B2B Content Marketing Strategy & Trends
What is Content Marketing?
You hear a lot about marketing with content, but what does that mean, exactly? According to marketing expert, Robert Rose, content marketing is:
“… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
First, it’s important to identify what you hope to accomplish with your content. Next, you need to access and leverage the content marketing tools that will help you reach those goals without overextending your budget and resources.
Do you know the difference between marketing with brand-as-content and content-as-brand?
Labels may be somewhat irrelevant when they’re used interchangeably, and content strategies often fall somewhere along a spectrum from one extreme to the other. However, knowing the difference will define your approach, which will impact your results.
With the content-as-brand model, the content is often separate from the brand itself. It’s more of a supplemental, value-added kind of content that’s meant to improve the lives of your audience or enhance the use of your product in some peripheral way. Examples include industry blogs that post how-to articles or the Johnson’s Baby Center blog that gives advice to parents.
When you’re engaged in a brand-as-content model, the brand is always front and center. The content remains in line with the company mission, vision, and goals, and it’s presented in such a way that it advances brand awareness and highlights the benefits of choosing your company over Brand X.
Content Marketing B2B vs B2C
You should also keep in mind that B2B content marketing is a little different than B2C marketing because the needs of business owners and managers are different than those of the average consumer.
In general, B2B customers are interested in how your company will improve the way they conduct their own business and serve their customers. Their pain points tend to revolve around efficiency, reliability, and cost. They’re less driven by emotion than by obtaining measurable results.
On the other hand, B2C customers want to know how your product will improve their daily lives. They’re more connected to content that contains an emotional aspect that they can relate to on a personal level.
Your content creation and marketing strategy for B2B customers should be informed by these differences.
Content Marketing Trends
While the content marketing definition is an umbrella term that encompasses a lot of different strategies and goals, identifying and riding trends will keep your company one step ahead of the competition.
* One of the biggest trends is pairing content creation with automation. This involves creating content that focuses on creating data-optimised content embedded within strategic storytelling. You’ll use Big Data analysis to identify trends and customer preferences and tailor your content to those metrics.
* Fostering customer support and loyalty will continue to be important. Personalisation offsets the downside of automation by putting a human face on your brand. When you create loyal customers, you’re also creating effective brand advocates who furnish social proof in the form of free word-of-mouth advertising. Nurturing current customers is also more cost-effective than bringing in new leads since 80 percent of your revenues will come from just 20 percent of your existing client base.
* Creating brand partnerships and collaborations allows companies in the same industry to combine resources and reach the same target audience without losing customers. The key is to find another business with a different but complementary value proposition to your own and collaborate on a promotional campaign, seminar, or industry guide.
* Creating content that captures the “micro-moment” is a trend that involves providing solutions just when the customer needs them the most. In order to implement it effectively, you’ll need deep insight into the customer journey and hone the ability to target content in a way that capitalizes on capturing the moment.
* Leveraging the power of smart content with an understanding of how customers use platforms like IoT and smart devices will continue to be useful in the future.
Now that you’re aware of the direction content marketing will take in the future, what will you do to incorporate the advantages into your marketing platforms?
5 Content Marketing Goals for B2B Companies
As with any resolution, setting goals is meaningless unless you have a plan that puts them in motion. With a better understanding of what content marketing is and how it will benefit your business, you have the information you need to make your goals actionable.
The whole point of remaining current in your understanding of marketing best practices is to strike while the iron is hot and capitalise on trends while they’re still trending. This is especially important for B2B marketers due to the evolving nature of business cycles, both those we can predict and those that take us by surprise due to unforeseen circumstances like viruses and other acts of nature.
To that end, here are five content strategies and marketing goals that will benefit your business and provide a high ROI for your efforts.
Analyze Your Business and Create a Set of Objectives
Using all of the other metrics at your disposal, decide what type of content strategy will work best to help you achieve your goals. Is your objective to increase brand awareness, attract new leads, share new ideas, or some combination of these goals?
Identify and Segment Your Audience
The purpose of most B2B companies is to build an ongoing value relationship that’s built upon repeat business. What are the pain points of your customers, and how can your content strategy address each of them regardless of where they are in their journey? You can answer these questions by creating a buyer persona that classifies each segment of your target market and tailor your strategy accordingly.
Create Content That’s Relevant, Consistent, and Valuable
In order for content to become shareable on social media and drive traffic to your website, it should be seen as valuable and relevant. If you want to please audiences and Google algorithms, you also need to post consistently.
This can be accomplished by:
- Making sure that it’s visually appealing
- Including incentives and actionable objectives
- Being unafraid to think creatively
- Using an omni-channel approach that includes newsletters, guest blogging, and social media engagement
Create a Content Distribution Strategy
Once you’ve created all of this valuable, relevant content, how will you get it in front of as many eyes as possible? This takes more effort than just tweeting something once in a while or posting content on Facebook or YouTube and hoping it goes viral.
Your content distribution strategies will vary from channel to channel in terms of SEO, reach, and analysis, and the content should be crafted with these things in mind.
- Paid and organic social sharing
- Paid and organic search
- Creating branded content
Record and Analyse Your Results
Have you ever heard the term “Work smarter, not harder,”? The most successful B2B marketers perform continual analysis to track the progress and effectiveness of their efforts. This allows them to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) like ROI, engagement, and revenue generation. Use this type of analysis to refine your approach and put your efforts into platforms that are working.
10 Reasons to start with Content Marketing
When it comes to business, time is money. Results may take a little time, but you don’t have to wait to incorporate these trends and content marketing tools into your B2B marketing plan.
Updating your B2B content marketing strategy:
- Increases brand awareness
- Builds trust with customers
- Generates leads
- Improves Organic Search (SEO)
- Increases website traffic, both unique and return visitors
- Converts more leads
- Attracts ideal buyers
- Makes content shareable and actionable
- Builds brand authority
- Helps with link building
It seems like every year the nature and number of platforms for B2B marketing changes. However, one thing remains consistent: content marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach more customers and add value to your services.
If you don’t have the time or the ability to implement an effective content marketing strategy, you can count on me as a content marketing expert for personalized attention and great services.
Ready to take your B2B content marketing game to the next level? Get in touch with our content marketing expert to arrange a consultation today.