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The Basics of Content Marketing for B2B Marketers

Content marketing has always been debatable in the B2B sector. Some marketers agree it is necessary, while others believe it is just an extra expense that is neither effective nor necessary.

We’re here to change the mind of the latter and enlighten the former. So let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing as the following,

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

In simple words, it is basically about creating useful content for your audience in order to attract them and to build brand credibility. It shouldn’t be ‘salesy’ or an advertisement for your brand. The whole point is to provide information that can eventually lead to a purchase. It includes everything from your social media posts to the blog posts you publish.

Why is Content Marketing Important?

This should give you a slight idea of how important content marketing is for B2B businesses.

Why is content marketing important to businesses

Apart from that, content marketing helps brands:

  • Build customer relationships
  • Create positive engagement
  • Provide knowledge and value to prospects
  • Build brand and product/service awareness
  • Attract and convert prospects into brand loyalists

To top it all off, website conversion is nearly 6 TIMES HIGHER for brands that provide content, as compared to those who don’t (Source: Curata).

So, as a B2B marketer, you have this splendid opportunity to take advantage of a medium that gives you more leads and conversions than advertisements, at a fraction of the cost…

Honestly, we’re surprised that there are so less B2B brands interested in content marketing here in the UAE.

How is Content Marketing Done?

Here are seven steps you can follow to effective market your content:

#1 Start With the Buyer Persona

If you don’t have a clear digital marketing strategy, creating content is a waste of time. And your strategy has to start with your buyer persona. Who is your perfect buyer? How well do you know him? Once you figure that out, you need to identify his #1 pain point. Keep in mind, if you have more than one buyer persona you will repeat this process for all.

Find out how to build a digital marketing strategy.

According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Here’s a short snippet of how we conducted our Buyer Persona workshops for Daikin, one of the leading air conditioning experts in UAE.

#2 Brainstorm Possible Topics

Once you identify your perfect buyer’s #1 pain, you list possible topics you can write about to solve it. You’re several steps away from writing. For now, you’re still doing research.

#3 Do Your Keyword Research

Using keyword research tools, you look for long-tail keywords with strong SEO potential. That means, they will have a high search volume in Google, low difficulty (there isn’t a lot of competition,) and high opportunity (the 1st page of Google search doesn’t have a lot of ad, image, and video results.) These are the topics you’ll write about.

#4 Come Up With Topic Categories

Once you’ve identified your keywords, you group them into categories. Categories are reader-facing. That is, when your website visitors come to your blog, they’ll immediately understand what you’re about. It’ll also help with your SEO, because a well-organized website is easier for Google’s search spider to crawl.

#5 Organize Content Into Topic Clusters

Once you start writing and publishing posts, you want to organize related topics into clusters. Topic clusters are just a way for you to organize content internally. A cluster consists of a hub (the post with the highest SEO potential) and spokes (related sub-topics).

The hub and spokes are connected to each other with internal links between the posts. Now, when Google crawls these posts, they’ll recognize the topics are related. And, if one of them does well in the search results, the entire cluster will get a boost.

#6 Write Pillar Content To Build Your Authority

These are long-form content pieces that cover a topic in as much depth as possible. Here you’re not necessarily looking to cover topics that have high SEO potential, but ones that are related to your products and services. Typically, you’ll only start writing these in year 2 of your content marketing journey.

#7 Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a written schedule of when and where you plan to publish upcoming content. It not only helps you stay organized, but also enables you to track what you do and to easily collaborate with your team.

Every content calendar must have deadlines and milestones, platforms that you’ll be using, promotional aspects (such as social media ads, what posts will be boosted and so on.) and finally, future ideas. These are ideas that you might want to implement, but not right away, perhaps in an upcoming calendar.

#8 Keep ROI in Mind

Don’t expect a return on your content marketing investment for the first year. Yes, one full year. We’re dead serious. It takes time for your content to rank on the first page of Google. Your #1 objective when you start content marketing is to follow the process we’ve laid out above, and create blog posts that have the best chance of ranking.

While you’re doing that, you also convert readers into leads (by offering them downloadable content) and nurture them with email automation until they’re ready to buy.

What Types of Content do you Use?

Firstly, let’s look at what a buyer journey is. A buyer journey is your customer’s journey from how they come to know of your product or service all the way till they finally purchase your product.

Although each company’s customers have their own unique journey, Hubspot has categorized this into primarily three stages.

Types of content for buyers in different states of the buyer's journey

It is necessary to market to customers at all of the above stages. This ensures that your brand stays with them throughout the journey, and will most likely result in a purchase. Below are some examples of what content you can use to approach customers at each stage.

  • Blog posts. Helps increase organic traffic when paired with strong SEO and keyword strategy.
  • Infographics. Increase your chances of being found via social media when others share your content. It is also visually pleasing and is better retained.
  • Short videos. These are very shareable. Helps your brand get new audiences, and has a high conversion rate.
  • Ebooks. Great for lead generation as they’re generally more comprehensive than a blog post or infographic, meaning someone is more likely to exchange their contact information to receive it.
  • Research reports. This is a high-value content piece that is a great lead generation tool. Research reports and new data for your industry can also help establish your brand as an industry expert.
  • Webinars. As they’re a more detailed, interactive form of video content, webinars are an effective consideration stage content format as they offer more comprehensive content than a blog post or short video.
  • Case studies. Having case studies of your client experiences on your website can be an effective form of content for those who are ready to make a purchasing decision, as it helps you positively influence their decision.
  • Testimonials. If case studies aren’t a good fit for your business, having short testimonials is a good alternative. Case studies work best for B2B brands, but testimonials help add brownie points.

How to Brainstorm Ideas for New Content?

A writer’s block is not just reserved for authors. It can easily happen to the best of us marketers as well. So here are some tips to come up with content ideas when you find you find yourself staring at a blank wall aimlessly.

#1 Make Topic Clusters

As mentioned above, creating clusters of topics and then branching them out into micro blogs could provide you with new ideas for content. You’d be surprised at some of the topics you’ll discover. Hubspot has an article dedicated to topic clusters and how you can make them. Do check it out for more details.

That is how one of our topic clusters for Kodak Alaris, a company powering the 21st-century digital transformation, looks.

#2 Use Your Analytics

Look at the analytics gathered from your platforms. Whether its social media or your blog, you can easily see what has worked with your audience. This will give you a basic idea of what they like to see on your page, and it gives you a starting point from which to work on your content.

#3 See What Others are Doing

Take a look at what content your competitors are putting out, and see how your audience likes it. Of course, this is simply meant to give you an idea of what other people in your industry are doing. If something works for the top pages in your industry, and you have the same or similar target audience, chances are, similar content will work for you as well.

#4 Use a Research Tool

Research tools are major game changers when it comes to looking for new content. It not only gives you what your audience is looking for, but it also tells you what is the best way to approach a particular topic.

A research tool that we personally LOVE is SEMRush. It is an all-in-one platform that helps you stay ahead of your search engine marketing, and one of the best we’ve used. It helps us fine-tune every aspect of our research to see what our audience wants to know, what our competitors are doing, how our website ranks and so on. Not only that, it also provides us with suggestions and related keywords that can be developed into new content ideas.

#5 Repurpose Old Content

Before we dive into this, let us make it clear that although using old content in a new manner is not bad, it is necessary to ensure that the content you use is relevant and of good quality. Trust us, nobody wants to read about something that went down in 2019, regardless of how ‘hot’ it was back then. You can perhaps gather a few posts to make a pillar post or an infographic, provided that the content allows you to do so.

Examples of Content Marketing

We at Ubrik have a variety of content that we dabble in. These include our blog, emails that we send out, our social media platforms, our website and so on. Here are some examples:

Blogs

When it comes to content marketing, blogs are pretty much home base. Blogging is not just great for SEO, but it also a wonderful long term strategy. Plus, its affordable and supports your brand’s authority in the industry in a way none of the other tools can. Click on the image to visit the Ubrik blog.

Social Media Pages

Social media matters. For B2B marketers especially, LinkedIn is THE place to be. Over 630 million professionals gather on LinkedIn, making it the best place for B2B marketers to engage with decision makers, influencers and leaders. You can publish content that entertains, teaches, and drives interaction with your audience.

Case Studies

Case studies are an effective form of content in the B2B sector, and helps showcase the results you are capable of achieving for your clients. They are your success stories, and assists potential clients in justifying their decision to purchase your product or service. Case studies establish your credibility as a company.

Podcasts

Podcasts are the upcoming media right now, and it has an interesting audience for B2B brands. Top Rank Marketing stated that 74% of podcast listeners want to learn new things, and they’re more likely to be active on social media and follow companies.

There is a significant difference between writing quality content, and hashing out multiple blog posts and social media updates just because everyone else is doing it. You might have high engagement and an increase in link clicks, but when it finally boils down to leads generated? Zilch.

Visit the Ubrik pages linked above for more insights on how we market our content, or contact us if you need professional help with content marketing.

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