For plenty of B2B companies, content marketing can seem like a magic bullet; the fix they need to start connecting with new customers. And for some businesses, content marketing is just that. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 20 percent of B2B brands who use content marketing say their efforts are very successful and about 53 percent describe their efforts are moderately successful. So, how can you end up in one of those categories? You have to know where to start, how to strategize and how to make your content stand out in a crowd. Here’s how to approach B2B content marketing:
How to Approach B2B Content Marketing
How brands approach B2B content marketing often begins with a strategy. This helps you figure out why you’re creating content, and in turn, help you figure out what content is the best fit.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions recommended creating a content marketing mission statement – something that will define your goals throughout the content marketing process. A mission statement helps you decide what content to create, where to publish it and how to promote it.
Here are a few mission statement examples:
- Our content will provide small business owners with the information they need to navigate the funding landscape.
- My content answers some of the most challenging questions startup companies face.
- Our content marketing will widen our customer base/audience by ___ percent by providing content that solves retailers’ inventory issues.
Creating a mission statement and outlining your content marketing strategy are just the first steps toward content marketing.
Another way to approach B2B content marketing should be to identify and define your audience. It’s not enough to know that you want to target “retailers” or “startups.” You need to have a detailed description of who your buyers are, what they want, what motivates them and what challenges stand in their way. Marketers use buyer personas to figure out how to best connect with their potential audience.
It’s only after you’ve set a goal and identified your buyers that you can start to create content. Use the information you gathered about your audience/customers to figure out what type of content will best appeal to them. Then, get to work creating it, either by having an existing member of your team produce it or by outsourcing the work to freelancers.
How To Approach B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Before we discuss how to approach B2B content marketing strategy the best, let’s take a quick look at the worst strategy. The worst way to approach B2B content marketing strategy is one that doesn’t exist. Perhaps surprising, about 25 percent of B2B content marketers don’t have a strategy in place.
That said, the best strategy has a plan and answer to the most important questions that might come up during the content planning process. Additionally, the best strategies are written down, so that any member of your team can reference it at any point in time.
The questions your strategy should answer include:
- Who you are directing the content towards?
- What type of content will you create?
- Why are you creating content?
- Where will you post the content?
- How will you promote the content?
- Who will play what role when it comes to content creation and distribution?
- How will you measure and track the content after it is live?
- Who are your competitors and what are they doing in terms of content marketing?
How to Make Your B2B Content Stand-Out
One of the trickier parts of getting started with B2B content marketing is figuring out how to create content that stands out. When you’re new to content, it can be easy to just look at what other companies are doing and copy that.
But copied or imitated content won’t set your brand apart in the eyes of your customers. Instead of looking at what everyone else is doing and trying to do more of the same, you want to focus on what people aren’t doing. Produce content that fills in a gap or that meets an unmet need.
Another thing to do to make your content stand out is to match it to your brand voice. Your company has something that makes it different from the rest. Focus on what that something is, then create content that aligns with it.
B2B Brands That Excel At Content Marketing
You can, however, research competitor’s content for overall techniques and tactics and draw inspiration from them. Here’s a look at two brands that excel at content marketing and can provide valuable lessons:
Zendesk is a customer service software company. If you’ve bought something from an online company and needed help, odds are you contacted customer service through Zendesk. The brand’s done well with content marketing, thanks in large part to taking a customer-centric approach. Articles on its site, such as Cookbook for the Customer-Centric Company, provide unique resources brands won’t find elsewhere.
Here’s another brand taking a customer-centric approach to its content marketing. In this case, Cisco is using customer stories to highlight the ways in which its services help a wide range of companies.
B2B content marketing helps your business prove to potential customers that it’s reputable and trustworty. Your brand’s B2B content marketing approach should allow you to reach your specific goals while showing your audience just what it is that makes you different.