B2B Content Marketing is the easiest way to build a relationship with potential clients you may never get the opportunity to meet in person. Consumers brands have taken to it with gusto; food brands post recipe videos, fashion brands collaborate with bloggers to launch their latest styles, the chances are your hairdresser has an Instagram page where he or she posts photos of their best work.
But where does Content Marketing for B2B brands fit in?
Well, it’s just as crucial. When researching business decisions online, who would you have more confidence in: the brand who last updated their site in Autumn 2018, or the one posting insights about your sector multiple times every week?
B2B Content Marketing is a different beast though – and here I offer a few tips for creating and launching a successful strategy.
Choose long-form, relevant content
We’re bombarded with content on our phones, tablets and laptops all day long, and most of it isn’t all that useful or informative. Stand out from the crowd by eschewing click-bait in favour of detailed content that solves a problem for your clients.
For B2B clients in particular, it’s difficult to do this in bite-sized blog posts. Your clients expect more from you: deeper insights into your sector, data-driven thought leadership, and actionable tips that make their lives easier. It’s almost impossible to do this with short pieces of content; you don’t just give yourself the space to provide enough information.
Focus on quality over quantity and don’t post for the sake of posting – one thoughtful, well-written article is worth significantly more than three hasty “we-better-get-this-out-today-because-its-on-the calendar” posts (but do try and stick to your content calendar!)
Show don’t Tell: B2B clients want proof
Building on the previous point, it’s not just about the length of your content but the quality and value of your content. When you’re targeting consumers directly, it’s easier to get away with light, fluffy content, but business clients expect more: case studies, white papers, and data to back up your assertions are crucial.
Your clients will not be hugely interested in your opinions or assertions unless you can back them up with evidence. Run surveys, poll your industry, conduct interviews with key players to give your content depth.
3. Focus on email over social media
People don’t tend to make business decisions based on what they see on Twitter, but building a relationship through email is proven to work. McKinsey estimates that email converts 22 times better than social, and you bet that number is even higher for B2B businesses.
Despite the fact that this data is readily available, many companies have a Social Media Manager, but nobody who is specifically responsible for email. This is a mistake. Email Marketing is more impactful, more long-term in that people keep email addresses through all kinds of social media trends that come and go, and more likely to convert into cold hard cash.
Consider restructuring your Marketing output bearing in mind that social media improves your brand but email improves your revenue.
4. Use your team to beat the algorithms
When you post a piece of content to LinkedIn or Facebook, they decide how many people it will be shown to in the newsfeed by looking at early engagement. You can beat the algorithm by sending an email to your team immediately after you post asking them to like and share the piece, and to leave meaningful comments.
This kind of internal engagement is a very simple and underused way of generating a buzz around your latest piece of content. Your team are likely connected to many of your clients and potential clients already, so make sure they’re getting the word out. You should put twice as much time into promoting content as you did creating it.
5. Demonstrate success to bring key leaders on board
On every leadership team, there are those who believe completely in the value of Marketing, those who are neutral and those who think it’s a complete waste of their time. Put your energy into the first two groups, especially the enthusiasts. Work with them to create exceptional content and track the results carefully.
Demonstrating the success of a campaign is the easiest way to bring skeptics on board and convince them to invest time and resources into creating content. If you can show how a campaign led directly to client meetings, sales leads and revenue, suddenly it becomes a lot easier to get face time with senior leaders.
6. Invest in video
There has been a massive trend toward video over the last couple of years, and it’s only going to continue in that direction. Humans are hard wired to pay attention to other humans, even when they’re in 2D. It’s easier to hold someone’s attention for two minutes with an engaging video than it is to get them to read an article all the way to the end. (Still here – well done!)
Any smart Content Marketing Strategy today will have video as a core component. It doesn’t need to be fancy or even take very long, but the sound needs to be close to perfect and you need a good video editor to spruce it up.
B2B Content often has a more technical element to it, which means more jargon. It’s much easier to break down what you do in conversational language over video.
Those are my top tips for B2B Content Marketing in 2019 – I’d love to hear from you in the comments on what’s worked out for you.
If you’re not sure how to get the most out of Content Marketing for your business, get in touch. I’ve helped major global brands including Accenture, EY and ACCA achieve success in thought leadership.
Connect with me on LinkedIn to get my posts in your newsfeed.
ABOUT KATIE HARRINGTON
Katie Harrington is a Communications and Content Creator based in Dublin, Ireland. Her e-book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Accenture, EY, Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat.