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What Is B2B Content Marketing? Definition, Channels, Best Practices with Examples

What Is B2B Content Marketing?

B2B content marketing is a set of strategies to distribute and deliver valuable content to your target audience to attract, engage, and generate new leads and customers while retaining existing ones.

There’s a stark difference between the content marketing strategies implemented for B2B and B2C brands. While content marketing for both types of brands begins by understanding the pain points of their audience and ends with driving revenue, their approach is vastly different due to the difference in the buyer’s journey, motivations, and decision-making process.

B2C brands primarily create munchable content aimed at engaging and entertaining their audience. The intention is to build strong brand recall and an emotional bond that enables the audience to relate to the brand.

On the other hand, B2B brands focus on a wide range of content formats that demonstrate their subject matter expertise to inform, inspire, and engage the prospective buyers while helping them resolve their pain points. The purpose of B2B content marketing is to instill trust in the minds of consumers that stems from empathy.

The latest research by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported that B2B marketers primarily used content marketing to drive brand awareness, educate audiences, and build credibility.

Goals Achieved by B2B Marketers Using Content Marketing
Goals Achieved by B2B Marketers Using Content Marketing

Top 5 Content Formats for B2B Content Marketing

Content creation is one of the two main pillars of content marketing. In this section, we will look at the top five content formats widely preferred by B2B content marketers.

1. Blog Posts

Blog posts are a cornerstone of B2B content creation due to their SEO benefits. They also double-up as the primary content distribution channel. They can be 500-4000 words long, depending on the topic and depth covered. Blog articles are an excellent resource to appeal to the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) audience.

2. Infographics

Infographics (Information Graphics) condense text, data, and information in a visual format. Infographics primarily rely on graphs, charts, icons, images, other visual elements, and some text to convey information that aids comprehension. They can be used to draw comparisons, provide an overview, show trends, explain processes and workflows, etc.

3. Gated Content

Gated content requires users to fill in their details to receive access to them. It is an essential part of B2B content marketing that helps marketers generate leads and qualify them for the next stage of the funnel.

Gated content includes e-books, whitepapers, case studies/success stories, buyers guides, webinars, exclusive courses, and product demos. Here’s an example of a landing page that allows users to download gated content.

An Example of a Landing Page That Allows Users to Download Gated Content
An Example of a Landing Page That Allows Users to Download Gated Content

4. Videos

Video marketing is on the rise, and B2B marketers are using videos to create how-to, branded, explainer, influencer marketing, product review, event coverage, etc. Organizations are also utilizing webinars, live video, and ephemeral video content to cater to different content consumption preferences.

5. Podcasts

Podcasts are episodic audio content that let users consume information on the go. The rapid adoption of audio streaming services and podcast distribution platforms facilitated the growth of podcasts, and marketers have banked on this opportunity to connect with an audience that also consumes information passively.

MarTech Advisor hosted the Talking Stack, a marketing technology podcast that featured experts from the martech space, and now features an all-new podcast called The Get, a B2B marketing talent podcast.

MTA’s Talking Stack and The Get Podcasts for the Martech Space

MTA’s Talking Stack and The Get Podcasts for the Martech Space

MTA’s Talking Stack and The Get Podcasts for the Martech Space

Learn More: What is Content Creation? Tips to Get You Started

3 Key Distribution Channels for B2B Content Marketing

Content distribution is the second pillar of a successful content marketing strategy. The content you create needs to be promoted across different media channels so that it reaches the target audience. Here are three key distribution channels for B2B content marketing:

1. Owned Media

Owned media consists of web properties that the organization has complete control over. The following are the four primary owned media channels:

  1. Website: Your official website or blog is the home for your content. It sits at the core of your content marketing strategy and sets the brand voice and tone. Along with hosting your content, it can also serve as a newsroom to amplify company announcements.
  2. Mobile App: Mobile apps often have different use cases depending on the product/service, but they can be used to distribute the content you publish on your website. You can use them to share snippets of content for users on the go.
  3. Email Marketing: Building a significant subscriber base can be arduous, but the ROI of email marketing is well worth the effort. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers agree that email marketing is the most effective channel for revenue generation. You can use email to distribute content, send updates, and promote offers to engage your leads and customers.
  4. Forum: You can launch forums as a way for your community members to interact with you and among themselves. You can use the forum to answer FAQs, initiate discussions, and invite industry experts to discuss topics in your niche.

2. Earned and Shared Media

In earned media, third-party entities such as publications, bloggers, journalists, or customers share your content. It happens when a campaign goes viral, or a product sells exclusively through word-of-mouth. Since earned media efforts take place organically, brands don’t have to pay for it. Earned media includes the following:

  1. Guest Blogging: Guest blogging allows you to share your expertise with a broader audience and establish yourself as a thought leader. It immensely helps if you build relationships with journalists and publications to get an opportunity to be featured on their websites in the form of a thought leadership piece, PR coverage, or interview.
  2. Brand Collaborations: B2B brands with complementary offerings can pool in their resources to create content for the same target audience while banking on each other’s customer base. The collaboration could be an e-book, research, conference, or webinar.
  3. Brand Synonymity: Brand synonymity is achieved when your target audience uses your brand name as a noun, verb, or adjective. For instance, Google is commonly used to describe a search engine, and the act of performing an online search is described as Googling
  4. Social Media: Social media doesn’t fall, particularly under owned or earned media because your social media presence is partially governed by the rules of respective social media platforms. Therefore, it is considered as a shared media channel. B2B organizations can use social media platforms to distribute their content through their official pages or groups.


3. Paid Media

Paid media is a distribution channel that allows marketers to buy ad slots on digital avenues such as social media channels, search engines, and websites to broadcast their message. Paid media primarily works on two pricing models, viz. Cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille, i.e., thousand impressions (CPM).

  1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM allows you to show your website higher up on search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. SEM is a widely used paid media channel, but may not be the most effective content distribution channel for smaller brands considering the cost and competition.
  2. Display Advertising: You can purchase ad slots on various websites to promote your content through display ads. You can manage these transactions manually or automatically (i.e., through programmatic advertising).
  3. Social Media Advertising: Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, allow you to promote your content to your target audience through precise targeting capabilities. You can segregate users based on their demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics.
  4. Native Advertising: Native advertising is a form of display advertising that adopts the look and feel of the platform it appears on. Content that appears under Content Recommendations is often native ads. Due to their ingenious appearance, experts have often debated over their usefulness.
  5. Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing involves reaching out to experts or influencers in your field to promote your content on their social media accounts. However, influencer marketing is not the most common B2B content distribution channel.


Learn More: What Is Content Distribution? A Complete Guide for Marketers

5 Best Practices for B2B Content Marketing in 2020

The B2B content marketing landscape has changed drastically due to the introduction of videos, podcasts, and other interactive content formats. Here are five best practices you should consider for your B2B content marketing initiatives in 2020:

1. Create Content for All Stages of the Funnel

According to the latest CMI research mentioned earlier, 86% of the B2B content is TOFU-focused. While driving brand awareness is a crucial content marketing goal, your aim with content marketing should be to cover all stages of the buyer’s journey. Here’s how you can achieve that:

  1. Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU)/Awareness Stage: Provide solutions to your target audience’s most pressing needs through blog posts, videos, and social media content. Your organic and content outreach efforts should outperform your competitors to make the first contact with your audience.
  2. Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU)/Evaluation Stage: As your prospective buyers are evaluating available alternatives, you can help them make the right decision by providing case studies, product demos, webinars, and in-depth research reports and whitepapers.
  3. Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU)/Decision Stage: As prospects are zeroing-down on a solution, send out reminders about your offerings through drip email campaigns, free trials, discounts, and consultations.

HubSpot has nailed its B2B content strategy by creating content for each stage of the funnel. Users can learn right from the basics to the most advanced concepts of inbound marketing.

HubSpot Has Created Content for All Stages of the Funnel
HubSpot Has Created Content for All Stages of the Funnel

2. Create Cohesive Content Experiences

The purpose of content experience is to provide a stream of brand content across multiple platforms and channels throughout the buyer’s journey. Since the average number of devices has grown to almost four per user, delivering a consistent, omnichannel content experience has become a necessity.

The foundation of a cohesive content experience lies in a vibrant content mix. Marketers could incorporate various content formats into their strategy to ensure that their content is accessible across different channels and mediums, be it YouTube for videos or Spotify for podcasts, and create a central content repository to make all this content accessible.

A great example of this is Leadpages, which has compiled its content in the resources section to make it easily accessible to website visitors.

Leadpages Has Created a Central Repository for a Cohesive Content ExperienceLeadpages Has Created a Central Repository for a Cohesive Content Experience

3. Fix Thin Content

Thin content is content that is jaded with keywords but adds little to no value. Google has cracked down heavily on websites with thin content by demoting them in search rankings. You can easily identify thin content on your site by finding out pages with good traffic but a high bounce rate or low average time spent on the page. You can address the thin content issue in the following two ways:

  1. If the topic is outdated or obsolete, consider removing it
  2. If the topic is relevant, update or rewrite it

Since the age of the link matters from the ranking perspective, updating page content is a practical choice.

4. Repurpose, Big Time!

Content repurposing has become a lost art that needs to make a comeback. In content repurposing, you take an existing content piece, reimagine it in a different content format, or post it on various channels. This technique combines the best of content creation and distribution to amplify your reach.

Here are five ideas to repurpose your content:

  1. Upload your webinar on YouTube and post the slide deck on SlideShare.
  2. If you have written a series of blog posts on a particular topic, create a gated content piece such as an e-book.
  3. Guest blog about previously covered topics – Buffer’s co-founder Leo Widrich wrote about 150 blog posts to grow their user base from zero to 100,000 in nine months.
  4. Convert your blog posts into infographics and videos.
  5. If you run a podcast, upload it on YouTube as well. Tim Ferriss uploads the podcast episodes of his show on YouTube to connect with his audience on a different platform.

5. Use Marketing Storytelling

Marketing storytelling uses traditional storytelling techniques in the marketing context to appeal to the emotional side of your audience. It’s become an essential part of B2B content marketing to make your brand memorable.

Storytelling allows marketers to convey how the product can help them without making it overly promotional. And since videos have become a core part of content marketing, organizations can use them to launch storytelling campaigns.

Intuit’s “A Giant Story” campaign used storytelling to convey how their various products can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

3 Advantages of Content Marketing for B2B Marketers

B2B content marketing has an overarching impact on almost every marketing function. Here are three ways in which content marketing can benefit B2B marketers:

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Digital Marketing - Bing News

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