Building a successful B2B content marketing strategy requires careful planning and implementation but can be one of the most powerful marketing strategies for any brand.
It can also be one of the most cost-effective approaches as it packs a powerful punch and can achieve multiple objectives, from creating brand awareness, building trust and credibility, to high-quality lead-generation and ROI. When executed well, with the right assets deployed at the right time, it adds value across the whole of the customer journey.
Content purpose and design
Your B2B content must, of course, align with your objectives and business strategy in terms of brand values, messaging, target audience and proposition. However, if it doesn’t resonate or add value to your target audience, it will not serve its purpose.
Content design must start with the customer – their needs and pain points – and provide them with value, whether keeping them up-to-date on industry trends, making their jobs easier with tips and tricks or identifying solutions to their business problems.
Your content must also be tailored to your customer’s journey and the tasks they are looking to fulfil at each stage, ultimately demonstrating you can meet their needs. Whether they are researching possible solutions at the start of their journey, evaluating product features in the middle, or building confidence in your solution in the latter stages, your content must serve each purpose.
Let's consider the stages of the customer journey where content can work for you.
At this stage your prospect doesn’t know your brand and is searching for solutions to their problems. You need to introduce your brand and proposition with value-led content that addresses their needs and establishes your credibility.
SEO - tailoring your content to SEO keywords searched by key decision-makers can help you reach relevant audiences and design content that will rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing.
Social media assets – blogs, infographics and visual assets capture interest and set the tone for the customer’s perception of your brand, kicking off the customer journey. Clear and concise content works well here, with goal and value-based information supported by USPs, brand identity and tone.
According to Demand Metric, companies with blogs get on average
67% more leads per month than those without blogs.
Website content – once you’ve attracted your audience to your website, content can nurture their interest and capture leads whilst establishing your industry expertise, authority and trust. Website content must align with your brand identity and clearly present who you are, what you stand for and position you as a qualified fit. It should be SEO-rich to ensure you’re ranking for key terms and full of visual aids that keep engagement high.
Podcasts - According to Statista, as of 2021 podcasts were listened to by over 19 million people in the UK. Story-telling assets such as video and podcasts are a great way to demonstrate your knowledge, thought leadership and experience by sharing insights, strategy and tactics.
Email marketing – lead generation with both new and qualified leads gives you the opportunity to deepen the connection with your audience, tailoring emails with content that highlights how you can add value to their existing way of working.
Once you have captured the interest of your audience through your inbound content channels, you are in the position qualify those leads and nurture them further along the purchase path.
> Evaluation and Consideration
Your prospect is now comparing solutions to find the best fit and establish which are truly viable. It is important, therefore, that your content is clear and concise and isolates the value that your products and services offer, pinpointing what differentiates you from others.
It is important to tailor the messaging around your customer’s pain points and provide insight with assets such as ‘How To’ articles, webinars, podcasts, video tutorials, product sheets, and testimonials. Mapping the customer journey based on key customer persona will help ensure content is accurately targeted and relevant.
Depending on your proposition, demos and product trials are a powerful way to prove your value but should be properly supported so that prospects aren’t lost or overwhelmed. Where a proposition is complex, simplify through user-friendly guides, easy access to support or feature comparisons that provide a clear visual of what you offer versus your competitors.
At this stage, your prospect will have a short list of qualified providers that they feel offer a possible solution, and there may be little to choose between. Your content must therefore focus on building confidence that you can deliver what you promise with assets such as return on investment models, pricing proposals, FAQs, user guides and product specifications.
Sharing case studies and testimonials from similar businesses in their industry is the best way to build credibility and demonstrate your expertise. To differentiate your brand beyond product features alone, create content that highlights additional value such as your post purchase support or free to attend events.
Your sales team is at the front line at this stage so arm them with high quality support materials tailored to specific sales scenarios. If for example your price model is out of sync with industry norms, create an article that clearly positions its benefits. Sector specific content or video explainers that bring to the fore key benefits will help your sales team prove your solutions with different audience types.
Once you have won the customer, your content needs to continue to work hard to retain their trust and build your authority as a reliable long-term partner. Stay up to date with what matters to your audiences and create thought leadership content that positions you as their ‘go to’ brand for the future.
Now you know your customer, you can further personalise your content through ongoing email nurture, targeted newsletters, blogs, podcasts and webinar programmes. Statistics show that 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
Content at this stage should not only reinforce the relationship but nurture upsell and cross-sell opportunities, highlighting additional problems you can you solve or products that can add further value.
Once you have established yourself as the partner of choice for your client, built trust by delivering on your promises, and delighted and wowed with exceptional service, they will become an advocate for your brand. At this stage, they can help feed content that will inspire others to work with you – by providing testimonials, case studies, references, and by submitting reviews.
They can also endorse you more broadly through social media engagement, social sharing of content or through keynote speeches at your events.
Read more about tailoring the customer journey:
Utilising customer persona to improve your lead generation