Content marketing has become quite the lynchpin of many B2B brand’s marketing strategies: 78% of B2B marketers cite it as a part of their strategies (making it the most cited form of marketing). Why? Because it works: content marketing has the potential to generate 3 times the leads than traditional marketing, with 52% of buyers saying they were more likely to buy from a vendor due to their content.
But knowing where to start can be tricky if you’re fresh to the content marketing game (and don’t have the resources to outsource your strategy). In this article, we’re going to look at some easy types of content marketing you can use to get started.
But first, let’s get the basics out the way: what the heck is content?
What the heck is content?
Content is anything produced and published in your brand’s name which would be interesting to your target market. So yeah, it’s a pretty broad term.
You can break down content into different functions in your marketing funnel.
This is content intended to generate new leads. It will be about something of interest to your target market, like responding to an issue they might be facing.
Content that helps move leads through your marketing funnel. This can be content that informs them about you and your products, in order to build trust enough that they’ll be willing to purchase.
Content can play a useful role in building customer satisfaction and loyalty. It can be about how best to use the products or services you’re providing them.
A single piece of content can perform multiple roles. For example, you might produce a piece that discusses how best to use your products. This could fill any of the above functions:
- It could contain information about how your product addresses a specific problem in the industry you’re targeting, making it a source of lead generation.
- It tells readers more about your products, providing the information potential customers might need to build the trust they need to commit to a purchase.
- It helps people who have purchased those products, increasing their purchase satisfaction.
Content can also be categorized by how long it is:
This content tends to be below 2000 words. They tend to be things like social media posts, emails, and blog posts.
Detailed content with usually more than 2000 words. Examples include detailed articles, how-to-guides, ebooks, and whitepapers.
Which is best? Well, there isn’t really a clear answer on that, it really depends on your target market and what you’re trying to achieve with the content. Best practice is to have a mixture of both.
Now that we’ve (hopefully) managed to define a term as broad as content, let’s take a look at some of the main types of B2B written content that you can utilize in your content marketing strategy.
Educate your target market about what you’re selling
The most obvious type of written content is to write about what you do. How-to-guides on what your products and services do and examples of how they can be used effectively is the bread-and-butter of B2B content marketing. You should aim to discuss how you’re addressing specific problems that your target industry might be facing.
This can be particularly effective in the form of case studies on current/previous customers who have particularly benefited from your help, especially when case studies are cited as the most valuable form of content by B2B buyers.
But if you feel you’ve exhausted that mine, you can go deeper. Behind-the-scenes content can be both interesting and valuable to your target market. Showing the complexities of how your products and services are produced can act as a cost-justification exercise, and can confirm the quality of your offering.
Take a look at how you developed specific products or services. If they have an interesting development history, they can be a valuable source of content. What inspired your company to develop them? Who were the creative minds behind them? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them? By showing your creativity and development processes you can impress your potential clients and get them excited to be involved with you.
Tell your brand story
There’s more to your company than just the products and services you provide. Telling your brand story through written content can be an effective way to set yourself apart in a crowded marketplace, whether you’re an established company or a sparkly new start-up.
Who were the founders, and what inspired them to set up the company? What challenges has the company overcome, and what successes do you want to celebrate? Even something as simple as explaining the origins of the company’s name and logo can make for interesting content.
But your brand story isn’t just history, it’s a tale that’s constantly being told. What values are you currently focussing on? What goals are you working towards? The now is just as important as the past to your brand story.
But a brand is more than just the business, it’s the people too. Highlighting the people who work for you can be an extremely useful source of content. It shows the quality of your company that it attracts such great people, and it humanizes your business, allowing your target audience to put names to faces. They’ll feel more of a connection to people if they know a bit about them, rather than just being disembodied emails or voices at the other end of a phone call.
Show you understand your industry and your customers
The best way to show your products and services are the best is to show that you understand the industries they’re for. We call content that does this “thought leadership content”, and it’s pretty important: 48% of B2B buyers spend at least an hour a week engaging with thought leadership content, with 89% saying thought leadership content has enhanced their perceptions of an organization.
As we said previously, you can do this easily by discussing how your company is the answer to specific issues in certain industries. But you can also produce content that discusses broader issues and your suggested solutions to them. This shows you have an understanding of an industry and how your company fits into the whole landscape.
All of these sources can work in different forms of B2B content marketing, in fact, a single source can act as a mine for multiple content pieces. Once you’ve got a handle on which sources are working best with your audience, there’s no harm in regularly utilizing it.
Where do you find inspiration for your B2B content marketing? Let us know!