How to Create a Winning B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is a crucial part of SEO and digital marketing in general, but many businesses overlook the importance of knowing exactly who your audience is.
There are many considerations when crafting your content marketing strategy, and one of them is determining whether your business is geared towards targeting individual consumers (B2C) or a business (B2B) — the latter of which is much more challenging.
B2C vs. B2B Marketing
Businesses can be divided into two types: B2C (business to consumers) or B2B (business to business).
B2C companies are a type of business that sells products or services directly to the end consumer. Some examples of B2C brands are salons, gyms, and restaurants.
B2B companies, on the other hand, are a type of business that sells products or services to another business. This kind of relationship is common between wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers.
Some of the key differences between B2C and B2B are the following:
- Target audience: B2C content marketing is targeted toward a more general audience (consumers); whereas B2B content marketing is targeted toward a more specific group — the key decision-makers of a company.
- Tone: For B2C, the tone can be lighter and more fun, depending on your brand’s tone of voice. For B2B, the tone of your content is usually more formal, tactical, and less emotional. Of course, there are exceptions, and taking a more casual approach in a B2B environment can help break through the noise.
- Communication channel: Many kinds of social media platforms are relevant for B2C companies. However, for B2B, LinkedIn is often the most appropriate option to choose over other kinds of social media. Additionally, email marketing is more relevant to B2B companies than social media marketing.
What Is the Main Challenge of B2B Content Marketing?
As we mentioned earlier, B2B content targets a specific and more “specialized” type of audience: the decision-making unit (DMU) of a business, which usually includes the CEO, head of marketing, head of IT, etc.
The challenge with this is that you have to consider the different needs and goals of each decision-maker. In most cases, their needs and goals can conflict with one another, and you have to plan your content to address and work around each possible conflict.
These are some examples, although it’s important to note that each industry and brand is unique:
- The CEO will most likely focus on how your product/service can make things more efficient for them without making other departments redundant, all while saving on costs.
- The head of marketing, on the other hand, will most likely focus on how your product/service can solve an existing problem and whether your brand is not in conflict with their brand’s overall goals.
- The head of IT will most likely be more concerned about the integration of your product/service into their current systems and whether it’s safe and secure.
4 Tips for Creating a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
1. Know and understand the key decision-makers
Audience research for B2B marketing can be a lot more challenging, as having web analytics data for your target audience isn’t enough. Information is power, and the more you can understand the unique dynamics within their organization, and perhaps potential office politics as well, the better.
An effective method you can use to get more insight into your target business’ key DMU is to have a thorough discussion with your sales team or account managers. They interact with the business far more frequently than you do, so they most likely have a good idea about the nuances of each DMU.
It’s also a good idea to tap into the help of your customer support teams, as they also have more direct interaction with your target client.
2. Segment your audiences
Segmenting your audiences involves creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are essentially detailed descriptions or composite sketches that embody your target audience.
Since there can be conflicting needs and goals of each DMU, buyer personas are invaluable in helping you understand your audience better and in targeting your content more accurately.
A common mistake in B2B marketing, however, is that brands tend to create buyer personas based solely on job function, which doesn’t really carry that much insight. A good strategy is to focus on the behavior, individual goals, motivations, and needs of your target buyer — on top of their job function.
In other words, create buyer personas based on challenges and objectives as opposed to basing them on their responsibilities alone.
3. Strategize your positioning and UVP
Another common mistake that B2B brands make is to focus solely on educating their target client, and this can be quite risky because if you’re not careful, it can be misconstrued that you’re being patronizing.
A key part of B2B content marketing is to position your product/service in a way that both educates and genuinely helps. Strategic positioning is about perception — you want your target client to realize how their business can further improve with the help of your product/service without making them feel that you’re overselling.
Product positioning also goes hand in hand with establishing your unique selling point (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP). Both are crucial in defining your brand message when curating your B2B content.
Some questions to ask, among many others, are:
- What are their (target client’s) current pain points and challenges?
- How can your product address these challenges?
- What are the primary benefits that they will reap if they use your product?
- What makes your product different from others? (Why should they pick you?)
4. Diversify your B2B content
Some content types are generally considered most relevant for B2B marketing, such as whitepapers, email copies, case studies, and blog content, to name a few. However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot explore other types of content formats.
Diversifying your B2B content is important, as it’s one cost-effective way to reach and engage new markets. It also prevents “fatigue” on the part of your audience, and algorithms (social media and search engines) generally favor content variety.
The important thing is to be consistent with your brand messaging and your overall branding.
What types of content can you use for B2B marketing aside from whitepapers, email copies, case studies, and blog content?
- Videos showing behind-the-scenes content to show authenticity and a human side to your business. Explainer videos are excellent tools to use to educate your target audience about your brand and products/services.
- Pillar/cornerstone content paired with topic clusters. Cornerstone content refers to long-form blog content that covers a certain topic in a more in-depth way than regular blog content.
A good strategy is to plan topic clusters around your cornerstone content. Topic clusters refer to more specific topics that are related to your cornerstone content, which is more generalized. For example, your cornerstone topic is about cybersecurity and your topic clusters are top cybersecurity tips and best cybersecurity software.
- Podcasts or webinars are ideal for engagement and for establishing yourself as a thought leader in your respective industry. Podcasts are audio recordings, which are fairly easy to create compared to videos, with the minimal investment needed. Webinars are live interactive events akin to on-site seminars or workshops.
Amplify Your Brand Messaging with the Right Content
There is a lot of consideration to make when implementing a B2B content marketing strategy. What’s essential is that you know who you’re writing for and you maintain consistency.
However, it’s also perfectly understandable that creating a solid strategy takes time, effort, and experience. If you need any help with any of your content marketing needs, Ilfusion has the right resources and services for you.audience segmentation, B2B marketing, B2C marketing, content marketing
Categorized in: Articles