Though content marketing has been mostly considered as the domain for B2C marketers, it has its role to play in B2B marketing too. Most marketers know its importance in connecting with customers. The Content Management & Strategy Survey 2018 discovered that businesses which invest in content management reported greater benefits. They reported greater reach, enhanced capability to repurpose and reuse content, better customer experience due to improved interactions, better ability to provide right content at the right time, to the right person, and an improvement in workflow. Here are a few statistics that underline the importance of B2B content marketing.
According to a report, 9 out of 10 B2B buyers admit that online content has a major effect on purchasing decisions.
Content marketing creates three times more leads than paid search.
Content creation has seen the highest reported increase in investment (56%) in 2018.
Pitfalls To Avoid
According to a report on B2B News Network, a large number of B2B marketers have no predefined strategy for content marketing. Now, this is a waste of time, effort, and money. But this is not the only mistake B2B content marketers are making. Here are some others:
Writing blog posts without following SEO
Creating an SEO strategy early in the game is the key to success. SEO is no longer only about search engine rankings, nowadays it has more to do with being discoverable. While a good content strategy can enhance your search ranking, that should not be the main aim of your SEO. The main aim should be connecting with your audience and providing them value with the content. Demonstrating how your products can be a part of the solution that the users are looking for is important.
You can either hire an SEO expert to formulate your SEO strategy or you can do it yourself by using sites and tools specially designed for SEO. Some great resources for you to plan your SEO strategies include Brian Dean’s blog- Backlinko and Neil Patel’s blog. For keyword research, you can use Google AdWords and Ahrefs. Ahrefs is great for backlink analysis too.
Not creating audience personas
Some of the most successful content marketers use personas to create relevant content. This helps them to communicate directly with their users and gain valuable insights into their needs. Using personas helps to deliver a targeted and unique brand experience.
Taking the help of the sales and customer care team helps in providing the insights you need to create personas and deliver the right content to the right audience. There are many persona creation tools available online. HubSpot’s persona creation tool is a great place to start.
Creating sales-oriented content
Using an overtly sales-oriented pitch is not the right approach for B2B content marketing. While creating content keep your focus on providing information and educating the audience that will enable them to make the right choices. Content marketing is about creating a connection and initiating a dialogue, answering questions, and removing doubts.
So, avoid using a sales pitch in your content and aim not only for the top of the funnel but also for the mid-funnel segment when creating your content strategy.
Not considering the entire customer journey
Your content should not only be for generating leads and leading them down the funnel. It should be created so that they keep the user engaged continuously from the point of awareness up to the conversion. It’s important to address their needs at each stage and each stage requires a different type of content. Use content like whitepapers, e-books, how-to videos, webinars etc.
At the awareness stage, high-value blog posts, e-books, explainer videos, and white papers are great options to use. At the consideration stage, demo videos, case studies, webinars, and expert guides are great options. An example of a great demo video is that of Slack.
Finally, at the decision stage, customer testimonials, free trials, and company story videos are effective. Creating content that seamlessly leads the buyer from the top of the funnel to the bottom and beyond should be your content strategy.
Not having a documented content strategy
Follow the old-school habits of putting it all down on ink and paper. Yes, having a document that spells out the content strategy is important. It allows you to define your goals and the actions that are required to achieve those goals. Write down your content marketing mission statement. It makes it easier to focus and should include – your target audience, the type of content you will engage them with, and the benefit you believe they will derive from it. It should also list out all the problems you perceive in making your business the best in your niche and how you can leverage your position with the use of content marketing. It can be used to measure and document the success or failure of your efforts.
Not using video
Undoubtedly, Audio-Visual media is one of the best engagers. This has been proven repeatedly and its importance cannot be emphasized enough. Not using videos in your content could severely cripple your content marketing strategy. Video marketers generate 66% more leads and achieve a 54% greater brand awareness. With one of the best ROIs in the content marketing segment, including videos should be a priority. You can create explainer videos, tutorial videos, behind-the-scenes videos, Q&A videos, product teasers, video blogs, company culture videos or even user-generated videos. An example of a great explainer video is that of Headspace.
Video creation has become highly accessible and scalable today. If you’re looking to create videos yourself, you can use online video creation tools. Rawshorts, Powtoon, and Biteable are a few good options. Wistia and Vidyard are great options for demos and Q&A videos. Alternatively, you can hire a video production agency to create or edit videos for you.
Ignoring changes to SEO and search algorithms
Google and other search engines keep making changes to their search algorithms and SEO practices, depending on the data they collect from their users. All search engines and social media are aligned with the users, not the websites. Hence, they concentrate on providing a more relevant experience to their users. Ignoring the latest SEO practices and search algorithms could mean that you lose out on the search ranking. 61% of content marketers keep themselves updated about any changes in SEO or algorithms to stay on top of the game, and so should you.
Not blogging consistently
Creating a blog that is authoritative, original, and provides quality content is an absolute must for a comprehensive B2B marketing strategy. It is a wonderful way of building up and audience and driving traffic to your website, but it requires consistency to be really successful. Creating a blog is a commitment not only to yourself but also to your readers. Posting regularly helps to strengthen the bond you are striving to create and sends out a signal to the readers that you are committed to providing good value.
Create a schedule for your blog posts and schedule posts at regular intervals, which could be weekly or every ten days. Do not keep a long gap between posts or you will lose the interest of your readers.
B2B content marketing is not an easy nut to crack. It poses many challenges not only in content creation and promotion. We have enlisted the major pitfalls that most B2B content marketers face and the ways you can avoid them. You must remember that the purpose of B2B content marketing is to enhance user experience and create a potential for brand awareness and loyalty. Keep the sales pitch out of your content, track the metrics and use your content to align with your users’ persona, and you will see an improvement in your engagements.