B2B Content Marketing Tips to Reach Out to a Wider Audience
We are all too aware of the importance of content for B2B marketing. A short Google search will unearth many thousands of articles dedicated to this topic. An equal number discuss specific ways to use it in order to promote your brand.
The problem is, the absolute majority of them seem to be written by people who make no distinction between B2B and B2C whatsoever. That’s why we’ve decided to rectify this situation and publish a list of suggestions aimed specifically at B2B marketers that take into account the specifics of this field.
1. Focus on providing value
Clients in the B2B sector are fundamentally different from B2C ones because they are motivated by results first and foremost. This doesn’t mean that B2C content doesn’t have to be useful. On the contrary, clients in any segment will flock to you if you consistently produce content that brings them value. But B2C clients have many other, sometimes conflicting, motivations: entertainment, idle curiosity, emotions, etc.
We also don’t mean that in B2B content you can never publish a think piece every now and then. What we mean is that you should be primarily seen as a source of useful, actionable content your clients can immediately start applying to their own businesses.
2. Create a Narrative
Ironically, focus on value and usefulness often becomes the undoing of many B2B content marketing efforts for two reasons. Firstly, because a marketer puts so much emphasis on being down-to-earth, logical and straightforward that he or she forgets to make content interesting and engaging. Secondly, it becomes overtly focused on self-promotion, which alienates customers. In other words, it is hard to persuade somebody in the value of your content if it bores them.
The solution lies in putting a narrative at the center. It is a staple of B2C marketing, but B2B companies tend to forgo it, probably believing it to be too frivolous. Don’t make this mistake – Microsoft, IBM, and other serious companies successfully use this tactic, and so can you. Ask those who are using your product how it changed the way they do business. See how they solve their problems with its help, and you will find your narrative.
3. Audition Topics Before Creating Content
Content marketing is a time and resource-intensive activity, especially if you don’t merely rehash other people’s thoughts and create something original. This means that when you produce a new piece of content, it pays to be sure that it is going to be well-received. But how does one do it? Very simple – by auditioning prospective topics in advance.
One of the ways to do it is to use Twitter to see how well different topics do in terms of shares and other metrics. It is most likely useless to do it via Facebook. With Facebook organic reach in its current state, you will have to promote your posts to see if they are going to do well. And that is clearly self-defeating.
4. Combine Different Types of Content
Usually, B2B marketers don’t have problems with textual content. It comes naturally to them and allows them to stay in their element. Things get shakier when it comes to visual content: images and video. Meanwhile, the fact that your clients represent businesses doesn’t prevent them from being human beings.
65 percent of the population are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. This means that by eschewing visuals in favor of plain text, you worsen your engagement with roughly this percentage of your readership. Knowing how to record your Mac screen and adding just a simple infographic to your content already improves its engagement. Spicing things up with videos is the next logical step.
In other words, make your content diverse and don’t only present your audience with a never-ending wall of text. Marketers who introduce video into their content marketing strategies report 49 percent faster revenue growth than those who don’t do it.
5. Create Marketing Personas
Businesses have for years been creating marketing personas to promote their products and services more efficiently. But it is only recently that the advances in data collection and analytics have led this practice to a whole new level. A marketing persona is a representation of some part of your audience through the combination of raw data and educated guesses. It includes personal and professional details about the persona itself (e.g., a 45-year old owner of a retail store selling Swiss watches), their values and pain points (e.g., providing outstanding customer service) and your preferred elevator pitch.
The sources of information for their creation are your website’s analytics, social media research and direct interactions with your audience.
6. Promote Your Content Via Paid Ads
In an ideal world, high-quality content would promote itself. Unfortunately, in our reality, things are different and getting progressively worse. Just take a look at the dramatic drop organic reach on Facebook has been experiencing over the years. These days, if you want Facebook (and most other social media, especially LinkedIn in case of B2B) to be an important part of your content marketing strategy, you are basically obliged to set aside a part of your budget for paid promotion.
If you believe that Facebook is a poor fit for paid promotion because it isn’t targeted enough, statistics suggest otherwise. This means that if you are B2B, Facebook offers you a significant advantage simply because many of your competitors forgo it in favor of LinkedIn. In addition to that, using it allows you to reach out to a wider audience of those potentially interested in your content.
While it is important to remember the unique features of B2B content marketing, in the long run, you should keep in mind that your clients are still human. They key to success is in balancing the value proposition and keeping your content interesting, unique and engaging, not allowing either of these two characteristics to displace the other one.
What tactics do you believe to be the most crucial for B2B? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section, below. Thanks!
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