Guest post by Sarah Saker.
When implementing a content marketing strategy for your brand, a primary objective is engage prospective customers. However, with B2B content marketing, rather than creating content that will be consumer-facing, your business is creating content for other businesses and the professionals who run them. You must use your B2B content marketing to build up your brand as a leader and as an expert resource in its field.
With B2C content meant to reach consumers, a business has the flexibility to entertain and to grab the consumer’s attention with emotional appeals. However, the content for B2B marketing must do more than just create brand identity and show brand personality. It has to get real, measurable results.
B2B content marketing’s primary purpose is to generate sales leads and conversions from other businesses for your business. To make your brand’s B2B content marketing successfully accomplish this, make sure to avoid the following mistakes.
An unorganized content calendar (or lack of one entirely)
Maintaining an organized calendar keeps your marketing team on track. By developing a detailed roadmap of what content will be created and published when, your business is able to be better guided through B2B content marketing processes and stay aligned with specific goals.
Having a thoughtfully developed content calendar will help your content to be of the best quality as well. Planning out what exactly needs to be done will can keep you from having to scramble to develop a piece to publish at the last minute.
Being unaware of who exactly is interacting with your content
You need to know who it is viewing your brand’s content online. Identify your target market so that you can tailor what your business develops to their specific wants and needs. Explore and analyze the data presented to you by using the free tools Google Analytics has to offer. See which representatives of businesses are checking out the content of your business and make the content speak to them and what they are looking for.
Lack of content diversification
On top of catering your B2B content to the target market of your brand, you also need to be sure to address the different people’s tastes in types of content within your target market. Some people may generally prefer skimming infographics, while others may favor being able to watch a short video. Avoid always posting one type of content. Mix it up to reach more people and keep the attention of those that interact with your content for a longer amount of time. Use different graphical formats, in addition to text, to maximize content impact.
Not daring to be authentic
You would struggle to find a marketing department uninterested in the idea of getting its brand to go viral. The reason why it is so difficult to get a piece of brand content to go viral though is because you never know what exactly will do it. “Going viral” is something that is unpredictable and that happens sometimes for mysterious and inexplicable reasons, rather than because you made it happen.
Instead of trying to force something to maybe hit it big, be authentic and true to your brand in the B2B content you produce and publish. Create content of quality and that is reflective of your business and what it has to offer, and remember there is no one-size-fits-all method for getting something to be shared like crazy across the web.
Focusing on thought leadership alone
Thought leadership itself is not a bad thing. It can really help to give your business credibility and establish a name for your brand within its field. Your brand certainly needs to give expert information related to its industry in order to establish itself and its credibility, but this will not necessarily directly lead to sales that impact your bottom line. Instead of thought leadership being the primary focus of your B2B content marketing strategy, you have to also persuade the business professional to make a change to what they are currently doing with their business through their interaction with your content. Give them new information and why it would prove beneficial to them.
Missing out on the power of a strong CTA
Not only should the content for your B2B marketing provide value to business professionals, but it should urge them to take some sort of action as well. Include a clear call to action (CTA) in your content to persuade those who interact with it to do something that will benefit your brand.
Link back to your site’s domain name to further establish brand identity and to allow it to get more traffic (and hopefully conversions, too). Give the option to sign up for an e-newsletter or to purchase a new business tool in order to do the same. Use your content to inform, deliver value, and to get something for your business in return.
You could even use the power of a microsite to call web users to action. A microsite is a place to publish content from your brand online, similar to a blog, that has its own unique domain name separate from that of your primary website. Create a microsite that connects to a marketing campaign being run by your business or that serves as a continual stream of content on a particular topic relevant to your brand, then use it to give something of value and a way for professionals to further connect with you.
Not being able to use it to see what customers are thinking
A business professional’s single interaction with your marketing content gives you no clear idea of what they may be thinking in regards to making a purchase from your brand. Map out the thought process a business professional would go through in deciding whether to make a purchase. Then create your content and track the right metrics to fit that process. Have separate pieces of content address separate questions to which that business professional would want answers. With these content pieces, your business will be able to know where in the purchase decision process someone is depending on with which piece of content they engage.
Not reusing content after you’ve posted it one time
After you have finally finished creating a great piece of high-quality content for your business, do not do it the disservice of only using it once within one online channel. Maximize its potential and ability to generate conversions for your business by reposting it to various sites/social media accounts so that it can be seen by more people and hopefully get you more customers.
Not being mobile-friendly
Professionals in really any industry today are taking advantage of the opportunity to always be connected and to work while on the go. Of Americans, 77 percent now own a smartphone and are therefore accessing information and various sources of content via their mobile devices. If the B2B content marketing efforts of your business are not suitable and properly formatted for mobile, your brand will instantly lose credibility and engagement with its content. Be sure your content will provide a great user experience from whatever device it is accessed.
Not gathering metrics/data
Developing effective B2B content to market your business is hard work. Once you put in the initial effort, you need to be able to know whether the content is working to the advantage of your business. Track how many views your content obtains, who it is that is viewing it, from where online they access your content, how much time they spend interacting with it, etc. That way, your business can get a better idea as to how its content marketing is working and what can be done to improve it.
Self promotion as top priority
Use your business’s marketing content to prove its worth more than to tell people that it has worth. Your B2B content marketing efforts should establish your brand as an industry leader and as a source of knowledge, but it should not be blatant in promoting your specific brand. Instead of shouting your brand through its content, convince people of how great it is by the relevant information that it communicates. Content should ultimately provide value to the other business professionals that engage with it rather than be hard selling in nature.
An effective B2B content marketing strategy will do its job in engaging a brand’s target market and leading to conversions and increased revenue. Be sure your own B2B campaign does this for your brand as well by avoiding some of the more common potential content pitfalls.
About the author: Sarah Saker is a business coach and freelance writer who specializes in helping SMBs setup processes for customer support and predictable growth. When not writing or coaching, Sarah can be found on her (small but growing!) family farm. Connect with Sarah on about.me