We’re sorry to say it, but way too much B2B content marketing stinks. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. It’s bone dry. It’s tedious. Worse yet, it’s self-indulgent. (And believe us, we’ve been guilty of this as well.) Finally, good B2B content marketing is about providing people with interesting, one-of-a-kind, and relevant content—even if you aren’t selling the most exciting product.
Fortunately, with the right insights, you can still find ways to provide people with high-value content that connects with your audience and assists you in reaching your objectives. Do you want to know how to do it? You’ve arrived at the right place.
5 Ways to Improve B2B Content Marketing
If you’ve been stuck in a creative rut or are developing a new B2B content marketing strategy, here are some helpful tips and reminders (based on the most common mistakes we see brands make) to help you strengthen your content and improve your results.
1) Create ideas based on pain points.
In business-to-business sales, you’re usually selling a solution to a common problem. And while you may believe your content is addressing that pain point, we have found that poor B2B content frequently skirts the issue rather than directly addressing it with valuable insights, tips, or expertise.
If you’re not sure what your audience’s pain points are, or if you’re stuck for ideas on how to address them, conduct direct research.
- Talk to your customers. A quick phone call or email can generate more ideas than you realize.
- Look for discussion boards. This is an excellent way to learn about what people in your industry are discussing.
- Find out what questions people are asking. To find out what questions people have, use a tool like AnswerThePublic. (This is a particularly useful tool for generating ideas for improving your SEO.)
When you do come up with ideas, run them by your personas to ensure they are relatable.
For example, Zendesk’s mission is to improve customer service, so they create a variety of B2B content marketing to help their customers help their customers—at every level. They present themselves as the go-to resource for all things sales and customer service, from tutorial posts to expert sales advice.
2) Determine what you want people to do after interacting with your content.
This is one of the most common blunders we see in B2B marketing. They see content as a standalone component rather than a critical component of a larger ecosystem. Every piece of content you produce should be done with purpose (and, ideally, that intention is to move people along the path to purchase). So, after they interact with your content, there should be a clear next step, whether it’s an e-book download, a free demo, or something else.
- Understand your content objectives. Before you start writing or designing, you should know exactly what you want to accomplish and how you can make it easier for people to take the step you want them to take.
- Create a buyer’s journey map. Content marketing is not a sale; it is the beginning of a conversation. However, in order to move people forward, you must deliver the right message at the right time.
- Understand your brand’s messaging. To clearly articulate your tagline, value proposition, and key stories, use our free brand messaging template. The more your content reinforces your core brand story, the more likely it is that the messaging will stick.
Take note: Double-check that everything is operational—your newsletter signup, download links, and so on. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve come to a halt because of a 404-ing CTA.
Mailchimp’s content, for example, is always on point, expertly guiding readers down the path to purchase by offering a next step in every piece of content—across multiple channels. Let’s start with this simple, colorful Instagram case study snapshot.
This includes a call to action to view the entire case study in their annual report. When we scroll through this endlessly entertaining interactive report, we see three different ways to learn more about their services. From beginning to end, this is a seamless content journey.