How to do B2B content marketing the right way (with 5 examples)
Here we are over two decades into the 2000s, though Bad B2B content marketing still exists.
Digital content marketing It’s been around for at least 10 years, but some companies still make fundamental mistakes that kill their earnings potential.
That’s a shame because most content marketers (71%) will tell you that the content has just become more important over time.
Most buyers easily ignore ads and promotions Actively search for content to help them make purchasing decisions (70% of buyers read at least 3-5 pieces of content before speaking to a seller).
In fact, the companies that do B2B content marketing right have a huge competitive advantage.
So what is the right way?
Let’s examine both sides of the coin so you can see exactly how to do content marketing the right way.
First: The wrong way to do B2B content marketing
The only way to learn how to use content marketing properly is to understand it incorrect way, first. Here are six important no-gos.
1. Not creating a content marketing strategy
This is the biggest sin of content marketing.
If you are missing one strategy, you cannot expect consistent results. (A content strategy is a plan that lays out how you will create, publish, distribute, and promote content to grow your brand.)
Sure, one of your shots could land. Maybe you create a blog post that gets attention. Your website traffic may increase sharply for a week. You might win some leads.
But that depends mostly on luck. And it won’t last because you don’t have a plan to ensure your content stays consistent in quality, frequency, appearance, and impact.
You need more than luck if you expect your content marketing to help your business grow over time. You need an action plan. You must create content in a way that anticipates and meets user needs.
In order to be effective in the long term, Content marketing cannot be reactive or ad hoc. Instead, it must be proactive and strategic.
If content marketing is the vehicle, then content strategy is the engine. Without them, you can’t race your way to results.
2. Don’t focus on your target audience and your customers
Many businesses start content marketing by thinking about themselves first. What could you share? They brainstorm topics based on what is important to them and what they know.
What they don’t realize: Your content should never be inward-facing. It doesn’t matter what you want or what the brand wants.
The key step is to turn outward. What does the audience want? What is important to you? How does that intersect with what you’re selling?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s a huge problem that only you can solve audience research – especially by speaking directly to your prospects.
Unfortunately, most companies make the mistake don’t talk to their customers:
You have very different concerns and needs than your audience. One cannot expect to readily understand their perspective. That’s a guess.
Bottom Line: Don’t rely on your assumptions about your audience. Don’t guess what’s important to them. And when creating content, don’t make the mistake of only writing about what’s important to you.
3. Selling instead of helping
Imagine this scenario:
You have a question that only Google can answer. You consult the search engine. The top result looks promising, as if it might contain exactly the information you need. you click
You can’t read any further than the headline as your screen will be immediately engulfed by a pop-up asking you to subscribe. “But I haven’t read anything yet!” you think to yourself.
You click out of the pop-up and start scrolling, but there’s a banner ad below the first paragraph, and in the next paragraph the company indecently proceeds to talking about themselves and their service.
Where is the information you were promised?
“Ugh,” you think. They click the “X.”
This is a prime example of the difference between selling and helping with content—an absolute no-no.
Remember, readers aren’t going to your content to read a sales pitch. They are looking for information: answers, advice, facts, help, data.
Giving them what they need is one of the most important ways to build trust with them, which will lead to bigger gains if you keep doing it.
Content marketing is never about selling. It’s about portion above all.
4. Your content will not be promoted
If you publish a blog and don’t promote it, does it really exist?
No. Because this blog won’t get any traffic if nobody knows about it. And content without traffic is worthless.
You need people reading your content to see the benefits of content marketing. And you have a much better chance of that happening if you promote it.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Publish it on social media. Send out an email to let your subscribers know.
Never publish anything just to smolder on your website. Make sure people know it’s there so they can read it, use it, love it, and ultimately get closer to your brand as a result.
5. Not optimizing your content for search
You Content marketing is impossible without SEO. And without content marketing, SEO is not possible.
They work together symbiotically in a wonderful balance.
It also means that trying to do one without the other will lead to failure.
Let’s put it this way:
- Good content is helpful, solves problems and builds trust with your prospects.
- Good search engine optimization ensures that people searching for your keywords can find your content in search engines.
- Below the rules of SEO also improves the quality of your content and the user experience on your website.
If you want to do B2B content marketing, don’t leave home without SEO and well-optimized content.
6. Expect immediate results
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to B2B content marketing is giving up too soon.
On average, it can take anywhere from six months to a year for the first results to become visible.
This period will vary based on the size of your business, your goals, and your strategy. But in every single case, content marketing doesn’t work overnight or instantly.
It’s a slow road to success. But as soon as you start seeing results, they should be visible connection over time.
That’s because the great content you published a week, a month ago, and a year ago continues to generate traffic and leads long after its original publication date. As long as you are strategic, your B2B content marketing will be sustainable.
But you have to be patient and wait for that ROI (return on investment) to show up.
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The right way to do B2B content marketing: 5 examples
Properly implemented B2B content marketing looks like these five examples. Study these brands and their content to see the light.
Giving people what they want: Grammarly
Grammarly knows its audience and creates blog topics that match the questions they ask on Google.
That is, the brand is not Create posts like “The best editing app for your business” or “Why you need an editing app”.
For example this blog on how to write together appeals to professionals and students, Grammarly’s target audience. This is an issue they are actually struggling with, especially in our world of remote work and Zoom meetings.
Grammarly also creates content to answer common grammar questions users are looking for, such as “when to use over vs. more than” or “when to use who vs. who”. Grammarly outwardly focuses on the needs and desires of the target audience for their content.
Consistency matters: Orbit Media
Regularly publishing the content on your blog is important for consistency, but also updating old content to keep it fresh and relevant.
Orbit Media does well with theirs blogging surveywhich they update every year with new data and insights.
Note that this is also a full update. They have resent the survey, collected and compiled the responses, and analyzed it for insights every year since 2014. They then rewrote the post and updated the graphics. Well that’s consistent.
Win on Optimization: Zapier
To see a successful combination of content and SEO, take a look Zapier.
Zapier makes automation software, but they rank on terms like “best to-do lists” and “AI image generator.” How? Why?
Zapier integrates with apps like this one. This is how they create relevant content for seemingly random keywords.
The point, though, is that it works — the company ranks high for those keywords, driving almost 1 million monthly traffic case study shows.
Helping vs. Selling: LendingClub
LendingClub provides personal and business lending, banking and investment services to its customers. Her blog content is a great example of helping vs. selling.
The emphasis is on education and when services are mentioned it is done discreetly and relevant to the topic being discussed.
A giant of B2B content marketing: HubSpot
HubSpot is a giant in its industry for many reasons, but one big reason is its content marketing.
With a large, robust, and consistent blog that produces well-targeted, high-quality content, and a strategy that uses “content upgrades” to attract subscribers and leads, it’s no wonder this brand drives over six million people to their site annually . (This sumo report shows how overwhelming HubSpot’s success is.)
It’s time to do B2B content marketing the right way
If you’ve longed to see the results the top B2B brands are getting when it comes to content marketing, you know it’s not unattainable.
What do you need to do most?
Content marketing requires the highest level of commitment to work.
You must be committed to strategy, committed to your audience, committed to quality, and committed to being patient while you wait for ROI.
But that commitment is well worth it, because content marketing is profitable, affordable, sustainable, and exactly what customers want to see from brands.
You just have to do it right.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed Here.