Guest post by Daniela McVicker.
Consumer (B2C) content marketing is often viewed as “sexier” than B2B. After all, it’s easier to infuse content with personality, to tell stories, infuse emotion, and create engagement when promoting consumer brands—isn’t it? B2B can seem dry, even boring, in comparison. At least this is the perception.
Actually, B2B content can be emotive, intriguing, and engaging. It can use great visuals, and spark a genuine response. That’s because no one ever really markets to a business. Your marketing content you isn’t being viewed and read by a logo, a building, or a product. It’s read by a person.
Reach that person in the right way with relevant information, and your marketing efforts will be a success.
The key is creating content your audience craves. You can start doing that by following these seven steps.
1. Focus on Simplicity And Relevance
B2B audiences don’t consume content the way that B2C audiences do. The likelihood they will watch a video to the end is inversely proportional to its length. They’re also not going to watch something in the middle of their workday that isn’t sharply focused on a relevant topic or immediate need. Simplicity, relevance, and brevity should be the focus.
Content should get right to the point. Introduce your value proposition quickly. Write for the skimmer. Use bullet points, colors, images, and different fonts to make important points jump out to your reader.
Finally, make content easy to access. Avoid links that are hidden behind paywalls, even soft ones. Don’t make readers jump through registration hoops simply to view content that is designed to nudge them through the sales funnel.
2. Use Stories to Make Content Memorable
B2B audiences want data. They want proof of concept. The problem is that stats and facts can sometimes be dry and boring. They’re also difficult to remember without context. For example, it’s great if your company can save customers 15% on average on their computer maintenance costs. Unfortunately, that information may not stick.
One technique that you can use to make your important points memorable is to use storytelling. Share a case study along with a testimonial from a customer who has actually experienced the benefits of that 15%. This is known as data storytelling. It has the following benefits:
- It clearly describes the meaning of the data.
- Nobody else but you can tell your customers’ stories.
- It creates credibility.
- It’s memorable.
3. Offer a Diverse Selection of Content
When you diversify the content (based on sales stage) that you offer, you improve your chances of hitting the proverbial sweet spot. Keep in mind that your prospective customers are going to be at various stages of the customer journey. Every customer should be able to find something in your content offerings that gives them the information they need when they need it.
There’s also the matter of content type. There’s more to B2B content than blog posts and articles. Engage your audience with white papers, podcasts, videos, graphics, even question and answer sessions.
Just be certain that the quality of your content continues to meet the highest standards as you diversify. If you decide to outsource any of your content creation, be sure to use the best writing service within your budget.
4. Create Personas And Write For Them
Just as in consumer-based marketing, you’ll be dealing with a variety of buyer personas. While B2C marketers may segment their audience based on demographic or lifestyle factors, B2B marketers need create personas based on work roles and industry segment.
In B2B, it’s often necessary to foster relationships with a number of different people in the organization. There are champions to support and decision makers to impress, plus gatekeepers and influencers to keep happy as well.
You’ll also be dealing with customers and prospects who have different needs, values, and demographics. Get to know your existing and target customers so you can create content that resonates with them.
5. Use Visuals
Visual content is memorable and engaging with any audience. Offer your market visual content like videos and infographics. You’ll stand out from your competitors, and your content will be more likely to make an impact.
Check out these creative ways that B2B marketers can use visual content:
- Make whiteboard style animations;
- Share video testimonials;
- Use screencast videos to create tutorials;
- Embed GIFs into blog posts to demonstrate concepts visually; and
- Help your audience visualize data with infographics.
6. Be Disruptive
B2B content development can feel limiting at times. There are limits to the use of creative or humorous content, for example.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make things interesting. Use content to challenge your audience to think about things differently. Say things that differentiate your brand from competitors. Share strong opinions, make predictions.
Don’t be afraid to be different, even a bit controversial. There’s no point in creating content if you don’t have something unique to say.
7. Prioritize Thought Leadership
You’re basically targeting two groups with your content. Those are your audience members who will be buying your products or services, and the people who influence them. Focus your content on thought leadership to reach both groups effectively.
Thought leadership content is authoritative, confident, and relevant. It takes your expertise and turns it into insights that your audience can apply.
Check out Degreed, an ed-tech company, for a great example of thought leadership in B2B. They establish and expand on their reputation by creating readable and relevant white papers on learning management systems.
B2B content doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Using these seven tips, you can develop and distribute engaging content to influencers, customers, and prospects.
Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience in writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she contributes to many authoritative sources where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.