We consume content daily. From the social media feeds, newsletters and blogs we follow, to engaging videos, thought-provoking white papers and other educational resources, content has a remarkable ability to captivate, educate and inspire. It’s a driving force that can have a powerful impact on your brand and its position in the market.
In this blog, we’ll break down why content is so critical to your B2B marketing efforts and how to flex the different types to meet your goals—from building your brand to capturing and nurturing leads to sales.
Table of Contents
- Why content marketing is important in B2B
- Best content for increasing organic traffic
- Best content for building brand identity
- Best content for thought leadership
- Best content for generating leads
- Best content for retargeting
- Best content for nurturing leads to a conversion
- Best content for building loyalty
- Starting your content strategy [free download]
Let’s dive in!
Why content marketing is important in B2B marketing
When it comes to B2B, content marketing can be a cost-effective tactic with a long-lasting impact. With longer sales cycles in B2B and multiple touchpoints across a complex buyer’s journey, it’s important for brands to connect with prospects and stay top of mind. One of the most effective ways to do this is with great content.
Whether you're looking to become a thought leader, generate leads or build brand loyalty, content delivers. It can spark awareness and interest in consumers who aren’t familiar with your brand, product or service. It can offer helpful resources and information to prospects exploring their options in a research phase. It can build your brand story and nurture those who are engaged through to that final moment of conversion.
Content marketing feeds your funnel by connecting your story with prospect interests and needs, providing relevant and meaningful information they are eager to consume. Now, of course, this is only true if what you’re putting out there is really relevant and valuable to your audience. In addition to meeting the needs of your specific audiences, it’s important your brand’s content has a unique story or perspective to differentiate from what others are saying. If it’s not, you risk getting swallowed in the digital noise.
Types of content that generate results based on your primary objective
Best content for increasing organic traffic
To enhance your search engine visibility, focus on optimizing your content—new or existing—to include relevant keywords and topics. The more well-optimized your content, the higher your website ranks in search engine results and the easier it is for a prospect to find you.
Content that is well-optimized uses keywords strategically throughout. To get to these keywords, you’ll want to identify search terms and phrases based on relevancy, volume, competitor difficulty, intent, SERP feature opportunities and seasonality. From there, narrow to the topics that align best with your brand and objectives.
Blog articles and engaging videos like explainers or how-to’s are great for boosting organic search traffic. Make sure your video descriptions are well-optimized for YouTube search and video SERPs using the techniques described above..
Best content for building brand identity
B2B buyers often conduct extensive research before making product purchase decisions. That research can apply to your company too. Consumers today want to know more about the brands they engage with. They want to know that your brand understands them and aligns with their views and core values.
This is where storytelling, customer-centric and visual content can take your marketing to the next level and position your brand as a go-to resource or ally, strengthening your standing and reputation.
Think user-generated content on social media, case studies and success stories, brand videos and brand culture-focused articles. All of these—whether in a post, video or audio format—offer consumers a glimpse into who you are as a brand and the community you’re looking to build.
Thought leadership content can also play a role in elevating your brand identity. From infographics to white papers and ebooks, this is your chance to create brand-forward content that informs your audience while helping shape your unique brand story.
Best content for thought leadership
Speaking of thought leadership, this type of content allows you to demonstrate your expertise and industry knowledge. By sharing valuable insights, thought-provoking articles, case studies, white papers, infographics and research reports, you can position yourself as an industry resource within your niche. This establishes credibility, fosters trust and encourages prospects to consider the brand as a reliable solution provider.
As you highlight your expertise and unique perspective on a specific topic or industry, be sure to differentiate your brand from competitors and bolster content with original research or data-driven insights whenever possible.
Don’t forget to leverage the subject matter experts in your organization. Your internal teams—from R&D to sales and everywhere in between—are full of knowledge and insights that can strengthen your content or inspire new directions. You can even go outside your organization to host panels or interviews with industry-leading guests. It’s all about connecting with your audience and furthering your stance as an authority in your space.
Best content for generating leads
Remember those reports we mentioned under thought leadership? Those are great for capturing leads. But so are tools like calculators or demos; educational sessions like workshops or webinars; interactives like quizzes; resources like workbooks or templates; e-commerce free trials or incentives; and so on. Essentially, anything that is valuable and engaging enough that your audience is willing to give you their email for it.
This compelling content is located or “gated” behind a form (typically requiring any email address or contact info) in order to build your database and nurture that lead using other marketing channels toward a conversion.
Best content for nurturing leads to a conversion
Once you’ve captured leads, you want to nurture these prospects by providing targeted and personalized content throughout each stage of their decision-making journey. The supplemental content that supports a gated lead gen piece is just as important as the actual gated piece itself. Don’t forget, this is a long game.
Collaborate with your sales team to get their insights and understand the pain points of your prospects. From there, you can better determine topic ideas and the best formats to deliver this valuable information.
Think of nurturing in three phases:
- Awareness: Your audience is aware they have a problem and are open to solutions. The goal of your content is to educate them on the different solutions available to them, even outside of your own. You’re simply entering the conversation at the top.
- Consideration: Your audience is evaluating and comparing options. They aren’t ready to commit, but they are getting closer. The goal of your content is to help simplify their decision and ensure your brand is in the consideration set. This may mean providing resources like a calculator, checklist or informative blog series.
- Decision: Your audience has narrowed their options and is ready to make a choice. Your content needs to highlight your competitive advantage and unique value. Case studies, demos, reviews and comparison videos are all great content opportunities here.
Best content for retargeting
Retargeting is the process of targeting people who have already interacted with your brand. They may have visited your website or engaged with your social media posts in some way. The goal of retargeting is to re-engage those people and turn them into customers. To achieve this goal, you need to create content that is relevant, engaging and personalized. It should speak directly to the customer's interests, needs and motivations.
Personalized emails that address the recipient by name and offer something of value are more likely to be opened and clicked on. You can use their previous behavior to determine what they might be interested in, and tailor your message accordingly.
Product recommendations can also be tailored to a specific shopper based on browsing and purchase history, promo offers, etc. Depending on what data you’re capturing during the customer experience, you can also promote tailored content like how-to and tutorial videos based on those recommendations or browser history.
Best content for building loyalty
As marketers, we talk a lot about authenticity when it comes to brands. That’s partly because today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to. They want to live, feel and align with their brands of choice. They want brands they can believe in.
B2B brands have an incredible opportunity to create fans and build loyalty among their audiences. But this means being open and transparent to allow for that deeper level of trust and connection. Knowledge and help centers can help answer important questions, while brand mission and employee-focused content can put stories and faces to your brand name.
At the same time, your brand needs to ensure it’s there for your audience—staying accountable and attentive. From an onboarding or welcome series to exclusive or personalized content, make prospects and customers feel like they are a priority. After all, they are a part of your brand’s future—from repurchasing to word of mouth.
Starting your content strategy [free download]
Now that you know the role content plays in your integrated plan and how it can help meet your specific objectives, it’s time to get strategizing!
To help you, we’ve created The Content Strategists Workout Plan inspired by our team’s own content strategy and planning process. Inside the free download, you’ll find three workouts that guide you from your big idea to your go-live content matrix.
Check it out and be sure to reach out if you have any questions about how to better connect with your audience!