Content strategies for B2B companies can make a huge difference in their success.
Content marketing through blogging is still one of the best ways to build brand authority and increase leads and traffic.
Especially for many B2B businesses.
Including blogging and content marketing in your marketing strategy can be very important and in this article I’ll go over strategies you should keep in mind as you go about producing content.
I’ll explain why you should focus on:
- BECOMING A RESOURCE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
- UTILIZING PERSONA BASED MARKETING
- PRODUCING MORE BLOG CONTENT REGULARLY
But before I get into that let’s have a little story time first.
I remember working as a business development rep (BDR) at two different tech companies. One was a start-up and the other I’d consider “post start-up” but still pretty small at the time.
My job as a BDR was to do research, reach customers through phone and email, educate them about our software, answer their objections and questions, qualify them as leads, and pass them onto the outside sales reps/account executive who would pick up from there. I dealt with both inbound leads and outbound prospecting.
MARKETING WITHOUT CONTENT
At the start-up I joined in 2016 I was one of the very first BDRs on the team as it was pretty much a brand new inside sales/business development team being added to the company.
The CRM was pretty much completely bare bones with very little data and little automation.
We built most of the processes together from scratch as far as organizing leads, accounts, contacts, verticals, and coming up with content for our email marketing.
However the rest of our marketing, especially when it came to content, was pretty immature.
There was no consistent blog content, our whitepapers were clunky in addition to being few and far between. We didn’t have case studies or any other strong marketing collateral.
It was hard to develop brand recognition. We weren’t an authority or a RESOURCE.
Nobody knew who we were when we called. When they asked for more information it was challenging for us to quickly collect that content and get it over to them.
Even in those cases where we were able to start a conversation with people, they’d ask if we had material they could take a closer look at to learn more and educate themselves and it wasn’t always available.
(This is a serious problem because in today’s environment, especially in B2B, lots of people doing research and evaluating want to be able to access information on their own time without being forced to speak to a representative in sales or marketing)
The reason why we weren’t able to quickly and easily provide this information is because our content infrastructure wasn’t fleshed out.
Lead generation and prospecting was always an uphill battle.
MARKETING WITH CONTENT
Fast forward a year to where I worked for another small sized company.
However this company had a great CMO and very strong marketing department. They were putting out lots of content and they had a considerable infrastructure of marketing collateral in place.
Blog articles, case studies, internal competitive intelligence, press releases, industry reports, webinars, etc. They didn’t have everything but they had a hell of a lot and there was a constant amount of new content regularly being published.
The difference was considerable.
Now when I first began at the new company it was still pretty difficult to prospect. Many people didn’t know our name and our customer base was still growing, just like at my prior company.
However over time as we grew and more and more content was being put out, people started responding a bit more warmly.
People were checking out blog posts and downloading whitepapers. Sometimes people would say they’d heard of us or seen something about us online.
Our brand recognition and level of authority had changed over time.
The planning and execution of content strategies for B2B companies can have a big impact on the popularity of their brand and the difficulty or ease of their marketing/sales cycle.
Marketing and selling at a company with stronger marketing was night and day when it came to starting conversations and not having to work so hard to establish recognition, trust, and authority.
Now let’s get into the topic at hand.
1. BECOME A RESOURCE
You want to develop brand authority and trust.
Some of the most successful blogs on the internet are successful because the blog has become a valuable resource. It’s a place that can be trusted to get needed information, advice, or insight.
As a writer, I love the Expresswriters blog because I can reference relevant information about writing, SEO, content marketing, copywriting, and areas that help me do my job better.
Companies like Hubspot and Sprout Social do a great job of running their blogs and having truly customer-centric information.
You should really sit down and ask yourself if your content allows your potential customers to be more informed, more empowered, and more resourceful.
This is becoming more and more important with the growth of the internet and the evolution of how we consume information.
92% of marketers reported that their company views content as a business asset.
In addition, much of the buyer journey is done before they’re even ready to talk to vendors. The research stage when individuals and organizations are trying to find out how best to solve their problem is crucial.
Depending on the scale of the product or service you sell, you might not even make it into an RFP or have a chance to pitch to an organization if your brand doesn’t have a reputation or any kind of notoriety in your industry.
Recognition gets you into the conversation.
Many times when stakeholders, evaluation facilitators, and buyers in an organization begin reaching out to and engaging with vendors, they already have a list of potential vendors in mind.
Your reputation means a lot, and with content marketing you have an opportunity to establish it before you engage directly in sales efforts.
2. PERSONA BASED MARKETING
You can create more engaging and higher ROI content by knowing exactly who your buyers are and what they do.
As a B2B company you have a unique advantage that B2C organizations don’t often have available.
You should know the specific job titles and roles of the different personas who are involved in buying your product/service, including who is doing what at different stages of the buying cycle.
For example if you were selling accounts payable automation software, an AP manager might handle the initial evaluation before the Controller gets involved and ultimately the CFO would be the final decision maker in most cases.
You not only need to understand that but also understand what is driving the motivations of these roles and at what point in the buying process they’re being considered.
When you’re able to map out the different personas that participate in the buying cycle you can consciously create content that appeals to those personas and engages them. The content you target them with should be far more relevant, informative, and persuasive.
If this isn’t something you or your team have a handle on, you might want to consider getting together and identifying the different job titles that are most relevant and impactful to the purchase of your product or service.
Content strategies for B2B companies should have a good understanding of who their audience and target customers are.
An exercise you can engage in to help with this is to identify a title or role then dive deeper to understand more insights.
Here’s a list of potential ideas you can brainstorm about while persona mapping:
- What does their day to day consist of?
- What department do they work under?
- Who do they report to?
- Who reports to them?
- What kind of education and certifications might they be expected to have?
- What are some of their common interests?
- What professional associations are they a part of?
- What are their main challenges?
- What technology do they use on a daily basis?
- What are some other titles or job roles that perform a similar function?
- At what point of the buying cycle are they most engaged and relevant?
- What processes are most important to them?
- What’s their bottom line?
With the information you gather from mapping these personas, you can come up with content relevant to them and incorporate it with your own segmented and targeted marketing.
This allows you to come up with different angles to approach people with the most relevant and engaging content.
Examples of content you can segment toward different personas for more focused, value adding, and engaging marketing:
- Info graphics
- Blog Articles
- Case Studies
- Social Media Posts
3. PUT OUT MORE BLOG CONTENT
Producing quality content is one of the biggest challenges for most smaller sized businesses.
Making the effort to write consistent blog content can greatly impact your results.
When you’re brainstorming content strategies for B2B companies, maintaining a blog should be a serious consideration. When most people think of content marketing the first that usually comes to mind is a blog.
But that’s easier said than done.
There can be considerable constraints on time, manpower, other resources, and quality.
That being said, making an effort to consistently produce more content can have a big impact on traffic.
Volume and consistency also help with building trust and developing an ongoing relationship with readers.
THE DATA SUPPORTS THE FACT THAT PUBLISHING MORE BLOG CONTENT IS A WORTHWHILE ACTIVITY WHEN IT COMES TO ROI AND LONG TERM IMPACT ON WEBSITE TRAFFIC.
It’s not a question of if blogging works. It definitely works (when done properly).
The question is how to get there and do it effectively, all while maintaining:
Neil Patel goes a step further when he cites the significance of this statistic from Hubspot.
He said this statistic is “One you can’t ignore.”
And he’s right.
There’s no reason that blogging shouldn’t be a key aspect of your content marketing strategy.
Not only should you have a certain mindset when you’re developing and implementing your content strategy, but you should also have a plan that you can trust to reliably bring you results if executed properly .
Effective content strategies for B2B companies are crucial, especially in the technology space and with many service based businesses.
As buyers get more sophisticated with their research and with the natural advancement of technology and the internet, marketers and companies need to continue to adapt.
When you’re creating your content strategies you want to be sure to:
Be a resource for your buyers
Use persona based marketing
Put out more blog content