Tag Archives: B2B Content Marketing

What type of content is needed for B2B marketing?

What content is needed for B2B marketing

What content is needed for B2B marketing.

The efficacy of your content depends on its targeting.

When you’re targeting a B2B market you need to keep in mind what your B2B customers and clients are looking for.

91% B2B marketers use content to spread awareness about their businesses.

Broadly, businesses are of two types: business to consumers and business to business.

My content writing services, for example, are business to business.

I provide my business services to other businesses who then use my services to grow their businesses.

You may like to read: Strategy for creating effective B2B pillar pages

Content requirements for B2C and B2B are different.

When you’re selling to consumers (B2C) pretty much anyone can be your customer or client.

If you’re selling a mobile phone, right from a rickshaw puller to a luxury resort owner to a blockchain developer to a NASA scientist, can be your customer. Everybody these days buys a mobile phone.

The same goes for your food delivery service. Everyone will be using your food delivery service.

In B2B, or business to business, the audience for your content is relatively focused, although, for my content writing services, I would say that any business that intends to promote itself on the web, needs content, or needs a content writer.

Nonetheless, if one wants to narrow down, all my businesses want to create a presence on the Internet with compelling content.

All my businesses want to improve their search engine rankings.

All my businesses want to improve their conversion rate.

So, in that sense, the audience is narrower.

Here is an interesting piece of data that I came across today in the morning: 70% of the B2B customers get information right from the website of the business they intend to deal with.

What does this mean?

If a B2B customer or client wants to know more about you, he or she rather go through your website than other sources such as blogs hosted elsewhere or social media timelines.

Therefore, it is very important to have quality content on your website if you serve the B2B market.

What type of content is preferred by B2B customers and clients?

Authoritative content. Content that has lots of open data and study material.

The stakes are higher.

They are not spending money on a consumable.

They are spending money on a product or a service that is intended to contribute towards their business growth.

As a B2B client, why do you want to hire my content writing services? You want to

  • Improve your search engine rankings.
  • Establish your authority.
  • Educate visitors about the benefits of using your product or service.
  • Increase the level of engagement when people visit your website or go through your social media feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
  • Increase the CTR of your email marketing campaigns.

Basically, you want to convince people and you want to convince as many people as possible by increasing your visibility.

To hire my content writing service for your B2B enterprise, in a similar fashion, you too need to be convinced.

For that, I continuously share blog posts through which I share my knowledge of content writing and online copywriting.

I explain to my B2B customers and clients the various concepts of content writing and copywriting.

I illustrate how my content writing and copywriting services can help them improve their visibility.

Basically, I’m sharing lots of knowledge.

When creating content for a B2B marketplace it is the knowledge and verifiable information that do the trick.

You can present this knowledge in the form of web pages, blog posts, infographics, white papers & case studies as well as email campaigns.


Strategy for creating effective B2B pillar pages

Content clusters and pillar pages for B2B enterprises

Content clusters and pillar pages for B2B enterprises.

What are pillar pages?

A few years ago I wrote a blog post explaining what are pillar pages: What are topic clusters and pillar pages? And how to use them to improve your SEO.

Moz recently published a whiteboard update titled A step-by-step strategy for B2B pillar pages.

Why pillar pages for B2B?

There is greater competition in B2B. Pillar pages increase your stickiness as there a greater number of topics to explore.

Your B2B customers and clients need to process more information before they can decide to do business with you because the stakes are higher.

Pillar pages constructed with the help of topic clusters prove that you have enough knowledge about your field.

Not just pillar pages, B2B customers and clients prefer to read white papers, case studies and even e-books. The more content you can provide them, the better it is for your business.

The whiteboard from Moz update is primarily focused at helping you improve your search engine rankings to creating B2B pillar pages.

Obviously, it involves studying your keywords and creating a proper URL structure.

As I always tell my clients, when it comes to researching keywords for your business, don’t think in terms of what or how you think of your business; think in terms of how your prospective customers and clients think of your business.

Address their concerns. For that, you need to understand their language. What words do they use when you talk about your business? This becomes the basis of your keywords.

Now that I have read the script of the whiteboard, it doesn’t contain lots of good information. Anyway, I will try to cover some topics.

Making more sense of topic clusters and pillar pages

Although these days I have been repeatedly writing posts on why I prefer smaller blog posts, when it comes to improving your search engine rankings, pillar pages hefted by topic clusters definitely have an advantage over smaller, standalone blog posts and web pages.

In fact, topic clusters are exactly multiple short blog posts that are a part of a bigger pillar page.

Pillar pages are used to improve your search engine rankings for a broader topic. You choose a topic that may have 10-15 subtopics.

You cover all these 10-15 subtopics in individual blog posts – this forms your topic cluster. You can interlink these topic list of pages or blog posts.

Then you have a pillar page, or a pillar blog post that links to all these cluster links.

You can create a pillar page by writing small intros about all these 10-15 subtopics and then link to them.

What is the benefit of creating topic clusters and pillar pages?

The benefit is multifaceted. In terms of creating content, it is easier to create a topic cluster because you can publish individual blog posts and web pages on smaller topics.

Managing the flow is easier when you write and publish segmented content. It’s like writing smaller chapters of a book. Every blog post belonging to the topic cluster can be around 400-800 words, which are easier to write.

You can create the pillar page or the pillar post in the beginning and then keep updating it with new intros and your links. It can be an evolutionary exercise. Don’t rush over it. Take your time.

Pillar pages and their related topic clusters improve your search engine rankings in the long run.

How to create topic clusters and pillar pages for B2B enterprise?

Pillar pages and topic clusters are mostly related with improving search engine rankings, but they shouldn’t just be created for that. Pillar pages and topic clusters, especially when you write them for your B2B enterprise, also increase engagement and conversion.

They help you establish your authority. So, don’t just try to cram as many keywords as possible into your topic clusters and pillar pages. Have a plan to create a knowledge base. Here are a few things you can do to create effective topic clusters and pillar pages for your B2B enterprise:

Use a main pillar page topic

This could be something like “Step-by-step guide to creating a B2B content marketing strategy”.

It is obvious that this topic needs to cover a broad range of subtopics such as digital marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, PPC campaigning, multiple format content publishing, quality content writing, creating a publishing calendar, and others.

The broad topic doesn’t have to be exactly the keyword you want to optimize for. In the above topic, maybe you want to optimize for “B2B content marketing services”. But, such a topic may not attract enough traffic and besides, it might be quite difficult if other businesses have already created content clusters around this topic.

You will need to be creative. A pillar page topic shouldn’t be something that you must come up with in a hurry. Spend some time. Brainstorm. Do keyword research. Then create a topic that would attract people to your content cluster.

Create smaller posts containing your keywords

Within your B2B content marketing, there are many subtopics such as B2B digital marketing, or B2B email marketing, or B2B search engine optimization, and such. Write and publish individual blog posts on these topics and then link to them from your main pillar page.

Creating a pillar page or a content cluster may be a long-term undertaking

This is going to be a comprehensive project. Don’t be in any hurry. It is like building a structure that is going to generate business for you for years to come.

Do enough research. Write quality content. Deliver maximum quality. Don’t try to exploit some sort of search engine vulnerability by creating random content on chosen keywords.

Remember that your bounce rate can affect your search engine rankings. Bounce rate depends on how people interact with your content. Keep this in mind. Writing and publishing inferior quality content will be counter-productive.

Well, I intended to write a short blog post with just an intro to the Moz whiteboard update. But then, when I started writing, I noticed that the whiteboard doesn’t have enough information and it is a simple regurgitation of often-repeated topics. Hence, I ended up writing more words than I had initially intended.

B2B marketing content consumption increased during Covid-19

B2B content marketing has increased during Covid-19

B2B content marketing has increased during Covid-19

So says this PRWeb report. It is understandable. Since most of the people are confined to their homes, whether they are freelancers or full-time employees of some company, one of the best ways of reaching out to these people is through high-quality marketing content.

In-person, face-to-face meetings have been stopped or even banned at many places. Conferences and workshops stand cancelled for the foreseeable future. The B2B marketplace depends a lot on these communication channels.

You may like to read The relevance of storytelling when you’re writing content for the B2B market.

Not all findings notice an increase in the spending on content marketing especially in the B2B arena. For example, this McKinsey survey found mixed reactions among its responders.

Sales leaders are already moving quickly to navigate the crisis, with the best ones focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm and start preparing for the recovery. As we update this survey in the coming weeks, we will also share perspectives on planning for the recovery as well as reimagining the new normal for sales.

Many B2B companies are reducing their marketing spend but on the other hand, there are many companies who have increased or maintained their current budgets thinking that there is more reason to keep in touch with their core customer base in whichever way possible.

Digital interactions are obviously increasing whether they are through targeted content or video events.

90% marketing among the B2B circles is happening through video conferencing, mobile phones and other digital platforms.

This LinkedIn study reveals that 42% of the respondents faced budget cuts in marketing (whether conventional marketing or content marketing), which is a big challenge. 47% marketers said that they have increased focus on emotional and human-centric content during Covid-19. Consequently 19% confessed that there has been a drastic reduction in the product-focused content.

You may like to read The importance of quality content during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The author of the above LinkedIn report rightly comments that marketers have no idea how to deal with the current situation. They have a precedents with other market conditions such as the recession or the bursting of the dot-com bubble, but the Covid-19 outbreak is a completely new, unexpected phenomena that engulfed the entire world within a matter of a couple of weeks.

This Forbes article says:

The pandemic has led to nations limiting business activities, which has added immense pressure on business owners. While some organizations have closed, the remaining are left to deal with the harrowing aftermath. They are facing unprecedented challenges, including supply chain disruptions, a slump in customer demand, regulatory changes and increased uncertainty about the future.

The reality is that you cannot ignore marketing. Ad hoc responses don’t pay dividends. You need to put a strategy in place. I personally believe that the Covid-19 situation is going to last for a long time, and we need to prepare accordingly.

How to use LinkedIn for B2B content marketing

Use LinkedIn for B2B content marketing

Use LinkedIn for B2B content marketing

LinkedIn, as I’m sure you know, is a social network for professionals. An interesting fact about LinkedIn is that it was launched back in 2003. People were not even aware of the concept of social media and social networking.

Although exceptions are always there, people often have a LinkedIn account to find business opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a job, business leads, or business partners, LinkedIn allows you to create a presence that provides all the relevant information your prospective employers and business partners might be looking for.

There are two reasons why people are on LinkedIn:

  1. Seek new job opportunities
  2. Seek new business partners/customers/clients

The second point is the focus of this blog post.

Just like any channel or any network, when there are too many people vying for attention, you need to stand out. How do you stand out? You market yourself. You promote yourself. You do something that makes people notice you for the right reasons.

For example, I provide content writing and content marketing services and I would like to draw attention of people on LinkedIn who are looking for businesses and individuals providing these services (and preferably, find my profile).

The problem is, just as I want to attract these clients, there might be hundreds of content writers and content marketers trying to achieve the same. I need to compete with them.

On social media as well as search engines, when you are vying for targeted attention, you’re not just competing with your competitors, you are also competing with numerous other distractions that may prevent your prospective customers and clients from taking note of your presence even if your presence is right in front of their eyes.

Sure, on LinkedIn people may search for keywords and tags associated with your business and they may be able to find your profile for the right reasons, but if your competitors are aggressively marketing themselves on the platform, even if your prospects come across your profile, they may get distracted by more aggressive professionals who are constantly posting highly valuable content on their timelines, conveying in the process that they are proactively promoting themselves.

But why focus on LinkedIn for B2B content marketing?

As mentioned above, LinkedIn is a business networking platform. These days, it is also evolving as a high-quality content publishing platform – content mostly catering to businesses. This Content Marketing Institute report says that 94% B2B companies that were surveyed for the report find LinkedIn as their preferred content marketing platform.

Among the top five networking platforms, when it comes to doing business, people trust LinkedIn the most. The report was published in Business Insider. Somehow, the web page has vanished, but here is the Twitter update posted by the publication and in case you cannot access even that, I have also put a screenshot of the Twitter update.

LinkedIn B2B content marketing screenshot

LinkedIn B2B content marketing screenshot

Facebook comes second, then Instagram, then Snapchat and then Twitter.

This is mostly because when people are browsing their timelines on LinkedIn they know that LinkedIn users are not interested in sharing what they had for breakfast or what new cute cat video they have stumbled upon. Most probably they are going to publish some business-related information that can be directly or indirectly used.

Why people trust content, on LinkedIn and elsewhere?

When I talk of content I don’t mean junk content published only to improve search engine rankings (they no longer improve, but that’s a different topic). Good quality content means you are sharing your knowledge and you are sharing it not just to prove how good you are, but also in such a manner that the knowledge that you share helps people.

For example, if in this blog post I talk about how to use LinkedIn for B2B content marketing, one of the bigger aims is to tell you something that you can use to grow your business. The more I help, the more you trust me.

When you trust me, it doesn’t mean I have succeeded in manipulating you. I’m not forcing you to do business with me. I’m just sharing with you something that I know. Through sharing, I let it be known to you that when I work for you, I’m going to use the same expertise, the same knowledge, to help you grow your business through my content writing and content marketing services. If I were a lawyer, I would like to talk about the cases I have worked on (of course, without revealing confidential information) and how much knowledge of law I have.

Content breeds familiarity and no, such familiarity does not breed contempt. Again, not just content, good, useful, relevant content.

It is the familiarity factor that makes people work with you. If you’re constantly publishing junk content people lose respect for you and if they don’t have respect for you, how do you expect them to do business with you?

Good content, even if it is of no use to them, builds trust. Your presence on their timelines isn’t just a nuisance they are too lazy to get rid of, it’s a value addition. They pay attention to your content whenever you post it on LinkedIn or elsewhere. They share your content with people who may find it useful.

This, of course, also helps your search engine rankings. Google has built advanced algorithms that can actually gauge the quality of your content. Also, it matters how many people are linking to it and sharing it.

Using LinkedIn for B2B content marketing

First, understand, what is B2B content marketing and how it is different from B2C content marketing. Is it really different?

In theory they are not, but in practice they might be.

In B2C, even cute cat videos may do the trick, although, you may have to create a presence on another networking platform like Facebook or Instagram. B2C content marketing is mostly for brand awareness. In B2B, people want information they can use to do business with you. In both the cases you publish valuable content – although the definition of value may change with the sort of audience you are trying to target. B2B content marketing is mostly about lead generation.

It doesn’t mean every piece of content that you publish on LinkedIn or distribute through LinkedIn needs to be a lead generating magnet – some pieces of content are simply published to raise awareness about one’s business.

But generally, when you post content on LinkedIn to attract B2B opportunities, people should be immediately able to make out what business you are in. For example, if I am promoting my content writing and content marketing services on LinkedIn, I shouldn’t be posting coffee making tips all the time, unless I specifically provide my services to this niche. Even then, the primary focus needs to be on content writing and content marketing instead of simply coffee making.

There are two ways you can market content on LinkedIn for B2B opportunities:

  1. Publish blog posts and articles directly on LinkedIn
  2. Publish blog posts and articles elsewhere (preferably on your own website) and then publish the link in a LinkedIn update

There are different reasons why you should publish content directly on LinkedIn and why you should publish it on your own website because both the platforms have their individual merits.

LinkedIn is a ready-made publishing platform with its own content promotion mechanism. There is a greater chance of more people coming across your content on LinkedIn rather than on your own website if it isn’t yet very popular and it doesn’t get much traffic from search engines.

On the other hand, unless you publish quality content on your website, you are not going to improve your search engine rankings and you cannot build your brand through quality content if the content does not exist on your own website.

You need to maintain a balance. For example, for every three blog posts that you publish on your own website, publish at least one on LinkedIn.

Grapevine has it that LinkedIn gives preference to content published on its own platform over content published somewhere else and then simply the link posted on LinkedIn.

What sort of content you should publish on LinkedIn for B2B marketing?

Mostly, informative content written in a casual manner. Remember that most of the people will be accessing your LinkedIn content from their mobile phones. They don’t want to read heavy text. Write in the format of case studies. Present a problem, then present a solution and present the solution in such a manner that you should be providing that solution.

You can also publish content to display your proactive approach towards your business. Suppose, recently you attended a conference. You can write about the observations you made, the new ideas you got and things you agreed and disagreed with.

Or maybe there is a blog post written by another authority figure in your niche and you want to add your own point or you want to contradict that person with your side of the story. Go ahead, people are going to find it interesting.

You can also post shorter tutorials. For example, how to optimize the title of your blog post so that your blog post enjoys higher search engine rankings. Or, if you provide accounting services you can write about how to do effective bookkeeping for certain transactions.

The basic idea is, publish something that people will find useful and relevant.

Statistically most B2B enterprises use content marketing for brand awareness

Certainly B2B enterprises don’t use content marketing to publish advertisements. They need to strengthen their presence on the Internet and consequently, raise brand awareness. A Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs study has revealed that (understandably these statistics are from the USA but they are quite a representative)

  • 94% B2B small businesses are using content marketing
  • 83% B2B small businesses use content marketing to raise brand awareness or at least have it as a goal for 2015
  • 47% B2B small businesses plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2015 and only 1% plan to decrease their budget
  • 45% B2B small businesses engaged in content marketing claimed that they are effective at it
  • 81% B2B small businesses are producing more content than they were a year ago
  • 33% find producing engaging and quality content a big challenge
  • 24% find it harder to arrange budget for content marketing
  • 48% of the B2B small businesses have a documented content marketing strategy

Here is an updated list of 30 essential content marketing statistics for 2020.

The last point is very important. In order to be successful in content marketing, your organization must have a documented strategy. What does that mean?

You should know what you want to achieve from your content marketing strategy, whom are you going to target for that and what sort of content you need to produce in a given amount of time. On with the statistics…

B2B content marketing tactics statistics

  • 78% B2B small businesses have a dedicated person who oversees the content marketing strategy
  • On an average B2B small business marketers are using 13 content marketing tactics including social media content, blogging, articles on the websites and publishing email newsletters. The use of mobile content has risen from 27% to 35%. The use of infographics has risen from 39% to 48%.
  • Interestingly, people are using more electronic newsletters – 82% compared to blogs – 77%.

Graphic source: the PDF report above