Here we are more than two decades into the 2000s, though Bad B2B content marketing still exists.
Digital content marketing has been around for at least 10 years, but some businesses still make basic mistakes that ruin their potential for results.
It’s a shame because most content marketers (71%) will tell you that the content has only been converted to month important over time.
Advertisements are easily ignored by most buyers and actively search for content to help them make purchasing decisions (70% of buyers read at least 3-5 pieces of content before talking to a salesperson).
Indeed, companies that do B2B content marketing well have a giant competitive advantage.
So what does the right way look like?
Let’s explore both sides of the coin so you can see exactly how to do content marketing the right way.
First: The wrong way to do B2B content marketing
The only way to learn the right way to do content marketing is to understand it bad way, first Here are six major no-nos.
1. Not creating a content marketing strategy
This is the biggest sin of content marketing.
If you lack a strategy, you cannot expect consistent results. (A content strategy is a plan that defines how you will create, publish, distribute and promote content to grow your brand.)
Of course, one of your shots may fall. Maybe create an attention-grabbing blog post. Maybe your website traffic will increase for a week. You might win some hints.
But that will mostly come down to luck. And it won’t last because you won’t have a plan that keeps your content consistent in quality, frequency, look, and impact.
You need more than luck if you expect your content marketing to help grow your business over time. You need an action plan. You must create content from a place of anticipating and meeting user needs.
To be effective in the long term, Content marketing cannot be reactive or ad hoc. Instead, it must be proactive and strategic.
If content marketing is the vehicle, then content strategy is the engine. You can’t run your way to results without it.
2. Not focusing on your target audience and customers
Many companies start content marketing thinking about themselves first. What could they share? They brainstorm about topics based on what is important to them and what they know.
What they don’t realize: Your content should never be inward-focused. It doesn’t matter what you want or what the brand wants.
The vital step is to turn outwards. What does the public want? What is important to them? How does that intersect with what you sell?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, this is a big problem that you can only rectify audience research – especially speaking directly to your potential customers.
Unfortunately, most companies make the mistake don’t talk to your customers:
You have a completely different set of concerns and needs compared to your audience. You can’t expect to understand their perspective out of hand. These are guesses.
Bottom line: Don’t rely on your assumptions about your audience. Don’t guess what’s important to them. And don’t make the mistake of writing only about what you care about when creating content.
3. Selling versus helping
Imagine this scenario:
You have a question that only Google can answer. Check out the search engine. The top result looks promising like it might have the exact information you need. You click.
You can’t read more than the headline because your screen is immediately swallowed by a pop-up asking you to subscribe. “But I haven’t read anything yet!” you think for yourself
You click on the pop-up and start scrolling, but there’s an ad below the first paragraph, and in the next section, the company blandly talks about itself and its service.
Where is the information you were promised?
“I can,” you think. Click on the “X”.
This is a good example of selling versus helping in content – a big no-no.
Remember, readers don’t come to your content to read a sales pitch. They are looking for information: answers, tips, facts, help, data.
Giving them what they need is one of the main ways to build trust with them, which will lead to bigger gains if you do it consistently over and over again.
Content marketing is never about selling. It is about help above all.
4. Not promoting your content
If you post a blog and don’t promote it, does it really exist?
No. Because this blog will have no traffic if no one knows about it. And content with zero traffic is worthless.
You need people reading your content to see the benefits of content marketing. And you’ll have a much better chance of that happening if you promote it.
This doesn’t have to be fancy. Post it on social media. Send an email letting your subscribers know.
Never post something just to drop it on your website. Make sure people know it’s there so they can read it, use it, love it, and ultimately come closer to your brand because of it.
5. Not optimizing the content for search
You can’t do content marketing without SEO. And you can’t do SEO without content marketing.
They work together symbiotically in a beautiful balance.
This also means that trying to do one without the other is asking for failure.
Let’s put it this way:
Good content is useful, solves problems and builds trust with your potential customers. Good SEO ensures that people searching for your keywords can discover your content in search engines. following SEO rules it also improves the quality of your content and the user experience on your website.
If you’re going to do B2B content marketing, don’t leave home without well-optimized SEO and content.
6. Expect immediate results
One of the biggest problems you can make with B2B content marketing is giving up too soon.
On average, it can take six months to a year to start seeing results.
This timeframe will change based on the size of your business, your goals and your strategy. But in all cases, content marketing doesn’t work overnight or instantly.
It’s a slow burn to success. But once you start seeing results, they should compounded over time.
That’s because the great content you published a week ago, a month ago, and a year ago will continue to generate traffic and leads long after its initial publication date. As long as you are strategic, your B2B content marketing will be sustainable.
But you have to be patient to wait for that ROI (return on investment) to start showing up.
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The right way to do B2B content marketing: 5 examples
B2B content marketing done right looks like these five examples. Study these brands and their content to see the light.
Give the people what they want: Grammatically
Grammarly knows its audience and creates blog topics that match the questions they ask Google.
That means the brand is no create posts like “the best editing app for your business” or “why you need an editing app”.
For example, this blog about how to write collaboratively speak to professionals and students, Grammarly’s target audience. This is a topic they struggle with, especially in our world of remote work and Zoom meetings.
Grammarly also creates content to answer common grammar questions that people search for, such as “when to use more than than” or “when to use who vs. who.” Grammarly focuses outwardly on what its target audience needs and wants from its content.
Consistency is important: Orbit Media
A regular cadence of content going out to your blog is important for consistency, but so is updating old content to keep it fresh and relevant.
Orbit Media does well with theirs blog pollwhich they update with new data and knowledge every year.
Note that this is also a full update. They sent out the survey, collated and collated the responses, and analyzed them for insights every year since 2014. They then rewrote the post and updated the charts. Now that’s consistent.
Optimization Winner: Zapier
To see a winning combination of content + SEO, take a look Zapier.
Zapier makes automation software, but they’re classified by terms like “best to-do lists” and “AI image generator.” How? Because?
Zapier integrates with apps like these. This is how they make relevant content for seemingly random keywords.
However, the point is that it works: the company ranks highly for these keywords and gets almost 1 million monthly traffic, as this case study shows.
Help or sell: LendingClub
LendingClub offers customers personal and business loans, banking and investment services. Theirs blog content is a good example of helping versus selling.
The emphasis is on education, and when services are mentioned, it is discreet and relevant to the topic at hand.
A B2B content marketing giant: HubSpot
HubSpot is a giant in its industry for many reasons, but one of the biggest is content marketing.
With a broad, robust and consistent blog that produces targeted, high-quality content, as well as a strategy that captures subscribers and leads with “content updates”, it’s no wonder this brand attracts more than six million people to its website annually. (This Sumo report shows how amazing HubSpot’s success is.)
It’s time to do B2B content marketing the right way
If you want to see the kinds of results that top B2B brands are enjoying with content marketing, you know it’s not out of reach.
What should you do most of all?
Content marketing requires the highest level of commitment to work.
You have to be committed to a strategy, committed to your audience, committed to quality, and committed to being patient while you wait for the ROI.
But this commitment is worth it because content marketing is profitable, affordable, sustainable and what customers want to see from brands.
You just have to do it the right way.
The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.