“If you build it, they will come.”
At least that’s the hope of every B2B inbound marketer: If you build your website, your audience will come.
Unfortunately, pure magic won’t do the trick. The job of inbound B2B content marketing is to use a content strategy that attracts, educates, and retains buyers through to the decision-making phase—the process known as the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey generally includes these stages:
Awareness → Consideration → Decision
Each stage is unique and demands different types of content. Your goal is to guide prospects through from one stage to the next by providing relevant content each step of the way.
So, what types of content are there? And which will resonate best with your audience?
Here are the most commonly used B2B content types:
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts can be anywhere from 300 to 2000 or more words and can be about pretty much any topic that’s meaningful to your audience. Try not to only write about what you or your executives want. Your goal for your B2B content writing is to make your audience aware of your brand, to educate them, and to answer their questions, so aim to put yourself in the same mindset as your customers.
A few blog post tips include:
- Create evergreen content when you can. Evergreen means it will always be relevant as opposed to seasonal content that speaks to current events. This is because search engines tend to reward site content that stands the test of time.
- Long-form content packed with useful information usually outperforms shorter quick hits, so when possible, try to lengthen your content. This doesn’t mean to add extra words for fluff, however. Only include meaningful information or write what is relevant to the topic.
- Grab a plugin to transform your text post into an audio post. Especially for long-form content articles, this can empower your audience to listen while commuting or at the gym. Audio posts are not as in depth as podcasts (more on those later), but a simple way to engage different personalities with different learning styles.
2. White papers
White papers are long-form research documents that dive deep into specific topics with academic fervor. They are usually gated content offers — because they deliver more value than blog posts, they usually require the reader to provide personal details in order to “unlock the gate”.
For example, Personali offers a variety of white papers on topics about behavioral economics in ecommerce shopping. They only require a short form of contact information to be filled out before being able to download their valuable content.
Readers who fill out their form are in essence expressing great interest in the topic at hand, and in Personali’s offering overall, which is what makes gated content a great way to collect high-quality website leads.
Also typically gated content pieces, ebooks, while not usually as academic as white papers, are often in-depth explanations of specific topics. These can be more detailed “how-to” educational guides that teach your prospects about a particular subject and perhaps shows them how your product or service can best help achieve the goals they want.
Here’s a great ebook example from Keyscouts, “10 Tips for Marketing Executives to Get More Done in Less Time.” We can immediately see the value add—if I read this ebook, I’m going to learn some quick marketing strategies to help me save time. Sign me up!
4. Case Studies
Case studies are extremely valuable in that they take a close look at how your company helped a customer or brand. Case studies examine the scenario by presenting the challenge that brand had, the solution you provided, and the ultimate results the brand enjoyed thanks to your solution. This helps generate leads as it puts the reader in the shoes of the brand in the study. They read about how your company solved a problem and can imagine you solving the same problem for them, too.
Here’s a thorough example from Novidea that accomplishes all of these things.
Content marketing isn’t only about the written word. Video and live presentations count, too. Webinars are live (or pre-recorded) presentations that are shared online through a website or on social media. These lead-generation machines encourage people to sign up ahead of time, empowering your team to have a better sense of your most engaged audience and to follow-up with them post-webinar.
If you’re eager to learn more, check out this webinar from HubSpot on The Science of Webinars.
B2B content marketing videos can include interviews, customer testimonials, product explainers, how-to guides, and more—the options are practically limitless. Here are some examples created by the talented team at Think Mojo:
An onboarding video for Slack, simply titled, “What is Slack?”
A quick ad or product explainer for Square’s “A Bright Idea” campaign
As podcasts become increasingly popular, it may be worth your time to explore this burgeoning content marketing tool. Podcast listeners are statistically an affluent group of fully-employed people with disposable income. If this is an audience you’d like to tap into, check out these examples of successful marketers who publish regular podcasts:
- Neil Patel is a digital marketing expert and top-ranked entrepreneur by Forbes.
- Similarly, Tim Ferriss of The Tim Ferriss Show discusses how he built a #1 ranked podcast with over 60 million downloads.
Using the power of graphic design, infographics are a lighthearted way to present things like data, testimonials, quotes, fun facts, process guides, or FAQs.
They are easily shareable on social media and can be used as part of email marketing campaigns.
Here’s a nifty infographic by HubSpot that explains why infographics are good for your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
B2B Inbound Content Marketing Key Takeaways
So, there you have it — a comprehensive list of some of the most engaging ways to fill your B2B inbound marketing strategy with valuable content your audience will love at each stage of the buyers journey.
For an idea of how to determine which type to use in each stage, check out this simple diagram from HubSpot:
Not all of these will work for your audience, but some of them could work extremely well. The first step is to build a content marketing strategy, then test and optimize. Make data-driven decisions and stay on target.
The marketing experts at KeyScouts have years of experience designing online marketing strategies under their belts. Contact us for guidance to make sure you develop a strategy that gets results.