Written by Raphael

April 27, 2020

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Content marketing is a big bucket, and one that 91% of B2B marketers are currently using. It includes blogs, social media, videos, press releases and news articles, FAQs, email newsletters, e-books, white papers, case studies, infographics, and many more granular pieces.

You need it because more and more buyers are relying on digital content to make decisions. More than half of all B2B buyers view at least eight pieces of content during the purchase process, and more than 80% of buyers view at least five articles. A full 75% of buyers say content significantly impacts their buying decision, and 62% say they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based on digital content alone.

b2b buyers say they can make decisions based on digital content alone

The biggest mistake you can make in content marketing at any stage of the journey is to make it all about you.

B2B companies must create “buyer enablement” content—content that supports the completion of critical buying tasks. To build this type of content, marketing leaders must:

  • Understand the specific tasks that buyers need to perform through the purchase journey
  • Provide information and tools that target these specific tasks
  • Make the information available to buyers through their preferred channels

Gartner’s study found that currently, only roughly 20% of the information on B2B websites out there displays characteristics of buyer enablement—which means you have a big opportunity.

“Most companies build [content strategies in the name of thought leadership, brand awareness, and personalization—focusing primarily on their own features and benefits. However, as it turns out, there’s significant commercial benefit for companies that focus their content on customers and helping them through the purchase process” – Martha Mathers, MVP, Gartner

These are the types of content marketing pieces that work at the top of the funnel:

  • Blog posts – Blogs in the demand generation stage should make buyers aware of and interested in your product. Identify the problems your product or service solves, and incorporate them into engaging blog posts. The idea here is to move away from producing content that focuses on what you do and create more content that shows customers you understand their pain points and are capable of eliminating them. Bonus points for blogs that accomplish storytelling and make an empathetic connection—B2B buyers love thatALERT: If you want these blogs actually to work for you, you need to distribute them and optimize them for search engines (more on SEO further down)
  • Social media posts – See below.
  • Infographics – Our minds are drawn to images—they’re easier for our brains to understand. We can process a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Essentially, infographics condense information into an easy-to-understand snapshot.
  • E-books – To make e-books work for you, be sure to provide the reader with actionable takeaways as well as valuable resources like checklists, tips, and actual guides. The biggest mistake you can make with an e-book is making it overly about you, which will turn off buyers in a heartbeat.

Don’t forget—you need a content distribution plan for your content to work for you.

Learn more about content marketing »

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