B2B content marketing flips the buyer’s funnel on its head to prioritize the end user. Not utilizing this marketing approach leaves money on the table, lengthens the sales cycle, and puts more work on sales teams. We’ll help you navigate these obstacles to create the B2B content your audience craves.
Did you know that 90% of B2B buyers find it important for companies to provide relevant content at each stage of the buying process — not just at the acquisition and purchase stage.
A thorough content marketing strategy is a critical component of a successful B2B marketing strategy, as you can tailor it to every stage of the customer lifecycle.
If companies don’t deploy content marketing strategies correctly (or at all), they may leave money and leads on the table. Even worse, sales teams have to take on the brunt of the work generating revenue with a top-down sales model (aka cold outreach and cold calling).
With over 10 years of experience, Siege Media has helped businesses scale their content creation, increase traffic value, and boost their blog traffic in industries ranging from SaaS to real estate and everything in between.
Not sure where to start with your own B2B content marketing strategy? Below, we’ll dive into exactly what B2B content marketing is and share tried-and-true content strategies that show results for our clients and other B2B content marketers.
What Is B2B Content Marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) content marketing creates and distributes content to drive brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive sales for B2B companies.
B2B companies are often complex, with buyers ranging from management to the C-suite. Creating content around their products or services helps to demystify complex topics and build trust with potential customers.
B2B Content Marketing vs. B2C Content Marketing
While some of the content types overlap within B2B and B2C content marketing, the primary difference between the two content marketing types is the target audience.
B2B companies sell their products or services to companies or organizations, while B2C companies sell their products or services directly to consumers.
We highlight a few other distinctions between the two content marketing approaches below.
Why B2B Content Marketing Is Necessary
First and foremost, content marketing is an effective way to generate leads for B2B companies.
By providing potential customers with information at every stage of the buying journey, you’re able to dominate industry keywords and generate even more qualified leads.
In addition, content marketing has impressive ROI.
Studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing but drives 3 times as many leads.
Try our ROI calculator to get an estimate of what your B2B content marketing results could look like.
How To Develop a B2B Content Strategy
Below, we highlight a few methods to help you craft a solid content marketing strategy.
Dive Deep Into Product + Audience Research
B2B audiences tend to be a niche subset, with a thorough understanding of their industry.
As Elias Rubel, CEO of Matter Made, discussed above, you should be especially deliberate in understanding the audience, their pain points, and the questions they may have at different stages of the buyer journey.
You should map B2B marketing content with users at three different stages of the buying journey: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.
Top of the funnel
Content at this stage of the funnel focuses on creating awareness and building customer interest.
- Content covers relevant topics within your industry.
- Focused on beginner education.
- Common content types include “What Is” blog posts.
Middle of the funnel
Content at this stage of the funnel aims to drive customer consideration.
- Content should mention your product more specifically.
- Common content types include case studies and webinars.
Bottom of the funnel
Content at this stage of the funnel aims to generate sales.
- Focus content on your product specifics.
- Common content types include competitor comparisons and data sheets.
Audience research is a prime time to create a buyer journey and build buyer personas for your product.
Sparktoro.com is a great resource for introductory research. Sparktoro allows you to quickly find relevant blogs, podcasts, and influencers relevant to your industry.
Here are a few other methods you can use to get to know your audience:
- Read copies of sales calls.
- Watch product demos.
- Familiarize yourself with common questions during the sales process.
- Read any customer FAQs that exist.
It’s also important to have a clear understanding of the product you’re marketing. Here are a few tips to help you know your product inside and out:
- Ask to sit in on sales calls or watch sales demos to understand how the team explains the product and features.
- Take a look at social media channels to familiarize yourself with the language and terminology that describes the product.
- Read customer reviews to understand how the product works for your target audience.
Once you’ve dialed in on your buyer personas and product offerings, you can begin categorizing keywords into the different content funnels.
Let’s use a software as a service company that gathers customer feedback insights as an example.
- Top of the funnel: “What Is CX”
- Middle of the funnel: “Customer Survey Questions + Template”
- Bottom of the funnel: “Qualtrics vs Hotjar”
Ideate High-Value Content Topics
Due to the niche nature of most B2B industries, search volume for relevant keywords are often lower than in B2C industries.
Instead of prioritizing keywords with 1,000-plus search volume, focus on cost per click (CPC) to quantify that the topic value will still be high enough to justify investing in it.
Oftentimes, these topics will have a lower keyword difficulty, improving your likelihood for ranking for that topic.
For example, the keyword “vendor management policy” has a search volume of 250 and a keyword difficulty of 8. The cost per click for this keyword is $14. If you multiply the search volume by the CPC, you get an estimated $3,500 traffic value.
Learn more ways to benefit from lower-volume (even zero volume) keywords below.
Use Common Keyword Frameworks
Applying common keyword frameworks to your industry’s products, especially new ones, are a tried and true method of generating sales.
John-Henry Scherck, Founder of Growth Plays, suggests mining Google autosuggest and Google Search Console for top of funnel and middle of funnel content topics.
Here are a few examples:
- PRODUCT cost
- PRODUCT vs PRODUCT
- KEYWORD template
- INDUSTRY JARGON
- COMPETITOR vs you
- COMPETITOR alternatives
- What is INDUSTRY JARGON
If you use these against your product types you know demand exists for, you’ll drive significant conversions — even if keyword research tools tell you search volume doesn’t exist (yet).
Measure Your Results Over Time
Identifying the main goal of your content can also help you hone in on the best strategy to achieve the desired results.
Consider whether your main priority is to drive traffic to your site, build brand awareness, or potentially a combination of the two.
Once you have your priorities set, here are a few metrics that will help you track the success of your content strategy:
- Total conversions for blog posts (email sign-up, demo requests, etc.)
- Total pageviews for each blog post
- The organic traffic of your website or blog
- The type of content that performs best
- The rankings of essential keywords
- Total conversions for blog posts (email signup, demo requests, etc.)
- The backlinks and mentions of your company or content
12 Proven B2B Content Strategies
Now that you have an idea of what B2B marketing is all about, here are some examples of effective content approaches to try out.
1. Build Alternative and Versus Pages
Alternative and versus pages are powerful tools for B2B content marketing.
These are prime bottom funnel content opportunities that reach customers who are already low in the buying funnel and are comparing your business or product to others — whether you want them to or not.
Creating your own alternative and versus pages can be seen as an opportunity for businesses to help shape the narrative by winning the SERP real estate.
It’s also an opportunity to create a true comparison post that highlights where your product service wins and loses. This will help you build trust with potential customers.
As an example, if you search “HubSpot vs. Pipedrive,” you’ll see that HubSpot ranks #1. Ranking for this keyword allows them to own the conversation before Pipedrive or any other third party can add commentary, which drives more conversions for their brand.
How To Find Comparison Topics
Versus and alternative pages are generally low volume but extremely high value given they are so bottom funnel.
The easiest way to find keywords for comparisons is to use Google autocomplete.
This tool was designed to help predict what users may be meaning to search for based on common and trending Google searches. Autocomplete prioritizes popular keywords, so you’ll get an in-depth look at the trending searches involving your company.
To use Autocomplete, simply type in your company name, add “vs,” and see what is suggested.
How To Create Versus + Alternative Pages
Versus pages should be a direct one-to-one comparison of your brand and competitors rather than an opportunity to only promote your product. You can be biased, but honest.
- Start with an in-depth competitive analysis: This will help you understand how your product or service stacks up against your top competitors and be able to speak on your competitor’s pros and cons.
- Gather your research: Next, you can sift through your competitive analysis to find the key points you want to compare. This is also a good time to think through your biggest selling points and your customers biggest pain points so you can be sure to address both in your post.
- Write up the post: Most competitor pages include a chart or table that summarizes the pros and cons of both you and your competitor. Your post should also include a more in-depth dive into the features of both yours and your competitor’s product.
What to Include
- Features and benefits
- Comparison charts
- Crawlable comparison tables
- Immediate CTA above the fold that draws the eye with contrast
- CTA in the middle and end of page
A few great examples of comparison and alternative pages include:
2. Interview Subject Matter Experts
Leveraging subject matter experts (SMEs) will help to level up your content by sprinkling in industry truisms and earned secrets to create successful opinionated content that goes beyond what already exists on the SERP.
Not all content topics require an interview with an SME. But, for highly technical pieces, experts can lend valuable insight that will elevate your content and help build audience trust.
This is increasingly important as Google places more emphasis on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, aka E-A-T.
While it’s not technically a ranking factor, implementing great E-A-T practices such as having a credentialled expert author or review a post is rewarded by Google.
3. Create Industry Studies
Industry studies, like this Data Risk Report from Varonis, are an excellent way to increase brand recognition and position your company as a thought leader in your industry.
High-quality industry studies are also a great passive link driver if other posts decide to source your study.
While many companies choose to gate their industry study behind an email signup, it’s a good idea to keep key takeaways ungated so that readers can get the gist of your research and understand how you conducted your research, which will help with linkability and establish authority.
4. Share Your Content Everywhere
Once content is live on your site, distribution shouldn’t stop there. Email is one of the most popular distribution methods for B2B content.
In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2022 B2B Content Marketing report, 69% of content marketers used email newsletters and 68% used email (other than newsletters) to distribute their content.
Other common B2B content distribution methods include:
- Social media channels
- Email outreach
- Webinars/speaking engagements
When it comes to social media, the top three most popular platforms for content distribution identified in the 2022 B2B Content Marketing report are:
- LinkedIn (93%)
- Facebook (80%)
- Twitter (71%)
5. Create Ultimate Guides
Long-form guides are a mainstay of B2B content marketing.
They’re meant to thoroughly cover a topic from top to bottom and are a great chance to cover a variety of long tail keywords and related topics in one comprehensive post.
However, long-form guides are not always necessary to rank. User intent is one of the key indicators you can look at to determine whether a post longer than 1,000 words is necessary.
For example, this post on B2B content marketing strategies lends itself well to being a long-form guide as it includes various approaches and examples.
However, a post on “B2B content marketing examples” would be far shorter as the intent is to quickly list out examples.
When you are creating long-form guides, keep these tips in mind:
- Include images throughout the text: Relevant and insightful in-post images will help keep the reader engaged and offer reading breaks throughout the post.
- Look for ways to break up the text: Use bullets, numbered lists, and headings to break up long walls of text.
- Include CTAs: Not all users will read to the very end of the post. Positioning CTAs throughout the post will help drive conversions for readers who are prone to skimming.
This example from Hotjar encapsulates a variety of long-form guide best practices.
It includes various numbered lists, bulleted points, and imagery throughout.
The piece also leverages interactive content, which not only makes sense for the subject matter of UX design, but also catches the reader’s attention.
6. Keep a Pulse on Your Competition
Competitor research is a great way to uncover topics that are bringing in a lot of traffic or links for your competition.
To do so, plug a competitor’s site into Ahref’s Site Explorer, and sort by “Best by Links” or “Top Content” to see the best performing posts. This can be used to unearth additional topics to cover and improve upon for your own site.
For example, we took a look at the articles with the most links on HubSpot’s blog and the top content.
From leveraging the above, we can see most traffic and links are coming from the following content types:
- Statistics posts
- Long-form guides
- How-to posts
- Examples/templates posts
7. Explore Online Communities for Fresh Topics
Keep a finger on the pulse of your industry by signing up for industry webinars, competitors e-newsletters, and relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
This helps you keep up with emerging trends and news within your industry that could provide timely content ideas.
Mining these groups for unique takes and opinions can spark content opportunities that lends well to social distribution, generating leads, and growing an audience.
Ryan Law, VP of Content at Animalz, recommends taking three steps to turn interesting opinions into solid content.
Using an example from Siege, here are those three steps in practice:
- Identify industry truisms: Link building is a crucial step for content marketing.
- Construct your counter-narrative: Link building doesn’t make sense for 90%+ of our clients.
- Distribute your opinion with a “coined concept”: Why We Stopped (Most) Manual Link Building After 1M+ Emails
8. Create Infographics
Infographics are a great way to visually break down a topic into bite-sized, scannable pieces — especially for more complex topics.
Infographics are well suited to top funnel, evergreen topics related to your industry, and are a valuable addition to an industry study.
They are also very shareable, which make it easy to include within press releases or to use during outreach for link building.
9. Publish Case Studies
Case studies are a great way to highlight your product and its results for a given customer. They’re typically formatted around an issue and how your business helped solve that problem.
Case studies are often prominently featured on a company’s site, highlighting customers across their target audience spectrum.
Once your cast study is live, a few metrics to track include:
- Page visits
- Time on page
- Conversions such as filling out a contact form or requesting a demo
10. Highlight Testimonials and Reviews
Customer testimonials and reviews serve as an effective form of social proof that pulls information on a product or service directly from those actively using it.
In fact, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.
Display testimonials and customer reviews prominently on your site so customers can easily find and use them. You can also organize them into a dedicated hub or landing page, like Prezi does.
11. Create White Papers or E-books
For most B2B clients, especially those in sales-assisted SaaS, the potential customer won’t be ready to purchase immediately.
Therefore, capturing potential customer’s emails can get them into the marketing funnel until they are ready to buy.
To choose a topic for an e-book or white paper, consider the major content categories related to your business. From there, focus on a particular customer need and problem and how an e-book provides a solution.
You can also think about the content “hubs” you have on your site to see if you can combine blog posts into a more comprehensive e-book.
For example, we created this crane rental guide for BigRentz, a client in the construction industry. The e-book breaks down the types of cranes, how to choose the right crane for your job, and crane safety tips — all of which were individual blog posts that we combined into one e-book.
Due to the time and effort it takes to create a white paper, many companies choose to gate this content.
If you go this route, be sure to track downloads, page visits, and email captures to track performance.
12. Build High-Utility Templates and Tools
When it doesn’t make sense to lead to a demo or to your product, give readers a free template, tool, or PDF that makes life easier for your potential customers.
John-Henry Scherck points out that these tools and templates go beyond answering questions and actually solves problems for jobs that need to be done.
A few types of content that fall under this category are calculators, generators, and editable PDFs.
Take this content marketing ROI calculator we created. The calculator is a perfect fit for our audience and provides four options (traffic, e-commerce, ad model, and B2B) depending on the user’s needs.
Not only is the calculator easy to use, it’s garnered more than 58 backlinks and has an estimated monthly traffic value of $87.
Amplify Your Brand with B2B Content Marketing
As you can see, there are many routes you can take when building your own B2B content.
Each company and their content is unique, so take your time setting a strategy to ensure you’re building content that resonates with an audience and produces the results you want.
If you decide that B2B content marketing isn’t for you, our content creation services might be a perfect fit. Reach out to our team to find out how Siege Media can handle the heavy lifting for you.