4 Best Practices for Building an Effective B2B Content Marketing

4 Best Practices for Building an Effective B2B Content Marketing

When it comes to content marketing, here’s a tough lesson every business owner must learn: If you’re not publishing content that anyone wants to read, you may as well not publish at all.

Being passionate about the subject helps, but passion alone doesn’t produce successful content. 

Ultimately, content marketing is only worth producing if it drives qualified organic traffic - that is, potential clients - to your website. Publishing high-quality, useful content positions you as a thought leader in your space. 

You will only see an ROI on your content when it’s executed well enough that your brand is top of mind when readers are ready to make a purchase. So why bother with a strategy that won’t sell? 

Of course, your content marketing strategy will vary depending upon your industry, goals, and target audience. If you are a B2B (business to business) brand, your approach to content will, naturally, be tailored differently to your audience than if you were selling directly to consumers. 

In this article, we’ll offer an overview of B2B content marketing and a step-by-step guide to leveraging content to attract more customers to your website.

What Is B2B Content Marketing Anyway?

B2B content marketing is a brand building strategy that uses written (or recorded) digital content like blog articles, social media posts, email newsletters, and white papers to attract prospective clients from other businesses. 

Since we focus on blog articles, that’s what we’re mostly talking about when we discuss content marketing of any kind. These blog posts, in turn, should be repurposed as shorter types of content throughout other digital marketing channels, including social media channels, email marketing automation, infographics, and even PPC ads.

Regardless of your platform, content marketing transforms your business blog into a sales tool, capturing the attention of potential B2B buyers at various stages of the purchase process. 

B2B content marketing is different from B2C content marketing because it strictly sells to other companies — not to everyday consumers. This creates a few distinctions, including:

  • A longer sales process: It can take weeks or months — and occasionally years! — to close a B2B sale (according to Salesforce, it takes an average of nearly three months just to nurture a lead into a viable opportunity). Therefore, your content strategy should focus on generating prospects at the top of the sales funnel, with a call to action guiding readers to book a consultation or demo (versus a B2C piece of content, which may lead to a direct sale). The goal of a B2B content strategy is to introduce prospective clients to your brand and get them in the sales funnel, not to close a sale the first time someone encounters your brand. 
  • A greater number of stakeholders:  B2B companies need to create a broad content plan that appeals to multiple stakeholders within the same company. While some pieces might target the end, high-level decision maker (such as a CEO), others will be more topical, aimed at staff that research potential vendors to solve specific problems (such as a manager or associate).
  • A smaller pool of potential customers: A B2B company is  already accustomed to a sales strategy that emphasizes quality (longer-lasting, more lucrative sales) over quantity. This holds true for content, where a specialized topic that may be highly relevant to a prospective client may have a relatively low search volume. Despite the smaller group of potential leads, it is still vital to position your company as a thought leader in the industry, ideally suited to solve their unique pain points, in order to capture their interest.

4 Tips to Do B2B Content Marketing Right

As a B2B company, your marketing strategy must target and sell to other businesses. To ensure your organization stitches together a compelling content plan, follow these steps:

1. Clarify Your Buyer Personas

Sure, you’re selling to an entire company, but companies are composed of people, and you need to make sure you’re selling to the people who have the power to decide whether or not they sign the contract with you..

Chances are, your target audience is comprised of prospects from  2-3 customer segments, such as:

  • Decision makers: Who will be the deciding factor in purchasing your product or service? The decision maker is typically a CEO, business owner, or department head.
  • Gatekeepers: Many decision makers have an executive assistant or associate who fields calls and determines what emails and appointments are worth the decision makers time. Rather than trying to work around or get past gatekeepers, you can market directly to them and turn gatekeepers into allies.
  • Influencers: Many times, decision makers delegate research to another team member. Therefore, you might market to other junior level employees or interns searching for a company to solve a business problem.

2. Define Your Goals Early On

At Growth Machine, we help both B2C and B2B companies scale their online traffic to land more sales. Our content strategy led a B2B organization to triple their traffic and a gig economy website hit 100,000 monthly visitors — both in just six months.

Throughout the many years spent building content strategy for clients, we can tell you this: Each client came to us for a distinct reason.

Your end goal will determine which levers to push and pull within your overall content plan, and it’s not worth investing in content until you’ve clearly defined what goals your content will support It may not seem like content is directly tied to achieving your business goals, but your goals are the foundation for your plan and many critical aspects of your content strategy cannot move forward without your goals being well-defined. For example:

  • Your cadence: Do you want to go to market as swiftly as possible (perhaps for an upcoming product launch)? Then a more rigorous posting schedule (8-12 articles per month) might be suitable. However, if you are in the health, tech, or SaaS space that requires denser articles, you might need to aim for a lower cadence to allow time for research, extra editing, and fact-checking.
  • Your targeted keywords: The keywords you target will vary depending upon where readers fall within the buyer’s journey. For example, if you hope to build brand awareness, you will aim for high-volume, short-tail keywords to capture readers at the top of the sales funnel. If you want to increase conversions, you will aim for lower-volume but more targeted, longer-tail keywords that attract pre-qualified readers who require less education before a purchase.
  • Your backlink strategy: An effective backlink strategy helps boost your site's domain, allowing you more flexibility in the keywords you tackle. Depending upon your goals, you may need to invest in an SEO agency to help you get high-quality backlinks to build up your authority with various search engines, before you can target relevant, higher difficulty keywords.

3. Create a Well-Rounded Content Plan

With your content goals in mind, your marketing team can get to work devising a well-rounded content creation strategy, selecting keywords most in-line with your business and conversion goals. 

With many helpful tools on the market, keyword research should be tactical and thorough, and  ensure you present the right content to your readers. Create a list encompassing your products and/or services, frequently asked questions from potential customers, case studies, and other helpful resources. These content ideas should strike a balance between:

  • High competition, high volume: These topics might have had more competition online, but they create a foundation to help build domain authority with Google.
  • Lower competition, low volume: These topics might make it easier to get to the first page of Google. However, they’ll have a lower search volume overall.

4. Prepare Your Website for Optimization

Your B2B content marketing strategy will never gain momentum if the site where your content is hosted is not technically healthy and well-optimized for search performance and user experience. 

In other words, an effective content plan requires more than great content. You need to ensure your website is free of any technical issues, including:

  • Slow site speed: Google’s Core Web Vitals states that site speed is directly correlated to the user experience of your website. A slow site, in turn, can result in poor SEO.
  • Poor site architecture: To ensure your high-quality content ranks as soon as possible, you’ll want to ensure your site architecture is clean and simple and submit your sitemap to Google.
  • Challenging navigation: To ensure your long-form content is easy for readers to find, link your blog from your homepage — either within your footer or top navigation.

Launch Your B2B Content Strategy With Growth Machine

B2B content marketing involves publishing thought-leadership pieces and other relevant content to attract a pool of potential customers. To ensure your content marketing efforts prove fruitful, you’ll want to set clear goals, create a well-rounded content plan, get clear about your target audience, and prepare your website for SEO.

To transform your company blog into a lead generation tool, partner with Growth Machine. At Growth Machine, we’ve helped small businesses, startups, and large corporations increase their monthly organic sessions six-fold in six months and their organic traffic by 6,000% in 13 months. To see how we can execute a unique content marketing campaign to grow your online traffic, schedule a free consultation.

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Kara McCartney

Kara McCartney

Writer

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