The Only B2B Content Creation Guide You’ll Ever Need
Some would say Snoop Dogg is pretty cool, but you know what’s even cooler? Clicks and page views. And you know what’s even cooler than that? Conversions. However, turning website visitors into actual leads is not easy in the B2B world, and the quality of your content is a key variable in this process, hence the increase in spending on B2B content creation. Studies have shown that the most important factor in landing page conversion rates is the value of the content the person gets by filling out a form. When optimising these rates, the result is not trivial; Demand Metric found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads. This is reflected by the fact that 77% of companies have a content marketing strategy and 79% are actively investing in further content initiatives.
There are a number of diverse content types that have been proven to work in B2B content marketing, here are some of the most common and effective ones:
Content Types and their Benefits for B2B marketing
Blog articles: a typical blog article is around 300 to 2000 or more words in length and it can be about any topic that is relevant to your audience. Try to find topics that educate your audience, while conjointly increasing awareness and answering potential doubts. When choosing the length of your blog posts, edge on the longer side, as long-form content filled with useful information usually outperforms shorter content. Furthermore, create evergreen content, which is not only relevant to current events like seasonal content. This is recommendable because content that remains pertinent in the long-term is rewarded positively by search engines.
Webinars and online conferences: webinars are online presentations which can be pre-recorded or shared live, habitually shared through social media or on a specific website. These can be used effectively as lead-generation sources by making sign-ups in advance mandatory.
Whitepapers and research studies: whitepapers are longer documents which cover specific topics in an academic manner. They are usually based on research which is carried out internally or through external sources. This type of content is best used as a gated content offer which requires readers to fill in a form to access. This can be an excellent source of high quality leads as a significant degree of interest is usually necessary for someone to download a research paper. Due to the extensive information whitepapers provide in comparison to a blog post, readers are typically willing to provide their personal data in exchange for access.
Videos: videos can be great ways to generate interest and awareness. This is especially true on social media where they obtain higher views than written or graphic content. Videos can include a wide array of topics, such as product presentations, educational content, customer testimonials, and case studies.
E-books: similar to whitepapers, E-books are also gated content pieces geared towards readers specifically interested in an in-depth review of a specific topic. Hoever, they do not require an academic or research-oriented base and normally focus more on product presentations ore educational material such as how-to-guides.
Case studies: case studies are especially potent for lead generation as they put the reader in the mindset of a customer that was helped by one of your solutions. These types of content pieces generally focus on a past scenario involving your company and a previous customer, presenting the challenge, solution and results.
Podcasts: podcasts have been regularly growing in popularity over the last few years, and their audience is typically in the higher income brackets, making it specifically relevant for B2B content marketing. Similarly to videos, they can also cover a wide range of subjects and formats, some of the most common ones include client interviews, guest speakers and conversations with industry experts or influencers.
Infographics: data, customer testimonials, interesting facts or educational guides can be presented in visually appealing formats through a mixture of graphic design and written content; these are known as infographics. Infographics can be an excellent way to catch a reader’s eye as they scroll through the news feed and to present information in an easily understandable manner.
To understand which content to share at which stage of the buyer journey, consult the following diagram:
Content Considerations Specific for B2B
Having a variety of different content types enables you to attend to different types of content preferences that your readers may have. This can be understood through the testing of formats, topics and content types and it relates to the overall idea that even within B2B t’s important to market towards specific people and customer personas rather than just businesses as a whole. B2B content should be focused on solving a particular problem or challenge, rather than simply promoting your business or solution(s).
As a consequence, content which focuses on customer testimonials or case studies is particularly relevant for B2B marketing as it helps potential clients to really understand how your solution can solve their problems. Therefore, SEO content which specifically deals with the obstacles, frustrations and emotions your customer support team gets can be especially successful.
Nevertheless, emotional appeals within the B2B world have to be backed up by proven expertise and knowledge within a field, this being much more important in this sector than in most B2C industries. This is due to the fact that B2B sales are still significantly based on forming relationships between a business and its customers; and to successfully build these relationships, trust is an essential component. As a consequence, content which clearly shows experience in your industry or field is particularly effective at driving conversions due to the trust it generates.
As aforementioned, in B2B content creation, there is a whole lot of competition, meaning that not all content is equal, and just because you produce content, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will lead to results; ergo, below is a list of B2B content creation tips to increase conversions:
B2B Content Creation tips
Craft eye-catching headlines
No matter the type of content in question, an engaging and clear headline is essential to attract your reader. There are four pivotal effects that can be used when creating a headline to interest viewers: creating urgency, generating intrigue, commanding attention or offering a solution to a problem. Your headline should contain at least one of these four techniques. In addition, try to use direct and powerful language that is still simple and easy to read. Include your keywords near the start of the title for higher relevance and to summarise the content succinctly.
Leverage emotional appeals
Making your readers feel something is an important way to maintain their interest. Uplifting content, in particular, has been found to resonate more with people, so focusing on evoking positive sentiments from your content is an effective way to garner readership. In fact, The New York Times found that happiness is one of the most effective drivers for action (and as a consequence sales). Using inspirational and relatable storytelling or self-improvement content are good examples of positive material. However, as aforementioned, it’s important to back up emotional appeals with relevant knowledge and expertise in the field within B2B content creation specifically.
Know your audience
This is one of the most crucial components of successful content marketing. Understanding your audience is key to creating content that resonates with your targeted personas and keeps them engaged. Create content that is pertinent for the needs, desires, pain points and interests of your audience. This is particularly relevant when including content in your account-based marketing efforts.
Create educational content
Becoming a resource for information in a particular industry is an excellent way to create engagement with your specific audience. Educational content is within the most researched categories online, and it allows you to add value to your customer’s life before trying to obtain something in return. Educational content is also particularly effective when trying to become a thought leader within a chosen field, for more information on how to achieve this, check out our article on the topic.
Choose effective call-to-actions
Your “call to action” should contribute towards sales goals and move leads further down the sales funnel but it should not be as intrusive as a landing page or direct sales tactic CTA might be. For example, something along the lines of “for more information download this additional guide” is more suitable than “buy now”.
Follow the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. When applied to content marketing, one can see it as the idea that 80% of your content should either inform, educate or entertain your audience while no more than the other 20% should directly promote your business. This helps to create a thoughtful online presence that helps to promote active engagement from prospects researching solutions in the space. Start at the top of the funnel with informative or educational content and then slowly nurture your leads towards the middle of the funnel with more useful content that eventually leads to product-specific content.
Take a unique angle
A large segment of B2B content creation fails to bring new insights and information into the field it tackles. Instead, most content simply regurgitates previously existing information from other blogs or websites. Try to find a niche topic or a unique stance on an existing subject to increase interest, implementing your own personal stories, data or insights from collaborators to make the information distinctive.
Improve your most popular content
The aforementioned Pareto Principle goes beyond just the type of content that is posted, but it can also be applied to which content will bring in the majority of your leads. As discussed previously, not all content is equal, and not all content you produce will be successful. Producing content just for the sake of producing content isn’t effective. In fact, typically most conversions come from a small minority of content that was particularly successful for any specific reason. Consequently, identifying your highest performing content pieces and improving them through updates or repurposing can actually bring in more leads than entirely new content.
Include supporting data within your narrative
We live in the era of data, and for now, it doesn’t seem to be losing momentum (pun intended). Data can be a potent way to provide engaging and surprising insights as well as to support a narrative. Using your own data sources from within your organisation can help create a unique angle for your content, but implementing external content from credible sources can be equally worthwhile.
Being personable and relatable with your audience through honest content helps the reader to connect with your writing but also with your brand and its values. This can be achieved by using personal stories and learnings that also have an entertaining or emotional quality to them. Readers will be more trusting and open to building a relationship with you if you aren’t afraid to talk about your challenges, failures or share lessons on how you reached your successes.