Spoiler alert: there are no secret ingredients in the recipe for baking successful B2B content marketing strategies.
But there are ways to increase engagement with a creative content strategy, drive buyers down the marketing funnel, and turn readers into clients and clients into enthusiastic fans. First, you’ve got to understand who you’re dealing with in the B2B world. Then, engage them with solutions to their problems.
- Understanding both the B2C and B2B Buyer
- Passion and Relationships
- Creativity and Insights
- Readability and Simplicity
Build a content strategy by knowing both the B2C and B2B buyer
The biggest differences between B2C and B2B buyers boil down to two things:
impulsive buying combined with a wild passion for your product (B2C) vs. a methodical, well-thought-out buying process and appreciation for your service (B2B).
Here’s what I mean:
In the B2C world, buyers are predictably unpredictable. Will they read a five-star review, listen to a celebrity endorsement, or watch an influencer use your product, then purchase a $200 skincare package at 2 am because you offer a 5 percent discount in a TikTok promo?
Why, yes. Yes, they will.
If your product delivers, will they post their results a week later, share it widely across all social media platforms, and return to your app for additional products?
In this perfect B2C scenario,
you’ve created a wildly passionate fan who bought impulsively after consuming your content. By following through on the pact you’ve made with your buyer, that buyer now creates new fans for your brand.
Can you see this strategy in action in the B2B world?
In B2B, business-solution purchases are a lot less sexy and exciting than buying B2C. Although a CTO may stay up at night pondering an end-to-end testing solution partner for their POS terminal crashes, it’s unlikely they’re clicking “buy” on a mobile app for a six-figure solution at 2 am based on a TikTok promo.
Often marketers attempt to build similar strategies for B2B as they’ve successfully done for B2C. They’re left head-scratching when nothing converts. That’s because it’s simply not the same buyer’s journey.
A few questions and answers, then, about the basics of personas and the buyer’s journey:
- Who are your target personas for your B2B products or services? → narrow it down to three or four persona targets when building a content strategy. They can include top executives and CTOs, but remember to include end-users of the product looking for solutions to present to top brass.
- How do they buy or influence those above them in their organizations to buy? → consider their steps to decision and what choices they can make at each stage of the journey. Create content that explains compelling solutions for each decision point.
- What is their biggest problem to solve? → everyone loves a solution. Showcase how your product or service is not only a solution but the best one.
- How do I map a buyer’s journey? → by knowing your audience, their roadblocks, and the time it takes to make a buying decision, you can create content for each station on the track.
Let’s start with passion
The first element to creating B2B content marketing strategies that convert readers to clients has nothing to do with a step-by-step process. By now, you know how to build a content calendar, interlink your content for maximum SEO results, and create readable blogs. Creating successful B2B content marketing strategies is about more than that. It’s about passion.
And that passion starts with you.
You know it without my having to tell you, but passion is the heart of all relationships, including business relationships. Shared goals, camaraderie, and successes are all built on a foundation of shared passions. When creating a content strategy, it’s hard to create excitement for a solution that you aren’t passionate about yourself. And guess what? Your readers can sense that.
You and your marketing team must bring passion and ideas to the table to create content that moves buyers to buy. Brainstorm. Get excited. Tell your story in new ways. Generate enthusiasm from your marketing team. From an ideation session to implementing a content strategy and calendar, the passion thread must be woven and stitched throughout the tapestry to capture the attention of a business buyer. When they think of their problem, what’s going to connect them to your solution? A feeling of confidence, excitement, and engagement that tells the story of your service. That’s the brilliance of passionate content strategy.
Synergizing during a creative and collaborative planning session is imperative to the success of your content strategy process. By working with a team that sees the exciting value proposition of the solution you provide to business buyers, you are one step closer to creating a successful content strategy.
Goals, objectives, and creativity in content strategy
Building a content strategy is not the same as building a creative content strategy. Clarify your goals, then define your objectives. Typical objectives include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving conversions, building thought leadership, or establishing customer loyalty. Once established, find the most interesting paths to reaching those objectives that you can.
Keep in mind that thinking outside the box doesn’t mean flying off the rails. There are tried and true methods for producing strategies, but the best content strategies employ creative, innovative, and forward-thinking mediums and messaging.
Alas. How to get creative?
- Brainstorm with your team or a content marketing agency “on the outside.” Sometimes someone new to your organization or outside of it can ask questions and push for new ways of seeing problems and solutions, which builds a better content strategy.
- Look for gaps. What’s missing in your stack of current content? Short-form, snappy language? Simplicity? Then think tight, concise messaging. Long-form white papers or intricate case studies for those deep in the buyer’s journey? Give them the meaty answers they seek. A complete content library is a satisfying thing–for both new potential clients and existing ones. After all, if you’re the expert in your field, shouldn’t your content reflect that?
- Eliminate “word salad.” If you’re saying nothing substantive about your product, believe me–you’re boring your reader to tears. Or at least boring them enough to bounce. Cut the crappy copy and create something of value.
- Language is your friend. Literary devices engage readers–yes, even in content writing. Alliteration, interesting POVs, figurative language, and other elements of good storytelling will improve engagement. Why not plant a Chekov’s gun in the opening of a long blog post on cybersecurity frameworks? By the conclusion, your reader will be satisfied that they “got it.” Trust your readers. Give them something that’s not just informative but also creative, interesting, and worth reading.
- Provide both storytelling and insights. Telling a story is one thing–hopefully, by now, you’ve got that part down pat. Providing insights is another. On your path to creating content, ask yourself, “And what do we know about this?” Your brand’s insights are valuable and set you apart from competitors. Your content strategy should capitalize on those insights and make it clear to the reader what your solutions are all about.
Readability and simplicity in content strategy
You’ve got to take a different approach to content strategy if you’re offering complex business solutions that aren’t always sexy.
When explaining complex concepts, simple sentences are good.
When building B2B content marketing strategies, a clean, formulaic approach is often best. Match your readability to your personas as you move through the buyer’s journey. For example: our CTO above, lying awake at night worrying about end-to-end testing. She understands the technical aspects of the problem and the need for a solution. She can add up the costs of failures and calculate how much money the company is losing by outages, errors, and losses. She needs an end-to-end testing partner that’s affordable, thorough, and has the buy-in from her implementation team. She may be swayed by in-depth case studies of her competitors, who’ve achieved success by fixing the problems that still vex her. She’s made her decision to buy.
Now that she’s ready, make it as simple as possible for her to say yes to you.
Simple and frequent CTAs throughout body copy meet buyers when they are ready to learn more. Readable content keeps them engaged in your solutions. The storytelling found in case studies–especially those of direct competitors to your potential customers–is compelling. In short, when our CTO is ready to choose a vendor, you’re right there, ready to get started. And your content strategy is the track that brought her on the buying train to you.
While content strategy can be daunting, it’s most successful when you approach it with passion, creativity, and simplicity. Infusing your plan with the essence of what sets your brand apart makes a compelling difference, but so do storytelling and fascinating insights. Bring your brand to life with your B2B content marketing strategies. Believe me, your potential customers will thank you.
If you’d like to learn more about what it’s like to work with a content marketing agency, we’d love to talk with you about your goals, objectives, and passions. Check us out today for a quick and free 30-minute get-to-know-you session.