Content marketing is sometimes seen as the preserve of B2C brands, especially those with large budgets available to produce flashy pieces of content that will go viral.
But you don’t have to pull off a stunt like Red Bull, or even create an entire movie like Lego, to reap the rewards of content marketing.
Instead, your B2B content marketing can focus on precisely targeting your audience, so you can drive action from the right people at the right time. After all, not everyone who watches a Red Bull stunt is going to go out and buy the drink.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a broad term that is often given various definitions by different people. I believe the Content Marketing Institute puts it best when they describe content marketing as follows:
“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.”
I would boil this down to say your content should do two things – serve your audience and bring your business closer to achieving a particular goal.
The diagram below gives a helpful summary of how different types of content can each be used to achieve a specific goal.
I have put together 10 of the best examples of B2B content marketing and explained how you could use them to your advantage.
B2B Content Marketing: 10 Fantastic Examples
In marketing, a white paper is used to present in-depth, authoritative information on a particular topic. Your business can produce a white paper to showcase its expertise by providing people with a solution to a problem.
If you can demonstrate to people what value they will get from your white paper, you can ask them to give information such as their email address before accessing it. Gating content in this way can help generate leads and build your mailing list.
Others writing on the topic you are covering may even choose to reference your white paper and link to it, which will help increase your online visibility.
This white paper from Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows how to persuade people to download your white paper.
To begin with, the title The Future Starts Now is persuasive because it creates intrigue. The white paper is also about a topical subject – cloud technology – so it is likely to interest many people.
The summary they have given of the white paper is clearly designed to entice people to download it. It mentions case studies, which shows they have evidence to support the points they make.
Like white papers, guides are another form of in-depth content that can be used to showcase your expertise and provide value to your target audience.
To create an effective guide, it is best to start by understanding what topics your audience wants information on. Creating a guide that will answer their questions is a good way of driving traffic to your site and increasing awareness of your brand.
You can choose to create a gated guide to generate leads, or make it freely available so you reach more people. If they find what you produce useful, they might then choose to sign up to your newsletter to get further information from you.
Guides are also great at generating shares that drive traffic to your site.
This guide was produced by LinkedIn in partnership with Buzzsumo, and is aimed at content marketeers like myself.
Besides having a compelling title, The Secret Code for Successful Content, it has provided many persuasive reasons to read it. For starters, it draws on original research they have conducted using their industry data. The guide is also comprehensive and goes into a lot of detail about the points it makes. But what is most valuable about the guide, is that it gives marketeers evidence-based information they can use to do their job better.
If there is one form of content marketing that is having a boom at the moment, it’s videos. Videos are expected to account for 82% of internet traffic by 2021. Consumers love watching them and businesses love the results they get from them. Videos can increase conversions by 80%.
Given the choice between video and text, 59% of senior executives say they prefer to watch video. Why are videos so popular? They help bring information to life and can be used to make a human connection.
In this example, the business communication platform Slack uses humour to show its brand personality, while also telling their audience why their product is so great.
Videos are also an effective way of demonstrating a product’s functionality because the audience doesn’t have to struggle to visualise what you are saying.
Case studies are an essential type of content for B2B marketing because they can help persuade people who are unsure whether to purchase your product or service. By showing your target audience the results you have produced for others, you will help build their trust in you.
Salesforce provide their case studies in the form of success stories and let the customers do the talking. Letting your prospective buyers hear directly from fellow customers is a powerful way of persuading them they are making the right decision by choosing you.
The internet is awash with visual content nowadays, so if you are still producing content that’s largely text-based, you are at risk of turning your audience off.
Using imagery can help make your content more easy to digest. In fact, visuals can increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80%.
Infographics are a clear example of how images can make otherwise dull information more appealing. They are a great way of presenting data and they are also a popular form of shareable content.
The software company CA technology has produced an engaging and compelling visual piece of content about their APIs. By presenting it in this form, they have managed to cram in a large amount of information without making it appear daunting.
Providing value is one of the pillars of content marketing and the continuing popularity of how-to content shows why this is the case.
Turning to the internet when we want to learn how to do something is now part of everyday behaviour for many of us. By creating how-to content you can capture the traffic that is relevant to your industry. FedEx has a series of helpful how-to guides that draw on their expertise.
Stories are probably one of the most effective ways to make an emotional connection with your audience and hold their attention. You may think that because you are a B2B company, you don’t have stories to tell, but that’s not true.
You’ll find stories when you turn to the people behind your brand. Rather than presenting bare facts, find the human angle to your business and focus on that instead.
HCSS is a construction software company that has created an entire site filled with inspiring stories from their industry. It’s a fantastic way for them to build their brand awareness and connect with their target audience.
Creating truly original content is not easy, which is why conducting your own survey is worthwhile.
If it’s done well, you’ll generate enough data to produce multiple pieces of content. Because the content will be unique, you’ll be more likely to get links from others too.
This survey from Deloitte focuses on a topical area: self-driving cars and hybrid technology. The survey gives some valuable insights into the future of driving technology that is bound to be of interest to investors. What’s more, it is particularly relevant to Deloitte’s services, which includes risk management and financial advice.
Every piece of content you produce doesn’t have to explicitly sell your products. Content like thought leadership articles can help build awareness of your brand and position you as an authority in your sector. So don’t be too wary about sharing your insider knowledge, or else you’ll miss out on the opportunity to produce unique and compelling content.
General Electric produces some of the most impressive examples of content marketing, and their content regularly goes viral. They have an entire section where industry leaders share their insights. They share how they do things, comment on trends and give their predictions for the future. Such valuable insights are bound to make readers want to come back for more.
Creating tools that help solve a problem for people, or answer a question, can help you communicate in an engaging manner.
This ROI calculator from the print management company PaperCut is a user-friendly way to communicate a powerful message. The tool is bound to be useful to customers because it will help inform their decision about whether to buy or not.
Content marketing may strike fear in the hearts of some B2B marketers and business owners, but it is important to remember that content doesn’t always have to be cool – it has to be effective. Case studies, product demonstration videos and simple guides can be some of the most effective forms of content for the B2B industry. Take advantage of this and always keep your audience in mind; and your content marketing will be well worth the investment.
Why not read our content marketing case studies to find out how we can help your B2B brand?