B2B companies know they need content marketing. What they may not know is why some B2B companies report fantastic content marketing results while others seem to struggle. Let’s take a look at the B2B content marketing “secret sauce.”
B2B content marketing is on the rise, and with good reason. Creating relevant, high-quality content is a proven way to build a relationship with customers and prospects.
In a way, content marketing is the new branding. It helps people better understand your industry, as well as how your company’s offering can solve their problems. Content marketing is also a way to showcase your brand’s personality and help prospects understand what it would be like to partner with you. It builds trust, increases engagement, and drives traffic to your website and social media pages.
All of these benefits apply to B2C content marketing, too, but often the B2B decision-making process is more involved. For example, choosing a new vendor for your company is more complicated than picking a new pair of shoes. We are not just talking about a bigger price tag. When forging a new B2B relationship, customers often need to sign a contract and make some sort of long-term commitment. They generally need buy-in from their team. And they will probably be spending time, or at least communicating, with their new partner regularly.
B2B purchases can be big decisions, and content marketing is really good at helping prospects with those. Buyers are going to do their research. They are going to read everything they can about their choices, from third-party reviews to whitepapers and company blogs. B2B companies need content for every phase of the purchasing journey, which these days is looking less and less like a funnel.
That’s a good starting point for B2B content marketing success – understand your customer’s buying journey, and create content for every phase.
The Rise in B2B Content Marketing Spending
B2B marketers are investing in more content marketing than ever before. 89% of U.S. B2B marketers use content marketing, according to research from Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
Photo Credit: 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs (PDF Download)
70% of U.S. B2B marketers planned to create more content in 2017 than they did the year before, according to the report.
Now let’s take a peek at the playbook of the B2B content marketers who are moving the needle. Not surprisingly, the ones who report the most success are the ones with the most practice.
85% of the most successful B2B content marketers deliver consistent content.
According to the report, the “secrets” to B2B content marketing (or, more accurately, commonalities among marketers who report content marketing success) include:
At the recent 2017 Content Marketing World Conference and Expo, CMI founder Joe Pulizzi revealed another thread among successful B2B content marketers: They focus on building audiences. In his opening remarks, he referenced new CMI research on B2B content marketing that found 92 percent of the most successful B2B content marketers focus on building audiences.
CMI analyzed the least-successful B2B content marketing programs, too. Less than 65 percent of those organizations make building an audience a priority.
Building an Audience for B2B Content Marketing
Building an audience for your brand’s content marketing is challenging. Because most marketers see the value in content marketing, you will be competing with a lot of content. To keep visitors coming back for more, you will have to publish consistently and be patient, too. It takes an average of 12 to 18 months to see the results of an organic B2B content marketing strategy. (But keep in mind that you can speed things along by investing in a paid distribution strategy, creating shareable content, and hatching a brilliant social media strategy.)
Your B2B content marketing—articles, infographics, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, and so on—needs to be of exceptional quality and supported by facts and figures whenever possible. You usually can’t rely on emotion in quite the same way you can in some B2C verticals, although there are definitely ways to make B2B marketing fun. That is actually something Mediaplanet prides itself on. We breathe life into health, business, and technology topics that might otherwise be dry, in part by focusing on the humans behind the industries. Go on and check out some of our effective content marketing examples.
Hey, maybe that is another part of the B2B content marketing secret sauce – soliciting help from the experts at Mediaplanet. The B2B purchasing journey is practically begging for quality content assets. Mediaplanet can help. Give your local Mediaplanet office a call today to discuss.