At its core, content marketing is to educate a specific audience and to add value to their daily life and work.
What a lot of companies and marketers seem to forget is that B2B content marketing isn’t about them and their needs, it’s all about the audience. It’s not about pushing a certain product or explaining a service, it’s about providing value to the reader/viewer/listener.
In this post, we’ll take it back to essentials and simplify what you need to know about B2B content marketing.
The Purpose of Content Marketing
As stated above, the overall purpose of content marketing is to provide value to the target audience. If this is done well, there are additional things that can be accomplished with B2B content, including the following:
- Creating great, educational content
- Attracting new leads to your B2B website
- Nurturing leads from start to close
- Building credibility (aka thought leadership)
- Standing out from your competition
What Content Marketing Includes
Content marketing is a very large umbrella that covers a lot of different mediums and channels. While it’s impossible to provide a definitive list of what content marketing includes, the following are the most common:
- Well-written blogs
- Thoughtful articles
- Educational whitepapers
- Helpful guides
- Insightful case studies
- Beneficial webinars
- Informative videos
Even if you don’t see a type of content listed here, it may still be a viable component of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Again, if the piece of content educates and provides real value (doesn’t just list products/services and features), then it can be considered content marketing.
Best Practices for B2B Content Marketing
A strategic content marketing plan will be tailored to your company’s products/services, customers, and industry. However, there are still best practices that hold true for most content marketing. Below is a short and sweet list of what you should be doing as a B2B marketer to have an effective content marketing plan that gets results.
- Get buy-in from leadership, sales, subject matter experts
- Set goals that are defined and easy to communicate
- Have a clear, documented strategy
- Know your audience
- Focus on educating, not selling
- Promote content across all necessary channels
- Leverage content throughout the buying process and beyond
The number one thing that companies and marketers get wrong about content marketing is treating it like sales pieces. Content marketing pieces can be used throughout the sales process to attract, nurture, and close leads but they are not strictly for selling. Providing value to the end user can happen in a variety of ways, but the main way is through educational content. Whether the content educates them on what questions to ask a vendor, how to evaluate their needs, tips to streamline their own job functions, how to save time by implementing new processes – the main fact is that it is not a clear sales tool but a useful tool to them.