We’ve always heard about how different B2B marketing is from consumer-based marketing. Make no mistake, they’re apples and oranges in many ways. But at their core, they’re not that different. Both B2B and B2C rely on a thorough understanding of your customer – whether it be a business representative or a consumer – and the ability to consistently deliver a message that meets the needs of your audience.
That last part is key for B2B content marketing. You’re not just creating flashy images meant to catch the eye of someone scrolling through their Instagram feed. You’re now tasked with providing something of value to someone whose continued support of your company depends on it.
Professionals are far better equipped to sift through BS and corporate speak than the average consumer. If you don’t know your stuff – and if you can’t adequately convey your knowledge through your content – businesses will pass on your marketing in spades.
The good news is that if you do strike gold with a business partner, you can expect to receive a significant return on your investment in content marketing. More than 70 percent of companies that utilize B2B content marketing have concrete proof, via key performance indicators, that their content marketing efforts have boosted their lead generation and conversion figures. Additionally, the shareable nature of content marketing allows you to quickly grow an audience, and it enables you to position yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
However, it’s important to remember that content marketing is an ongoing endeavor. It’s not something you can do for only a month. It takes consistent effort to see the results with content marketing. That’s why it’s best to get the B2B content marketing right the first time.
1) Identify Your Audience.
In marketing, knowledge is power. And if you know who you’re marketing to, it becomes infinitely easier to reach that segment of the marketplace. Look at your business and identify what you stand for and what you do best. Then, consider the type of business partner you’re trying to attract. No matter what industry you work in, you’ll want to find partners that align with your vision and your set of values. Again, B2B marketing is less about wowing consumers and more about cultivating and managing relationships. Find your ideal niche and then work backward from there.
2) Develop Your Content.
With the knowledge of who you’re trying to reach, you can move onto the next obstacle – what will benefit your customers the most? The key in content marketing is to provide value. It is not to sell people on why your company is the best. Focus your content on industry-level topics. For instance, if you work for an IT company, you can center content around the various types of risks that exist today that can cause data breaches. Then, at the close of your content, talk about how your company helps to keep other businesses safe. It’s all about reaching your audience on a personal level and showing them how your solution solves their problems.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider the medium you’ll use for your content. Not everyone wants to read a white paper. Let your research dictate the avenue you’ll take with your initial content.
3) Share Your Content on Social Media.
Although you’ll have some desired targets for your marketing, you may not have the credibility necessary to reach out to those contacts just yet. It’s a good idea to first publish your materials on social media and organically develop a small following. LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B site; it should always be your first destination when sharing content. This will help you to get noticed; it’ll also help you to gain some followers and some contact information, which will help you with your next step.
4) Build Your Email List.
The email list is the holy grail of any form of content marketing. Email is far more effective than stand-alone blogs or social media posts when it comes to distributing content. It’s the ultimate one-on-one with the individual members of your audience. And since so many businesspeople are on their phones all the time, your immediacy of reach has never been higher.
You’ll want to ensure that your email list isn’t just a long list of email addresses, but instead a well-curated list of interested stakeholders. Take a quality-over-quantity approach with your emails; don’t inundate people with subpar content unless you want those people to unsubscribe. Instead, use your email list to distribute the best of the best – the type of content that reminds people exactly why they do business with you.
5) Review and Revise Your Strategy.
It’s virtually impossible to fully nail content marketing right off the bat. You may start off producing blogs, only to find that your desired audience actually prefers podcasts and video content. Use the data provided by your consumer base to tweak your approach, helping you to zero in on the sweet spot that gives you maximum exposure while still providing tons of value to those that view your content.
Aside from not producing content, the biggest mistake you can make in content marketing is resting on your laurels and assuming you know what people want. Never assume you understand your audience better than the actual people in your audience. Always be willing to listen, but more importantly, be ready to take action in response to the feedback you receive.
A little planning goes a long way and nowhere is that truer than content marketing. If you put in the work to understand your audience and to build relationships based around top-notch content, you’ll see massive returns on your investment. To learn more about getting started with B2B content marketing, contact us today.