Principles of B2B Content Marketing
The internet is full of top ten lists, ‘how to’ guides, blog articles, ebooks and video all produced by content writers armed with appropriate SEO skills, usually off the back of extensive keyword research.
Skilled content marketers know that a well written, informative and optimised piece of content can sit on a SERP for a long long time.
Users trust search engines to deliver relevant results, and a piece of content which satisfies a popular query can attract BIG traffic, especially if it is entertaining to read or watch. Using content to attract an audience or acquire prospects, is a highly cost efficient marketing practice. For this reason, content marketing often forms the core of a company's B2B inbound marketing strategy.
Satisfaction versus interruption >
Content which answers a search query is valued way more than content which is pushed. This is one of the key differences between inbound and outbound marketing. An unsolicited email might fail to engage, where a blog article might succeed, simply because of the context in which it was read.
Ultimately the practice of Content Marketing means helping prospects engage on their own terms and at a time of their choosing. Content Marketing is about publishing content which is helpful and findable.
Become an authority >
A content source which repeatedly answers someone’s questions, or expands their knowledge on a particular subject, can quickly become an authority. This idea has been around since the invention of the printing press, and is the basic concept behind a newspaper brand, or magazine title, or popular blog.
In B2B Marketing, becoming the authority on a particular topic is useful because thought leadership is central to business success. A thought leader is an individual or firm that clients, prospects, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as an authority in a selected area of specialisation. Becoming the go-to individual or go-to organization for said expertise can be key to building a successful business inside a particular sector.
The strategic challenge for the B2B content marketer therefore, is how to enhance the reputation of the company’s thought leaders and/or build authority around brand, while meeting tactical goals such as lead capture.
B2B Content Marketing Practice >
Broadly speaking B2B Content Marketing Practice comprises keyword research, creating SEO content, then publishing your content, before analysing performance in terms of SE ranking, audience, viewership, CTR etc.
B2B content may come in any the following forms >
- Case Studies
- White papers
The form of content chosen should be linked to the expectations of your audience: C-level execs read white papers, GenZ watch video.. etc. Of course content creation requires the skills of writers, designers, illustrators, video producers.. as necessary. On top of that, there are a number of specific skills key to ensuring your content is findable and will rank, and that is the basic premise of SEO.
“SEO” refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing content so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google. Content Marketing begins with keyword research, or basically finding out what your target audience tends to search for. Successful research comprises of finding keywords that are relevant, have some monthly volume, and are also not too difficult to rank for.
Armed with this information, you can usually identify the phrase or phrases to build your content around. To get your hands on this data, you’ll need to use a dedicated keyword research tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.
How, where, and how often to include your keywords in your content is a skill in itself, and requires knowledge and experience. The site on which the content sits also needs to be optimised obviously, affecting page titles, meta descriptions, headings, URLs etc.
Tactical Objectives >
As I touched on, B2B content marketing can help in building authority, thought leadership and brand. Tactically speaking, it means generating qualified leads. In practice this means publishing useful content and drawing people to your website, then directing them towards submitting their details in exchange for some more information or service.
For this reason, good content marketers think in terms of building digital user journeys which begin with search and end in them exchanging their data for something they value.
Of course once a marketer has captured a lead in this way, then, via nurture campaigns, can guide the lead through the funnel to conversion, or hand the lead over to Sales team as required.
Content Marketing definitely works but requires joined up thinking, sound research, great content creation, slick SEO skills and good analytics. A well-led B2B Marketing team can work wonders over time, regardless of whether those skills are held in-house or bought in.
Content Marketing does therefore require investment. Fortunately a plethora of new methods and tools make it easier to attribute sales/conversions to marketing effort. It's therefore easier to calculate ROI on your content marketing efforts.
by Dave Brewis, TEN80
Posted on Dec 16, 2020