8 B2B Content Marketing Tips to Give You an Edge on the Competition

By Rhonda Bradley / 25 May 2018

Take your B2B content marketing to the next level with 8 tips that give you an edge on the competition. Discover ways to improve your content strategy, writing, and distribution for B2B audiences.

A recent study discovered that more than half of all businesses use content marketing

B2B content marketing differs from B2C in a few distinct ways, such as: 

  • It targets low, mid, and high-level employees and executives in specific industries, instead of public consumers.
  • The buying cycle is longer.
  • It requires a higher level of credibility.
  • It’s driven by value in contrast to B2C’s entertaining and emotional style.

In this article, we’ll share strategy, writing, and distribution tips that can have a big impact on your content’s success:

  • Begin with a documented content strategy.
  • Choose the right type of content.
  • Map content to job titles.
  • Incorporate frequently asked questions.
  • Organize your workflow.
  • Add a human touch to your content.
  • Use the most successful distribution outlets for B2B content.
  • Repurpose old content.

B2B Content Strategy Tips

1. Begin With a Documented Content Strategy 

According to a recent B2B report by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), marketers with a documented content strategy report higher levels of success than those without one.

Yet, only 37% of B2B marketers document their content strategy. 

Give your business an edge by investing the time to plan and document your approach. A B2B content marketing strategy helps you budget team resources and create cohesive themes and topics that improve your search engine rankings.

2. Choose the Right Type of Content

Blogs, podcasts,and infographics are the most-consumed type of B2B content. Also in high demand are:

  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Video
  • Interactive content

For example, Opera Solutions offers a library of resources that includes case studies and reports.

Opera Solutions Resource Library

B2B audiences care more about the value your content delivers than the format you present it in. So, choose content formats based on what can offer the greatest value for your topic.

3. Map Content to Job Titles

Your B2B content may be directed to low, mid, or upper-level people within a company. Decide which of these personas you’re creating for, and build content based on what they prefer to consume.

For example, LinkedIn is a leader in B2B content and networking. So, discovering what’s popular on LinkedIn can give you insights into what works best for B2B audiences. 

Marketer Neil Patel combined his LinkedIn experience with data from Buzzsumo to understand what kinds of content people at different levels in the company prefer:

  • Lower level prefers tactical information.
  • Mid-level prefers data that can influence the decisions of those above them.
  • Chief-level consumes information on how to take their business to the next level.

Using his research, you can create content targeted to the level of employees or management you want to reach.

4. Incorporate Frequently Asked Questions

Jot down a list of the most common questions your customer service department receives. Create articles or videos based on those questions.

5. Organize Your Workflow

Whether you’re working with an in-house staff or a freelance crew, you need a place to organize the content workflow between your team. If you’re publishing content often, then you’re juggling topics, drafts, revisions, and uploads.

Collaboration tools help keep your workflow organized and efficient. Apps like Trello, Slack, and Basecamp are a good place to start if you don’t have a system in place yet.

Learn more about the 23 best content marketing tools.

B2B Content Writing Tips

Publishing dry, boring content is a mistake that many B2B content creators make. Here are some tips to help you publish valuable, credible content that doesn’t read like an encyclopedia. 

6. Add a Human Touch to Your Content

As you’re creating new material, remember that behind the screen of every B2B consumer is a human being. Include some of the following elements in your content to increase engagement.

Storytelling

It only takes one line to tell a story that engages your reader or viewer.

To incorporate storytelling for business in a way that’s appropriate for your B2B audience, you can:

  • Share customer success stories.
  • Tell stories about the problem your business solves.
  • Include quotes from customer reviews.

Empathy

You can show empathy without being emotional. It only takes a line or two to let readers know you’re aware of the problems they face. This is also a great chance to let them know how you can help.

Compelling Headlines

B2B headlines should be clear and simple, yet interesting. You don’t have to be flashy or emotional like the B2C genre. Instead, focus on clearly explaining the benefit readers receive from reading your article.

Some example headlines include:

  • Expecting Digital Twins Deloitte Insights Combines a catchy headline with a clear subheader to lead a complex technical article about digital replicas of physical objects and processes. 
  • Torrents? I Get Dev Tools For Free, Son – Nominated for a Shorty award in 2017, Microsoft’s BizSpark’s campaign outperformed all previous Microsoft’s social campaigns. Their headlines incorporate a sense of humor with modern pop culture in a way that clearly lets people know what the product is and why it benefits the customer.

Shortly Awards - Compelling Headlines

Quality Writing

Be as clear as possible in your communications. B2B writing isn’t an excuse to forget your reader. Write, and rewrite, until your language is as plain as possible.

You can test your content’s readability with the Readable.io tool. This app analyzes your text and gives you a score between A - F.  Your content may contain long industry words, so a score of  “B” or higher is pretty good for B2B writing. 

Images

Images help readers to digest and remember information better.

When writing articles, break up your text with screenshot examples or attractive images related to what you’re explaining.

For example, the image below shows how Basecamp’s Signal v. Noise tech blog incorporates storytelling and empathy with a compelling blog post headline and image.

Example of compelling image

B2B Content Distribution Tips

Once you’ve written an article or produced a video, distribute it to the right platforms for maximum impact. 

7. Use the Most Successful Distribution Outlets for B2B Content

The most successful outlets to distribute B2B content include:

  • Email
  • Blogs
  • Social Media Platforms

In-person events and webinars are also used by more than half of the most successful respondents. 

Here’s an example of how HootSuite Social Management app uses email to promote their content.

Example of HootSuite email

8. Repurpose Old Content

In order to make the most of your content investment, be sure that you’re continually reusing and re-sharing what you’ve created. Here are 3 ways to repurpose older content:

  • Recycle old posts and videos that are still relevant by sharing them to social media.
  • Update old blog posts that performed well. Bring your best content back to life by updating links and data, improving readability, and reworking headlines and SEO.
  • Reformat older content into a different type of media. For example, you can:
    • Turn a white paper, report, or case study into a series of blog posts.
    • Turn a collection of blog posts into an eBook.
    • Create slideshows from the images and main points of your articles.
    • Turn your customer questions and complaints into an FAQ page.
    • Create an infographic from data-heavy or list-based articles.

Repurposing old content should be a top responsibility for all content marketers. Otherwise, you may be throwing money down the drain by not making the most of your valuable content.

Plan and Promote Engaging Content

We’ve covered 3 key ways to gain an edge on your B2B competitors through content marketing:

  • Documenting your content strategy.
  • Adding a human touch to your writing.
  • Distributing on channels where your content is most likely to get engagement.

B2B content is more demanding and often requires a higher level of technical writing than B2C. Credibility and value are a top priority, but that doesn’t mean your content can’t be engaging. 

The tips above will help ensure that audiences pay attention to and engage with your content.

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