Double-Down on Content – Types of Content B2B Companies Can Create Now

B2B Content Marketing

“The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered”. – Michael Brenner 

Buying can be out of the question at this moment, but providing value was, is, and will always be the priority. 

The last few months have been a roller-coaster ride for many businesses. With all the plans and strategies of the year gone for a toss, business owners are left with nothing but assumptions of what will serve best for the business right now. Many companies have been hit directly by the pandemic, bringing sales down, but this is not the time to sit idle and let the storm pass. 

Instead, forward-thinking businesses have started concentrating on gaining the trust of their customers by helping them overcome the crisis and enhancing brand visibility. And what another way to do that than developing a robust content marketing strategy? 

A report by Siege Media revealed that 92% of marketers consider content as a significant business asset, and 56% of companies want to increase their content creation budget. 

With the pandemic, it may seem that everything has become blurry and indefinite, and businesses might be feeling clueless about how to go ahead with their marketing plans. 

Well, we have a solution to that. 

While content is still the most important avenue to increase your reach and engage with your potential customers, you need to improvise your content marketing strategies to increase their relevance in the current situation. 

Let’s give you an idea about the types of content you can create at this time to enhance your visibility without sounding like a salesman. 

User stories – Something more than testimonials and less than case studies 

Create relevant stories from the perspective of your target audience, and the less you make it about your brand, the better. These stories shouldn’t be all about something that you did, but what your users were experiencing and how ‘they’ managed to resolve it with little help from you. ‘You’ should be the secondary factor in these stories, aiming to provide confidence and motivation to your target audience. Make the reader feel connected with the user in the story. Thus, the content should focus more on how you helped the users achieve their objectives without undermining their contribution or fight against the problems. This will provide you with the validation and appreciation of being the ‘people’s company. 

Entertainment – Something to make them happier about their lives

Everyone is going through a tough phase, and this is not the right time to hard-sell your products/services. While it’s always important to create content relevant to your business, you can improvise the same to incorporate some humor and entertainment for your users to enjoy the essence of it while also connecting with your brand.  

Of course, it’s not that every B2B business can possibly produce content on how to go on a date during the lockdown or how amazing your pets can be, you can always think out-of-the-box to improve the entertainment quotient in your blogs, videos or infographics. Providing valuable information on a lighter note is the key to achieving the results you seek. 

Some of the ways to do this could be to use expressive images that evoke emotion, use funny videos, use puns in writing, and whenever possible, adapt informal writing style.

Informative content – Something to help them overcome their current problems

In the #NewNormal, businesses have been facing new challenges that they were not prepared to deal with. If your company offers solutions to help them address such ‘new’ challenges, you can develop content that focuses on these and how to deal with them. You can make sure to let your target audience know that you are sensitive to their problems, and are there to help, in case they need any. 

Keep in mind two things while developing informative content around the ‘new’ problems that your target audience are facing. One is, the content should resonate with your business, and secondly, it shouldn’t necessarily exude fear. It should alert the users about something that they may need to be prepared for in the coming days. There’s a difference. If you try to feed on their fears, they will get repulsed by you. On the contrary, if you can make them believe that they can rely on your services for solving those issues, you’ll get the engagement you’re looking for. 

For example, when, worldwide, people started working remotely, Zoom, the well-known video conferencing tool, created an in-depth COVID-19 resource to help people across various use cases such as remote working, online teaching, etc. The resource contains useful material for various such user segments and helps them with the ‘new’ challenges. 

Useful content – Something to help them get answers to their questions 

B2B events and conferences used to the occasions for sellers to connect their potential buyers and present their solutions. For the buyers as well, events were useful for knowing about the latest offerings, find solutions to their problems, and connect with new people. Obviously, with events getting canceled, this opportunity is no longer available. Social distancing is also making sales meetings impossible. 

However, it does not mean that companies no longer have business problems to solve. Your B2B buyers have now turned online looking for solutions to their problems. They are searching for answers to their questions. If you help them with those answers, propose solutions, and appear as experts, it is very likely that they will consider you as a knowledge partner rather than just another vendor. 

It is obvious that this is not the time to sell. This is time to nurture. Conversions will help you garner the visibility that your brand needs in the cut-throat competition of tomorrow. If you’re on the list of your target audience, they will seek you out when the first phase of the crisis gets over. So, develop content that they can relate to and not the ones that you need to push down their throats to sell your services/products. 

4 Places To Find The Cash For Your Upcoming (But Necessary) Marketing Campaigns

Even during a worldwide crisis, your business must grow. You have your priorities right, and the need is immediate.

But even as the importance of increasing your visibility on digital platforms grows more obvious by the day, you may wonder, ‘How will I fund a meaningful marketing strategy?’

Let’s look at where you can find the cash to fund your necessary marketing endeavours. 

The expenses of flagship events

You may have planned your event calendar at the beginning of the year and allocated substantial funds there. Be it becoming sponsors of the mega-events of your product principals or arranging for your own events, exhibitions, and launches, none of these stand much chance of coming around for the next 12-18 months. Of course, you’re not alone in this. Many industry biggies like, Apple, Dell World, Atlassian, DrupalCon, NVidia, Oracle, Microsoft, and others have been forced to cancel their flagship events because of the pandemic. These companies are moving online as a way to reach their audience and maintain visibility. 

So, what will happen to all those funds that you had allocated for your event plans? Use them online. Add bandwidth to create content, liven up your social media presence, and build an impactful personal brand for your CxOs. Use the online medium to establish your brand identity and reach a relevant audience. When the time is ripe, this enhanced visibility will drive an inevitable increase in your customer base. 

Savings from canceled business trips

Have you depended on a chain of business trips to meet your clients, or your international partners each year? If so, there’s little chance of that happening for a while now. Even when lockdowns are lifted, the costs of travel will increase by leaps and bounds and remain so for quite some time. Mandatory quarantine, more expensive flights, and more reluctance in accepting invites for face to face meetings are here to stay. They will increase the cost of travel and reduce its impact. This is not a wise way to spend your cash any longer. 

You can easily use your travel budget on your structured marketing efforts to reach out to more people and enhance your visibility. Of course, reduced travel also adds time to the credit column! Beside developing blogs, newsletters, infographics, and research papers, you can also create interactive videos, podcasts, and customer success stories online to help people know your value proposition better. These strategies won’t cost you a fortune but pay huge dividends without you or your employees having to risk their lives by travelling. 

Expenses for client/customer entertainment

According to a survey by Cvent in 2018 with about 3000 corporate event planners, 52% said that their event budgets keep increasing every year. Another report by the event manager blog revealed that big corporate meetings spend about $1,294 per participant on average. Further, international visitors (potential clients or stakeholders), who are invited to these events generate about 21.8% of the spending in travel expenses, 24.6% in shopping and recreation, and 26.5% in entertainment. 

So, you see how much you spend on holding those parties, corporate gatherings, and for entertaining your visitors, who may or may not turn into potential clients? As you can imagine, no travel cuts both ways. Just like you’re likely to cut travel back, your customers and prospects are also likely to cut back on travel to visit you. While you focus on creating meaningful connections with these people in other ways, remember that you can now use these funds effectively and enhance your marketing strategies, a smart move to establish your brand presence online. It’s the smart thing to do. 

Office infrastructural development 

Did you think about redoing the interiors of your office or of shifting to a new office this year? Well, as most of your employees are working from home, what chance of that happening? Large IT companies like TCS and Tech Mahindra have announced that they intend for overwhelming numbers of their employees to work from home. When the employees are happy (no travel, more work-life balance) and they are uber-productive from home, why get them back into an office at all?

Save on that swanky office. Invest the resources that you had kept aside for the same in your marketing efforts to help your business survive and thrive. 

There is no longer any doubt that digital channels like content marketing, social media, and personal branding of the CxOs are the only way to become and stay visible in the eye-line of your target audience. Until now. if your key objection was the budget, then that should no longer be the case.