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Best Practices for B2B Content Marketing Strategy

The average company currently spends 29 percent of its marketing budget on content marketing.1

Conventional marketing strategies focus on the hard sell, overshadowing audience interests in a barrage of traditional ads—unfortunately, a brand may be front and center but there is little in the way of addressing their mission or expertise. By contrast, content marketing is about reaching your audiences with information they want to hear in an approachable way using native advertising to inform, educate and attract prospects.

B2B sales cycles typically take 18 months or more to close, especially in our life science vertical. That timeline allows for a multi-contact approach with different content channels to build a relationship before the sale is final.

Keep these best practices in mind while developing your next strategic campaign:

1. Focus on specific audience behaviors

Narrow the scope by clearly defining audience objectives; what action should the audience perform after engaging with your content? How can you anticipate the most frequent questions asked of your sales team? 

2. Select audience personas 

How can you ensure your content is meeting the needs of your audiences? Using data and marketing research to develop fictional character profiles creates a reference point for each segment of your target audience. Bringing the audience to life helps creators and marketers understand and empathize with those needs.

3. Avoid saturated product information at the expense of brand identity

Audiences value your brand experience and approach as much as, if not more so, strict product information. Sharing your brand’s mission will endear audiences and foster meaningful connections for future conversions.

4. Create unique content tailored to every relevant format 

Place the focus where your audience is most likely to access information. YouTube and Twitter influencers gather professional followings. Bloggers and trade journals stay on top of frequent and current trends. Stand out by driving insight-driven content with purpose.

5. Collaborate 

Foster creativity from your cross-functional teams. Combining input from creatives and digital marketing departments ensures the final posts are cohesive, properly formatted, and optimized for the audience.

6. Be present in your audience landscape 

Keep tabs on the major industry discussion points on social media. Encourage retweets, shares and comments on your posts. The degree to which your brand replies to comments is flexible. 

7. Designate a central point of contact for content oversight

While multiple departments may ultimately contribute to the content generation pipeline, it is optimal to assign a central source for reviewing tone, spearheading the content mission, and tracking the brand’s share of voice.

8. Consult Public Relations experts

Break into the conversation with a specialized agency to help your brand transform insight into purpose-driven media, and then successfully deliver those messages to your audience.

9. Schedule fresh content across multiple channels

Map out content calendars to incorporate brand updates and current events. Monitor the frequency of competitor content on social media to set your pacing.

Blogs

Blog articles are a great resource for authentic knowledge sharing and commentary while also capitalizing on tagging for SEO.

 

Newsletters

Ranging from full articles to summary descriptions with links, opt-in newsletters are a unique opportunity to deliver content and communicate directly to customers.

  • Highlight recently published content posted elsewhere such as links to press releases or blogs.

  • Segment your contact database by reader interests.

  • Be sure to include a clear opt-out option.

White Papers

Introducing and disseminating complex, technical product information can simultaneously educate and generate leads. Averaging 12 pages or less, white papers are a great chance to cover detailed explanations.   

  • Include lead capture forms as a lead gen gatekeeping measure for downloads.

Ebook

As a visually attractive and interactive format, ebooks are suitable for greater topical variety than white papers. Length and technical tonality is less restrictive, while creating a more immersive reading experience for complex subjects. 

  • Interactive ebooks are a great place to showcase photos, infographics and sidebars.

  • In addition to user experience considerations, include a strong call to action on each page layout.

  • Pair distributions with social media posting schedules to boost launch announcements and review commentary. 

Video

Break up common questions into a video series highlighting Interviews and success stories, which can resonate deeper with your audience. Create a cohesive brand appearance and organize videos into respective playlists.

  • Transcripts can help boost SEO.

Infographics

Visually demonstrate key data benchmarks. Convey a narrative to build statistics in a digestible way.   

With a strategic plan in place, content marketing development captures your brand’s mission, shares its goals and leaves audiences informed. Content marketing boosts lead generation, public relations, analytics, and social media followers—all of which nurture the conversion journey. 

1B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America, Content Marketing Institute
By: Valerie Lentz
Topics: Content Marketing SEO Social Media