11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

As the father of an 8-year-old boy, most of my disposable income is tied up in little plastic bricks. In my house, you’ll find thousands of them in bins, several elaborate sets on display, and a distressing number of the (razor-sharp) things underfoot.

I’m not complaining, really. I have as much fun building with them as he does. And as a marketer, having Lego around is a good reminder of the value of content marketing. Great content can drive marketing goals while providing something of real value to its target audience: The Lego Movie was a 90-minute commercial for Lego, but it was also entertaining and heartfelt. I laughed, I cried, I bought $ 100 worth of tie-in toys… everybody won.

Your B2B offering may not have that Lego coolness factor. The Industrial Turbine Movie is unlikely to score with critics or with audiences. But content can still help you build your business.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing, start with this guide to content marketing strategy. Then use the following tips as an advanced class to make your content even more valuable to your audience. And, most importantly, to connect that audience to your business goals.

10 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

#1: Find the Intersection of Brand Expertise and Customer Needs

The Venn diagram of what your brand wants to talk about and what your customers want to learn about is never going to be a perfect circle.

The value lies in the overlap of your brand’s knowledge and your customer’s questions. It doesn’t help anyone to write informed content on an irrelevant topic, or uninformed content on a relevant one. Find out where your Venn diagram overlaps and start there. Then add a unique angle—something your brand is uniquely qualified to bring to the table.

#2: Help Prospects Succeed at Their Jobs

Note that you’re not just addressing the intersection of your company’s solution and customers’ needs. If your only helpful advice is, “Buy our product, here’s how it solves your problem,” you’re not really serving the audience.

B2B marketers frequently hear, “This content doesn’t address our product’s features, so it’s not relevant.” But anything that helps your potential buyer do his or her job better is acutely relevant. Helpful content builds brand recognition, establishes trust, and leads to loyalty when it’s time to make a purchase.

#3: Start with a Single Channel

In his book Content, Inc., Joe Pulizzi suggests focusing on just one channel for publishing your content. Create a repository of content on your owned real estate, using organic and paid social to drive traffic back to your home turf. The end goal should be creating a destination for visitors, who can become subscribers and eventually customers.

#4: Beef up Your Core Content

Before you start filling out your editorial calendar, make sure your site has a bare minimum of useful static content. The most compelling, viral blog post can’t get business results if your site lacks some of these basic building blocks:

  • An “About” page with your company’s philosophy and mission statement
  • A product page that explains exactly what your offering is and does.
  • A differentiator page explaining why your offering is unique.

#5: Encourage C-Suite Thought Leadership

Make sure there is a variety of voices in your content. That means tapping internal subject matter experts, certainly. But it’s also worth encouraging executives to contribute to content as well. Your C-suite is influential both in your organization and in your industry. Help them see the real business value of thought leadership content in building an audience, accelerating sales cycles, and lifting brand recognition.

 

#6: Collaborate with Influencers (and Prospects)

We’re pretty sold on influencer marketing at TopRank Marketing, for at least a dozen reasons. Influencer co-created content helps you reach a wider audience, boosts your credibility, and helps build mutually beneficial influencer relationships, for starters.

Start seeing your prospects as influencers, too. The next time you’re creating an influencer asset, look to people working at your most valuable target companies. Promote their content, make contact, and ask them to share their expertise. Working together to make something cool is a great way to start a relationship.

#7: Set a Cadence of Quality

How often should you publish content? As often as you can without sacrificing quality. If you can publish in-depth, supremely useful, world-beating content every day, go for it. But it’s better to post one great piece of content a week than 7 mediocre ones.

Set a cadence you will be sure to keep up with, and publish regularly to get your audience in the habit of visiting your site.

 

#8: Plan a Full-Funnel Content Mix

It’s easy to focus on bottom-of-funnel content—the ultra-specific stuff designed to lead directly to a purchase decision—because that content is perceived as having the greatest effect on the bottom line. But if all your content is at the bottom of the funnel, you don’t have a funnel.

Plan to cultivate a healthy content balance that addresses every stage of your buyer’s journey. That means more top-of-funnel than bottom-of-funnel content, and middle-funnel content that connects research to purchase intent.

 

#9: Create a Variety of Content Types

Nothing against the venerable white paper, that staple of B2B content marketing, but modern buyers are looking for a little more variety. Spice up your content mix with infographics, short video, SlideShare presentations—anything that adds visual interest can make your content stand out from the crowd.

When your content plan has diversity in content type, funnel stage, and authorial voice, you’ll be far better equipped to make your site a destination for readers.

 

#10: Include Logical Next Steps

Building a business with content is all about laying out a journey your customer can take. Their path may loop, move backwards, or leap forward, but each piece of content should clearly point them to the next destination. Every asset should have at least one call to action, whether it’s to read a piece of content further down the funnel, download an asset, subscribe, or schedule a demo.

 

#11: Gate Assets Sparingly

A gated eBook is most B2B marketers’ go-to lead capture tool. It’s a fine tactic, and one that we regularly employ to great success. It’s important, though, to make sure you have a healthy portion of ungated content. And it’s vital that your gated content provide value that’s worth the customer giving up their contact information.

For the most part, save your gated content for middle and bottom-of-funnel content. Keep the content highly specific and targeted at those most ready to purchase, and you can pre-qualify your leads. Gating top-of-funnel content can lead to either a high influx of low-quality leads, or (more likely) precious few people making the conversion at all.

Lego of Your Fear and Start Creating Great Content

You don’t have to be a billion-dollar toy corporation to create content that moves people to take action. With these tips in mind, you can develop a relevant, dynamic, compelling content marketing mix. Superlative content gets results, whether you’re selling little plastic bricks or million-dollar cloud software solutions.

Need help building your content empire? Learn more about TopRank Marketing’s content marketing services.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | 11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Realigning Your SEO Strategy When Business Needs Change

Posted by Royh

Working as an SEO, it’s crucial that you’re ready to embrace changes in the SEO landscape, keep your finger on the pulse of Google’s updates, integrate and evaluate changes through on-site and off-site testing, build outreach campaigns, and all the other required tasks we love so much.

Implementing all of this successfully, though, is easier said than done. How exactly can you make sure that you’re focusing on quality traffic? And how do you even know that this traffic will help your brand grow? In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to pivot your SEO strategy according to the business’ needs.

1. Align your SEO strategy with the business strategy

SimilarWeb, the company I work for, decided to change their go-to-market strategy. Instead of targeting their current audience, their new vision was to target their enterprise audience.

This meant that, instead of targeting a broad audience, the goal is now a specific audience — complete with higher competition and less volume. In other words, it’s quality vs. quantity.

Thus, because our SEO efforts will now be focused on targeting those enterprise users, I need to adjust our SEO strategy accordingly to achieve the required conversions.

2. Work with the strategy/product marketing manager in your organization

Working closely with the product manager will help you generate a list of action items that need to be evaluated to better understand your organization’s long-term goals. Ideally, you should be concentrating on driving factors such as the vision of your company, the competitive landscape, the targeted audience, etc.

In particular, you should focus your marketing energy on researching and analyzing a few different things:

  • Geo – Understand which countries and languages are the most valuable to the product. This can be determined by analyzing the amount of sales, leads, and revenue potential.
  • Industries – The second step will be to define which industries you should focus on; it can be any industry, from e-commerce to insurance and beyond.
  • Audience/persona – Drill deep down into the marketplace to discover who your target audience is and exactly what it is they’re looking for.
  • Come up with a list of keyword groups/themes that you would like to target.
  • Update your knowledge of your competitors, and build a new competitive intelligence report that will not only include your main competitors, but also industry content leaders. This will offer new ideas and help you develop new strategies; there’s a great post by Aleyda about competitive analysis workflows that can help you develop your own.

3. Build new keyword research

After you’ve gathered all this information and you’re aligned with the new strategy of the company, it’s time to come up with a new keyword research strategy.

I would recommend starting with your updated list of competitors. Analyze how much traffic they’re getting and which keywords will be relevant in your new strategy.

My favorite tools for this:

  • SEMrush
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Sistrix
  • SimilarWeb

Here’s example of what that looks like in SimilarWeb Pro; you can see how much traffic the actual websites are getting per keyword, the ratio between organic and paid, the ranking position, and more:

Once you have the list of keywords your competitors are using, it’s vital that you use another keyword tool to generate additional ideas.

Moz Keyword Explorer is my favorite for this; not only does it unearth new angles for your keyword strategies, but it also helps you group these keywords into relevant groups to enhance their accessibility:

Grouping keywords by high lexical similarity

Next, filter all the relevant keywords from the list based on topic, relevancy, and volume.

Segment the keywords based on their probability of getting ranked. In the case of Keyword Explorer, you can do this by analyzing the Opportunity score. Additionally, you can examine the volume of the keywords and see what their current ranking in the SERP is.

Now you have that big, exciting list of keywords organized by groups, volume, and opportunity, it’s time to start keyword mapping to get those keywords into your site pages. Make sure that all your site pages integrate the new keywords into titles, descriptions, H1s, H2s, etc. If you need help with building the keyword/content mapping, you should watch this Whiteboard Friday from Rand.

4. Focus on relevant traffic

In the past, there have been many assumptions made about SEO rankings. The most common assumption: get more traffic to your site and you’ll improve your rankings. However, as I’ll now discuss, good SEO shows us that this is far from the truth.

Improving the quality of your traffic will help improve your rankings

At SimilarWeb, we decided to remove most of the irrelevant traffic to our site (around 40%) from the total SEO traffic.

Here are some reasons that led us to remove low-quality traffic from the index. Irrelevant traffic…

  1. Provides 0% value to the business in terms of leads/sales
  2. Has a high bounce rate
  3. Results in low pageviews per user
  4. Indicates content that’s not relevant to the business. Google’s purpose is to complete the searcher’s task and provide the best result for their query, so if you have content on your site that’s not performing well in terms of ranking, CTR, bounce rate, time on the page, and so on, you should consider rewriting it or removing it from the index.

You can see our own results here, which clearly show a significant increase in all the engagement stats:

  • Bounce rate was reduced by 42%
  • Pageviews per session increased by 34%
  • Time on site increased by 65%

Final thoughts

Changes in a company’s strategy can present a fantastic opportunity for SEO managers to review the current status of their SEO efforts. And, by identifying what is and isn’t working, you’ll arm yourself with the knowledge required to build a new strategy which will attract not just traffic, but relevant users who have a higher probability to convert.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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