4 Easy, Effective Ways to Improve Your B2B Content Marketing, Like Now Now
Content marketing isn’t just blog posts.
Though, you’d be forgiven if you thought that – lots of folks miss the nuances of the role.
Yes, it’s blog posts – but it’s also whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, email cadences, social posts, paid campaign messaging and technical know-how. It’s not about writing a bunch of articles haphazardly, publishing it and then just hoping something sticks – it’s about writing content that inspires the reader to engage with your business. It’s writing Words That Sell.
And it’s hard to do. So we wrote an ebook about it, with exactly that title, to help B2B marketers streamline their sales funnel, improve their existing messaging and engage with more people. Because while the writing of all the things is really important, it exists to create relationships. You want to provide the content that prospects are looking for, and make it helpful, easy to use, and easy to find. Rinse, repeat.
This ebook addresses the nuts-and-bolts of good B2B content marketing – but before you dive into the (free!) ebook, here are a few extra considerations that will help you to battle against the blank page and win.
Clarity Trumps Clever
When it comes to conveying your value prop, it’s best to be direct. That’s not to say that you can’t use your creative prose skills – but it’s knowing when to use them that really counts here. Consider how much time you give to the different pieces of content you interact with – would you bother to read a long, meandering email? Or a landing page that requires near-infinite scroll before you get to the CTA? Like you, your prospects probably want to get straight to the good stuff – so don’t make it hard for them. Give a high-level view then provide a link so it’s easy to skip over for a more in-depth look at your subject matter.
Want to key in your social audiences on a new offering? Be clear and don’t go over the character limits of the platform. (This is especially important to consider if you use a tool like Zapier or IFTTT, which can auto-post across multiple social networks – they’ll usually include a link to the original post which means less space for you to make your sales pitch.)
Where You At, Prospects?
Go where your people are at. This doesn’t just mean publishing and sharing relevant content where your prospects like to digitally hang out. (Though, please, do that.) You also want to do this for each stage of the sales funnel. By understanding your buyer’s journey, you can better strategize what content is needed when.
Here are the basics:
- Top of the Funnel
This is ungated, informational content. Think blog posts, webinars, videos and how-to guides. Your goal should be to build brand awareness and trust.
- Middle of the Funnel
Here’s your light pitch – what makes your offering superior to what a competitor can provide. Case Studies, Demo Videos and white papers are all good options for sharing the great results that your product or service delivers.
- Bottom of the Funnel
Now aim for the conversion. Comparison tables, customer testimonials and reviews, and free trial offers will help win over your prospect for the sale.
(Psst… we dig into every stage of the funnel, and beyond, in the ebook – so if you’re missing any of these pieces – go grab your free copy post haste!)
User Experience Is a Big Deal
Most of the time, when we talk about user experience, we are talking about how intuitive (or not) a software or tool is, or if a website is easy to navigate. But it’s also an important thing to consider when it comes to content. If someone finds your content through an organic search, will it provide the information they’re likely looking for?
Once they’ve arrived at your article, are you providing relevant links within the content so they can dive further into other topics you’re discussing? Is it easy to read and well-formatted? Does your current blog template have the aesthetic appeal of a late 90’s GeoCities website?
Even if you don’t have access to an in-house design team, you can still make small, valuable changes to how you format your content to make it easier to read and more appealing to visitors. But maybe nix the GeoCities vibe as quickly as possible.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Works for paper and plastics, works for content too. ‘Work smarter, not harder’ is an oft-repeated phrase in startups, but it should be a guiding principle for content marketers. Why? Because according to experts who know these sorts of internet stats, over 4 million blog posts are published every day. That’s a lot of noise to contend with. Regardless of what industry you’re in, your competitors are publishing new content – so you need to as well. The secret is, you’re strategic about it.
- Reduce the amount of content you’re producing. Focus on filling in the gaps in your funnel content, create articles that will support your SEO strategy, and – this is key – promote the content you have already produced in places where your prospects are likely to find it. You only have so many hours in your day – so rather than using that time to create new content ‘just because’, get more use out of the work you’ve already done.
- Reuse the content you’ve already created. Not all types of content work for everyone. Some prospects might prefer video. Others might like a slideshow, or an infographic. Maybe you can pull several related articles together and create a useful ebook. *ahem* Revisit your older content and see what other types of format you can present the information in – you’ll get greater use of the research you’ve already done, and you’ll have a better chance of engaging with a wider audience.
- Recycle your content. There are two ways you should be doing this. The first is simple. Dig into your blog archives and bubble up older content that could use an update. Expand on ideas that are already there but don’t offer enough substance, add some new information you’ve learned, or create graphics that highlight key ideas in the existing text. You don’t have to do a total overhaul – just enough to freshen it up and make it relevant for new visitors.
Even if your older content is still in good shape, have you shared it on your social networks lately? Are there new groups or platforms you’re using since the last time you shared it? A lot of marketers make the mistake of sharing a new post or content piece once on their networks, and then end the social promotions and move on to the next. Which doesn’t give your hard work a lot of time in the spotlight.
Instead, write 3 or 4 different social posts to introduce the content and share it at different times of the day over a couple of weeks to make sure you’re engaging with your audience when they’re online. (Buffer, CoSchedule and Edgar are all great tools for doing this social sharing easily!) For long-form, informational pieces that you’ve invested a lot of time in, take the extra step of reaching out by email to journalists and influencers in your industry with a short pitch – it may be useful for their audience too. And submit it for industry round-ups it may be a good fit for.
Your work with a piece of content isn’t finished when you hit ‘publish’ – and you can get a lot of extra mileage out of your effort by doing strategic promotions.
Ready to ‘vastly improve your B2B Content Marketing’? Then grab the ebook and sharpen up your pencils!