B2B content marketing is going through a powerful evolution.
It wasn’t long ago that most marketers thought of content marketing as something that was mainly for the business-to-consumer crowd – think of all those big consumer brands marketing on social media or starting blogs or setting up their own online interactive media platforms.
Today, B2B marketing organizations are getting involved with content marketing more than ever before.
Whether your organization is already ahead of the curve or is just getting started with content marketing strategies, it’s important to take a moment to think about what your content marketing really needs to accomplish.
Before you write a single blog article or record a single podcast or video, ask yourself the question, “What do customers really want and need to see from our content marketing?”
Here are a few key examples of what most B2B customers have come to expect from content marketing:
1. Up-to-date business intelligence
B2B customers want to see informative, generously crafted content that actively helps them learn more about their industry and improve their business. B2B content marketing serves a valuable niche because it’s a space where industry peers can share ideas, exercise thought leadership, and talk about where their industry is going – without the traditional constraints of advertising or journalism.
According to research from Hubspot, “B2B companies place a higher value on educational formats like blogging and webinars,” and companies that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve positive ROI.
2. Trustworthy, actionable business advice
B2B content marketing is so powerful partially because it’s a chance to start building a relationship and establishing trust with customers even before they pick up the phone or send an email to contact your company.
Content marketing is important because it builds credibility. According to an article from the Content Marketing Institute, a survey of B2B website users found that case studies, white papers, and articles were the 2nd most important category of content assets for establishing credibility.
Give your customers specific, actionable ideas for how to improve their business processes and you’ll establish trust as a source of smart content and valuable commentary. This trust will pay dividends in the future as customers will be more likely to contact you and buy from you.
3. Relatable case studies and success stories
Case studies are a popular and highly effective form of content marketing because they give you a chance to share real stories of how you helped your customers solve problems. They are one of the most important ways to build trust with customers because prospective buyers get to see exactly how you approached various situations and achieved success.
However, to make your case studies even better, they need to be specific and relatable. According to this article in Content Marketing Institute, many B2B buyers want to see an extra-granular level of detail in case studies so that they know whether the case study applies to their particular situation.
One CIO was quoted as saying, “Case studies are useful as long as they have enough detail. A lot of case studies tend to say what the benefits are, but they don’t go into enough detail to tell us whether it’d be applicable to us in our environment or not.”
Don’t make the mistake of using a one-size-fits-all approach to case studies – make sure you have detailed, relevant stories ready to share for every industry vertical, company size, or business use case that your solution serves.
Often content marketers get caught up in the latest technology, apps, and marketing trends, trying to find new ways to push content out to the audience. But instead of focusing only on how to distribute content to your audience, take some time to really think about the problem from the opposite side of the discussion – what do customers really need, and how can you deliver it?
If you create content that serves your customers’ needs, it will have such a compelling value proposition that buyers will eagerly seek out and use your content – and the sales will follow.
Ready to put these strategies to work? Learn how you can 10x your content marketing team's productivity to produce the best content possible!
About the Author
Gregg Schwartz is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing, a lead-generation firm based in Connecticut. His company helps technology companies and various startups and small-to-mid-size businesses in the business-to-business sales category generate sales leads and improve their sales processes.Follow on Twitter More Content by Gregg Schwartz