ebooks, that attracts potential customers to your website. A regular flow of content that reflects your industry expertise and helps your audience find answers to their questions, will help to build a relationship of trust -- a valuable commodity in today's market.
Nail Patel, one of the foremost experts in the field, describes content marketing as "a long-term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience, by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis."
Many companies might shy away from this marketing tactic because they simply don't have the time to dedicate to regularly creating content for their audience. If this describes your situation, there are ways around it. There are many companies that offer B2B content marketing services. These companies know the ins and outs of content marketing, and can help you get the results you want.
Let's now look at 8 definitive ways you can embrace this growing trend and fire up your own content strategy -- with palpable results.
How to Improve Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy For Success
1. Invest In a Motivating Storyteller
So-so content marketing is based around a company’s product or service -- but great, inspiring content marketing is built around storytelling. As humans, our motivations are tied to compelling and relatable stories. No matter how old we are, a well-told story can move us to take a positive action.
Take this example from New Relic, a company that helps businesses to sift through and decipher the meaning of their data. Normally, this company’s product might sound as exciting as watching paint dry. But through a story of a company’s journey and its desire for understanding, New Relic takes a dry subject matter and makes it appealing. Instead of thinking of data, customers think, “I would love to be able to understand my business more clearly.” That’s the beauty of storytelling.
Great, inspiring content marketing is built around storytelling CLICK TO TWEET
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2. Choose Quality Over Quantity
With such a big push toward filling that content calendar, the quality of B2B blogs and other content can quickly go downhill. While it’s important to keep that content flowing, you never want to lose sight of the quality of your content. Don’t give them a reason to seek content from your competitors -- always strive to give them consistently high-quality content that keeps them coming back for more.
Make sure to keep your content marketing strategies fresh with the latest content trends. For example, video -- especially Live video -- is projected to represent 79% of global web traffic by the year 2020. Look for innovative ways to incorporate video into your strategy, perhaps with tutorials or interviews.
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3. Create Content Around a Predetermined Purpose
What is your company’s purpose? This is the first and most important question you need to ask yourself before any content is created. If you don’t have a clear purpose or goal, your content will appear haphazard and your readers will have no reason to return.
Avoid content that is merely self-promotional. The number one goal of content marketing is to help your audience and gain their trust. Blog posts or ebooks about the benefits of your products will most likely drive away potential buyers. Instead, balance your content with the "Rule of Seven," in which your audience has seven interactions with your brand before you promote your products or services.
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4. Make It Personal
Nobody likes to be addressed in generalities -- to be just another face in the crowd. We want to feel special. That’s why you no doubt program you phone with your personal data -- so it can greet you by name, give you local weather, and even recognize your fingerprint.
In content marketing B2B, we need to personalize our approach if we want to succeed. Many effective marketers have already begun to do this.
To personalize your content marketing effectively, you will need to first segment your audience. This means take the data you have about your audience, and use it to separate them into groups. This could be based on age, gender, location, and their position within a company.
This segmentation will help you to create content that hits the specific pain points of each group. Even beyond simple blog posts, you could use audience data to individualize your messaging within CTAs and landing pages in order to gear it toward certain groups of your audience.
A recent study published by Forrester Consulting and Persado revealed that 69% of marketers used data from loyalty and customer value programs to determine what offers would appeal to certain individuals. Another 67% of marketers used behavioral data to create the right content based on insights and emotions. Could you leverage this kind of data in your marketing strategy?
5. Become a Reliable News Source
One way to become an authority is to generate data people cite. Conduct your own research, distribute your own surveys, and then leverage the valuable insformation you collect. In addition to external use, consider sharing it internally, for employee recruitment, or customer service.
Meanwhile, those in your industry will find it valuable. Create reports, articles, presentations and white papers citing your date. Promote it in social media and direct people to a digest where they can get the fulll report in exchange for an email address. This has the additional benefit of boosting your SEO ranking.
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6. Put on a Live Event
67% of B2B marketers say that live events make for one of the most effective strategies. It gets people talking around your brand, lets you bond with potential and current customers, and gives your company a more human feel.
Another great benefit of a live event is that it can live on long after the event ends. Create video snippets of your live event to use in your marketing. Do video interviews with attendees to make it more engaging and encourage attendees to stay connected.
Ask people at the event to follow you on social media. Create a special, event-specific hashtag that you can use to track feedback from the event and promote the event before, during and afterwards.
GE mastered these promotional tactics for its Healthymagination event, part of an initiative to bring affordable healthcare to developing countries and promote its health care technology. GE created movie-set areas at the event where industry professionals could share their stories. The content generated at this event was highlighted by GE to further promote its cause.
7. Give Your Outstanding Content a Leg Up
While B2B blogs have a shelf life, this can be extended in multiple ways. Some blog topics are evergreen in nature, and naturally give you more traffic. There’s also a lot you can do to keep a truly great blog post going long after that first wave of readers dies down.
One way to prolong your content’s shelf life is to turn it into paid media. This boosts your owned or shared media because it reaches beyond your current audience. And by methodically choosing high-quality content, you put your best foot forward for first-time clickers while extending the life of your well-written and carefully prepared content.
You can also take an outstanding blog post and update it with new information. It looks fresh to your audience, but doesn’t involve a lot of extra work on your part.
There’s a lot you can do to keep great blog posts going long after the first wave of readers dies downCLICK TO TWEET
8. Create In-Depth Content
While a regular content marketing blog has a place within your strategy, don't neglect readers who are further along in the buyer's journey. These individuals are looking for in-depth content that deals with specific industry problems.
In addition to shorter blog posts on generalized industry topics, create content designed for those who want a little more meat. This might include long-form blog posts (upwards of 2,000 words), ebooks, or whitepapers.
These pieces of longer content not only help your audience with specific problems they face, but help to build you up as an authority within your industry.
9. Promote Your Content
Once you've created quality content, it's time to amplify it. You want it to be seen by as many people as possible.
Some possible ways you can amplify your content include:
- Influencer marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Employee promotion
All of these methods help you to reach a wider audience than you can on your own. It not only get people reading your content, but helps to build brand awareness and trust that will undoubtedly pay off when people are ready to make a purchase decision.
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10. Test Everything
Why does it seem that some sites have all the success, while others have some sad content fails? Luck doesn’t enter into the equation -- a lot of it comes down to testing. Test what works, and stick to it. Try different types of content (visuals, infographics, CTAs, and even blog post titles) to see what works for your audience.
Use analytics programs like Google Analytics to acquire detailed information about where your site stands, and then test to find your personal formula for success.
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Some Points to Keep In Mind...
- Make your content approach as personalized as possible.
- Leverage paid media to get as many eyes as possible on your truly spectacular posts.
- Use live events to get people personally involved in your brand.
- Make your content all about telling stories.
Don’t be shy. Implement these practices in your B2B content marketing plan as soon as possible, and get ready to see measurable improvement.