To run a successful B2B content marketing campaign, you must first identify the objectives you want to achieve with your metrics. Next, you'll need to implement the right content marketing strategy, and content ideas for your company based on your goals, the types of content you're aiming for, as well as the placement options and marketing channels you have on the table.
If you generate and publish relevant content without a framework and strategy, you may not be successful in the long run.
If you're looking to improve your B2B content marketing strategy, this post will provide you with plenty of fresh ideas and content strategies for your content marketing team. You can then choose marketing strategies that suit your business objectives and the demands of your consumer personas.
What is B2B content marketing?
B2B content marketing is a marketing strategy that entails creating and distributing high-quality content for business-to-business firms with the goal of boosting brand recognition, leads, traffic, and revenue.
Think of it this way; content marketing is simply a way that brands advertise themselves by creating content with factual and useful information that people in the industry may be interested in. The main aim is to be recognized as an expert in the industry, and hopefully, gain some followers in the process.
In a nutshell, the steps of content marketing are as follows:
- Create good content and push it out to your target audience,
- Your target audience comes across your content.
- They like it and visit your website through backlinks
- They find out about your products on your website
B2B content marketing focuses on knowledge rather than emotional appeal and entertainment. So, before you decide to settle on a specific idea in B2B content marketing, you need to consider the following to meet your target successfully:
- Know your target business audience - perform thorough audience research to know who you're aiming to reach with your content, and what kind of content they like.
- Recognize your competitors.
- Determine your objectives/goals - what do you aim to achieve with this campaign?
- Make a customer journey map.
- Focus on building relationships and trust; everything else false into place after that.
That out of the way, here are some fresh B2B content marketing ideas that B2B content marketing teams can use to push their brands:
- Optimize meta titles for CTR
Most of the time, creating good content, unfortunately, isn't enough. You need to push out your content and ensure it's seen by your target audience. This entails optimizing page titles for your content to improve Click-Through Rate (CTR) on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Search engines use sophisticated algorithms to determine the relevance of content to a search query based on the keywords used. This aims to improve the user experience by displaying the most relevant results to their searches first, followed by the less relevant ones in that order.
As a result, writing SEO meta titles with relevant keywords for a search query may result in more clicks as well as greater visibility for your content.
This is because the algorithm interprets more clicks as users finding the search result more relevant for that particular search query. As a result, the content is ranked even higher, promoting your content to more people within your niche and beyond.
For example, if you search Google for "how to use Surfer SEO," the first result is from our website, as shown in the screenshot above. This is because Google recognizes that we are the most authoritative source of information on matters Surfer SEO.
Our page title is keyword-optimized for this search query, so readers know exactly what to anticipate when they click the link. As a result, users click on our page more than other results for the same query, propelling it to the top of the search results.
Optimizing meta descriptions
Just like with titles, optimizing the meta description helps boost a page’s CTR on search engines. By incorporating keywords into the meta description, you increase the chances of a reader clicking on the page if the content is relevant to their search query.
Optimizing your titles and meta descriptions will require you to do keyword research to determine which keywords are best to go with.
Aside from boosting CTR, optimizing meta descriptions also make it possible to optimize on-page SEO and the page URL for an even higher ranking.
Tools such as google analytics help you track the performances of your live articles. You can then decide to make changes to the title or meta descriptions of the articles to improve SEO.
It also helps to include semantically relevant keywords in your meta descriptions. They give search engines more context about your content, which is used to promote your content for all relevant search queries.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for Meta titles and descriptions
One main challenge when it comes to optimizing meta titles, however, is that there is no single solution that works for everyone. The results vary, depending on the type of content, and target audiences for the content.
Different search engines also use different algorithms with different content ranking systems. What this means is, what helps a page rank higher on one search engine may not help in another.
For example, Google uses an algorithm called Panda to filter and analyze content for ranking, while Yahoo and Bing use their own different algorithms
Also, install Surfer Keywords Chrome Extension to see all your content analysis in one place.
That said, here are some industry-standard practices that might help optimize your titles and descriptions for improved CTR:
- The first approach, as previously stated, is to always utilize relevant keywords that accurately reflect the page's content.
- Keep your titles between 50-60 characters, and meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters. This will ensure they’re properly displayed as complete on SERPs.
- Make use of numbers, questions, and emotional triggers where possible.
- Use schema markups where possible.
- Create thought leadership content
In a survey on thought leadership, 89% of respondents disclosed that good thought leadership improved their perception of a brand. 59% also revealed thought leadership as an accurate representation of a brand’s capabilities and expertise.
On paper, these are just statistics, but what do they represent to a B2B vendor?
Well, thought leadership is all about establishing yourself as an industry leader and trusted source of information. In simple terms, creating thought leadership is a way of convincing your audience that you are the go-to place for information and advice on matters pertaining to your niche.
This entails creating unique and genuinely good content with subject matter expertise in your niche. This not only makes you stand out from the competition, but also builds you a loyal following.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Make use of whitepapers
Most people find white papers to be painstakingly long and boring, but people who know their value hold the businesses that offer them in high regard. They’re an incredible way of establishing yourself as a reputable source of trusted information in your industry.
Now you might be thinking, “Why would someone want to read a long and boring report?” Well, the thing is, whitepapers aren't just long and boring reports, they're long and boring reports that also contain information that's invaluable to a small and important segment of your audience.
These papers provide information on industry trends that affect investors and shareholders in your industry. As such, they appeal to a very rewarding section of your audience, the type to turn into paying customers.
You can offer the whitepapers for free as a lead magnet to potential new customers. Once you have their attention, you can try and retain them as well as your existing customers using other high-quality material on your website, and potentially convert them into paying clients eventually.
REI is a great example of how to use whitepapers to establish thought leadership. When you first visit the site, you will see an 'expert advice' section at the top of the page. It features great 'how to' articles and authoritative guides that users may find valuable for their niche.
A business could also use technical documentation to provide in-depth information and details about its products and services to potential customers, stakeholders, and/or partners.
They demonstrate technical experience in the industry and may help persuade your audience of your superiority and capabilities over your competitors.
Speaking engagements are another thoughtful way for a business to establish authority in a niche. This involves attending events with your target audience and engaging them verbally.
It’s an opportunity for you to sell yourself to your audience by interacting with them on a personal level. Be careful, however, since this is a double-edged sword, and the results would more or less depend on your ability to sell your skills and expertise.
Anything wrong with your presentation could harm the reputation of your company.
- Host seminars and events
Seminars and events are another excellent way to market your content to your target audience and create brand awareness in the market. It’s essentially you letting them know who you are as a business, what you have to offer, and why they should buy from you.
Seminars, workshops, and events have the advantage of only attracting people from your target audience. You get to meet and talk to people that are interested in what you have to say, and who could potentially turn into customers.
These events don't always have to fill ballrooms; you can organize smaller meetings of 50-100 people, provided the audience is people from your niche. Keep in mind that a small interested audience is preferable to a large crowd of uninterested people.
In instances where a physical meeting is not feasible, you can host online webinars using video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Teams. Online webinars also provide additional flexibility because they can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for all parties involved. Furthermore, you can record your webinars and use the material for future meetings instead of physically attending all sessions.
A great example of a company that uses webinars to spread information is LiveWebinar. The company has established itself as a thought leader in the business industry by consistently hosting webinars on topics such as business strategies and marketing.
- Publish case studies
Case studies demonstrate to your audience how your product or service may solve their challenges. It's one thing to market what your product is capable of, but it's quite another when people actually witness it in action.
This could be published in the form of press releases, white papers, social media posts, or even blog posts. By sharing these success stories, you demonstrate your expertise and authority in your industry while also providing possible solutions to difficulties that your potential consumers may face.
The whitepapers can also draw backlinks to your website to help bring in some traffic from people that are sold by the case studies.
Lenovo, the giant electronic company, is one of the many companies that make use of case studies to establish themselves as thought leaders. The company's blog has an entire section dedicated to case studies and testimonies from its customers.
Up till this point, you realize the basic concept of content marketing is to get your content out there as much as possible. As such, hosting a podcast is another card on this deck.
Unlike written forms of content that require people to set aside time to read, people can listen to podcasts on the go while driving, taking a stroll, at the gym, or even when just relaxing at home. It’s a great way to interact with your audience while also creating brand awareness and advertising your business.
I recommend that you aim for content that offers deep professional industry insights and advice for challenges that your audience may encounter. You could also organize interviews with renowned industry professionals to get their opinions on industry concerns. All of this helps establish you as a thought leader in your industry, building trust in your brand.
According to Edinson Research, 74% of podcast listeners aim to learn new things. People that listen to your podcast don't want the same boring information they can get everywhere else. Offer them something new and unique they can only get from you. This could be first-hand information immediately it drops, or deep industry insights and analyses they don't get elsewhere.
You'll also need to ensure you maintain high-quality production on your podcast. Invest in quality instruments and a good production crew that doesn't come out as cheap to your audience. This is a turn-off to most people, and inspires a lack of confidence in your products.
With podcasts only growing in popularity, there’s a constantly growing audience you can tap into.
You could borrow a leaf out of Microsoft's book on how to use podcasts as a content marketing strategy. The industry leader has a podcast called 'Future' (like the singer, yes) where they discuss how technology will advance in the next decade.
Collaborate with influencers and industry leaders
It takes time to build a following, but you can grow even more quicker by working with influencers and industry leaders.
These folks often have large audiences and devoted fans as a result of years of experience in the game. By collaborating with them, you can leverage their following to reach a wide audience of people that might have not heard of you before.
It's a quick way of growing in your industry, but it can also get very expensive. Some influencers take products in exchange for free reviews, while others accept payment in exchange for publicity, Still, others, particularly those with a larger following, request both.
Not to worry, the expenses are more than worth it in most cases. The returns on investment are more likely to exceed advertising costs. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses can expect a $5 return on investment for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.
It’s important to work with influencers whose following matches your target audience. Steer clear of controversial figures, their scandals almost always have an impact on whatever they promote. And not positively.
When working with thought leaders and industry influencers, you could try the following approaches:
Schedule interviews with the elites of your industry, and get their takes on matters pertaining to the industry. By dealing with experts, you gain your audience's faith in your credibility and expertise in the field. You also get to reach new people and new followers who may be interested in that kind of content.
In these interviews, you could ask about their experiences and challenges, while also giving your unique insights and perspective. By doing this, you can tap new followers from their audiences.
Make sure to market the interview on all your socials, and ask them to market it to their audience so you can reach as many people as possible
Publish content roundups
By publishing insights and perspectives from various industry experts all in one place, you give your audience a place to get all their trusted information under one roof. You earn their trust as the one-stop shop for everything they need to know.
This also establishes you as a trusted source and builds you a loyal following in the long run.
You can get these insights and expert information by asking experts for interviews, asking their opinions on industry problems via text, or simply following them closely on social media to stay updated with whatever they post.
Sephora, the beauty giant, is one of the brands that use aggressive influencer marketing to promote their products. The company has a year-long influencer program known as the Sephora affiliate program, where industry influencers receive free products and mentorship lessons. They get to enjoy these perks, and pay back to the company by featuring the products on their social media channels
Write guest posts
Now, if you like freebies as I do, you might prefer this approach to the one before. Writing guest posts to high-domain websites is one way of boosting your website's SEO through backlinks. And what's more, it's all free of charge.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, well, it’s free because it's mutually beneficial to both sides. The host website gets free, informative, and useful material for its audience, and you get to reach new audiences and attract new readers back to your site through backlinks.
This is an effective approach for quickly building credibility, especially when you associate with industry-leading companies in your niche.
To increase your chances of lead generation, it’s important to focus more on creating good content that provides value to readers rather than selling your products in the guest posts.
Nurture an online community
People like to feel a sense of belonging, and nurturing an online community gives your audience a chance to feel a part of your brand. By fostering a sense of community around your audience, you create a dedicated fanbase that stays loyal to your brand. The result is better customer retention for your business, as well as more opportunities to cross-sell and upsell products to your customers.
Nurturing a community requires you to first identify a platform that’s most ideal for your audience. Reddit, Twitter, Discord, and Facebook are all good options. If possible, have as big a digital footprint as possible. What this mean is, to have a presence on as many social media channels as possible.
Having a community helps you get valid feedback and positive criticism, which helps you better tailor your content for your audience. This improves CTR, thereby improving ranking.
That aside, an online community also has the following advantages to a brand:
Once you have a community, the members function as an extension of your brand, effectively advertising for you free of charge. The community can also be a source of User Generated Content (UGC) for your website. This could be in the form of social media posts, reviews, and other testimonials that paint your brand in good light.
User Generated Content from community platforms like Quora, WordPress, and Webflow can generate backlinks for your website, which helps improve SEO, especially for industry-specific long-tail keywords.
Since most questions are handled by community members, having an active online community relieves the majority of the pressure off your support personnel. This way, you can only contribute when necessary to respond to complex queries or provide clarifications.
One brand that has benefitted significantly from having an online community is Hubspot. The American software company has a sizeable online community with many followers across multiple platforms. The Reddit community alone has more than 5000 members who share knowledge and tips as well as their experiences with the software.
- Target long-tail keywords
A content strategy targeting long-tail keywords is one of the most effective ways to boost a website’s SEO. These particular keywords are very specific and experience low competition, making them easier to rank on search engines.
A long tail keyword like ‘’how to write a compelling blog post for a B2B audience”, for example, would most likely get lower search volumes than broader keywords like ‘B2B marketing’ or ‘blog writing’. On the other hand, it’s easier to rank for the long tail keyword since the competition is lower and the content is very specific to the particular search queries.
Targeting hundreds of long-tail keywords in a piece of content is a great way to narrow down your content to a specific search query, which makes it easy to rank on SERPs for that particular query. This also requires you to have a good keyword strategy and do adequate keyword research to know which ones to go with.
One thing about long-tail keywords is; they bring traffic of higher commercial intent, and are thus more likely to result in sales or lead conversions.
Riverpool and Spas report that traffic from a single blog entry resulted in the sale of more than $2 million in pool equipment. The neat part; the blog was well-optimized with long-tail keywords, potentially making it the most relevant result for such a specific and low-competition search query. The specificity of search queries could have resulted in visits from clients who had the intent to buy.
- Create an academy
Creating an academy where you offer valuable educational content in your industry can help propel your brand to new audiences and establish you as an industry leader. An academy can be beneficial in the following ways:
- Highlight your product - It can be a great way to highlight how to use your product to solve actual industry problems. This creates brand awareness and pushes out your products to the students who may have not heard of you before.
- Attract interested audiences - Most of the time, people that sign up for courses and other educational materials are from within your niche your target audience, and are more likely to go turn into paying customers.
- Establish authority - Offering high-quality educational material can help cement your brand as a thought leader in your niche. You can also offer certificates to people that complete your academy course to make them feel accomplished. This also positions you as an industry authority in the eyes of both employers and students.
- SEO - Having a reputable academy program can also help improve the ranking of your website. When more people search for the courses you offer, your website is recognized by search engines, which improves its ranking on SERPs.
Alternatively, you can also offer your courses to subscribed followers via email in small portions over a period of time. This could be weekly lessons that cover a specific topic in your niche. This drip campaign would help you build relationships with your audience and establish you as a trustworthy source of information in your industry.
Hubspot is yet again an example here, demonstrating how to use courses and an academy as a content marketing strategy. The company offers a free certification course in content marketing, which also helps sell them to new audiences who might be interested in the course.
Offer free tools
Offering free tools is another effective technique of content marketing for your business which also improves your relationship with your customers. It notifies your target audience about your products and why they need them. And then offers them the opportunity to test them out for free to see for themselves how helpful your tools are.
This increases brand awareness among those who may be unfamiliar with your products or services. It also improves SEO for your website because your tool is recommended to users who search for solutions it offers. If they find it useful, they may end up recommending it to their friends, and their friends to their friends' friends, and so on and so forth.
The result? You get to extend your reach and reach newer audiences without spending any additional resources.
This is a win-win situation for both you and the customers. They get to enjoy a free tool, and you get an extended reach and free advertisement in the form of recommendations.
Canva is one popular example of a site that offers free tools as a content marketing strategy. The site offers a lot of design and editing tools free of charge, with the hopes that some of their customers will buy their paid packages which are more advanced.
I mean, I'd be happy to use the free version, but I also think that's the main reason Canva is as popular as it is today, not really because it's better than all the other alternatives.
- Comparison pages
Providing detailed and accurate comparisons of different tools and products to customers in your niche has more benefits than you might imagine. To begin with, it demonstrates your expertise, showing customers you have a deep understanding of the industry.
When doing this, remember to remain unbiased and keep the interests of your audience rather than trying to sell them something. This builds trust in your brand as an unbiased and accurate source of information. You don’t want your audience cross-checking everything they read from your website.
Once you have your audience’s trust, you can control the narrative and influence their decision-making to your advantage. You can highlight the advantages of your product over other businesses. This doesn’t mean you have to lie, just explain why you’re better, be it a price advantage, extra features, or more integrations.
A great example of a brand using comparison to establish thought leadership is Nothing, a new phone company.
Carl Pei, the company's CEO, reviews flagship phones from rival manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung on the company's official YouTube channel. In the videos, he gets to highlight certain areas where he believes the Nothing phone beats the industry leaders.
Content marketing is a simple concept with so many avenues and strategies. Essentially, it requires you to, first of all, create good content, and then push it out to your target audience through whichever channels are available to you.
The 12 strategies described in this article are all great ideas you can implement in your next content marketing campaigns.
Be sure to leave a comment below to let us know what you think.