Growth
Mar 28, 2024

The Definitive Guide to B2B Content Marketing

The Definitive Guide to B2B Content Marketing

B2B content marketing can nurture potential customers through the entire sales funnel. A good strategy can help educate your prospects, drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales.

This definitive guide to B2B content marketing shows you how to create that effective strategy today.

You’ll learn:

  • Why B2B content marketing works (with numbers and expert opinions!)
  • The main differences between B2C and B2B content marketing
  • How to choose the right content format for your business goals
  • Best practices with lots of actionable tips

Keep reading below.

TL;DR

  • B2B content marketing is a powerful tool for educating, engaging, and converting potential customers throughout the sales funnel.
  • Effective B2B content marketing is relevant, valuable, engaging, and consistent.
  • Content marketing boosts website traffic, builds trust, and generates leads efficiently.
  • B2B content marketing differs from B2C in terms of audience, purchase journey, audience intent, content type, and promotion channels.
  • Best formats for B2B content marketing include blogs, case studies, whitepapers, email newsletters, and video content.
  • Blogs should be relevant, high-quality, and linkable to be effective.
  • Case studies showcase real-world results and should be engaging and data-rich.
  • Whitepapers can increase exposure, generate qualified leads, and boost sales but require technical expertise.
  • Email newsletters and video content are also valuable formats for B2B inbound marketing.
  • Best practices for B2B content marketing include aligning content with the sales funnel, creating buyer personas, repurposing content, updating old content, and optimizing content for search engines.
  • Optimizing content involves using persuasive titles, improving description tags, choosing the right keywords, enhancing article structure, refining intros, optimizing link structure, and using visuals.
  • Successful B2B content marketing requires a results-driven perspective and a customer-centric approach.

What Is B2B Content Marketing?

B2B content marketing is a strategic approach to B2B marketing done via content.

This content has to be:

  • Relevant for your target audience
  • Valuable
  • Engaging
  • Consistent

You can power up your content calendar with different types of content, such as blogs, videos, newsletters, or white papers.

We’ll discuss them in a minute.

But first:

Why Use Content Marketing as a Channel?

Using content marketing has a slew of benefits:

  • You stay on top of your customers’ minds: Relevant content allows you to reach your target audiences meaningfully.
  • Content marketing boosts website traffic and organic search ranking: That’s because you’re following Google’s EEAT search rater guidelines, proving experience, expertise, accuracy, and transparency.
  • You develop solid business relationships: B2B content marketing done right means you can engage more with your prospects.
  • You build trust and expertise: As you post transparent, educational content, more potential clients and customers will see you as an expert.
  • You can generate leads efficiently in the long term: Unlike ads, content doesn’t disappear when you stop creating it. And content marketing is more affordable than paid ads.

Let’s see what the experts have to say about it.

Quotes from experts we like the most

b2b content marketing quotes

B2B vs B2C Content Marketing

Here’s the tl;dr version, but we’ll discuss all these elements in more depth below:

b2b vs b2c content marketing, differences

Type of Audience

The B2C audience is broader. Some consumer goods like toilet paper or bread are meant for literally everyone.

On the other hand, B2B customers are key decision-makers. That’s why you need more specialized, in-depth content for them.

Purchase Journey

B2C customers make up their minds faster. Impulse buys are also quite common in the B2C space.

But:

Research shows that B2B customers consume 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. They compare their alternatives more minutely and go through a more convoluted sales funnel.

Remember: Your B2B prospects need more nurturing than a run-of-the-mill B2C customer.

Audience Intent

B2C audiences want to be entertained and represented. They can consume and interact with branded content without necessarily buying.

Of course, that’s not always the case. But this type of relationship is not surprising.

On the other hand, B2B customers want to purchase your products/services.

Pro tip: Power up your B2B SEO strategy with commercial and transactional keywords.

Type of Content

B2C content is more entertaining. Even when B2C companies distribute educational content, they keep matters light and non-specialized.

But B2B customers want to read numbers, statistics, and in-depth details.

They consume industry studies during lunch breaks and aren’t easily persuaded by relatable TikToks.

Promotion Channels

Social media and websites power up B2C content marketing.

Conversely, studies show that 70% of B2B shoppers discover content through vendors’ websites and 67% through internet searches.

And that’s because of the type of content B2B audiences prefer.

Lengthier pieces like industry studies or whitepapers aren’t good materials for social media – but they’re great for a lunch-break email.

That brings us to the next topic:

Best Formats for B2B Content Marketing

The section below discusses the best formats for B2B content marketing. You will see awesome content pieces and get actionable advice to improve your content marketing efforts.

But here’s a tl;dr just in case you want to skip to the good part:

the pros and cons of different content marketing formats

1. Blogs

Blog posts can increase your visibility and organic traffic in the B2B space. They can also increase your ROI 13 times compared to other marketing methods.

The caveat:

You must respond to your customers’ needs and their stage in the sales funnel.

Don’t worry – we’ll delve into the nuts and bolts of writing good content for your sales funnel a bit below.

For now, let’s discuss what good content is.

Here’s the thing:

That’s because most content can’t get in front of the immense competition.

Here’s the solution:

Write valuable content for:

  • Your prospects
  • People in your industry who will share those blog posts

Let’s see a neat example:

Hawksford is a financial company in Singapore that offers company incorporation services, accounting, and more.

They wrote this article on banking industry trends:

hawksford blog post
Source

Ask yourself: who is this article’s audience?

It’s not just small, new businesses in Singapore – it’s every outlet interested in the banking system.

Here’s how well this piece performs in terms of backlinks:

blog post stats
Source

And that’s considering most articles don’t have even one inbound link.

Lesson learned: Ensure your blog posts are:

  • Relevant
  • High-quality
  • Linkable

Best blog posts: Complete guides like this, expanded lists posts, and how-to articles are the best article formats.

These posts are usually long-form content, which is shown to:

Pro tips:

  • Don’t fill your longer articles with fluff but with relevant B2B content marketing examples and actionable strategies.
  • Split each step in minute details so your customers don’t have to return to Google for more information.
  • Write guest blog posts for relevant B2B websites in your industry to get more backlinks. To find these sources, Google “[industry name] websites guest posts,” like so:
guest post search

2. Case Studies

Case studies allow you to showcase your best results in a real-world setting.

Your potential customers understand how you’ve helped other clients solve their problems and achieve success.

Pro tip: The best B2B content agencies recommend to keep your case study engaging and filled with numbers.

Take the time to expose your strategy from A to Z, but avoid sharing confidential details.

Case studies may take longer to write than blog posts because your writing department may need data from your marketing and sales teams.

That said, this format is the most influential according to 77% of B2B buyers and 65% of B2B marketers.

Influencer agency inBeat created an excellent article with four amazing UGC case studies:

inbeat case study
Source

Notice the clear structure of each case study, following the precise steps of each campaign:

  • Client’s pain point
  • Why use UGC and not another strategy
  • Creator selection
  • Created content
  • How they got the content ideas
  • Campaign monitoring
  • Clear results

3. Whitepapers

Whitepapers power up your entire sales funnel because they:

On the other hand, white papers are much longer and more data-packed. So:

  • They take longer to create.
  • Require a high level of technical expertise, meaning they must be written by experienced professionals.
  • They’re dense documents filled with facts and figures, meaning they can lose potential readers' attention.

For example, TINT produces the “State of Social & User-Generated Content” report every year:

tint piece of content
Source

That brings us to the next point:

4. Email Newsletters

TINT also uses email marketing to advertise its content, like so:

tint newsletter
Source: Personal email

B2B email newsletters can also help you achieve a slew of marketing goals. Studies show that B2B marketing emails:

  • Get more awareness: 85% of B2B brands use email newsletters for content sharing.
  • Nurture your leads: 31% of your fellow B2B content marketers agree that newsletters are highly efficient lead-nurturing tools.

However, the average email open rate for B2B businesses is 15.1%.

To improve this rate:

  • Don’t send the same email to everyone: Personalizing your email newsletters can increase your ROI by 7.6 times.
  • You must have a good pitch: Offer your website visitors a good reason to subscribe to your emails.

5. Video Content

The HubSpot 2023 Video Marketing Trends Report suggests that video marketing is highly successful in the B2B space.

  • 87% of videos increase awareness.
  • 86% of video content helps your B2B buyers understand your products and brand better.
  • 85% of videos boost audience engagement.
  • 78% of videos accelerate lead generation.
how effective is video content
Source

Videos can power up your traditional content, but you must:

  • Create professional videos – this requires some extra technical expertise and software.
  • Strive to rank for specific keywords according to your target audience’s intent.

Pro tip: Transform your old content into a short, persuasive video.

Studies show the best video length is below 20 minutes for educational pieces. YouTube and LinkedIn are excellent channels for this content type.

Here are some nice examples from Brian Dean’s YouTube channel:

brian dean's youtube channel
Source

Remember: Your video strategy can also include webinars and podcasts.

These formats educate your audience and build your expertise. Besides, webinars and podcasts get you worthy backlinks from your guest experts.

The Advanced Selling Podcast is an excellent resource to draw inspiration from:

brian dean episodes
Source

Best Practices for Creating B2B Content

The section above showed you amazing content formats to power up your B2B content marketing strategy.

Now, we’ll review some best practices to maximize your results.

1. Split the Content into Different Stages of the Sales Funnel

For your content marketing strategy to work, you need:

  • Relevant content
  • People who will actually read it

Creating correct funnel content addresses both these issues.

Side note: Sure, that’s not the only factor. You also need to work on your backlink profile and produce high-quality pieces.

But the first step is ensuring your content fits your sales funnel.

Why?

  • Because Google wants you to be relevant
  • And each sales funnel stage is powered by a different search intent.

Besides, B2B companies have more complicated funnels that require more lead nurturing.

Pro tip: Work with your sales team to decide on compelling content for each stage. Here’s an example:

content across sales funnel stages

 Let’s peek at what accounting firm FreshBooks is doing.

This article is best for generating awareness and reaching out to potential customers in the TOFU stage:

tax advice blog post
Source

This ebook is perfect for the evaluation/consideration stage in the MOFU funnel stage because it shows people how to find the right accounting firm. And that’s when FreshBooks can pitch themselves:

accountant blog post
Source

And this array of customer success stories are the ultimate proof in the decision-making stage:

case studies block
Source

2. Create a Buyer Persona

A buyer persona streamlines the content creation process. But when you build a buyer persona, consider specific factors in the B2B space:

  • Your potential customers have different backgrounds, ages, and needs.
  • B2B customers are key decision-makers in their companies.

So, it’s better to create a buyer persona based on your customers’ shared values.

  • Work with your sales departments and research teams to get data on your real customers.
  • Use tools like BuzzSumo to discover industry trends and topics that interest your target audience.
  • Based on this data, build a picture of your ideal customer.
  • Jot down that customer’s:
  • Values
  • Motivations
  • Pain points
  • The thing they value most in a brand
  • Preferred communication channels

An online tool like Similarweb can help you get these details:

Similarweb analysis
Source

But you can also use Google Analytics or other listening tools to create your buyer’s persona.

3. Repurpose Content Across Different Platforms

Content repurposing helps you address new markets with effective content.

So:

  • Gather high-quality pieces of content.
  • Reimagine them according to your current customers’ preferences. For example, turn them into infographics, ebooks, or podcasts.
  • Post that content on several marketing channels, such as emails or social media.

Here’s how the Search Engine Journal repurposed a series of articles on content marketing in this neatly packaged ebook:

sej repurposed content
Source

This ebook is great because business owners and marketers have all this content marketing-related info in one place.

Plus, an ebook looks more valuable than a mere blog article.

4. Update Old Content

Update relevant old content to ensure:

  • It’s up to date in terms of statistics and data.
  • You don’t have any broken links or other technical errors.
  • Your examples and information are still relevant today.
  • Your content ranks for keywords related to current search intent.
  • The years in the headings are updated to the current one.

Pro tip: If your old content is about an outdated topic that prospective customers no longer care about, you can remove it altogether.

5. Optimize Your Content

Optimizing your content allows Google to index your website better. As a result, your page ranks higher, so more B2B prospects can see it.

And as they see and click on your resources, your organic traffic increases.

If your content is high-quality, responding to your customers’ search intent with practical advice and lots of resources:

  • Fewer website visitors will bounce back to Google.
  • More people will share your content.

And that only grows your organic traffic.

Here’s how to optimize your content:

  • Write convincing titles: Studies show that titles with numbers, brackets, and emotional appeals increase click-through rates considerably.
  • Improve description tags: Write a unique description tag for each article featuring your target keyword. This description tells people what your webpage is about, thus increasing CTRs and decreasing bounce rates.
  • Optimize your content for the right keywords: Choose a medium-tail target keyword that’s relatively easy to rank for and with enough search traffic. Tools like Frase or Surfer SEO can help with keyword optimization, but remember to write your content according to your audience’s search intent.
  • Refine your article’s structure to keep people on the page: Split your text into short paragraphs, use bullet points, bold fonts, and bucket brigades. Your long-form B2B content is filled with data, so you must keep people interested.
  • Rewrite your intros: Don’t fill your openings with fluff or irrelevant content. B2B customers want to know what they’ll find on your page – they don’t need to be wooed with marketing slang.
  • Hone your link structure: Add relevant internal links to other high-quality content on your blog. Use only trustworthy external links for your facts and stats. And aim to improve your backlink profile.
  • Insert images and videos: Infographics, educational videos, and other visuals help your B2B prospects understand the topic better. Besides, these visuals are essential ranking factors for search engines. And they keep people hooked for longer.

Let’s look at one example:

Stack is a commercial construction company that posted an article on “Five Keys to Starting and Managing a Commercial Construction Company.”

Let’s start with the good:

  • The title is effective because it contains a number and the target keyword “commercial construction company.”
  • The headings are clear.
  • There are enough outbound links to authority sources.

But the body could be improved:

  • The introduction could focus more on the benefits of reading the article and less on fluff:
body of content part 1
  • The paragraphs could be much shorter and with more bucket brigades:
body of content part 2
  • The article could feature more screenshots and fewer stock images like this one:
stock images
Images’ source

That brings us to the last point in this guide:

How to Ensure Your Content Marketing Succeeds

B2B content marketing is a worthwhile strategy.

Studies show that good content increases your sales and ROI, decreases bounce rates, nurtures leads, and is the basis of long-term relationships.

But you have to do it right.

This article taught you to keep a results-driven perspective and a customer-centric approach. You also learned the five best content formats and best practices to improve your B2B content strategy.

Use these tips to hone and implement your content marketing campaign today.

Remember to pay attention to your technical and off-page SEO, too. These details ensure your content ranks better and gets more organic traffic.

Blue Things can help with quality inbound links, technical SEO, content writing, and more. Let’s schedule a strategy call, and we’ll get you started.

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