The Role of Content Marketing in B2B: Creating Value and Building Relationships

JTN Article

The Role of Content Marketing in B2B: Creating Value and Building Relationships


  1. Introduction: The Shift Towards Content Marketing in B2B
  2. The Content Marketing Framework: Key Elements for B2B Organizations
  3. Understanding the B2B Buyer: Personas and Journey
  4. Crafting Quality Content: Meeting B2B Buyer Needs
  5. Diverse Content Types: Exploring the B2B Content Spectrum
  6. SEO in Content Marketing: Driving Visibility and Traffic
  7. Social Media and Content Marketing: A Powerful Duo
  8. Email Marketing: A Critical Component of B2B Content Strategy
  9. Challenges and Solutions in B2B Content Marketing
  10. Conclusion: The Enduring Importance of Content Marketing in B2B

I. Introduction: The Shift Towards Content Marketing in B2B

Your B2B organization may have a fantastic product or service, but without having the right marketing, no one will know about it. In order to make sales, you need to help other businesses become aware of what you have to offer, understand why it’s valuable, and convert into paying customers.

Content marketing is a revolutionary marketing strategy that has changed the way B2B organizations communicate with their target audience. To stay competitive in today’s digital landscape, adopting a content marketing mindset isn’t just a good idea – it’s essential.

In this complete guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at how content marketing can help your B2B organization reach, attract, and retain customers like never before.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Content Marketing

So, what exactly is content marketing and how does it work? This type of marketing strategy puts its focus on providing value for the target audience by sharing high-quality content.

By creating and distributing content that’s helpful and informative to your buyers, your organization can gain their trust and ultimately win their business.

Content marketing can also make your current customers feel valued and understood, leading to a loyal customer base.

Some examples of the types of assets used in content marketing are:

  • Blogs
  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Newsletters
  • Whitepapers

The most important thing to consider when creating content for your target audience is how you can create value for them. What unique problems does your buyer have? What kind of content would be valuable to them as they try to find a solution?

These may be tricky questions to answer by yourself. When you work with an agency that’s experienced in content marketing, they’ll help you to get a clearer picture of your buyer’s needs and how to create valuable content.

The Shift from Traditional to Content Marketing in the B2B Space

In the past, B2B organizations relied solely on traditional marketing methods to bring in customers. If you wanted to get buyers aware of your product or service, you’d have to advertise on the radio or TV, publish a print ad, or do a whole lot of cold calling.

Traditional marketing strategies can yield results, but they also have some major flaws. Campaigns can end up being very expensive, and won’t always bring you the highest quality of leads.

You could think of traditional B2B marketing as casting a net in the ocean in the hopes that you’ll pull in some fish. You have to cast your net wide to ensure that you catch a worthwhile number of fish, and even then, you’ll find you’ve caught a few old boots in your net, too.

We’re living in a digital age, where life is increasingly lived online. This is significantly changing the way people behave, and that includes buyer behavior in the B2B space.

To show you what we mean by that, let’s look at some statistics:

  • 89% of B2B researchers use the Internet as part of their research process
  • During that research, they conduct an average of 12 searches before ever engaging on any organization’s site
  • B2B customers get through more than 70% of their decision-making process before deciding to speak with a sales rep

From this data, we can easily see that B2B customers today want to be in control of their buying experience. They want to find out all about how to solve their problem, without salespeople jumping on them along the way.

This is where B2B content marketing comes in. Your potential customers are looking for content that educates them on how to find a solution to their specific pain points. Imagine they stumble upon some really helpful information in the form of an e-book guide – and that they found it on your organization’s website.

Studies have shown that buyers strongly prefer to do business with an organization that has provided them with high-quality content.

In this example, your organization has found a new customer by developing an e-book and making it available online. It takes an initial investment of time and money to write and design that e-book, but once you have it, it’s going to bring in leads for years to come.

With content like this, you probably won’t be reeling in old boots in your net. That’s because the only people who download your e-book will be buyers who are interested in the solutions you’re able to provide.

The Benefits of Content Marketing in B2B

Adopting a content marketing strategy can help your organization succeed in a number of important ways. Let’s look at some of those potential benefits.

Build trust and credibility with your target audience

If a B2B researcher finds high-quality content on your website, they will begin to view your organization as trustworthy and legitimate. That will make them far more comfortable to make a purchase from you rather than from a competitor.

Establish industry expertise

Consistently distributing valuable content will grow your organization’s reputation as an industry expert. Buyers will start to come to your website for more helpful information in the future, thinking of you as a valuable resource.

Generate high-quality leads

Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, content marketing uses a hyper-targeted approach that ensures you’re reaching the right potential customers with the right content, at the right time. This strategy brings in well-qualified leads.

Enhance your visibility

Digital content has the potential to significantly expand your organization’s reach. A single educational infographic could potentially be shared on social media by thousands - even millions - of people in a day. This builds a great deal of brand awareness.

Drive organic traffic

Content marketing uses the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to attract traffic to your website. This results in a massive new pool of well-qualified leads, practically falling into your lap.

The digital world we now live in has transformed B2B marketing in powerful ways. To keep up with your competition, it’s important to adopt a content marketing strategy. This new type of marketing can help you connect with buyers in more effective ways than ever before.

II. The Content Marketing Framework: Key Elements for B2B Organizations

Content marketing can help with expanding your reach, building brand awareness, and generating better leads… With so many benefits to adopting a content marketing mindset, you’re probably eager to find out where to begin.

When you work with an agency that’s skilled in content marketing, they will help you strategize your marketing efforts in a way that’s uniquely beneficial to your organization. In this chapter, we’ll go over the most important elements that any good B2B content marketing strategy should take into account.

The Critical Elements of a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Having a clear, precise strategy in place for how your organization is going to market your products or services is essential. Here are the most important steps toward creating that strategy:

Define Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas

In order to successfully market yourself to your customers, you need to know who they are. Having clearly defined target audience and buyer personas will allow you to always have a clear image of who you’re marketing to.

Get Clear on Your Brand Story and Positioning

Who are you and what are you offering? Those are two essential questions to answer when you’re creating an effective content marketing strategy. This includes your organization’s history, mission, purpose, and values.

Set Clear Goals and Objectives

No one likes a person who just talks for the sake of talking. The same goes for B2B brands: don’t create content just for the sake of creating it. Set SMART goals for what you want the content to accomplish. Decide which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you are going to track in order to measure your success.

Conduct Thorough Keyword Research and SEO Analysis

In order to reach the right customers at the right times, it’s important to do your research when it comes to SEO. Targeting the right keywords for search engines will ensure that highly qualified leads will easily find your organization online.

Establish a Content Calendar

Your content marketing agency will work with you to put together a content calendar. This essential document will map out every stage of your content’s creation and distribution process, making it easy to visualize and plan ahead.

Allocate resources and a budget

Of course, high-quality content comes at a cost. How much will your advertising cost? What about your content team’s salaries? Creating a budget helps you lay out the costs of everything you’ll need so nothing comes as a surprise you can’t afford to pay for.

Why It’s Important To Have a Well-Defined Content Marketing Plan

Don’t fall into the trap of getting so excited that you start creating your content without a well-defined plan. There are a few important reasons why it’s crucial to have a solid content marketing plan in place. Here are some of them:

  • It ensures that your content is aligned with your goals and objectives. Depending on your organization’s specific goals, certain types of content are best to focus on developing and distributing. For example, if you want to get more email subscribers, a downloadable PDF checklist or guide would be a good idea.
  • It enables consistent and cohesive messaging. There’s nothing more offputting to a B2B buyer doing their research on your organization than to find conflicting information that you’ve posted on different channels or at different times. You can avoid this kind of oversight by having a clear content marketing plan in place.
  • It streamlines your content creation and distribution processes. Who’s doing what, and when? A clear plan will help you organize your content creation and distribution teams and their output, allowing your marketing efforts to be more efficient.
  • It provides a roadmap for measuring and evaluating your success. Your content marketing plan will outline how often you’ll take stock of how your progress. You’ll also have detailed guidelines for the tools you’re going to use to measure your success. Having this laid out will ensure that you notice what’s working and what’s not.
  • It enhances collaboration and accountability within the marketing team. Assigning every person on the team a set of responsibilities will make it easier for everyone to see where they fit into the bigger content marketing process. This will ensure that all team members are doing their job, and everyone’s working towards the goals your organization has set.

How To Create a Content Marketing Framework in 6 Steps

Ready to start planning everything out? Here’s what the process looks like for creating a content marketing framework, broken down into steps.

1. Write Out a List of Goals

The first step is to get your organization’s marketing team and stakeholders together to decide on your most important goals. Do you want to increase your online visibility? Drive more traffic to your website? Convert more of those visitors into prospects? Be sure to use the SMART method of goal setting.

2. Run a Content Audit

A content audit is a great way of figuring out how you’re doing with your content so far. If you’ve created and shared content online before, assess what worked well and what didn’t. You can repurpose the well-performing content and rethink the rest. This is also the time to consider where there are gaps and opportunities for creating new content.

3. Define Buyer Personas and Target Audience Segmentation

In the next chapter, we’ll teach you all about buyer personas and how to create them. This is an important part of your content marketing strategy that allows you to personalize content to appeal to the needs of your buyers at different stages of their journey.

4. Develop a Content Creation and Distribution Plan

Once you’ve gotten clear on your buyer personas and their pain points, it’s time to decide on topics for your content to focus on. Start with a very broad topic and narrow it down into sub-topics.

What kind of formats will your content be in? For example, if your target audience loves how-to videos, choose that as one of your formats. What channels will you publish your videos on? Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok could be options.

5. Create and Publish Your Content

It’s time to start creating and publishing your content. The content marketing agency you’re working with will create an editorial calendar for the content to be published on your website. Separately from that, they’ll create a social media content calendar.

6. Analyze Your Content’s Performance

When you work with a skilled content marketing agency, they’ll use analytics tools to measure how your content is doing. This will give you valuable insight into what content of yours is most effective so that you can focus on those types of content more in the future.

When you work hand-in-hand with a content marketing agency, they’ll make sure your organization has a well-defined content marketing framework in place. Having this will set expectations and guidelines for future success.

III: Understanding the B2B Buyer: Personas and Journey

Do you have a clear concept of who your buyer is? You could create and distribute content all day long, but if you don’t know who your potential customers are, your marketing will likely fall on deaf ears.

In this chapter, we’ll look at buyer personas and the buyer’s journey. These concepts are critical elements of any successful content marketing campaign, allowing you to target and personalize your messaging.

Creating and Using B2B Buyer Personas

Most organizations have a general idea of who their product or service is for. Buyer personas take it one step further. In a nutshell, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers.

Creating buyer personas will help you create content that will have maximum value for your target customers. What’s more, your content will be personalized just for them, so it will resonate with them. This builds a relationship of trust between your organization and your customers.

Gathering Data and Insights for Persona Development

In order to develop your buyer personas, the marketing agency you’re working with will conduct lots of audience research. They’ll look at your current and past customers to determine which of them were the most valuable for your organization to do business with. Then they’ll determine the characteristics that these buyers had in common.

Key Elements to Include in B2B Buyer Personas

It may sound a bit silly, but your buyer personas should have a name and even an image. This will help you bring them to mind more easily when making customer-centric marketing decisions.

Next, you’ll want to define the buyer persona’s industry, company size, and job title. What is this person’s role in the decision-making process?

Where does your buyer persona spend time online? What social media channels do they utilize most, and what online resources do they turn to when doing research? How do they prefer to communicate with other businesses?

It’s important to paint a picture of the buyer persona’s business objectives and goals. What’s making it difficult for them to achieve those goals? What are their pain points?

Defining your buyer persona’s emotional state is also a good idea. Are they stressed out from being so busy? Are they frustrated with their current business relationships?

Finally, what barriers would stand in the way of this buyer persona making the decision to make a final purchase from your organization?

The B2B Buyer’s Journey and Its Stages

The B2B buyer’s journey is the process your potential customers go through from when they first hear about you until their final purchase, and every step in between. Understanding the behavior and needs of these buyers at their specific moments in the decision-making process will allow you to deliver targeted messaging.

The B2B buyer’s journey has 3 distinct stages.

Stage 1: Awareness

The first stage in the buyer’s journey is when your potential customer is just becoming aware of your organization and the products or services you have to offer. They know that they have a challenge that their business is facing, but they’re still piecing together information about their problem.

In this stage, the buyer is doing a lot of research and their primary goal is to find trustworthy and helpful information. They want to get to the bottom of the problem they’re facing and give it a name.

It’s important to understand that when a buyer is in the awareness stage, they’re not ready to be sold to yet.

An example question they may be asking is, “How can we look more professional to our clients?”

Stage 2: Consideration

Now that the buyer has defined their issue clearly, they want to solutions to their problem. They start to research all of the possible methods for reaching their goal, including products and services that can help.

In the consideration stage, the buyer starts looking at different businesses and comparing them to see who seems to offer the best solution. They’ll be looking at features, benefits, and pricing.

In this stage, the buyer is still not ready to be sold to. They’re “just browsing”.

An example question they might be asking is, “How can we upgrade our office furniture without it costing a fortune?”

Stage 3: Decision

Now the buyer is in the final stage of their buyer’s journey and they’re clear on how they’d like to proceed. In the decision stage, the buyer will compile a list of possible vendors, narrow it down, and make their final purchase decision.

This is the stage when you want to encourage the buyer to make a purchase from your organization.

An example question they might be asking is, “Where can we rent office furniture and how much will it cost us?”

The Role of Content At Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

As you can see, the buyer has distinctly different goals in each stage of their buyer’s journey. For that reason, the content you choose to offer them in each stage should differ. Content should be carefully tailored to the questions your potential customer is asking in each stage.

Content for the Awareness Stage

When your potential customer is in the awareness stage, you want to provide content that educates and informs them. You also want your content to establish your organization as trustworthy experts in your industry.  Some examples of awareness stage content are:

  • How-to blog posts or listicles
  • Educational videos
  • Social media posts
  • Webinars
  • Infographics.

Content for the Consideration Stage

When the buyer is in the consideration stage, your goal should be to nurture them, develop a relationship, and gain their trust. Some examples of content to deliver in this stage of the buyer’s journey are:

  • Product comparison guides
  • Case studies
  • Calculators
  • Templates
  • Free samples

Content for the Decision Stage

Now the buyer is narrowing down which vendor to make a final purchase from, so you want to remove any hesitation in their mind about choosing your organization. Some examples of content to deliver in this stage are:

  • Free trial or live demo
  • Consultation offer
  • Coupon
  • FAQs
  • Customer testimonials
  • Limited time deals

Delivering content at the right moment determines how effective that content is going to be. Creating content with the different stages of the buyer’s journey in mind will ensure that you’re personalizing content to your buyer’s needs as they evolve.

IV. Crafting Quality Content: Meeting B2B Buyer Needs

What would content marketing be without great content? Crafting high-quality content for your target audience is essential if you want to establish expertise, build trust, and impress your potential customers.

In this chapter, we’ll look at how to better understand buyer needs and the importance of relevance and value in B2B content. In addition, we’ll share some content development strategies.

Identifying the Unique Needs and Preferences of B2B Buyers

In order to develop and deliver high-quality content, you need to have a clear idea of what your potential customers need and want. In order to get the most distinct picture possible of these needs and preferences, a bit of groundwork is required. Here are the steps you can take:

Conduct Market Research and Customer Interviews

Market research can give us a wider view of the landscape our buyers inhabit and the attitudes they have. There are a variety of types of market research your organization can utilize, including running focus groups, analyzing your competitors, and simply observing how target audience members interact with your product or service.

Another form of market research is customer interviews. In this method, you can have a natural conversation with a member of your target audience so that you can ask them specific questions about what’s important to them.

Analyzing Buyer Pain Points, Challenges, and Goals

There are a few highly effective methods you can use to identify the unique pain points of your target audience:

  • Online surveys: Engage with your target audience by asking them flat out about their experience with your organization and with your competitors
  • Social listening: Using social listening tools, you can monitor what your target audience is saying online about different brands, products and services
  • Live chat: Setting up live chat on your website can connect you with your target audience when they reach out to you with issues they’re having

Segmenting Your Target Audience

You don’t want to spend valuable time and resources on marketing to businesses that aren’t likely to buy your product or service. Target audience segmentation allows you to target distinct audiences by characteristics like company size, industry, geographic location, and buying behaviors.

Recognizing the Role of Different Stakeholders in the Buying Process

When you’re marketing to any given business, it’s likely that you’re actually going to be dealing with multiple stakeholders within that company. The typical B2B buying process involves 6 – 10 different decision-makers, each with their own unique needs.

It’s important to market your solution to multiple stakeholders. While a decision-maker in upper management will ask “How will this give us a strategic advantage”, the CEO will probably ask “What will the ROI be?”

Strategies for Developing Quality Content That Meets Buyer Needs

Let's take a look at some effective ways you can create content that speaks to your potential customer’s specific goals and pain points.

Align Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey

We’ve talked about how understanding the buyer’s journey can help you to deliver the right type of content to your target audience at the right times. Be sure that you’ve created high-quality content that caters to every stage of that journey, not just one of them.

Create Buyer-Centric Content

Great content puts the buyer’s needs first. Instead of simply promoting your organization and its products or services, create content that addresses your target audience’s pain points and shows how you can help them achieve their goals.

Showcase Your Expertise

Your content is your way of highlighting why your organization is better than your competitors. By sharing content that’s helpful and valuable to your potential clients, they’ll begin to see your organization as experts and develop a relationship of trust with you.

Utilize Storytelling Techniques

The most effective content makes an emotional impact on the buyer. How your organization makes your potential customers feel will have a huge effect on their willingness to do business with you. Tell your story in a way that resonates with your audience.

Incorporate Data-Driven Insights

Don’t make wild guesses as to what kind of content will be most effective in your B2B content marketing strategy. Instead, your marketing agency will help you use a data-driven approach to content creation, taking into account trends in your industry, competitor research, and SEO keyword research.

The Importance of Relevance and Value in B2B Content Creation

Highly effective content has two important characteristics: relevance and value. What do we mean when we say that?

The internet is a vast source of information, which makes it easy for B2B buyers to search for something they need online. The negative side of that, however, is that your content will be competing with lots of other content on the same topics.

To cut through the noise, you can focus on creating content that’s relevant to your target audience. Your ideal customer is out there searching for helpful information that specifically applies to them. They won’t even bother reading your content if it’s not created with them in mind.

Some ways you can create relevant, valuable content are:

  • Tailor content to your buyer personas and target industries
  • Deliver actionable advice and practical information
  • Demonstrate how their business will benefit from your products or services, and the potential ROI

V. Diverse Content Types: Exploring the B2B Content Spectrum

When you’re creating content to share with your audience, it’s a good idea to produce it in a variety of different formats. Just like diversifying a stock portfolio, your content marketing will have more chance of success when you diversify your content types.

In this chapter, we’ll cover the variety of formats content can come in and what they’re good for. We’ll also look at some case studies showcasing the effective use of different content types.

Different Content Types and Formats in B2B Marketing

Don’t throw all your eggs in one basket when it comes to content! Here are some of the most effective types of content used in B2B marketing:

  • Blog posts. High-quality blog content boosts your website’s SEO, allowing your organization to get found easier online by your target audience. Blog posts can also position your organization as industry experts.
  • Whitepapers. Whitepapers are filled with valuable insights that your buyers want, so they make a great lead magnet in exchange for email signups. In doing so, this type of content brings in qualified leads.
  • E-books. Offering a downloadable e-book is another effective lead magnet idea. You’ll generate high-quality leads while also showcasing your organization’s expertise.
  • Case studies. Case studies provide your potential customers with social proof. Hearing the benefits that other businesses have gained from your products or services, buyers can envision how it would improve their own business.
  • Infographics. This attractive content format is a good way of distributing data and facts in an easy-to-digest package. They get lots of social media shares and can be very beneficial to your SEO strategy.
  • Videos. Whether you’re creating how-to videos, product explainers, or interviews, videos are an effective format for presenting information that can be more engaging than the written word.
  • Webinars. Webinars are a powerful way to generate highly qualified leads who you can follow up with after the presentation.
  • Podcasts. Creating audio content is becoming increasingly popular as a uniquely engaging way of building brand awareness and industry authority.
  • Interactive content. Offering quizzes and calculators and other interactive forms of content on your website can significantly increase engagement and help you to personalize the buyer’s journey.
  • Social media content. If used correctly, social media content allows you to open conversations with your target audience in an authentic way, leading to increased engagement and brand awareness.
  • Email marketing and newsletters. Perhaps the most effective lead nurturing strategy for the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, email marketing content can gradually build a relationship of trust with your potential customers.

2 Examples of the Effective Use of Different Content Types

Ready for some inspiration? Let’s see how some smart B2B organizations are utilizing different types of content in their marketing strategy.

Example #1: Mailchimp – The Future of AI Report

In this example, marketing automation SAAS company Mailchimp uses a combination of social media and a landing page to offer compelling and insightful information to their target audience.

Mailchimp posted this bright and bold Instagram post with a headline including the words “The Future of AI Marketing”. Their target audience is digital marketers who are probably scrambling to find out how to integrate this new technology.

The Instagram post’s caption has a CTA to “download the report” by clicking on a link in their bio. When you do that, you’re taken to a landing page with compelling copy that encourages you to find out how to stay competitive with AI – by downloading this guide.

Click on “Download this guide” and you’re brought to a form asking for your name, email, and company name (which Mailchimp will, of course, add to their list of qualified leads).

Once you’ve submitted the form, you have the option to view the report in your browser, which is a nice convenient touch. Scroll further down the page and Mailchimp suggests more content of theirs that could be helpful to you: a case study and some blog posts.

When you check your email, you’ll find the report has been delivered to your inbox as well. As part of the email, Mailchimp encourages you to call them for help with AI tools that “fit into your marketing goals”.

Example #2: Semrush – Learning with Semrush

In our previous example, an email was the final piece of content that was delivered. In this second example, the campaign starts with an email. One month ago, one of our team members signed up for the email newsletter of Semrush, an SEO keyword tool. Today, when she checked her inbox, she found this email from Semrush.

Titled “Learning with Semrush” this email puts emphasis on the value it's providing her in the form of education. The email includes links to 3 different pieces of content: a free content strategy template, a video on creating a content plan, and a blog post.

Our team member clicked on the video link and was brought to YouTube to watch the video. When she reads the description below the video, she finds links to even more resources on the topic of content strategy, one of them being a “Content Marketer Starter Kit”.

The “starter kit” is, of course, more content that’s personalized to the needs of the target audience. It includes a workbook and three different sets of templates to help you with your content marketing strategy.

Maximizing the Impact of Diverse Content Types

Now that you’ve seen how effective it can be to utilize different types of content in your content marketing strategy, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your diverse content yields maximum results. These include:

  • Creating an editorial calendar to stay organized
  • Repurposing old content into new formats
  • Personalizing content for specific buyer segments
  • Experimenting with new and emerging content formats

When it comes to delivering diverse content, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how creative you can get. Don’t be afraid to try out different types of content in different combinations. You might discover some surprisingly effective strategies you can replicate in the future.

VI. SEO in Content Marketing: Driving Visibility and Traffic

As we’ve discussed in previous chapters, B2B buyers put in a lot of research online before making a final purchasing decision. The way they do their research is by using search engines like Google. The question is, how do you ensure that it’s your business that pops up in the search results?

That’s where SEO comes in. In this chapter, we’ll talk about how essential SEO is to succeeding in B2B today. We’ll share some strategies for creating SEO content and for analyzing its performance.

The Importance of SEO in B2B Content Marketing

SEO (or search engine optimization) is a strategy that increases your organization’s online visibility and drives traffic to your website organically. By optimizing the technical configuration of your website, building backlinks, and yes, publishing SEO content, you can improve your website’s ranking in search engines.

B2B buyers today want a self-serve buying experience, avoiding making any contact with an organization until they’ve done all the research themselves. If B2B organizations want to succeed in this landscape, they have to focus on influencing buyers during their research phase.

Strategies for Effectively Incorporating SEO Into Your Content Creation

So, how do you create content that will boost your website’s SEO? Here are the strategies that will help your organization rank higher in search engines.

Keyword Research and Optimization

Before you even begin creating content for your organization’s website, it’s crucial to conduct careful keyword research. Keywords are the words that buyers type into the search bar of Google, and they’re the compass you should follow when creating your content.

When you’re working with an agency that’s skilled in content marketing, they’ll use special tools for researching the exact keywords your organization should be targeting.

Once you’ve determined which keywords you want to rank for in search engines, SEO content writers can skillfully incorporate those keywords into your content in a way that sounds so natural you wouldn’t even know they were there.

On-Page Optimization

On-Page SEO means optimizing the pages of your website to rank higher on search engines. There are a few ways you can do this including:

  • Optimizing heading tags, URLs, and image alt tags
  • Improving page load speed (how fast pages on your website load for visitors)
  • Improving mobile responsiveness (whether your website can easily be viewed on mobile devices)
  • Structuring all of your website’s content with the appropriate headers and subheadings

Link-Building and Off-Page Optimization

Once you’ve got your website and your content optimized for search engines, there are also strategies for improving your SEO outside of your website. This is known as off-page optimization.

One of the most important factors that Google ranks websites by is high-quality backlinks. In other words, how many reputable websites have links to your content? When you’re first starting out online, the answer might be zero. But there are some ways you can improve that number. These methods include:

  • Guest blogging
  • Collaborating with influencers
  • Building a strong presence on social media

Tracking and Improving Your SEO Performance

Analytics are very important when it comes to SEO. You need to be constantly tracking the performance of your website, its individual pages, and blog content to ensure that it’s as effective as it can be.

Setting Up Website Analytics Tools

There are many tools that can provide insights into your organization’s Google search presence and keyword rankings. The most essential tools to set up are Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Google Search Console can measure your website’s traffic, monitor your keyword performance, and receive a helpful message when there’s an error on your site that’s affecting your SEO.

Google Analytics gives you insights into the behaviors of your website’s visitors. It can tell you where your visitors came from, what they looked at on your website, how engaged they were with your content, and (importantly) their conversion rates.

Tracking Keyword Rankings and Organic Search Traffic

Google Analytics, as well as popular SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush, allow you to track how your website is ranking on Google. These tools are able to not only tell you about your own website’s keyword rankings and organic search traffic, but those of your competitors as well. This can give you a leg up on the competition.

Analyzing User Behavior and Engagement Metrics

Being able to track and analyze the behavior of your website’s visitors can give you priceless insight into what’s working and what you need to improve.

Some important user behavior metrics to keep an eye on are:

  • Page views: How many visitors has a particular page had?
  • Time on page: How long do visitors spend looking at that page before leaving it?
  • Average session duration: How much time are visitors spending on your whole website?
  • Bounce rate: How many of your visitors exit your website after viewing just one page?
  • Top exit pages: What’s the last page your visitors viewed before they left your website?
  • Pages per session: How many pages of your website do visitors look at before exiting?
  • Page/scroll depth: How far down on a certain page do visitors scroll?

Some user engagement metrics that are important to track are:

  • Engagement rate: How often are your visitors fully engaged with your website (sessions that last more than 10 seconds, that have at least 2 page views, or that ended with a conversion)
  • Total active users: How many unique visitors engage with your website within a specific period of time?
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly active users (DAU, WAU, and MAU): How many unique visitors engaged with your website in a day, week, or month?

Monitoring Backlinks and Referral Traffic

Tools like SEMrush, Majestic, and Moz will allow you to analyze your backlinks. Simply enter your domain name and you’ll be shown how many backlinks are pointing to your website, the referring domains, and your top linked pages.

Using Data to Identify Optimization Opportunities

The data you draw from your SEO analytics may look overwhelming at first, but it will allow you to supercharge your content marketing strategy, showing you where your efforts are paying off and where there’s room for improvement.

Best Practices for SEO-Driven Content Marketing

Now that you’ve got a good idea of the importance of SEO and the strategies you can use to optimize your website, let’s look at the best practices for how to apply all this in your content marketing strategy.

Develop a Content Strategy That’s Aligned with Your SEO Goals

What goals do you have for SEO? If you’re not sure, the marketing agency you’re working with will be able to provide guidance toward setting effective goals. Some example goals are:

  • Increase organic traffic by X%
  • Increase visitor time on pages by X%
  • Reduce bounce rate by X%
  • Strengthen your domain authority score by X%
  • Get X amount of high-quality backlinks

Once you’re clear on your SEO goals, build a content strategy around them. For example, if one of your goals is to decrease your bounce rate, you’ll want to focus on re-formatting your content to be more visually appealing, adding clearer CTAs to your website copy, and rewriting your product descriptions to be more informative.

Focus on Creating High-Quality, Relevant Content That Matches Search Intent

There are many factors that Google ranks websites by, but there are 3 characteristics that high-ranking content should have:

  1. High-quality  
  2. Relevant
  3. Matching search intent

Publishing high-quality content is vital. That means not being tempted to “keyword-stuff” your content to where it's virtually unreadable. By all means, use keywords in your content, but also make sure that your content is engaging, unique, and well-written.

Search intent could be described as “what the user is looking for” when they type in a Google search query. Are they looking for answers to the pest problem in their office? Or perhaps they’re looking to immediately hire an exterminator.

While these are very similar search intents, the content either user would be looking for differs significantly. One user would want to find a helpful guide on how to deal with a bug infestation, while the other would want to find pricing and reviews for a local bug exterminator service.

Conduct Regular Content Audits and Updates

A content audit is when you take stock of all the content on your website and how it’s been performing. It gives you the opportunity to improve the low-performing content or expand on high-performing content. It’s a good idea to do a content audit every 6 months, which gives you enough time to collect a useful amount of data.

Keep Up with SEO Algorithm Changes and Industry Best Practices

Just when you think you’ve got a good understanding of Google’s algorithm, it will change. This makes it vitally necessary to stay in touch with industry trends and best practices. You can do this by reading trustworthy, reputable blogs or by taking certification courses online.

Balance SEO with User Experience and Quality Content

Creating content that’s valuable and engaging for your buyers is just as important as creating content that’s search engine optimized. These elements should go hand-in-hand rather than working against each other.

It’s no good having beautifully-written content that no one will ever discover on search engines. And it’s just as pointless having keyword-stuffed content that draws in traffic but puts visitors off quickly by being low-quality.

SEO is a strategy that can help your B2B organization drive organic traffic without having to pay for advertising. The content marketing agency you work with will be able to help you create a content strategy that aligns with your unique SEO needs and goals.

VII. Social Media and Content Marketing: A Powerful Duo

We’ve just talked about SEO as a vitally important part of your content marketing strategy. But not all your website’s traffic is going to find you by using a search engine. There’s another tactic that should be included in your strategy: social media.

4.9 billion people across the globe are using social media. This makes social media a vast pool of potential customers that you would be foolish to ignore. It’s no wonder 93% of B2B marketers list social media as one of their top five tactics.

In this chapter, we’ll look at how powerful social media can be when paired with content marketing, and how it can amplify the visibility of your content to reach new audiences towards increasing brand awareness.

Understanding the Relationship Between Social Media and Content Marketing

Social media marketing and content marketing are two separate things, aren’t they? Yes. However, when used in combination, these two types of marketing can be more effective than ever before.

Love it or hate it, social media is where people spend a lot of their lives these days. Having a social media presence allows you to reach B2B buyers where they’re spending their time – scrolling through their social feeds.

The Mutual Benefits of Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies

No matter how valuable and high-quality your content is, if no one is discovering it, it might as well not exist. When you strategically promote your content on social media, you make it accessible to buyers who are looking for the exact solutions you provide.

On the other hand, you can’t have a good social media marketing strategy without having great content to share with your audience. Your organization’s content is what will make you stand out on social platforms as experts in your industry.

Three Important Ways Social Media Can Compliment Your Content Strategy

Social media can boost the effectiveness of your content marketing by:

  • Expanding your content’s reach. When you share valuable content on social media, it starts to spread like wildfire. Users will share your content with their networks, allowing your content to be seen by people who wouldn’t be actively searching for you on Google.
  • Increasing engagement. Social media is your chance to connect with your target audience. Getting involved in communities and participating in conversations results in strong customer relationships.
  • Amplifying brand visibility. With effective social media marketing, you can reach millions of potential customers at a surprisingly low cost.

Strategies for Leveraging Social Media to Amplify Your Content’s Reach

Just having social media accounts for your organization is not enough. It’s important to have a good social media marketing strategy to drive results. Here are some effective strategies to leverage social media within your B2B content marketing strategy.

Build a Strong Social Media Presence and Following

Make sure your organization is staying active on its chosen social media channels. This means posting regularly. It helps to have a social media calendar to organize ahead of time what you’re going to post. To save you hours of time posting content, choose a social media scheduling software to do it for you.

Optimizing the content you share on social media with hashtags will allow it to reach users who aren’t already in your network. You can encourage people to follow you, simply by asking. Include a CTA at the end of your captions saying “Follow us for more valuable content!”.

Create Shareable and Engaging Social Media Content

When people find interesting and valuable content on social media, they’ll naturally want to share it with their network. Talk about the newest industry trends, make insightful observations, and share advice.

Short-form videos are a highly engaging type of content to post, because they’re captivating but don’t require too much time to watch. Posting beautiful images to support your captions can capture people’s attention.

Integrate Social Media Sharing Buttons into Your Content Assets

At the bottom of every blog post on your website, include a social media sharing button that will allow visitors to share the content on their own social feeds.

Be sure to let people know you’re active on social media. Include links to your social channels in your email signatures, on your website, and even on your business cards.

Develop a Content Distribution Plan for Social Media Platforms

You don’t want to just post anything to social media for the sake of posting. It’s important to plan ahead for what content you’re going to share and when you’re going to share it. To do this, build an editorial calendar and stick to it. Be sure to align your content distribution plan with your organization’s marketing goals.

Utilize Social Media Advertising and Targeting Options

Social media advertising lets you hyper-target your message to the right audience, so it’s a good idea to include paid ads as part of your social media strategy. By targeting a very specific audience, you’ll be able to create highly personalized campaigns that make an impact.

Engage with Your Audience

Open up conversations with your audience. This not only builds relationships with your potential customers, it also allows you to learn valuable information about them. Comment on posts, share great content you find, and involve yourself in discussions. However, be careful not to come across as spammy and self-promoting when you’re engaging.

Including social media marketing as part of your organization’s content marketing strategy ensures that your content gets seen, engaged with, and shared by a vast new audience. Social media advertising lets you go even further by hyper-targeting your ideal customers.

VIII. Email Marketing: A Critical Component of B2B Content Strategy

No B2B content marketing strategy would be complete without email marketing. According to Harvard Business Review, professionals check their email an average of 15 times a day, making it an ideal way of communicating with B2B buyers.

In this chapter, we’re going to cover email marketing: the benefits it can offer your marketing strategy, how to create engaging email marketing content, and how to personalize your messaging for better results.

The Role of Email Marketing within a B2B Content Strategy

Email marketing and B2B go perfectly together like peas in a pod. Here are some statistics that will convince you:

  • In one survey, 49% of B2B marketers rated email as the best channel for engaging their audience, and 48% of them rated it as the ultimate channel for driving conversions
  • In another study, 64% of B2B marketers said email marketing effectively helped them meet their business goals in 2021
  • The ROI of email marketing is a whopping $36 for every dollar spent

Nurturing Leads and Building Relationships

Perhaps the reason email is such an effective marketing strategy for B2B organizations is its ability to reach a target audience in an engaging and personalized way. Email marketing can help nurture your leads through their buyer’s journey by regular engagement.

Email marketing helps build strong customer relationships. Even after a customer has made a purchase from your organization, you can continue to offer them value and incentives to win their loyalty long-term.

Integrating Email Marketing with Your Other Content Channels

Email marketing can complement and strengthen your efforts in other areas of your content marketing strategy.

Think of email addresses like pure gold. Once you’ve got a lead’s email address, you can communicate with them forever. That’s why it’s important to encourage your website visitors to subscribe to your email list by offering lead magnets of high perceived value.

On your social media channels, you can turn your followers into email subscribers by promoting those lead magnets. In your emails, you can drive engagement by encouraging existing customers to share their experiences with your products or services on social media.

Best Practices for Creating Engaging and Effective Email Content

Let’s take a look at how your organization can ensure that your email marketing efforts yield significant results.

Build a Strong Email List and Gain Subscribers

When a potential customer visits your organization’s website or even follows you on social media, you still don’t have their contact information to continue a conversation. You should always try to get them to sign up for your email list. The good news is, you can use your existing content to give them value in return. For example:

  • “Download our free e-book now!”
  • “Sign up for our free webinar!”
  • “Get SEO tips and tricks delivered straight to your inbox!”

Craft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines and Preheader Text

The subject line and preview text of your marketing emails can be the deciding factor in whether your potential customers open them or send them straight to their trash folder. You’ve only got a moment to influence that decision, so make an enticing statement.

Design Visually Appealing and Mobile-Friendly Email Templates

There are numerous email marketing software options available today that allow you to quickly and easily design beautiful email templates without being a pro. Be sure that people can view the templates on their mobile devices, or your emails will come across as unprofessional.

Write Compelling and Concise Email Copy

People haven’t got all day to read a long email, so be sure that the copy of your marketing emails is clear and concise. That doesn’t mean you have to be boring or dry – far from it. The best email copy is compelling and engaging. By using power words and referring to the customer in the second person (“you”), your emails can make an emotional impact.

Incorporate Clear CTAs

What do you want your audience to do when they’ve read your email? For example, do you want them to head to your blog to check out a helpful blog post about 7 Ways a Cleaning Service Can Save Your Company Money, or do you want them to schedule a free consultation? Get clear on that yourself, then use a clear CTA (call to action) to tell the recipient what to do next.

A/B Test Email Content

Email marketing is a wonderful opportunity to conduct A/B testing in order to find the most effective ways of communicating with your audience. Email marketing software allows you to send two different versions of an email out to your audience to see which one performs best.

The Importance of Personalization and Segmentation in B2B Email Marketing

One of the best things about email marketing is that it allows you to easily segment your audience, ensuring that the messages you send out are personalized and relevant to the potential customers who receive them. You can segment your email subscriber list based on your buyer personas, or demographics.

Once you’ve segmented your audience, you can create email content that appeals to the specific needs and goals of each segment. Your audience will feel more valued and understood when they receive emails that resonate with them on a personal level.

You can even utilize behavioral data to create powerful marketing emails that speak directly to a segment of your audience. For example, if someone has been looking at waiting room furniture on your website, you could send them an email about waiting room furniture rather than just random products you offer.

It’s very simple, and highly effective, to personalize your emails with the first names of your potential customers. When you include a field for their first name on your email signup form, email marketing software can automatically apply first names to your email copy.

Email plays a big part in B2B content marketing. It’s an easy way to reach your target audience, nurture them through the buyer’s journey, and even continue a strong customer relationship after they’ve made a purchase.

IX. Challenges and Solutions in B2B Content Marketing

Content marketing can be very complex, and it helps to have the knowledge and expertise of an agency skilled in B2B content marketing to guide you through creating a strategy that works.

Some of the common challenges that B2B organizations face in their content marketing efforts can be easily solved with simple and effective strategies. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Lack of content strategy and planning. To keep your content from being inconsistent and disorganized, develop a comprehensive content strategy as your first step, and ensure it’s aligned with your business goals.
  • Limited resources and budget constraints. The content marketing agency you work with will help you to create an effective strategy that fits the amount of money and resources you can afford to invest.
  • Generating high-quality and engaging content. If you get stuck for ideas when it comes to content, you can repurpose old content or leverage content curation.
  • Ensuring consistent content creation and distribution. Implement a content calendar and editorial schedule so that you can map out consistent content.
  • Measuring content effectiveness and ROI. Be sure to begin your content marketing strategy by defining your KPIs (key performance indicators). When you know what these are, you can track your performance using analytics tools.
  • Keeping up with evolving industry trends and customer preferences. Staying up to date with content marketing requires continual learning. Subscribe to reputable blogs, listen to podcasts, and take online courses to ensure you’re always in the know.

B2B content marketing will always have challenges, but the important thing is to persevere, adapt, and continually improve your strategy. Learn from mistakes, replicate successes, and turn to your content marketing agency for actionable advice.

X. Conclusion: The Enduring Importance of Content Marketing in B2B

We hope that this guide gave you a valuable look at the role that content marketing plays in a B2B organization’s success. Content marketing has so many benefits that it would be foolish not to take advantage of, including:

  • Building brand awareness and authority in your industry
  • Generating high-quality leads
  • Nurturing customer relationships based on trust
  • Establishing thought leadership
  • Driving organic traffic
  • Improving search engine rankings
  • Boosting engagement and conversion rates
  • Addressing customer pain points
  • Providing value to your target audience

If you want to see effective results from your content marketing strategy, it’s vital to be willing to continually learn and adapt. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and with it, customer preferences. Be sure to stay in touch with industry trends and new technologies that change the way you can communicate with your target audience.

Utilize data that you pull from analytics when you’re making decisions about your content strategy. And if you want to get the most valuable data of all, ask your target audience about their needs and goals directly through surveys.

Content marketing is a long-term investment in the growth of your B2B organization. It will reimagine the way you communicate with your target audience, allowing you to provide value and build meaningful customer relationships.

The Role of Content Marketing in B2B: Creating Value and Building Relationships
Lucinda Moorefield

Lucinda is a Marketing Manager at JTN Group in London where she leads the Paid Social team. Outside of her work Lucinda plays sports on three continents and coaches and participates in international debating competitions. Learn more about JTN Group here.


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