3 Lessons From Major Brands To Kickstart Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy In 2020
Why are some companies so successful in content marketing and others are not?
The answer is one you’ve heard countless times: you need an audience.
When I asked Nathan Collier, a renowned B2B content marketer, what a B2B brand needs to succeed in content marketing in 2019 and beyond, he said this:
“Everything starts with understanding your best customers. It’s a great time to rededicate yourself to spend at least a few hours a month talking to people who use your product or service. I’ve found nothing better for marketing strategy — and that goes beyond content.”
Let’s be honest here. The reason you haven’t gotten any real results from your blog is that you didn’t build a solid foundation from the start. Majority of brands that succeed in content marketing have three things in common: a unique approach, a clear understanding of their target audience, and proven ways to promote their content.
A huge myth about B2B content marketing is that once you create epic long-form content, you’ll rank well in Google and people will start buying your product or services.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t always work that way. This is the publish and pray approach and it doesn’t exist in real life so why do you apply it to your business?
Benji Hyam, co-founder of Grow and Convert, Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL and others who made it big through content marketing didn’t just start a blog from nothing; they created it based on researching their target market.
In this post, you’ll learn 3 key lessons from major brands about what you need to create a successful B2B content marketing strategy in 2019.
Lesson 1: Find an approach to bring something new to the table
Lots of companies build successful blogs that drive leads constantly by using the skyscraper method which is a term coined by Brian Dean. Essentially, you pick a keyword and improve it by writing an article that’s better than the top 10 results on Google for that keyword. So, if everyone’s doing the same thing in your industry, what should you do?
It’s time to change things up.
These questions helped Peep Laja conduct his research before starting CXL’s blog. He found that a huge portion of the marketing and conversion rate optimization blogs make baseless assertions. They only gave advice but didn’t back it up with evidence. That’s when he knew he could compete with them by adding something new to the market.
Need more proof? Here are a few brands that used this approach and succeeded:
● Groove did it by revealing their goals and strategies to their audience publicly. They also shared lessons learned on their journey with them.
● CXL became an authoritative conversion rate optimization blog in a short period of time because they invested time and money into creating data-driven and evidence-based content.
The bottom line: Doing a competitor analysis is smart. It’ll help you find out what your competitors are missing so you can integrate it into your content strategy. This will help you attract your audience’s attention and save you tons of time on the content format you should adopt.
Lesson 2: Know your audience well enough
Are you sure you know your audience? Think again.
In his article, Neil Patel points out that one of the main reason B2B companies fail at content marketing is that they’re targeting the wrong audience.
Let’s face it: if you’re not generating enough leads then there’s something wrong with your strategy. Unless you’re pretty sure you’re targeting the right audience, you’ll have to re-examine who your target audience is.
Not convinced? Animalz cut through the noise (started a blog about content marketing) in less than a year by using the publication vs. library approach to content marketing. And most importantly, they know their audience very well. They target B2B SaaS companies.
The publication approach relies on publishing a ballpark of articles per week in an attempt to get more views (traffic). However, your blog will end up full of unnecessary content pieces. On the other hand, the library approach is the process of creating a catalog of evergreen content that has the potential to earn traffic for months and years to come. Jimmy Daly — the man behind Animalz’s blog — recommends that companies use the library approach.
Jimmy shares some tips in his interview on the Entrepreneur GSD podcast:
● Think long and hard about what you want to say and how to say it in a unique way.
● If you have valuable information that’ll be beneficial to your audience then it’s never too late to say it.
The bottom line: The content that appeals to everyone fails to appeal to anyone so every piece of content you publish should address one problem and appeal to one clear target audience.
Lesson 3: Promotion is the holy grail of a successful B2B content marketing strategy
Now that you know which approach to consider, your target audience, and the best content format to use, it’s time to put your content in front of your audience.
According to a study by Orbitmedia, the best channel to promote your content is influencer outreach.
Content marketing 101: spend as much time promoting as you do writing.
By promoting, I don’t mean sharing the articles on your social media accounts, I mean run ads for them, post them in relevant communities, reach out to key influencers in your industry to share, and make friends with other bloggers to share as well. Connections are key to a successful B2B content distribution plan.
Sujan Patel, a growth marketer, says content distribution is the hardest part. However, it’s not difficult if you have a solid distribution plan in place. Usually what happens is this: you hire experienced writers, give them some keywords to include and a guideline to follow, and once the post is published, you hear nothing but the haunting sound of crickets.
According to Sujan Patel, figure out at least 5 ways to promote your article before you put pen to paper. In other words, begin a distribution plan beforehand. The team at Unbounce found out that after treating every blog post they publish like a campaign, they saw a huge success.
Stefan Debois, founder of Survey Anyplace emphasizes it well saying:
“ Join forces with other companies that practice content marketing to co-create and genuinely promote each other’s content.”
The bottom line: Content promotion is the life-blood of every content marketing strategy and helping your audience solve their problems should be the priority of any company’s blog content.No matter how unique your approach is or how well you know your audience, if you don’t put your content in front of the right audience, your efforts will fail miserably.
In a nutshell, do a comprehensive competitor analysis from a content standpoint to unlock a content gap, do thorough research on your audience, and decide on a content format and channel to start promoting your content. After that, all you have to do is measure performance over time.
That’s it for now! I hope that you enjoyed these valuable resources. Did I miss something? Do you know of any other valuable resources as well?
Share them with me in the comments below, please!
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