How to Create Powerful B2B Marketing Content in 4 Steps
Powerful B2B marketing content has the potential to stop a prospect in their tracks, delight and engage, create a sense of intrigue and conjure an intent to discover more. In fact, 84% of B2B buyers say they would buy from a supplier with whom they had a great relationship over a competitor, even if the business terms were less suitable.
B2B marketing content is key to nurturing these relationships with B2B buyers - it's why 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing (HubSpot). But - here's the kicker - only 40% say content marketing is an essential part of their marketing strategy. A stat that leaves us wondering... why?
Side note - if you want to know who we're referring to when we say 'us', jump over to our about page here.
A few reasons - B2B content marketing struggles to succeed when:
The raw ingredients to great content are missing
The content 'broadcasts' to audiences rather than talking with them
It lacks content diversity
It's missing cohesion and consistency
It's not optimised to reach target audiences
There are no calls to action
The website isn't up to scratch, so doesn’t convert audiences
If your content marketing is not delivering results, it could be due to one of these pitfalls. And you're not alone: 60% of content marketing misses the mark.
Let's get into how to create great content - which delivers results - in 4 decisive steps.
But before we get into creating powerful content marketing, you can learn more about our services as a marketing team here.
Create Powerful B2B Marketing Content
Step 1: The right fuel to power the engine
Have you heard of the 10,000-hour rule? A 1993 paper written by Anders Ericsson (Prof. at the University of Colorado) theorised that anyone can become an expert at anything with - wait for it - just 10,000 hours/ 416 days of practice.
Why is this relevant to B2B marketing?
B2B marketers cannot become experts in your business overnight. They need some time - and some fuel - to become adept at what your business does, the clients you work with and how you help them. What they can do, however, is to take an ounce of insight and create magic (thanks to years of writing, creative and marketing experience). It is astounding how a drop of insight can lead to some of the best B2B content in the hands of skilled content marketers.
It’s crucial to understand content marketing is never a ‘hands-off’ marketing approach. If you’re the content marketer not getting the right support, push for more. If you’re a business leader considering content marketing, understand it needs your insights to succeed.
Key learning: Business leaders, sales, internal experts and more all play a role in delivering the fuel to power the content marketing engine.
Step 2: Research, research, research
Neil Patel (New York Times Bestseller) “A lot of marketers are under the assumption that simply creating more content than the competition will get them the results they want. I beg to differ. If Google updates like Panda & Penguin have shown us anything, it’s that quality trumps everything else.”
Research takes the nugget of insight from internal business experts and turns it into content with depth. Stats, quotes, theories and case studies, all found by diving deeper into the research, go towards building the authority, credibility and trustworthiness of an article.
Why does this stage matter? LinkedIn's recent user behaviour report suggested the platform receives over 2 million posts daily. The sheer volume of content explains why only great content breaks through the noise.
Key Learning: Find stats, quotes, theories, examples, and case studies to back up your points and substantiate the article being written.
Step 3: Develop - let the magic begin
It's time to create your B2B social posts, blogs, lead magnets and email marketing campaigns. The fuel's been supplied, and the research is complete. Now it's time to think like a marketer. If there is a brand strategy, it's now that the tone of voice and brand personality slides come in handy. Are you an empathetic brand, a motivator, energetic, or questioning… whatever the brand style, bring it to the fore, but always develop content with the reader in mind.
Beyond this, diversity of content is essential. It seems obvious, yet many B2B brands deliver static stock footage with the same rhetoric each day. Mix it up! Aim to deliver a multitude of creative assets from video to podcasts, infographics to animated content across your channels.
Further to this, you can think of your audience as sitting in one of 5 buckets and, hopefully, jumping through each in turn:
This is the customer relationship journey, and as you'd expect, each stage needs different styles and types of content to serve and guide the audience. (It is also possible to create one post to trigger all of these stages.)
Lastly, content formats. Getting creative with written content formatting for B2B social posts can help them stand out. As simple as:
Staggering the content you write
In a descending order
Engages the eye
...and therefore creates intrigue.
You can use many styles to format copy beyond the standard 3 or 4 sentence format. Feel free to include the odd emoji - you might not think it's B2B, but it is. And a final nugget, add a CTA (call to action): where should the prospect - if they're interested - go next?
Key Learning: Diversity of content types and formats keeps the audience engaged and staves off the repetitiveness that can see viewers grasping for the remote to change channel.
Step 4: Optimise the content to be seen
Our final stage, centres on the fundamental point - that content is only valuable once it's been seen.
Simply put, your copy might be the envy of Shakespeare, yet in the era of the 'ice-bucket challenge', people will sadly only remember cold and slightly excitable folk in a post-freeze frenzy. Your great content only becomes great once it's been seen - so spend as much time and effort optimising it to be seen as developing it.
In truth, you could develop a blog, if not a book, dedicated to each of the following three areas to consider when optimising your content. Take them as a checklist of starting points to hack quick gains on your content’s visibility to a broader audience:
SEO title optimisation
URL / Metatags
Alt tags for images
Write great content
B2B social posting considerations
Time of day for posting
Supporting with reciprocal commenting
Email marketing metrics
Time of day
Check subject line quality
Short and sharp content
To wrap this up, the content marketing industry is expected to be worth over $105 billion by 2025, with 87% of B2B companies using content marketing. Furthermore, in a recent study, Gartner confirmed that B2B social, email and SEO-optimised blogs are still the most potent platforms for generating B2B leads. Making sure your business delivers the impact fuel, performs deep dive research, develops content with the reader in mind and optimises it to be seen, is more important than ever today.