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How to Succeed in B2B Content Marketing: Your Ultimate Guide

Sophie Thompson22nd December 2020

B2B content marketing has a distinct persona. The focus, drive and objectives of it are definitely different from the B2C approach. When creating a B2B marketing plan, you need to understand the specifics which are more likely to result in success when it comes to businesses that serve other businesses.

What is content marketing?

Put simply, content marketing is all of the pieces of content your business creates with the purpose of selling, building an audience, boosting brand reputation and stimulating interest. It covers everything from blog posts to videos and eBooks through to social media posts.

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How does B2B content marketing work?

B2B content marketing is about using content to make your business appeal to other businesses. The way in which this works is quite different from B2C content marketing.

A B2B content marketing strategy takes into account some core differences: A focus on active lead generation is more important than brand building. There will be a small and highly focused target market, and within this the business buyers need to be identified.

Relationships need to be built with those buyers as individuals, but as representatives of the business. Buying cycles are generally much longer.

Content must be value-driven at all times, with a distinct focus on how you offer expertise and efficiency. It must be useful.

B2B content marketing strategies and tactics

The place to start is to consider your B2B content marketing strategy and then formulate this into a B2B marketing plan.

How to succeed in B2B content marketing

Your B2B content marketing strategy

You can’t start doing B2B content marketing without knowing what you hope to achieve. You need to strategize. Your strategy needs to define who you are targeting with B2B buyer personas, what their issues are, and how you can meet their needs. You need to set objectives and goals.

From here you can refine your B2B marketing plan by establishing the type of content that will work. Within this, you should establish how you will measure success, through setting KPIs.

How to think of B2B content ideas

You likely recognise the importance of content, but how do you know which content to create and the subject of that content?

Your content needs to stand out and be relevant, but also value-driven and helpful. Your customers aren’t in the B2C collective; they aren’t interested in anything which is superfluous to what you can do to solve their problem. They don’t need entertaining. They aren’t even really bothered about relationship building at this stage. Branding is secondary to what you can actually do for them.

So, B2B content marketing needs to be highly-focused, address pain points and present solutions for your customer’s problems. Useful content can therefore include product guides, comparisons, pricing information, case studies and reviews in a way that B2C can’t handle. Fundamentally, your content must offer value above that of your competitors.

With this information in mind, and your focus on the buyer persona, you can then brainstorm to come up with ideas and topic clusters.

How to decide on content formats

There are a range of different content types you can choose from. Again, these differ for B2B content marketing in some ways.

Video content is still important. You need to generate professional and easy to digest videos which are then backed up by information-rich blog posts, guides, case studies, infographics and longer pieces such as eBooks.

Central to this is to establish where the business buyers in your target audience are found. Are they predominantly found on LinkedIn, or do they read an online trade publication?

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How to manage the B2B marketing plan

As you go through the stages above, it will quickly become apparent that for effective B2B integrated marketing, you need a content management system (CMS) which will enable you to keep your strategy focused, manage the quantity of content, curate and organise it, as well as schedule and publish content.

B2B marketing strategy

Distinct elements in B2B marketing

There are some notably different elements that you need to understand when considering B2B marketing strategies and tactics:

B2B integrated marketing

B2B integrated marketing involves ensuring that the messages that you send out across different channels match each other. With a highly targeted audience, they need to get the same message, wherever they are. The idea is that your different channels work seamlessly in tandem. For B2B businesses, this is absolutely vital.

B2B content amplification

Similarly, using different methods to enhance the impact of your content, across and within different platforms, is needed to make sure that the business buyers see your business with a consistent message at different times. This requires excellent understanding of the buyer journey.

Third party publications

Getting seen, and especially being seen as the expert, requires B2B marketers to use third party publications strategically. Guest posts, editorials, product listings and the like, all have a valuable part to play. Some of this can be paid for, but some is reliant on good relationships with the third party. The trick is to identify which publications your audiences read and then consider how to get your content published with them.

SEO optimization

SEO is important for all content, but in B2B content it needs to be absolutely spot on and refined down to the details. In fact, your SEO approach down to your targeted specialist keywords should be part of your B2B marketing plan. Business buyers need their search to come up with useful, consistent and informative content which leads them time and again to you.

PPC really has its place in B2B content marketing. Whereas B2C audiences tend to shy away from the hard sell, B2B audiences expect it and even use ads as a measure of professionalism and a means of gaining information.

Making B2B content marketing a success

The right approach to content marketing is different for B2B and B2C. You can’t use the approaches of one and expect to see the same success in the other. With the B2B content approach, it is essential to realise this and use the strategies and tactics above to cater for your market.

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