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6 min read

Content Marketing for B2B: Strategies and Best Practices

Key Takeaways

  • Longer sales cycles, more niche target customers, and higher price tags mean that B2B marketers must approach content strategies differently than they would in the B2C realm.
  • B2B content marketing strategies are characterised by in-depth educational content, relationship-building, and data-filled marketing materials.
  • Marketers wanting to succeed in B2B content strategies should ensure their methods are sustainable over time, highly specific, and suited to each stage of the sales funnel.

B2B vs B2C

A busi­ness’s tar­get audi­ence is one of the most cru­cial fac­tors in deter­min­ing a busi­ness’s mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. This is demon­strat­ed clear­ly by the dif­fer­ences between B2B and B2C companies:

While B2B (busi­ness-to-busi­ness) com­pa­nies pri­mar­i­ly sell prod­ucts or ser­vices to oth­er busi­ness­es, B2C (busi­ness-to-con­sumer) com­pa­nies tar­get the wider public.

As a result of this key dif­fer­ence, B2B and B2C busi­ness­es find them­selves in dis­tinct­ly unique realms, requir­ing con­trast­ing mar­ket­ing approach­es. So, how exact­ly do these dif­fer­ences play out?

First of all, B2B com­pa­nies typ­i­cal­ly engage in longer sales cycles – often span­ning sev­er­al months. These nego­ti­a­tions can be com­plex and, there­fore, require care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion by stake­hold­ers. (This relates to anoth­er dif­fer­ence – B2B pur­chas­ing deci­sions are often made by a team of peo­ple rather than an individual.)

Anoth­er key dif­fer­ence between these busi­ness types is the cost involved. Since B2B trans­ac­tions are typ­i­cal­ly expen­sive, mar­ket­ing mate­r­i­al should show­case incen­tives backed up by data. Sim­i­lar­ly, B2B mar­ket­ing efforts often must focus on build­ing rela­tion­ships if they are to per­suade leads to spend so much of their mon­ey. In addi­tion, B2B buy­ers often want to see edu­ca­tion­al con­tent to con­vince them to invest in niche services.

Speak­ing of nich­eness, B2B tar­get audi­ences are usu­al­ly very spe­cif­ic. This means B2B audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion needs to be more pre­cise, as well as affect­ing many oth­er lead gen­er­a­tion efforts. Per­haps as a result of this issue, B2B efforts are more like­ly to involve webi­na­rs and in-per­son indus­try events where brands can edu­cate leads and engage with them personally.

Com­mon­ly, sales and mar­ket­ing teams col­lab­o­rate close­ly in B2B busi­ness­es, per­haps due to the rigour of lead nur­tur­ing process­es. And final­ly, B2B busi­ness­es are more like­ly to publish

Thought Leader con­tent because it helps con­vey the impres­sion of indus­try experts, help­ing them over­come many of the chal­lenges of B2B marketing.

Due to these var­i­ous dif­fer­ences, B2B mar­ket­ing strate­gies look very dif­fer­ent to those used by B2C companies.

This arti­cle will explore the ways in which you can adapt your B2B mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy so that it not only cap­tures atten­tion but also dri­ves mean­ing­ful engage­ment, fos­ters trust, and ulti­mate­ly leads to suc­cess­ful busi­ness part­ner­ships. Let’s dive in and embark on this jour­ney into the world of B2B con­tent mar­ket­ing together:

B2B content marketing strategy best practices

Optimise content creation and distribution

Since B2B sales cycles are longer than those in the B2C realm, any con­tent mar­ket­ing efforts should be sus­tained through­out this extend­ed process. This means that con­sis­ten­cy is high­ly impor­tant and that a var­ied strat­e­gy is need­ed to nudge leads along the sales fun­nel. In addi­tion, pur­chas­ing deci­sions will like­ly be made by a group of stake­hold­ers, requir­ing that con­tent sup­ports deci­sion-mak­ing right the way through.

For these rea­sons, rela­tion­ship build­ing is a cru­cial part of B2B con­tent mar­ket­ing. This dif­fers in the realm of B2C mar­ket­ing, as one-time trans­ac­tions can keep busi­ness­es afloat. Con­verse­ly, B2B com­pa­nies thrive on repeat busi­ness and refer­rals so con­tent must con­nect leads and com­pa­nies in mean­ing­ful ways.

To get a good start on your new con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, you need to under­stand and embody your busi­ness’s unique val­ue propo­si­tion. By iden­ti­fy­ing what sets your B2B com­pa­ny apart from com­peti­tors, you’ll know what you need to high­light with your content.

A fun­da­men­tal (but per­haps bor­ing) part of a suc­cess­ful con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is a detailed con­tent cal­en­dar. This may attract a big yawn, but this will help mas­sive­ly in the long run. After some time, you’ll know whether you’ve cov­ered rel­e­vant top­ics con­sis­tent­ly and the depart­ments con­cerned will be able to keep up. It’s real­ly impor­tant that your post­ing sched­ule is con­sis­tent because it keeps your audi­ence engaged, and there­fore builds trust and credibility.

Where you dis­trib­ute your con­tent is very impor­tant. Think about how your audi­ence will respond to dif­fer­ent social media plat­forms or paid adver­tis­ing. LinkedIn is a very pop­u­lar plat­form for B2B con­nec­tions; how­ev­er, some brands may pre­fer to oper­ate on Insta­gram or Face­book – so, do your research.

Email mar­ket­ing remains one of the most pow­er­ful chan­nels for B2B con­tent dis­tri­b­u­tion. Tar­get­ed email cam­paigns that deliv­er your con­tent direct­ly to your audi­ence will pro­vide a con­sis­tent con­nec­tion between you and your leads.

When it comes to con­tent cre­ation, we rec­om­mend util­is­ing a mix of for­mats, e.g., blog posts, videos, webi­na­rs, pod­casts, info­graph­ics, and reels. Peo­ple and busi­ness­es have diverse pref­er­ences, and a vari­a­tion of con­tent for­mats can help appeal to a larg­er num­ber. This does­n’t mean widen­ing your tar­get audi­ence. It means cater­ing to dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles so that more peo­ple are engaged.

Detailed con­tent is high­ly rel­e­vant in the B2B realm. B2B buy­ers are look­ing for com­pre­hen­sive resources that demon­strate what you’re offer­ing. This means pro­duc­ing whitepa­pers, e‑books, and lengthy reports that give lots of detail. The more high-qual­i­ty and rel­e­vant detail you pro­vide, the more your busi­ness appears trust­wor­thy and knowl­edge­able.

Anoth­er way your con­tent can con­vey this trust­wor­thy impres­sion is through case stud­ies, tes­ti­mo­ni­als, reviews, and suc­cess sto­ries. Social proof is a sure-fire way to prove the legit­i­ma­cy of your prod­ucts or ser­vices; so, it’s worth cre­at­ing con­tent that show­cas­es real exam­ples of your offer­ing’s abil­i­ty to solve pain points.

Mak­ing sure your con­tent is high qual­i­ty is impor­tant in any mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. In a B2B con­text, this means it should be well-researched, infor­ma­tive, and writ­ten in a pro­fes­sion­al tone. In order for your con­tent to give val­ue to B2B buy­ers, your con­tent should edu­cate them. Typ­i­cal­ly, B2B leads are look­ing for solu­tions to com­plex prob­lems. So, your strat­e­gy would do well to pro­vide in-depth insights into these indus­try challenges.

While the most preva­lent con­tent in the B2B con­text is dom­i­nat­ed by text, visu­al ele­ments can be ben­e­fi­cial. Things like charts and info­graph­ics can be very help­ful if they enhance under­stand­ing or engage­ment – so, use them appropriately.

Our final tip for B2B con­tent is mak­ing use of repur­pos­ing tech­niques. Adapt­ing your con­tent to dif­fer­ent for­mats and using it across mul­ti­ple chan­nels means you can max­imise its util­i­ty and, there­fore, cre­ate a more sus­tain­able con­tent strat­e­gy. Learn more about con­tent repur­pos­ing here.

Be an industry expert

At the peak of your con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy’s suc­cess, your B2B brand will have the sta­tus of a Thought Leader.

This can be achieved by pub­lish­ing insight­ful and rel­e­vant con­tent that address­es indus­try trends, chal­lenges, and future pre­dic­tions. Any par­tic­u­lar­ly knowl­edge­able staff mem­bers should be encour­aged to contribute to indus­try pub­li­ca­tions and speak at con­fer­ences to enhance your brand’s credibility.

In order for your con­tent to remain rel­e­vant, it should be con­sis­tent­ly ahead of trends or up to date. So, make sure you’re always aware of things hap­pen­ing with­in your field. In addi­tion, you’ll want to keep an eye on what your com­peti­tors are doing. As well as help­ing you to stay ahead of com­peti­tors on social media plat­forms, this also allows you to learn from their suc­cess­es and fail­ures to refine your own strat­e­gy.

Thought Leader con­tent can be enhanced with col­lab­o­ra­tion. Part­ner­ing with oth­er indus­try experts to co-cre­ate use­ful con­tent will add cred­i­bil­i­ty to it. In addi­tion, mak­ing use of their rep­u­ta­tion may expand your brand’s reach.

Our final word on Thought Leader con­tent is that it should solve prob­lems. If your con­tent is going to high­light com­mon chal­lenges in the field, it should also pro­vide solu­tions. This way, read­ers will see your brand as insight­ful and use­ful – encour­ag­ing them to engage with more of your con­tent and boost­ing your brand’s reputation.

In-depth lead nurturing for complex buyer journeys

The long lead nur­tur­ing process­es char­ac­ter­is­tic of B2B mar­ket­ing require robust strate­gies if they are to keep buy­ers interested.

One way you can do so is to align your con­tent with the sales fun­nel. At the dif­fer­ent stages, (aware­ness, con­sid­er­a­tion, deci­sion) con­tent should be tai­lored to suit the lead­’s cir­cum­stances. For exam­ple, they should receive edu­ca­tion­al con­tent at the begin­ning of the fun­nel and prod­uct-focused con­tent at the end of it.

Anoth­er way you can engage with the lead­’s spe­cif­ic cir­cum­stances is to cre­ate buy­er per­sonas. Rep­re­sent­ing your dif­fer­ent B2B cus­tomers, these per­sonas should have job titles, respon­si­bil­i­ties, pain points, and pre­ferred con­tent for­mats. Read more about buy­er per­sonas here.

Appealing to data-driven decisions

As pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned, the leads of B2B mar­ket­ing efforts are going to need data to make their deci­sions. There­fore, your con­tent should pro­vide the nec­es­sary insights and infor­ma­tion to nudge these deci­sions along.

One way of doing this is com­mis­sion­ing research. Pro­vid­ing leads with rel­e­vant sta­tis­tics can make your mar­ket­ing efforts more robust and increase the like­li­hood of pos­i­tive negotiations.

In addi­tion, you may want to present your data in the for­mat of info­graph­ics, which can quick­ly con­vey a mes­sage to busy leads.

Targeting niche audiences

Tar­get audi­ences for B2B busi­ness­es tend to be quite niche. This means that mar­keters must appeal to high­ly spe­cif­ic indus­try chal­lenges and pain points to cap­ture the atten­tion of leads. To effec­tive­ly engage the right peo­ple, audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion is a good idea. Seg­ment your audi­ence based on fac­tors such as indus­try, com­pa­ny size, and job role. Then, cre­ate con­tent that appeals to the spe­cif­ic needs of each segment.

Optimise for SEO

As always, SEO is a fun­da­men­tal part of suc­cess­ful con­tent mar­ket­ing. When­ev­er cre­at­ing new con­tent, be sure it’s fol­low­ing SEO best prac­tices. Con­duct­ing key­word research will help you dis­cov­er key­words rel­e­vant to your niche and improve the vis­i­bil­i­ty of your con­tent in the SERPs. Learn more about opti­mis­ing your con­tent for SEO here.

Final thoughts

These con­tent mar­ket­ing tips will hope­ful­ly pro­vide you with a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work for a suc­cess­ful B2B strat­e­gy. Remem­ber, effec­tive B2B con­tent mar­ket­ing requires a deep under­stand­ing of your audi­ence and a com­mit­ment to deliv­er­ing valu­able, rel­e­vant con­tent consistently.

Once your strat­e­gy is up and run­ning, remem­ber that it should­n’t be sta­t­ic. When you receive new feed­back or per­for­mance data, or the mar­ket changes, be sure to adapt and evolve your approach. In addi­tion, track­ing key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) will help you feel con­fi­dent about your strat­e­gy. Read this arti­cle to learn what con­tent mar­ket­ing met­rics you should monitor.

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