Being able to tell a story about your business is crucial to differentiate it from the competition. It adds colour, context and purpose to your business and makes it more engaging for your prospective customers (prospects). Yet, all too often B2B businesses simply focus on the features and benefits of their product, leaving their marketing to feel very functional.
Businesses that tell stories and take a content-led approach to their marketing will win.
What is B2B content marketing?
Here’s an example dear to my heart. My local bike shop does content marketing really well. They aren’t always talking to me about the latest bikes on sale. They produce loads of great content: nutritional advice, guides to commuting in London, recommended routes for the weekend or how to choose winter bike lights.
Traditional marketing is about creating a message and getting that in front of people. Content marketing is the reverse; it starts by understanding what the prospective customer (prospect) needs and provides that through helpful and relevant content.
Good content marketing is about understanding your audience and consistently creating great content. This builds loyalty and keeps them coming back which ultimately, translates to sales.
How B2B content marketing works
The three stages of the content marketing process:
You need a strategy that identifies the content sweet spot. The place where your marketing (what you want to talk about and sell) overlaps with the stuff that matters and interests your prospects. Going beyond broad brush demographics to detailed personas and identifying the topics and themes that matter and mapping them against your sales funnel.
Content comes in many forms. These can include blog posts, podcasts, white papers, infographics, webinars, videos and social media posts to name but a few. The format needs to meet the objectives. So if it’s about lead generation, some of the content needs to be high value, so it can be swapped for contact details (i.e. email address) of new prospects.
The next challenge is to get that content in front of your prospects. As well as the traditional channels of email and blogs, there are lots of new opportunities popping up all the time. These include B2B programmatic display, content syndication, display retargeting, and of course paid social media. (See B2B social media advertising services.)
The benefits of B2B content marketing
Get more traffic to your website
By producing more relevant content and using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, it’s possible to increase traffic to your site considerably. Instead of becoming a product portal, it’s an online destination that attracts visitors wanting to learn more.
Improve your leads and sales
Content marketing will attract better qualified leads which in turn have a higher chance of converting. This is because by engaging with your content, they are raising their hand, they are coming to you because they have a problem. In the process, you are demonstrating your expertise and begin to signpost them to your product or service solution.
Boost your industry authority
You are an expert at what you do. By producing content you will be able to demonstrate this expertise and build your authority with prospects and your wider industry. Over time this will increase your online reputation and lead to increased referrals.