b2b-content-marketingRarely in our blog posts do we distinguish explicitly between B2C and B2B content marketing, as either the article makes it clear which group we are talking to, or there simply isn´t the need to make the distinction.

What do I mean by that exactly? What I´m trying to say is that marketers can get bogged down in adhering to principles of commerce they operate in. By that I mean B2B marketers could do far worse than to take inspiration from the practices implemented by B2C marketers and vice versa.

The aims of content marketing in both sectors are unsurprisingly similar: to engage prospects through storytelling and other sophisticated means of communication. Engaging your customers and building a relationship with them should be the aim of any brand, B2B or otherwise.

All that said, we´re making an exception today, focusing our gaze solely on B2B content marketing and looking at some of the most effective strategies that are implemented in the sector; whilst glancing at a few statistics in order to get some perspective on why more and more B2B firms are investing their time in this way.

Why do it?

The Content Marketing Institute´s most recent report on this area, entitled ´B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends´, which rounds up the opinions of marketers in the North America region, reads as something of a puff piece for implementing content marketing.

Compiling the thoughts of more than 5,000 marketers – in 25 industries in 109 countries – the study shows how content marketing is no longer treated as an afterthought when brands come to develop their marketing strategies.

Some 70% of B2B marketers said they are creating more content than they did a year ago, emphasising the growing prominence and returns of content marketing.

However, many still feel like they are coming up short in terms of effectiveness despite the increased amount of time they are pouring into their content marketing efforts, with only 38% of marketers questioned saying they are satisfied with the outcome of their endeavours.

Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that the majority still don´t have a documented content marketing strategy? Just 35% of B2B marketers say they have a strategy that is clearly defined, as opposed to being just verbally agreed.

Developing a strategy

Those that rely on memory for their content marketing strategy might point to a lack of time and resources as to why they choose not to document the plans, but strategy isn´t anywhere near as sapping as you might think.

In fact, the less complicated it is the better, as it increases the chances of all members of the marketing team being able to execute that strategy. In keeping with this unfussy approach, here are the things KISSmetrics says you need to ask yourself to develop a strategy that will yield results:

Who are you?

Philosophical musings such as “if you tell them what they want to hear, they don´t bother to try and see” need not apply here. Do tell them what they want to hear – but this can only be executed once you´ve got it clear what it is your brand offers to the world.

When it comes to content marketing, it´s especially important that you understand your identity, allowing you to situate your content in the best way possible that will appeal to your audience.

The online sphere is filled to the brim with content, which makes the need to carve out your own unique identity even more important.

Who are you reaching?

Creating a persona of the end user will make writing a far easier endeavour. Here at M2, we pour hours into the composition of briefs for our writers, so that they not only know the subject areas to hone in on, but who the individuals are that will be reading their work.

Try to decipher your readers´ interests, their locations, their habits, and their behaviours, as having that knowledge will shape every single piece of content you put in front of them.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Your content shouldn´t simply be a way for your readers to kill some time, but a piece that they feel inspired to share or engage with – not merely an SEO exercise.

Therefore, strategise a way in which you can force your audience ´onto their feet´ – sophisticated, non-salesy calls to action, for example. It can prove no mean feat, though, so you´ll have to go in with a plan of action.

Promoting B2B content

linkedin-logoI know, we´ve left out a pretty crucial part of content marketing there – the actual writing of the content, no less – but it´s with good reason. We´ve got a comprehensive blog on writing content lined up for a few weeks´ time, which will add to the articles we have already posted on these pages.

Let´s head straight onto looking at where B2B marketers are promoting their content, then, and you´ll not be surprised to hear that it´s all about social media these days.

But for B2B firms, heading to the most popular platforms won´t necessarily reap the sort of results you had in mind. As Groove Digital Marketing suggests, making your way over to the more po-faced LinkedIn is likely to prove far more yielding.

Users on LinkedIn tend to be more professional, with little in the way of everyday tittle-tattle to be seen. As such, users are likely to be more receptive to business content. Not only that, LinkedIn is seen as the acceptable social network to be logged on to during the working day, meaning your content might just prove a good enough excuse to take a welcome break from the rigours of the day.

It´s worth pointing out that LinkedIn has its own publishing platform, too, which all LinkedIn members have access to, meaning the reach of a LinkedIn post can be pretty impressive.

See, we told you the principles of B2B content marketing don´t stray too far from those of B2C. Has that given you the confidence to slide a few more resources in the way of content marketing? Perhaps resources – or lack of – is where the issue lies? If that´s the case, or you just want some objectivity brought to your campaign, please get in touch.

Here at M2 Bespoke, we pride ourselves on making content creation – not to forget distribution – look easy.

 

Useful Resources

Content Marketing Institute

KISSmetrics

 

Ben Hollom

March 24, 2015