How to Create a Winning B2B Content Strategy

October 26, 2023

In recent years, the importance of content marketing has been emphasized across various industries. It is no longer just for B2C companies aiming to build a relationship with their customers. B2B companies have also come to appreciate the huge benefits of content marketing, going beyond just generating leads. This has given rise to B2B content marketing strategies 

Everything You’ve Ever Needed to Know About B2B Content Marketing Strategy for Social Media & Beyond

A B2B content marketing strategy is a marketing plan that aims to create and distribute valuable content to a business's target audience. This content is designed to assist, educate, and create value for the audience, and ultimately, influence their purchasing decision.

The goal of a B2B content marketing strategy is to establish the business as a thought leader in its industry. By providing valuable and relevant content, the business can build credibility and trust with its target audience. This, in turn, can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, higher sales.

A successful B2B content marketing strategy involves understanding the needs and pain points of the target audience as a whole and by channel. For example, a member of your target audience who mainly engages on social media may have different pain points than one who relies primarily on your branded blog. By creating content that addresses these needs and provides solutions, the business can establish itself as a trusted advisor to its customers.

In addition to creating valuable content, a B2B content marketing strategy should also include a distribution plan. This involves identifying the channels through which the target audience consumes content and ensuring that the content is distributed through those channels. This could include social media, email marketing, webinars, and more.

Finally, a B2B content marketing strategy should be data-driven. By measuring the success of the content marketing efforts, the business can identify what is working and what needs to be improved. This data can then be used to refine the strategy and create even more effective content.

Should B2B marketers use a content marketing strategy? 

The simple answer is yes. And top markers agree. 

According to the 13th Annual B2B Content Marketing Insights report by the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of content marketers surveyed said that “content marketing has become more important to their organization over the last year”.

One reason why content marketing is so effective in the B2B world is that it allows businesses to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. By creating and sharing valuable content, businesses can position themselves as experts in their field, which can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Another reason why content marketing works so well in the B2B world is that it allows businesses to target their ideal customers with precision. By creating content that is tailored to the specific needs and pain points of their target demographics, businesses can attract high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into paying customers.

In addition to these benefits, content marketing also has a number of other advantages for B2B businesses. For example, it can help to improve search engine rankings, drive traffic to a company's website, and increase brand awareness.

Overall, it is clear that content marketing is a highly effective strategy for B2B businesses. By creating and sharing valuable content, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders, attract high-quality leads, and achieve their digital marketing goals.

The Secret to Successful B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Successful B2B content marketing is concise, engaging, and provides value to the audience. Great content should be tailored to the target audience's needs, answering the questions they're asking and addressing their concerns. A successful B2B content marketing strategy requires continuous improvement and optimization to ensure that it remains effective. And remember: consistency is key!

Here are the foundational steps you’d need to take in order to build any winning B2B content marketing strategy:

  1. Clearly Define Your Target Audience

The first step in creating a successful B2B content marketing strategy is to clearly define your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What challenges are they facing? What questions do they have? By answering these questions, you can create content that speaks directly to your target audience and addresses their specific needs and pain points.

  1. Create a Content Plan

Once you've defined your target audience, the next step is to create a content plan. This plan should outline the types of content you'll create, how often you'll publish new content, and where you'll distribute it. Your content plan should also take into account the different stages of the buyer's journey, from awareness to consideration to decision.

  1. Produce High-Quality Content

The quality of your content is crucial to the success of your B2B content marketing strategy. Your content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. It should also be well-written and visually appealing. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and case studies, to see what resonates with your audience.

  1. Use SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of any successful B2B content marketing strategy. By optimizing your content for relevant keywords and using best practices such as including internal and external links, you can improve your search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to your website.

  1. Promote Your Content

Creating high-quality content is only half the battle. To be successful with B2B content marketing, you also need to promote your content effectively. Share your content on social media, email newsletters, and other relevant platforms to reach your target audience where they are. You can also consider paid advertising options such as Google AdWords or LinkedIn ads to reach a wider audience.

  1. Measure Your Results

Finally, it's important to measure the success of your B2B content marketing strategy. This can be done by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, engagement rates, and conversion rates. Use these metrics to identify what's working well and what could be improved then adjust your strategy accordingly.

Any B2B content marketing strategy you create will include some variation of the above steps. Having an outline like this makes it easier to get to the creative part (aka the stuff that actually wins over your audience) faster!

How to (Almost) Guarantee B2B Content Marketing Success

In a nutshell: amazing content. 

One of the biggest challenges of B2B content marketing is making content interesting and appealing to an audience. The human brain is wired to respond to stories, which is why weaving storytelling into your content marketing strategy will help make it more compelling. 

Also, don’t shy away from infusing humor and creativity into the content! Doing so can further engage the audience and create better relationships between you and your readers or viewers. The more you can sound like an educated friend giving advice to another educated friend over a cup of coffee, the better. 

Marketers are already natural-born storytellers but just in case you need help getting some creative juices flowing here are some tips for your content, whether you’re writing a case study, a blog post, or anything in between: 

  • Find what they care about. Reflect on your audience’s values and goals in order to craft stories that are meaningful to them. For example, audiences that value an underdog story would love to hear about your customer who defeated the odds with the help of your product.
  • Use real numbers. Lean into discoveries made from your in-house data points to come to interesting conclusions. Then, outline your content as if you are a detective explaining your case to your reader. Go step by step and support each claim with your direct evidence.
  • Put a face to the name. It’s one thing to tell your audience that the product you’re selling changes lives. It’s another to have a real customer volunteer to attach their name and title to a statement saying so. Including real testimonials is always a good idea but to further tell a story consider finding big-picture themes among groups of audiences to help build a truthful narrative. 
  • Rehash the past. Even if you believe history class was a snooze fest, just hear us out. Some of the best and most interesting stories are ones that actually happened. These stories can be about the history of your brand, its founders, employees, or even your specialty with your niche.
  • Create a content ecosystem. Although we are a fan of building up one channel before moving on to the next, an appealing B2B content strategy we’ve seen comes from the production of different types of media. That includes blog posts, videos, podcasts, audio versions of written content, social media, newsletters, and even events. This is effective because 1) it will engage a wider variety of people who enjoy the topic but gravitate towards certain formats over others and 2) it creates a content rabbit hole for audiences who love your content and want something to dive further into!
  • Make authenticity your foundation. Storytelling is all about telling the truth. While it may be tempting to exaggerate to fit a particular narrative, it’s always best to create your B2B content marketing strategy and work from a spirit of authenticity. That means creating a slightly more casual tone, providing information people really value, and aiming to help audiences accomplish a specific goal—-even if that goal isn’t another sale for you!

What is the difference between B2B and B2C content marketing?

While both B2B and B2C content marketing aims to provide value to the audience, there are some key differences between them. These are the big ones: 

  1. Emotion versus information

B2C content marketing tends to be more emotional, entertaining, and impulse-driven since their target audience is usually individuals rather than businesses. On the other hand, B2B content marketing is more about providing valuable information that will help businesses streamline decision-making. B2B content is typically more educational, informative, and data-driven.

  1. Mass appeal versus targeted 

B2C strategies aim to reach as many people as possible since their products and services have mass appeal. B2B strategies, on the other hand, need to limit their target audience to those in their niche with a need for their offerings at that exact time. 

  1. Quick sales versus long-term relationships

B2C marketing aims to do a high volume of sales as quickly as possible. B2B content marketing, on the other hand, may set a goal of higher sales relative to previous marketing campaigns, but their business ultimately thrives off of long-term relationships built over time. 

  1. Talk versus walk 

One of the reasons why B2C content is typically short-form is because they need to quickly and effectively reach their extreme audience size. In this content they expressly focus on grabbing attention and standing out from the competition as creatively as possible because their product or service is typically easy to understand at first glance. 

Conversely, B2B content includes long-form content in addition to short-form because 1) their audience of decision makers often need proof they can take to their higher-ups and 2) their product and/or service needs additional explanation. That’s where content types such as whitepapers and case studies come into play. 

  1. Casual versus professional

Although some of the most successful B2B content examples include a casual tone of voice, it would be jarring to see a B2C content marketing strategy built around a professional one. As you can probably guess, all of B2B content marketing strategy is tailored to the needs of businesses and businesses require a certain level of formality in communication. 

What are the best practices for B2B content marketing strategy?

There are several best practices to follow when developing an effective B2B content marketing strategy:

  1. Understand your audience

The most practical definition of understanding your audience is gathering information and data that comes to an undisputable conclusion about who they are and what they need. Marketing tools such as market research, web and social media analytics, and CRM (customer relationship management) platforms all help paint a clear picture. 

  1. Set clear goals

B2B content marketing strategy goals need to be aligned with a grander objective, measurable using realistic KPIs (key performance indicators), and realistic compared to past performance as well as current market trends. Some of the most common objectives for B2B content marketing strategies include: 

  • Brand awareness

  • Engagement

  • Lead generation

  • MQL (marketing qualified lead) volume

  • Website traffic volume

  1. Maintain consistency

How you choose to implement your strategy will be unique to your team and resources. Regardless, the best ways to maintain consistency with a B2B content marketing strategy include: 

  • Planning and organizing content in advance

  • Using automation tools for tasks such as posting and creating templates (HubSpot recently reported that effective marketers are 46% much more likely to use automation)

  • Sticking to predetermined brand style guidelines

  • Developing themes for years, quarters, and/or months that all make sense together

  • Creating systems for content management from start to finish

  • Regularly reviewing published content to check for quality and audience response

  1. Choose the right content formats

Choosing the right content formats for a B2B content marketing strategy requires informed trial and enthusiastic error. 

  • Informed trial: If you’re refreshing an existing strategy or have older ones to pull information from, you can use that data to determine which formats worked best for your target audience at that time, giving you and your team a solid jumping-off point. You can also analyze what formats top and bottom competitors use and look for patterns, if any, that will provide a blueprint for your own. Lastly, there is no substitute for analytics, so if you have access to your own behind-the-scenes numbers make sure you mine all of that for relevant gold. 

  • Enthusiastic error: Understanding that campaigns are all tests that will provide more information for even better campaigns in the future is a key mindset for you and your team when first implementing a B2B content marketing strategy. A lot can change between the strategy phase, the ideation phase, and the execution phase. Continuing to analyze results and apply your hard-earned knowledge means that no content effort will go to waste. 

  1. Create a content calendar system and workflow

First, have a centralized communication platform where you can pitch, approve, store, and edit content. Next, determine your publishing frequency across your chosen platforms. Then, create repeatable step-by-step guides for how to create each content type. Finally, audit your workflow at regular intervals to find new ways you can automate or outsource non-creative tasks. 

  1. Develop a content creation workflow

Like most collaborative projects, the details of how to develop a workflow really depends on your team size, resources, needs, audience, and established processes. However, there is an industry-standard set for how to go about implementing your B2B content marketing strategy. Here’s what that looks like, step-by-step: 

Step 1: Idea Generation 

How will your team generate content ideas for campaign themes, channel targeting, or even Tweet copy? 

Document your current procedure. Then, create templates for established or high-performing content structures. Revise or add procedures for how you’ll dream up and capture these critical pieces of creative work over time. 

And don’t forget that you can always repurpose old and new content. If you choose to repurpose something, consider changing the format, channel, or sub-audience you’re appealing to. 

For example, let’s say a high-performing piece of content you already have is a blog post on your website that is aimed at sales teams. You can easily repurpose this text into a podcast episode by recording the audio of someone reading it, publishing the audio and/or video version on YouTube, and adding in a few key tips for sales professionals who are mid-career rather than beginner. 

Last but not least, lean into keyword research to find topics that appeal to your audience and are likely to improve your search engine rankings over time. 

Step 2: Content Planning 

How will you organize what, when, and where your content will appear? 

Content planning can be done on both a macro and micro level. Macro content planning looks at yearly and quarterly themes whereas micro content planning drills down on monthly themes as well as weekly and daily publications. 

From there you’ll need a work management system in place to keep these content ideas top of mind as you fill out the rest of your calendar. Speaking of, a great shared calendar dedicated to your B2B content marketing strategy is critical for getting and keeping the entire team on the same page. 

Step 3: Content Creation

Who will create and manage the content engine of your B2B content marketing strategy? 

This nitty-gritty project management requires breaking down content creation into individual tasks with relevant deadlines and sub-deadlines. Tasks should be assigned to either individuals or teams to keep everyone accountable. 

Content drafts will need to be organized and made searchable in a centralized database. 

Step 4: Content Review and Approval

Who will be responsible for providing feedback on content before it reaches the public eye? 

Your team will need to take the following into account when reviewing content: 

  • Greater company values

  • Current brand guidelines

  • Assignment versus realized deliverable

  • Strategy alignment

  • Basic grammar and spelling notes

  • Readability

  • Predicted SEO performance

  • In-depth analysis of the given subject matter

  • The quantity of recent statistics from credible sources that support main points

  • The quality of quotes from related industry experts, where applicable

  • Which part of the sales funnel this piece aims to support

It’s also important to have a set process for…

  • how drafts will be submitted for review

  • who will take point on what

  • where and how revision requests will be posted

  • due dates and expectations for revisions

  • procedures for additional drafts (as needed)

Step 5: Content Distribution 

How and when will approved content reach your audience? 

Whether you follow a flexible (recommended) content calendar or automate posting on one or more media channels (also recommended), your content distribution plan is an important piece of the B2B content marketing strategy puzzle. 

Step 6: Analytics and Revision

How will you use data to improve your processes and performance? 

The post and pray method of content marketing is a thing of the past. For B2B marketers, proving that your strategy can generate measurable results will be critical for making the case for expanding your budget or resources and continuing these processes in the future. The best tools to use include Google Analytics and analytics provided by the marketing channels you publish on (think social media platforms). 

Unsurprisingly, you’ll also want to establish a system for what KPIs you’ll use for which channels. Include a tracking system to gauge progress over time. And last but not least, assign team members to record data at regular intervals, analyze results, and make suggestions for improvement. 

It can’t be said enough: creating a standardized, repeatable process is critical for B2B marketers who want to create success then replicate and scale it down the road. 

What are the benefits of B2B content marketing?

B2B content marketing provides a host of benefits to large and small businesses, including… 

  • increased brand awareness

  • lead generation

  • customer engagement

  • improved search engine rankings

  • higher customer lifetime value

  • build authority in their industry

  • establish trust

Ultimately, providing valuable content can foster the iron-clad sense of brand loyalty that B2B marketers need in order to produce better results. 

What are the most effective types of B2B content?

The effectiveness of the content marketing strategy is largely dependent on the type of content used. The most effective kind of content for B2B content marketing includes blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, E-books, videos, infographics, and webinars. 

These content formats can be repurposed and adapted for use across various channels and can be used to cater to different stages of the buyer's journey. Not sure where to begin? The 2023 State of Marketing Report from HubSpot found that, “the highest ROI of any marketing channels are blogs, social media shopping tools, and influencer marketing.” 

But really, any B2B content type that 1) highly engages your unique audience and 2) aligns with your greater B2B content marketing strategy will do! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a B2B content marketing strategy?

B2B (or business-to-business) content marketing strategy is a marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience of other businesses. 

The goal of B2B content marketing is to build trust and credibility with potential buyers by providing them with useful information and insights that can help them make informed purchasing decisions.

Does content marketing work B2B?

Yes, content marketing can be highly effective in the B2B space. B2B content marketing can help businesses establish themselves as a source for thought leadership in their industry, build brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately drive revenue.

What makes B2B content successful?

Successful B2B content is relevant, useful, and engaging for target B2B buyers. It should address the pain points and challenges that potential buyers are facing and provide them with actionable insights and solutions. 

Additionally, B2B content should be well-researched, fact-based, and credible. And it should be presented in a format that's easy to consume, whether that's through blog posts, video content, infographics, or other types of content.

How do you make B2B content interesting?

To make B2B content interesting, it's important to focus on the value it provides to the audience. Rather than simply promoting your products or services, aim to provide insights, information, and solutions that can help potential buyers solve their problems and achieve their goals. Using visual elements like images, videos, and infographics can also help break up text-heavy content and make it more engaging. 

To take it to the next level, include original quotes from industry experts, interesting new statistics (published within the past three years and crediting the original source), and a storytelling tone that guides the reader through each piece of content. 

What is the difference between B2B and B2C content marketing?

The key difference between B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) content marketing is the target audience. B2B content is aimed at other businesses and organizations, while B2C content is aimed at individual consumers. As a result, B2B content tends to be more fact-based, data-driven, and focused on business outcomes, while B2C content can be more emotional and geared towards driving individual purchases.

What are the best practices for B2B content marketing strategy?

Some best practices for B2B content marketing include…

  • Understanding your target audience and their pain points and challenges

  • Creating a content plan that aligns with your business goals and buyer personas

  • Using a mix of content formats and channels to reach your audience

  • Consistently creating high-quality (a must for gaining backlinks), relevant, and engaging content

  • Promoting your content through social media, email marketing, and other channels

  • Tracking and analyzing your content performance to make data-driven improvements

  • Including a relevant and enticing CTA at the end of every piece of content 

What are the benefits of B2B content marketing?

B2B content marketing can provide a range of benefits for businesses looking to connect with other businesses. 

By creating high-quality, relevant content that speaks directly to the content needs and interests of potential buyers, B2B content marketing can build trust and credibility with your target audience, as well as establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry. 

And of course, we have to mention the fact that effective B2B content marketing can:

  • Generate leads and nurture relationships with potential and existing customers

  • Increase brand awareness

  • Increase brand visibility

  • Drive conversions and revenue

Essentially, by improving search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine rankings, B2B content marketing teams can expect to expand their reach and connect with more potential buyers online.

What are the most effective types of B2B content?

The most effective types of B2B content can vary depending on your target audience and business goals, but some popular formats include:

  • Blog posts and articles

  • Whitepapers and research reports

  • Case studies and customer success stories

  • Infographics and data visualizations

  • Videos and webinars

  • Podcasts and audio content

  • Social media content

  • E-books and guides

  • Interactive content

  • User-generated content

Now you’re ready to create engaging B2B content

B2B content marketing strategy has become increasingly important for brands looking to build relationships with their target audience. By providing valuable content, businesses can establish trust, garner authority in their primary topic domains, and increase overall brand awareness to outshine the competition. 

Implementing these fundamental strategies along with keeping up with the latest trends is sure to provide excellent results for any business that is willing to invest the time and resources required!

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