Latest posts by Jay Dillon (see all)
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In 2013, the Content Marketing Institute released a report on the state of content marketing in Australia.
In the report, statistics showed that 96% of Australian B2B marketers were using content marketing. This figure was larger than the number of marketers in both North America and the United Kingdom who are using content as a marketing channel. The study went on to report that on average, B2B marketers in Australia use 12 different kinds of content marketing tactics.
It might be encouraging for many content enthusiasts or aspiring marketers to hear that 9 out of every 10 marketers in Australia are incorporating content into their strategy, especially when you consider how difficult content marketing in a B2B context can be.
The Challenge of B2B Content Marketing
B2B content marketing is particularly challenging for several reasons:
- It takes time to start seeing results
- It can be difficult to put together a content creation process
- B2B content offerings are sometimes complex and lengthy (e.g. in the case in fields like telecommunications or business hardware)
Fortunately, there are a few types of content marketing that are especially effective when applied by B2B marketers:
1. Coverage of a New Product or Solution
B2B buyers usually need to get as much information as possible before they decide to invest in a specific kind of product for their company. One of the ways that many buyers receive this information comes in the form of online product reviews. In June of 2013, UK SEO agency BrightLocal released a report indicating that 85% of consumers read online reviews for businesses.
This presents an excellent opportunity for your content marketing strategy. Not only will reviewing products in your industry help you gain more attention for your company, it will also allow you to establish a position of authority, which will help you win the trust of prospective buyers. By giving your expert analysis of a specific offering in your field, you can also improve your own knowledge, since you will gain a close understanding of the things you review.
2. Customer-Centric Content
Customer-centric content includes any type of content that is focused on the experiences of your actual customers. This type of content marketing includes testimonials, case studies, and other pieces that share real stories from people who have used your products or services before.
Customer-centric content is powerful for B2B inbound marketing because it gives your readers solid evidence of how what you offer has helped people in the past. This is another important element of swaying the opinion of B2B buyers, who often will need to see results before they choose to invest their company’s money. Be sure that you include an overall conclusion that sums up the main ways that your solution helped your previous customers: if possible, you should also include quotes from them to add more weight to your message.
3. Commentary on Current Events
In today’s fast-paced world where information is exchanged rapidly, another challenging task that B2B buyers have to manage is making sure that they stay up to date on the most important issues that are affecting their field. By becoming a resource that your visitors can use to learn about events that are important to them, you will increase your traffic and get more attention from those that may be interested in your services.
For an excellent example of how commentary on current events can be used to provide valuable information for prospects, take a look at this post from October on the blog of major energy company AGL. The author concisely sums up a change in legislation that will undoubtedly have an impact on some of their clients. AGL also does a great job at linking these developments back to other pieces of content that their organisation has published, which helps to further establish their authority position in the energy industry.
Another way of incorporating current news into your content is to create seasonal pieces such as a “Christmas Buyers’ Guide” or “10 Trends for Doing X in 2015”. This type of content will always get more attention because of its timeliness.
Solving the B2B Content Marketing Puzzle
While content marketing may be more difficult for B2B marketers, it’s still possible to successfully use content to make a positive contribution to your overall strategy.
The most critical element of content marketing for B2B marketers is providing enough education to make your content a valuable resource that your potential customers can turn to for knowledge and expertise on the things that matter to them: using these three types of content marketing effectively can help you do just that.