Any marketer will agree that content is king. Consumer-facing content is the backbone of any marketing strategy— it’s how you build brand awareness and capture new leads. Anyone can create content, but it’s all for naught if there’s no purpose behind it. Engaging content is all about the results: traffic, conversion, sales, registrations, mentions, and comments. But more than that, it’s about the customer and knowing your audience. How do you determine which content will resonate with your audience, and what will fall short?
Research shows that nearly 75% of B2B marketers set goals, but only 3% reach them. Yes, you read that right— 3%. That means that many B2B marketing efforts are missing the mark, but not for lack of trying. Before you dive into your B2B content strategy, you need to understand what B2B content marketing is and how you can craft engaging multimedia content for a highly specific audience.
What is B2B content marketing?
Content marketing can be anything from emails or newsletters, blog posts, listicles or how-to articles, to videos and social media efforts. It’s likely the meat of your marketing output. But what is B2B content marketing, and how does it differ from B2C?
Business-to-business (B2B) content marketing is essentially using creative assets to expand your business, reach new audiences, establish brand presence and voice, drive leads, and connect with existing customers. While the core idea behind content marketing is the same regardless of who you’re marketing to, B2B marketing is created by businesses, for businesses. It has to be useful, and offer value to the audience rather than simply being conversational. The tone of voice, and positioning, you use in B2B marketing is a lot different than if you’re marketing to an individual consumer.
How to create engaging B2B content
According to a study by Databox, 67% of B2B content teams say top-of-funnel content is the type of content they create most. Why? It’s likely that you’re getting more traction (and eyeballs) for that type of content. But just because it’s top-of-funnel doesn’t necessarily mean it’s engaging your audience. The following best practices will help you create more engaging multimedia content for your B2B efforts.
Creating original content ideas requires you to be a thought leader in your industry. Pushing the envelope, and coming up with innovative ideas, unique positioning, and providing new value to your audience is a game changer in marketing. The freshness and relevance is what makes campaigns go viral. So instead of piggybacking off what is trending, or borrowing ideas from what seems to be working for competitors, create something new that your brand can own. After all, informed, thought-provoking content is what will generate the most interest and buzz from your audience.
Make it actionable
Nothing screams success more than a strong and fruitful call to action. Your content is all for naught if it isn’t actionable. Is your overarching goal to push sales, sign-ups, or email registrations? Whatever it is, make sure your content inspires and moves the audience to take action. This could be a sign-up link in your social media post, an inspiring video that leaves the audience wanting more information, a registration button on your blog, a downloadable asset, or an up-sell push in an email. By engaging your audience and encouraging them to take the next steps, you’re moving them along in the sales journey and demanding results.
Tell a story
A good narrative helps prospective customers relate to your brand. What story are you trying to tell? Social media is a great way to craft your brand’s story and get it out in the wild. In fact, 9 in 10 B2B marketers use social media to influence buyers. But a simple tweet isn’t enough to engage your audience, you need to tell a story. Your narrative can be about how your offering can positively impact a business, the story of your brand, or the pain points your offering is solving. Whatever it is, leverage your content to help get your story in front of new eyes.
Use dynamic visuals
High-quality, dynamic content is the easiest way to engage your audience. Choose from video, branded imagery, or animated gifs to lure in your audience. Research from Google shows that 7 in 10 B2B buyers watch videos throughout their sales journey, which makes sense considering a vast majority of the population are visual learners. However, your content marketing isn’t limited to images and video.
Try incorporating presentations into your content marketing strategy. They can take the place of an informative pamphlet, be embedded in a blog post or on a webpage, used in a webinar or conference, as an onboarding asset, or sent out as marketing collateral to potential buyers or new clients.
Mix it up
If you’re constantly posting the same content, your audience will get bored— which threatens the value of your content. Mix it up and post a variety of content that provokes thought and new ideas. Your blog should be a robust catalog of different topics that speak to different audience needs and inquiries. Similarly, your content calendar should be a constant rotation of static social media images, video, blog content, and emails. Content marketing is constantly evolving, so don’t be afraid to try new things or explore new avenues. By limiting yourself to one platform, or idea, you’re stunting your growth.