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B2B Content Marketing in 2022

Content marketing is one of the most effective methods for B2B companies to generate leads. It is therefore all the more surprising that this area still plays a stepmotherly role in practice. We think so: This has to change. If you don't focus on content marketing, you are giving away enormous potential. That's why we wrote this guide.

You've probably heard of content marketing before. And you probably know that it's one of the most effective ways for B2B companies to generate leads. But hand on heart, are you implementing content marketing? Successfully? If so, congratulations! Then you don't need to read the following and can devote yourself to other topics, such as the latest trend in content marketing: voice search.

For everyone else who finally wants to tackle the topic of content marketing (and yes, you really should!) or want to delve deeper into it, we've written this guide. Here you'll learn, among other things,

  • why content marketing is so important,

  • what makes a successful strategy,

  • how to write damn good content, even though artificial intelligence could probably do it better,

  • why the features of your product put your readers to sleep,

  • but in the end, numbers and facts tell you the unvarnished truth.

And of course much more. So let's get started!

Definition and Relevance of B2B Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategic marketing direction that involves creating and distributing valuable and relevant content. All with the aim of positioning one's own company with the target group as a topic expert and solution provider.

So it's a strategy where you use relevant content to draw attention to yourself and generate new leads for your business.

The goals can vary, but the most common ones are certainly

  • Generating (qualified) leads

  • Winning new customers

  • Increase the own degree of popularity

  • Online topic coverage and positioning as an expert

  • Customer loyalty

  • Increase traffic

What Is The Importance of Content Marketing in B2B?

B2B content marketing is about demonstrating your expertise and knowledge in your field. You need to build a relationship with decision makers at other companies and show that they can trust you to find a solution. In B2B content marketing, the focus is not on selling products. It's more important to address business wants and needs with valuable content.

Good B2B content marketing provides value to prospects and answers to potential questions.

One of the most common mistakes regarding B2B content marketing that we often observe is the focus on the product: B2B companies love to talk about their product, praise it and list everything down to the smallest detail. But this is exactly the kind of “product bashing” that has no place in successful content marketing.

The reality is: your target audience doesn't care how great you and your product are, they want to know how your offering can solve their problem. Or to put it in the words of David Beebe, CEO of Beebe Content:

"Content marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won't be a second one."

Content Strategy

Without a strategy, nothing works in content marketing – at least not efficiently and effectively. That's why you should think about whom you're writing for and what you would like to achieve with it beforehand. It's important that you align your content marketing strategy with other marketing areas, such as inbound marketing.

Essentially, a sensible strategy includes the following areas:

  • Define target audience

  • Finding and planning topics

  • Determine content formats

  • Distribute content

  • Control results

Define Target Audience

You need to know who you're writing for. To do this, recall your buyer persona (if you don't already have one, now is the time to create one):

  • What challenges does she face?

  • What is her biggest problem that you can help her with?

  • What are her interests?

The more you know your buyer persona, the better you can tailor your content to them.

It's also important to keep the customer journey in mind: Attract, Engage, Convert, Delight. In each phase, your buyer persona has different needs and questions that need to be answered. A good content marketing strategy is therefore tailored to this and provides suitable content at every touchpoint.

Find and Plan Topics

For your B2B content marketing, it is crucial that you know all the topics along the customer journey of your potential customers and fill them with suitable content

The best way to do this is to do a keyword analysis first. This will not only help you to come up with suitable ideas, but it will also show you how high the search volume is in the respective market. Note, however, that keywords alone are no longer enough to decide the battle in the Google rankings for you.

Enter all your topics into your content plan. This way you won't lose the overview and make sure that nothing important is forgotten.

Determine Content Formats

Forms and formats abound in content marketing. However, for B2B, the following are the most common and popular

  • Case Studies

  • Whitepapers

  • Blog articles

  • Guidebooks

  • Advertorias

  • Videos

  • Case studies from the field

Distribute Content

You're also spoilt for choice when it comes to channels. It's important that you choose the ones that your buyer persona spends time on. The most important B2B channels include:

  • Owned platforms such as blogs and website

  • Social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. But Facebook and Instagram can also be relevant for your buyer persona

  • Email Marketing

  • Google Ads

  • Social Ads

Control Results

To continuously optimize your strategy, you need to know what's going on. A regular review and evaluation of your strategy is therefore essential. Using predefined KPIs such as conversion and click rate and ROI, you can measure the success of your content marketing measures.

A Good Content Strategy Closes Gaps

With a good strategy, you're not just supporting your buyer persona with useful content. You also make sure that the gap between marketing and sales is closed. In the following article, we'll take a closer look at this topic:

Content Creation Best Practices

Content is the lifeblood of marketing because it's ultimately what draws people to your website, blog or social media channel and keeps them there. But what makes good content?

Best-selling author Seth Godin once summed it up well.

Marketing is no longer about the things you make, it's about the stories you tell.

Storytelling or the Power of the Story

People remember stories better than facts, this has long been scientifically proven. Why? Because the emotional level is addressed. No wonder that storytelling, i.e. the art of telling a damn good story, has long been the norm. At least in the B2C sector there are numerous great examples: Coca-Cola, Axe, Snickers - just to name a few. But storytelling has also arrived in the B2B sector.

Storytelling has long been more than just a content-free buzzword from the marketing universe.

How Does Storytelling Work?

Good stories almost always follow the same dramaturgy – whether it's a fairy tale, novel or short story

  1. The hero or the main character

  2. is in an emotionally charged initial situation.

  3. He embarks on a journey,

  4. on which he has to overcome conflicts and obstacles

  5. Through this, the main character develops (before and after effect),

  6. …which then leads to the climax – a résumé, if possible, applicable to one's own life. Or in other words: the moral of the story.

A good story makes the reader identify with it and feel understood.

In summary, good content,

  • speaks the language of your target group

  • arouses emotions.

  • tells a good story

  • is authentic.

  • lets the reader participate in the story

  • underpins text with appropriate imagery.

Or in the words of Seth Godin:

People don't buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories, and magic.

Create Content with Few Resources

As a successful B2B marketer, you know that it doesn't pay to do all the work yourself. Especially when it comes to content creation, you have numerous options to fall back on. One of the most common is certainly outsourcing to agencies. There, you benefit from strong know-how from different disciplines.

Freelancers are another option and usually cheaper than agencies. Meanwhile, there are many platforms where you can find qualified professionals. On Upwork, for example, you can find numerous freelancers for all kinds of tasks. If you are specifically looking for writers, Textbroker might be a good solution for you. It is important – regardless of freelancer or agency – that you know exactly what you want. An appropriate briefing is therefore essential.

In the meantime, there are also very good "Content as a Service" offers, so to speak, content by subscription. Here you regularly receive fresh, customized content that you can embed on your site. CaaS offers are also usually cheaper than agency or freelancer. Above all, you don't have to worry about anything.

The fourth option we present to you may sound a little strange: Artificial Intelligence. Even if you can't quite imagine it, AI is already capable of writing texts that are almost indistinguishable from human ones. We have written about this in more detail in this article

Trends in B2B Content Marketing

How could it be otherwise: Even in content marketing, you need to constantly keep an eye on the latest trends if you want to keep up with your competitors in the future? Of course, you don't have to chase after every trend and implement everything blindly – because it's not uncommon for a trend to turn out to be a brief interlude that dies down again after a short time.

However, it's worth taking a closer look at the following three:

  1. Voice Search: A Semrush study from 2020 showed that 20% of internet users worldwide already make voice searches. More than half of them also search for companies. The trend is growing rapidly

  2. Content Hub: A content hub is the replacement of the classic blog. Content is stored in a central collection point in a media-neutral way and thus supports your buyer persona throughout their entire customer journey.

  3. Content as a Service: As mentioned above, more and more B2B companies are using CaaS offerings for their content creation

Conclusion: Thanks to Smart Content Marketing to the Second Date with Your Potential Customers

Content marketing has long been a must-have for B2B companies. If you don't focus on good content, you will be left behind by your competitors. With a good strategy and emotional storytelling, you can target your buyer persona and accompany them on their journey through the customer journey – and at best turn them into an enthusiastic customer. With content marketing, you create lasting customer relationships based on expertise rather than pushy advertising, and communicate at scale with your target audience. Or to close the guide with a quote.

Content builds relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust drives sales. - Andrew Davis, content marketing expert and author