B2B Digital Content Strategy: The Best Way to Drive Results Through Content Marketing
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
Whenever I have trouble sleeping, I read B2B sales content.
I'm out like a light in minutes.
I'm joking. Sort of.
You see, in spite of having every opportunity to make exceptional content, a lot of enterprise level B2B companies only have old brochures, brand-centric videos, and boring customer case studies on their websites.
However, a lot of these companies also have thousands of sales representatives and account managers. They doesn't need content marketing to get more business.
Unless you're on the same scale as those enterprise level corporations, content marketing is something you absolutely need. And if you want actual results, you need to go beyond stale B2B content. You need content that's going to help you grow.
The B2B Digital Content Strategy Tactics You Need To Implement This Year
A B2B digital content strategy is a plan to provide more value and guidance to your customer through content. It's content that you specifically create for every buyer journey stage. And at the risk of offending a lot of B2B marketers, in my experience, a lot of B2Bs do not take this approach.
I've always been curious about why so much B2B content is like this, so I asked a B2B marketer about it.
Her answer shocked me:
"Oh, our customers know who we are. We have some stuff on our website, but we don't need content. Our customers don't buy that way."
You may think that "oh, she must work for a company like Lenovo!"
But guess what. She doesn't.
Her company isn't a leader in their space.
Her company doesn't have a crazy amount of customers.
She's always looking for ways to move the needle in marketing. And she doesn't think content marketing will do it, because what she really believes is:
"We've done things a certain way, and so far, it's been working."
But more and more, her tactics are not working, because:
- 85 percent of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results (imForza.com, 2012)
- 71 percent of readers are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch (Economist Group, 2014)
- Three-quarters of buyers say that the content of potential vendors has a “significant impact” on the one they choose (Demand Gen, 2017)
And it's only going to get worse.
Because if you think that your customer "doesn't need" content, what you're really saying is that you have a customer that knows everything already. You're saying that your customer has complete loyalty to you. Your customer will keep buying, no matter what.
But guess what? That kind of customer does not exist. And if you haven't realized that by now, you're already behind.
However, if you start soon, within six months to a year, you can start getting results. Especially if you use a method similar to our 10X, our growth methodology. It's a strategic approach to content that gradually increases your current traffic, leads, opportunities, and customers month-by-month.
But it requires a hardcore commitment to exceptional content. In our experience, these are some of the B2B digital content strategy tactics that can get you there.
1. Going All In On High-Quality Pillar Content
Pillar content is one of the best ways to provide value to your customer. And there's also a huge benefit for you. You can use pillar content to rank for highly competitive keywords, or quickly rise to the top of the SERPs with a low competition keyword. Either way, your B2B digital content strategy should include a plan for a high-quality pillar page.
One of our pillar pages, for instance, is about HubSpot vs. Wordpress. While it's not a very competitive keyword (details below), we talk to prospective inbound clients about this a lot. We can’t afford not to talk about it on our site. That’s why it deserves more attention.
2. Finding Opportunities To Reuse And Repurpose Content Assets
Another reason that some B2B marketers have told me they "don't prioritize content" is because they already have assets that provide enough value.
Well, that still isn't a reason not to produce new content. Because there are a ton of ways to repurpose that awesome asset for different channels.
The content pyramid takes one piece of content and breaks it into:
- A post on your blog or VLOG
- A topic for a Q&A show
- A lead-in for an interview
- A collaboration with an influencer or peer
- Keynote speeches
- A theme for your podcast
- An IGTV video
- A short-form video for YouTube or Vimeo
- An article
- A meme
- An image to share across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram
- A series of quotes
- A GIF
- A text social post for Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook or Snapchat.
- A topic of a marketing email
And that's only 15 ideas to repurpose and distribute content.
3. Trimming Down On Waste In Your Content Processes
Content marketing can be expensive. However, spending a lot on content production doesn’t always ensure quality. You can invest a lot in an ineffective strategy, then burn through your budget on assets that don't perform.
That's why whenever I create a new B2B digital content strategy, I look for ways to trim down on waste. In addition to repurposing content, I also like to study the performance of older content assets.
I ask questions such as:
Which topics aren't receiving a lot of engagement?
Which posts are visitors spending the most time on? How long have those posts been live?
Which CTAs are getting the most clicks and submissions? What posts are driving the most traffic from that CTA?
If you use HubSpot, answering these questions will be a breeze.
You can get a complete overview of how a post or a CTA is performing using HubSpot Analytics (shown above.)
If you use the HubSpot Content Strategy tool effectively, you can also monitor the performance of specific topics.
Answering these questions will help you understand:
- The topics you should spend more/less time producing content about.
- High performing posts to analyze further - is it the keyword, the writer, the style of post? What's contributing to its success?
- Does every single post provide a relevant next step?
Then, you can use these insights to cut down on areas that aren’t producing value.
4. Raising the Stakes In Your Content
One of the biggest marketing mistakes that a content writer can make is keeping content too neutral. Because if your content has no conflict, it’s not going to be very interesting.
Take this very article, for example. I called out Lenovo. I called out B2B marketers. And it's not to offend anyone; it's merely to sprinkle in some tension.
Content that offers a strong opinion may turn off a reader, but it won't offend your target customer if you come to the table with a good argument.
For instance, our ideal customer believes in the inbound methodology. The content that describes the benefits of inbound and challenges alternative methods will probably turn off a negative persona of ours, who values different tactics, like paid media or cold calling.
And that's fine. We still attract our ideal customer and make it clear to a negative persona that we’re not a good fit for them.
Getting More From Your Content Marketing Efforts
If you want to drive results through content marketing, one of the best things you can do is to invest in a solid inbound marketing strategy. With an inbound marketing strategy, you can create the best personas, set meaningful marketing goals, and make a real commitment to your customer.
A content marketing strategy that doesn’t fit within a larger inbound plan may get your traffic and leads, but without the right foundation, you’ll fail to attract the right customer or effectively nurture the leads that you have. To learn more about creating a inbound marketing strategy that will help you get the most from content, check out our free guide, Conquering The Inbound Marketing Mountain.