Keys to B2B Content Marketing Success

Posted by on September 1, 2016

During a recent webinar, “5 Keys to B2B Content Marketing Success,” one of our regular contributors covered the results of a B2B content marketing survey that highlights the current state of B2B content marketing.

In the webinar, the panelists agreed on these five keys to success:

  1. Plan and document your content strategy
  2. Focus content on the desired outcome and metrics
  3. Create content that is truly relevant to your audience
  4. Repurpose existing content and take advantage of outsourcing for new content
  5. Prioritize social channels and publications on audience quality, not size or ranking

But really, there were a lot of great tech marketing insights that came up throughout the webinar. Here are my top Q&As from the webinar.

Lead generation is clearly the #1 priority with brand awareness coming in at a somewhat distinct second. Is that what you’re seeing in the tech space?

Yes, it is. However, we often advise our clients to step back from chasing new leads and think long term about your brand and promotion. Your brand deserves just as much of your attention as the leads you bring in. 60% of B2B buyers say that they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that they know and feel a connection with, even if it costs more.

Content bandwidth was noted as the largest challenge facing marketers today, what tools or tactics do you leverage to do more with less?

We’re all suffering from content overload. Saying that marketers have a lack of time or bandwidth is not the right way to think about it. You need to focus on quality content over quantity. There’s enough time to think about tactics and formats that are best for your brand. Content repurposing can help with bandwidth and help you reach more people in the process.

You can work internally with other teams that might have knowledge. Someone in sales should have insights into your customer pain points, as would a customer success team member. Working with other teams will also help get the human face to your company out there.

If your team truly doesn’t have the capacity, or skills to do the work, we recommend outsourcing to independent, third party companies.

What are you seeing in the B2B tech space?

Much of the same. Marketers do need to focus on quality, but the facts are this: our Content Connects research shows that tech buyers use an average of 8.2 content formats for their jobs. So marketers still need to produce a lot. We found that the top types of content used in making IT decisions were webinars, virtual events, research, video, vendor content/advertising, digital radio, white papers, infographics and slide shows.

What are you hearing from IT Pros about the importance of peer validation?

Peer validation is critical to your success. When IT pros are vetting competitors, they’re looking for a company they can trust. They’ll look in product reviews, testimonials, or turn to mentors for validation that they’re making a smart purchase. They want to know that integration of your product/technology will make sense and that there’s good customer service during roll out.

A lot of case studies we see seem to focus on business outcome, rather than the experience for the IT manager to manage this new service. It’s time for marketers to create new assets that speak to the IT managers’ experience.

What types of content are you seeing/hearing that an IT Pro would give their email address to download?

IT buyers are willing to give their contact information for technical deep dives; action-oriented content that explains ways they can implement services and also what the experience will be like once it’s rolled out. Walk throughs of a product, live hacks for how to protect your company, or disaster recovery are all popular.

What content needs to be gated?

Ungate as much as possible. Ask yourself, what content is absolutely necessary to their job? Whatever is not is essentially “fluff,” so don’t gate it. Obligatory information tech specs will and should be gated, while case studies don’t have to be.

What is the most effective thing a company can do on social media to get the biggest ROI?

If you find social media ineffective, you’re not doing it right and you’re often better off not doing it. Social media is only as effective as the right channel, right time, right audience. You’re more likely to do better on one channel than mediocre on several. Pick 1-5 networks and do an amazing job at the ones you choose. It’s okay to ignore certain channels and know that they’re not part of your strategy.

Remember that one person should not be doing this job, everyone should be responsible. Have your Product SME’s or CIOs that have a good personality lead the communications to humanize the brand and lend credibility.

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FYI, all registrants of the on demand version of 5 Keys to B2B Content Marketing Success will receive a full copy of the 2016 Content Marketing Report if you care to review it.