Business-to-business (B2B) has a reputation for being the more mature, serious-sounding cousin of business-to-customer (B2C). It’s exactly that perception that used to trick B2B brands into believing that content marketing has little value for their business model.
But that attitude has changed in recent years.
A newly released report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) called, “2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” revealed that 68% of B2B marketers are using content marketing to successfully nurture subscribers, audiences and leads.
While that’s encouraging news, it also means that a lot of companies are still apprehensive to incorporate content into their toolbox of marketing strategies.
1. It helps you speed up lead generation
According to Demand Metric, companies that blog produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than their non-blogging counterparts. Every visitor that lands on your website through your blog is a potential buyer. In other words, content marketing allows you to turn website traffic into leads and later, into paying customers. The secret is to “enhance” your blog posts with lead-generating calls-to-action (CTAs).
Getting attention is only the first step towards conversion. The second is to nurture users’ interest and persuade them into sharing their information in exchange for free offerings such as white papers, fact sheets, trials and more. Every submission is a qualified lead for your sales team to follow-up on.
Pro tip: Keep signup forms no longer than four or three fields and make some fields optional (label them accordingly) to entice less motivated leads.
Maximize other content assets you have on your websites such as case studies and webinars by linking to them in your blogs. You can also drive high-quality prospects to your business' blog by writing about industry trends and best practices.
If that’s you, this article will educate you about the potential that content marketing holds in expanding your business — and your bottom line.
2. It supports your thought leadership efforts
Thought leadership is an advanced type of content marketing aimed at establishing authority within your industry. It does so through copy that gives your target audience valuable insight on a highly relevant topic. Once you become your industry's go-to resource, you’ll receive more opportunities to expand your influence such as media interview requests and partnership proposals.
Increased brand awareness and sales are just another added bonus of creating thought leadership content.
A 2019 study by Edelman and LinkedIn found that 26% of B2B marketers believe thought leadership helped them secure more business, while 58% of decision-makers said this type of content convinced them to work with the brand producing it.
Abstain from talking about your brand and products. Instead, focus on helping your readers overcome their most pressing challenges. Here’s what makes a good thought leadership piece:
- Offer unique and practical solutions backed by data. Your goal is to improve readers’ lives in any way you can, from cutting costs and streamlining processes to improving organizational culture.
- Make your content easy to digest. Whether your audience is comprised of C-suite executives or entry-level professionals, your content should be at an eighth-grade reading level. When you make it easy for users to find the answers to their questions, they are more likely to return and engage with your content.
- Write fewer, but more impactful pieces. As opposed to regular blogs, you should produce thought leadership pieces that have meaning and purpose. One impactful article will provide more value than 10 mediocre blogs.
3. It grows your community of brand advocates
Whether you’re a B2B brand in retail, automotive, or healthcare, you need a community that can vouch and cheer for you. According to Inversoft, 77% of companies think that building an online community improves brand awareness and credibility. Content marketing is the invisible glue that holds these groups together and increases retention.
Here’s the interesting part: you don’t have to be the primary creator of that content. One of the biggest advantages of brand communities is user-generated content (UGC). For B2B audiences, UGC can take on various forms.
HubSpot, for instance, encourages companies that have used their marketing automation software to share their success stories via short videos.
Hootsuite, the social media management platform provider, regularly runs UGC contests on Instagram. In one instance, they asked users to post pictures of their work setup accompanied by the #IWorkFromHere hashtag.
Zendesk, a customer service software, is banking on UGC by its employees who use the company’s Instagram account to post candid pictures of themselves having fun at work.
B2B decision-makers are humans who crave the same human connection as B2C buyers. Whatever strategy you choose, make sure to regularly foster engagement with your community, not just once in a while.
4. It boosts Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A recent Hubspot report discovered that websites with 51-100 pages generate 48% more traffic than those with less than 50 pages. More is not necessarily better when it comes to content marketing, but creating a large volume of high-quality content can boost your chances of ranking high in search results.
A key factor that Google, Yahoo and other search engines take into consideration is the number of indexed pages you have. The higher this number is, the more organic traffic your site will receive. A single blog post could lead to 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links, reports Ignite Spot.
You also have the chance to outrank your competitors in search engine results by creating a lot of content around important keywords. Stay ahead of customer demand and extend your content optimization to voice. Almost half of the internet searches will soon be voice-based, so your copy should answer specific questions that key decision-makers within companies ask their Amazon Echo devices or other smart assistants. For example, it’s more likely your prospects will search for “car manufacturers in Chicago” than just for “car manufacturers.” Voice search queries are also longer than text ones, which is why it is essential that you incorporate long-tail keywords and write in a conversational language.
Developing a powerful content marketing strategy goes beyond writing. Aside from time and discipline, producing content requires a solid understanding of SEO and marketing principles, something that more B2B brands should invest in.
At Americaneagle.com, we have a strong team of content creators, digital marketers and SEO specialists to help companies like yours achieve their goals. Browse our services to see how we can make content sell for you.