“How can I do my job better?” This question drives a lot of my reading, whether I’m consciously aware of it or not.
It’s also one of many questions at the heart of B2B content marketing. But it’s far from the only one. B2B content marketing not only helps end users improve in their daily work, but also assists business’s decision-makers as they choose the best systems, processes and tools for their needs.
It’s complex work, to say the least, which is why being a B2B strategist is both thrilling and rewarding.
B2B content marketing lets you flex strategic muscles
We get to use the full toolkit in B2B content marketing, largely because there are so many layers of audiences. In B2C marketing, we may be targeting a specific group of consumers, or a couple of groups with some overlapping attributes. In B2B, on the other hand, we’re often aiming for a hefty mix of decision-makers, support personnel, buyers and end users.
Each audience comes with its own set of objectives and expectations. Does research show that your field’s decision-makers use LinkedIn to find professional content? Then you need a distribution plan for LinkedIn as part of your integrated content marketing strategy, and it must go beyond organic. Are your end users and buyers searching for how-to information using specific keywords? Then you need a solid foundation of content with some strong search know-how built in to your editorial planning.
Call it a chain reaction. B2B content marketing doesn’t just help your customers. It also helps your customers’ customers.
B2B is a no-brainer for thought leadership
Content marketing is built for thought leadership. For companies to win a reputation in their fields, earning status as trusted experts is a must.
But thought leadership means different things to different audiences. Let’s say you’re a B2B home improvement provider. Offering thought leadership to in-the-field contractors means keeping them up to date on trends, tools and techniques to help them do their jobs better every day. However, for those who happen to be buyers and decision-makers, thought leadership also means improving business efficiency and effectiveness. They want to know that you understand their pain points. Often the best way to convey this is to put your own leaders and experts out front as the faces and bylines of your content, all with the goal of inspiring and educating.
The message: We understand your struggles, and we have creative solutions.
B2B marries marketing and sales
At its most basic, marketing supports sales. In content marketing, that relationship takes on new life.
Integrated content marketing programs often include robust resources for a sales team—a set of tools and stories they can use to display their thought leadership to the world. How they display it takes on many forms: Sometimes sales force members serve as your thought leaders, the trusted faces behind credible content. Other times they’re using the content for marketing outreach via automated targeting tools. Since nearly half of buyers view three to five pieces of content before they are ready to take that next step and talk to a rep, integrating and educating a sales team on all that content marketing offers is crucial to success.
Done right, content marketing ultimately serves as a bridge between the awareness companies crave and the sales they require.