In its 2022 state-of-the-industry report, the Content Marketing Institute calls content marketing ‘a sleeping giant’. As the giant stirs, you need to make sure your ideas for B2B content are on-point and ready to put your business ahead of the competition.
The marketing industry is in a state of flux. During the pandemic, as more traditional forms of marketing — such as in-person events and face-to-face selling — were shut down, the power of content marketing came to the fore.
Companies found it harder to capture and hold their audience’s attention, and customers demanded a more empathetic tone. Only 14% of businesses say the challenges of Covid-19 haven’t impacted their content marketing strategy.
So, as we all begin to look to the future, exactly what should you be doing to get the most from your content? This article will offer 11 fresh ideas for B2B content plus answer your most common content FAQs.
Best B2B content ideas for smart marketers
It’s clear the way we strategize and develop content needs to pivot to meet the demands of a post-pandemic audience. Let’s look at 11 content ideas to attract potential customers and strengthen existing relationships.
1. Unconventional content formats
The pandemic encouraged us to get more creative than we’d been before. We needed to adapt to something novel, which unlocked some unconventional ideas.
Mimic this approach by using content formats you haven’t tried before. This isn’t the time to play safe, so embrace something you haven’t tried before to keep ahead of your competitors.
For example, this might be the time to branch out into video, or maybe you’re itching to create a podcast to cement your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
Podcasting is a growing format. 41% of Americans listened to podcasts regularly through 2021 compared to 37% in 2020.
For example, project management software ClickUp recently launched its new podcast, ‘When It Clicked’, featuring business leaders describing the lightbulb moments that led to their success.
Image Credit: ClickUp
The customer lifecycle is often longer in B2B than B2C, so you need to keep your content fresh and engaging. Incorporating a range of formats lets you reach people in different ways, which is important for helping prospects understand the more technical aspects of your product.
2. Content partnerships
Content partnerships — where brands work together to gain promotion through their content — can be an extremely useful tool in your B2B marketing.
Content partnership expands the reach of your business by opening up another company’s audience to your product. Complementary partnerships mean less time qualifying your audience.
For example, if you’re a project management platform and you partner with a business selling time tracking software, there is likely to be a lot of target audience crossover, boosting opportunities for conversion.
This was the case for corporate events provider Team Building, who partnered with a leading HR services provider for a marketing campaign.
Image Credit: Team Building
The two companies share a target audience and, while Team Building created marketing materials, the HR services provider promoted those materials among its current contacts.
CEO of Team Building, Michael Alexis, said: “This is a simple example, but it led to client work, inbound links, and additional media opportunities for us.” In return, Team Building’s partner gained high-quality marketing materials.
Digital content produced through partnerships can also offer SEO benefits by increasing the visibility and credibility of your brand. This means your business ranks higher in search engines, driving more traffic to your website.
3. Content roundups on audience-relevant topics
As you’ve already seen, attracting and keeping your audience’s attention is growing ever more challenging. The way people consume information is changing, and your content needs to reflect this shift.
Providing content roundups on topics relevant to your audience makes you a one-stop shop for industry information. This builds your credibility and makes you top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.
Which is important. 32% of business buyers think reputation is a key attribute when looking to make a purchase.
Your audience will also appreciate not wasting time searching for information across multiple sites. Most people are consuming content on the go, filling dead time on their commute or while doing other routine tasks.
This means smaller chunks of information that are responsive across mobile devices are an important part of your content strategy.
As a time-saver, check whether your marketing software solution has access to industry-leading content that you can repackage.
For example, in Welcome, you can source and publish world-class, fully licensed articles directly from the platform to supplement original content creation.
Image Credit: Welcome
4. Problem-solving blog content
Speaking of original content, your blog is key to reaching and engaging your audience. Marketers voted blogs the most important form of content for building brand awareness.
But you can’t just put any old thing out there. It’s critical your blog content creates value for your subscribers or website visitors.
Unlike some B2C marketing tactics, B2B is not about encouraging an impulse purchase based on wants. To establish long-term, fruitful B2B relationships, your product or service must meet the needs of your customers and help solve the issue they’re facing.
Helping customers solve issues should act as a golden thread through all of your B2B marketing channels, which makes problem-solving blog articles important for maximizing your content marketing.
There’s a current trend toward longer-form content, so don’t be shy of using your blog as an opportunity to deep-dive into challenges your target audience faces. Exact target word counts differ by industry, but you won’t want to be less than around 1,000 words.
As a great example, consider this very article — if you’re interested in the numbers, it’s just under 3,000 words. And you’re no doubt reading it to better understand what content you should be producing in order to maximize your business’ success.
And that’s a problem we care about solving.
5. LinkedIn content
If you think you already have a strong marketing strategy across your social media channels and don’t need to target LinkedIn, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Over 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn, making the platform nearly 300% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for sourcing potential B2B customers.
Setting up a company profile on LinkedIn is simple and gets you access to nearly 800 million other users. But once you’re set up, what should you be posting?
Posting relevant content recycled from your company’s blog is an easy way to get started. Share a few snippets and link to the full article on your website to encourage traffic. Plus, build your credibility by getting involved in discussion groups and sharing industry insights.
LinkedIn voted recruiting firm Hays as having the ‘Best Company Page’ in 2017. Hays content is successful because it combines practical tips, industry research, and thought-leadership to deliver value to its audience.
They use multiple format types, including podcasts, videos, and custom images, to help followers engage with the brand.
Image Credit: LinkedIn (Hays)
6. Video tutorials
71% of B2B marketers used video content in the last year, which means if you’re not yet getting in front of the camera, you’re losing out to a sizable number of your competitors.
Visual content can be incredibly valuable for B2B businesses, especially if your product is technically complex. It can be much easier to visually show and verbally explain the nuances of product features through video than written content.
Plus, 60% of executives prefer video format to text, which is important to note given the more extensive decision-making process that’s often associated with B2B sales.
This is reflected by a strong return on investment for video content; 88% of marketers said it provides a positive ROI.
Inviting industry influencers to guest on your videos can also improve your brand’s attractiveness and cement its credibility.
For example, Surfer SEO software uses its YouTube platform to create helpful tutorials that showcase the individual features of the platform and troubleshoot common issues.
They also invite industry experts to join the channel and provide insight as to why pages aren’t ranking.
Image Credit: YouTube (Surfer)
7. Email-based courses
Email courses use a sequence of emails — say, daily for a week or weekly for a month — to educate an audience on a particular topic.
They can be a great way to warm-up potential customers and move them closer to a sale.
Typically, they work by supporting subscribers to generically solve an issue through actionable hints or tips. The final email of the course usually shows why the business’ product or service is the best way to solve their particular pain point.
For example, freelancing expert Brennan Dunn runs this 9-lesson email course to help other freelancers qualify, pitch, and close potential projects.
Image Credit: Double Your Freelancing
By providing this actionable solution to a common freelancing challenge, Brennan builds his credibility within that community. He can then piggyback off this credibility to increase sales of his other paid digital products.
With face-to-face events out of the window, the use of webinars to engage and inform B2B customers was up 162% through 2020. And 99% of marketers say webinars are key to their future digital marketing strategy.
Like videos, recording webinars is a great way to showcase, explain, and troubleshoot the more technical elements of your product or service.
However, webinars have one crucial advantage — lead capture. To attend a webinar, customers usually have to sign-up and provide their email address or other contact details. So they are an excellent way to build your marketing contact list.
Plus, as attendees have actively signed up to attend, they are more likely further down the sales funnel than other prospects, which makes conversion easier too.
Make sure you capitalize on that when hosting live webinars by offering attendees a promotion that encourages sales, such as a time-bound discount code, product demo, or a post-webinar consultation with a sales representative.
On-demand viewing time for webinars averaged 29 minutes, according to one industry report. So, don’t make your webinars too long. For live webinars, build engagement through interactivity, such as in-session polls and a Q&A.
Multi-part webinar series help build a relationship with your prospective customers and provide a great platform for offering educational content that answers questions they might be pondering.
For example, we recently put together this 4-part series on the top priorities for today’s leaders when it comes to tech and the tools that can help them.
9. Creative press releases
Companies have used press releases to generate interest in the products and services for decades. Traditionally a short piece of information released to journalists, they were a key way to be featured in newspapers and other media outlets.
So, are they still relevant for B2B marketing? We certainly think so.
Announcing Product 2.0? Draft a quick note for multi-channel release and immediately share your launch with thousands.
Changing up your image? Use a press release to share news of exciting partnerships, influencer collaborations, or corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Innovative marketing software, like Welcome, allows you to get creative with your press releases.
Upload multi-format digital assets and use powerful editing tools to organize and optimize your releases for maximum engagement. Plus, integrations with your social channels and intuitive publishing widgets make distribution seamless.
10. Technical articles and white papers
The job of a good technical writer is to take a complicated topic and break it down into small, easy-to-understand concepts.
As we mentioned earlier, B2B marketing sometimes requires getting into the nitty-gritty details of your product or service, and technical articles or white papers are the perfect format.
This type of content allows you to offer an in-depth study of a specific topic, educate business customers through the decision-making process, share technical knowledge, and publicize your product.
For example, data storage system provider Hitachi Vantara uses a technical paper to explore and explain the complex topic of content platform architecture.
Image Credit: Hitachi Vantara
A white paper can act as a great lead magnet, enticing your audience to opt-in to your mailing list in return for access to this valuable content. It can also feed other marketing channels, such as your social media or blogs.
11. Thought leadership style content
By definition, thought leadership content enhances your business’s credibility. To be viewed as a thought leader, you need deep expertise plus recognition by your peers of an ability to drive innovation in your industry.
High levels of credibility help build trust, which is crucial for growing and sustaining B2B relationships. Plus, who doesn’t want to work with or buy from a company that other companies look to for inspiration?
As well as enhancing credibility, this style of content can increase audience engagement as, by its nature, it is novel, possibly even controversial, which sparks interest and discussion.
Thought leadership content is often long-form and may include original research. It might be an opinion piece on new trends or a white paper on a complex topic.
However, there is a place for short-form content, too, especially if you already have the reputation of an original thinker in your industry. Marketing guru Neil Patel uses videos, blog articles, and social media to inform, educate, and opine on all things marketing.
Image Credit: Neil Patel
FAQs on B2B content
Now you’ve got a handle on the types of content you should be creating to support your B2B marketing, let’s clear up a few FAQs.
What’s different about B2B content?
When you’re creating content for a B2B audience, you need to consider what makes B2B unique.
B2B often has a longer customer lifecycle, and the products may be more complex and technical in nature. You’re usually targeting a smaller audience, but there could be many more decision-makers in the buying process.
This means content needs to be focused on establishing trusting relationships. Proving your credibility is key, as is using multiple formats and channels to engage stakeholders in different ways.
How do I create a B2B content strategy?
When you’re creating a B2B content strategy, you need to decide what your goals are.
Are you building brand awareness and attracting new customers, cementing your relationships with current ones, or moving prospects down the sales funnel? This knowledge will help you target your content more successfully.
Once you’ve identified your audience, get to know them better. Figure out what problems they’re trying to solve so you can create relevant content that delivers real value.
Keep up with industry trends around content formats to figure out what’s working best and what your competitors are trying. Also, use platform analytics to work out which formats have been most successful in the past.
Pull all this information together into a single strategy, and don’t forget to share it with other relevant teams, such as sales and customer service, so your marketing messages are aligned and on-brand.
How do you write for a B2B audience?
Writing for a B2B audience doesn’t necessarily have to be different from B2C, but it may be.
Content that’s written for a B2B audience may need to be more technical in nature as you work to engage decision-makers in the nuts and bolts of your product.
Some content, such as thought-leadership pieces, may also need to be more academic to convince businesses of your credibility and industry-leading position.
Like all marketing, personalizing your content to the needs of your audience is vital for success.
Try new approaches to up your content game
The last two years have forced all of us to try novel approaches to getting things done. Your B2B content marketing strategy shouldn’t be any different.
Dig deep into how your target audience prefers to consume content, and don’t be afraid to branch out into unconventional formats if you want to try something new.
Using an integrated marketing platform like Welcome makes it easy to create, optimize, and distribute high-quality content to your audience.
Why not request a demo today and see what Welcome can bring to your business.