Working in business-to-business (B2B) marketing can seem like a pretty raw deal at times – if you’re promoting the things that companies need, it can feel like you’re not really working with the fun and interesting things that people want, like your B2C counterparts.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! B2B companies can create successful and engaging content that increases brand awareness and conversions too. Just follow our step-by-step guide and your B2B marketing will take off in style…
1. Think Outside of the Box
Planning makes perfect, especially when you’re thinking about the next marketing campaign, so try to remember these key points:
- Brainstorm your company aims for the coming year and write down the goals you would like to achieve with your content.
- Make it an open forum – do your sales guys think the company should reach a particular audience? What successes would your managers like to see over the next 12 months? Once you’ve decided on your main aims, make sure that your content is aligned with them.
- Next, think outside of the box. Not all creative platforms will suit your product or service, but some will allow you to make your business seem really interesting. Would instructional videos benefit your company? Would interactive on-site tools help your customers find what they need?
There are so many possibilities within content marketing, try to brainstorm them all and decide which content platforms suit your business aims and your customer base the most. Even though it’s great to “think outside of the box”, a good old-fashioned blog post never goes amiss if it’s relevant, well-written and properly amplified on social. Think about the topics and issues that affect your audience the most – what would they enjoy reading about?
2. Be Useful
Content marketing comes into its own when it’s useful for the reader or viewer. When you’re deciding which topics are the most useful, consider your audience and any demographic information you have. What problems are they likely to encounter? And most importantly, how can you be the solution by educating them with your industry insight.
For example, if you supply computer software for businesses, offer tips on how to make computers run faster, review different internet service providers, or write a guide to online security for start-up companies. You can resolve their issues with your knowledge, and by doing this you’ll become an authority.
When you’re planning your content, consider any statistics that you have, and any industry trends that you may know about. They could be helpful for your customer base and will make you appear as a trusted expert in your field.
While it’s great to answer the big questions in your industry and address the key problems that your audience may have, it’s also important to cover topics that haven’t been covered online. Google the subjects you’d like to cover and see if there’s a gap in information. Is there just one badly-written blog on the topic? Create a guest post on the same issue and fill it with engaging images. This way, you’re filling a gap online and customers will turn to your content.
Also try to consider subjects that are a little odd or controversial within your industry as content like this can often be more interesting. But try not to offend anyone – discussing sensitive topics is fine but you don’t want to alienate your customers either!
Finally, when you consider the useful content that you will be creating in your campaign, make sure that you stay relevant and within your particular niche.
3. Don’t Be Pushy
Nobody likes a pushy salesman and the same rule applies in content marketing.
Content marketing – if done properly – raises brand awareness, engages with the customer, and then leads to conversions. It is not a way to generate sales immediately.
As such, here’s what you need to bear in mind when planning and producing content:
- If it focuses solely on your products, services or company, nobody will engage with it.
- When people come across your content, they are typically hoping to resolve an issue or learn something useful.
4. Creating Your Content
After all of the planning and preparation, the fun bit can begin: creating your content!
Whatever you’re creating, remember to be concise, simple and useful for the audience – using loads of technical vocab will just be a little dull. Furthermore, most people don’t have very long attention spans. If somebody is looking up your content on the train home on their iPhone, they want to view interesting, snappy stuff that gets straight to the point.
Even though you’re a business, there’s no reason why you can’t make your content slightly personable. Write from your point of view, be honest and direct. This will make your company seem more interesting, especially if you can add a little humour to your piece too.
At the same time, bear in mind the correct tone of voice for your customer base. For example, if your target audience is accountancy firms, you would use a different tone to if you were targeting graphic designers.
‘Evergreen’ pieces are important. For example, if you create a video in June about how to furnish apartments for tenants, it will still be just as relevant and usable in December. This type of content is more likely to succeed in the long-term, pulling in a steady amount of views each month.
Make your content is visual wherever possible. If your blog has images, your video is high-quality or your infographic is well-designed and eye-catching, people will engage with it much more.
Once you’ve created your content, try to think about your brand online. Which web page will your piece be on? Is that page clear and easy to use on laptop and mobile devices? Is the website easy to use overall? All of these factors impact the success of your content.
5. What To Do Next: Editing, Publishing and Sharing
Now you’ve created an amazing piece of content, it’s time to make it absolutely perfect for your audience.
Review the content a few times and ask others to give their opinion too – could it be clearer in its assertions? Has it stuck to the original aims of your initial ideas session? Once you’re happy, upload it.
Now it’s time to promote your content! Share it on social media channels that your target audience is using, go a step further and promote it through paid social, and outreach to other bloggers who cover similar topics.
If the piece proves popular from the get-go, think about developing it into a series. Could you repurpose the content into another format?
When you share pieces on social media outlets, make sure your pages are up-to-date and appealing for your audience.
Finally, track the performance of your campaign through Google Analytics. Discuss your successes and areas for improvement. By doing this, you can identify how you will make your next campaign even more successful.
Many B2B companies struggle to engage their audiences online. But by creating interesting content and following the simple steps in this article, your online visibility and conversions will increase over time.
The most important thing to bear in mind is your target audience.Will they find your piece useful and interesting? That’s what it should always come down to.
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