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. 

Top 4 Types of B2B Content You Must Pay Attention To

B2B Content Marketing

As someone who has been in the field of Digital Marketing for the past 15 years, I have seen the evolution of marketing – especially B2B marketing. Content marketing has taken center stage. It is the key element which helps marketers capture the attention of their target audience.

One of the most common questions asked to us is: “I have a killer product. Do I still need to invest in content marketing? Won’t my product sell itself”. Today, with the proliferation of new and emerging technologies, a lot of innovative products are coming in the market every single day. But look at it this way – if your target audience does not find the solution to their problems (aka your product), then they are not going to come to you. In fact, content marketing helps tremendously in concept selling.

So once you are convinced that you do want to start your content marketing efforts, the next obvious question is, what type of content. Contrary to the common belief, blog is just one type of content which you can create.

Let us look at the four most popular types of content which you can benefit from –

Types of B2B Content

Blogs/ Articles

A blog is an easy way to keep your target audience engaged with information and educational content. As we all know, search engines love fresh content and blog is an excellent way to keep your website updated with new content. Remember that your blog should NOT be about your product or service – you have the other pages of the site for that. The blog should have articles which provide answers to the questions of your target audience. It should provide solutions.

B2B Blogging Tips

  • Keep the articles in the range of 800-1000 words
  • Include at least one image in each article
  • Your articles can be technical or non-technical – depending on the needs of your target audience. In any case, again, the articles should provide answers to the questions of your audience.
  • Start with a frequency which you can maintain. There is no point in writing five articles in one month and none for the next 3 months.
  • Involve your subject matter experts in providing the content and have the B2B content writers translate that into a promotable and publishable format.

Whitepapers

Whitepapers are more in-depth and more authoritative reports than blogs. The difference between a blog article and a whitepaper is that a whitepaper addresses a specific business issue in detail. From the organization’s perspective, these are great resources for demonstrating in-depth technical and business knowledge.

B2B Whitepaper Writing Tips

  • You need to involve the subject matter experts at a deeper level for writing a B2B whitepaper – from the content writers perspective, they need to do a more in-depth study of the topic, prepare the outline, and then have a detailed conversation with the SMEs.
  • You can, by all means, include a section in the whitepaper which highlights your expertise in the area. It is a great place to position yourself as an expert in the field but don’t make the complete paper a sales pitch.
  • Be sure to present proofs and references to your claims.
  • Make the whitepapers and eBooks available on request and use these in your lead generation campaigns. This requires you have a landing page for the whitepaper which outlines key benefits of downloading the paper.
  • Feel free to reuse the content in the whitepaper and create more detailed blog posts for each section in the paper.

Infographics

I see that many people are big fans of infographics. Infographics are highly visual in nature and are great for showcasing a complex topic in an easy to comprehend manner. These are great for sharing on social media (although one needs to zoom in to see most of the infographics completely). Infographics are great for creating awareness about your brand and also to drive traffic to your website.

B2B Infographic Tips

  • Infographics are much more complex and well researched than simple graphics. These require a deep understanding of subject matter and design. Don’t attempt adding this as a part of your social strategy unless you have access to both these talents.
  • Finalize the promotion plan before creating an infographic. Most of the social platforms do not render infographics well.
  • You can always reuse the infographics by converting it into a blog or a video.

Webinars

If you haven’t tried webinars as a part of your B2B social media strategy, I would highly recommend you venture into it in the coming year. Since webinars offer a great opportunity to learn from the experts, B2B buyers prefer these during their research phase. Webinars can also help in generating qualified leads and moving the prospects up in the interest ladder.

B2B Webinar Tips

  • The success of the webinar heavily depends on the speaker and the webinar topic. Make sure that you not only have a great topic but also have an equally wonderful, established, expert speaker to deliver the webinar.
  • Have a concrete promotion plan in place – leverage the network of your employees, partners, and customers to promote the webinars.
  • It’s a good idea to give away a whitepaper or eBook on a related topic as a part of the webinar giveaway.
  • Make the webinar recording available post the webinar for those who miss attending it
  • For more tips of making the webinars successful, here is a more detailed post.

What does this mean for your content strategy?

Apart from the content types mentioned above, there are also other types of content which you can create such as case studies, videos, presentations, eBooks, testimonials, emails, social updates etc. When it comes to creating your content strategy and deciding the type of content to create, honestly there is no one answer. It totally depends on who your potential buyers are, on which platforms they are searching for information, and what types of content they are consuming.

If you are just starting with content marketing and social media, possibly blogs are the easiest to start with. Videos, although very impactful, are difficult to produce. Case studies and presentations are something which you will require irrespective of your strategy. Get into Whitepapers and eBooks once you have a strong blogging strategy and execution in place.

Lastly, do remember that just creating content is not enough. You need to promote it too. So when you plan for your content creation efforts, don’t forget to have a strong content promotion plan in place!