What’s a surefire tactic to provide ammo for social media, grow your social following, boost organic search rankings, expand brand awareness and establish yourself as a leader in your industry? Well, the answer isn’t ‘eat pizza’, as much as I wish it was. The truth is, B2B content marketing is one of the fastest-growing marketing trends out there, especially for B2B marketers.
Implementing a content marketing strategy, mapping out goals and making changes to your current content marketing campaign can seem daunting, especially if you’ve been doing the same thing for years. This guide will lay out all the steps to master B2B marketing, citing the latest stats and case studies along the way. We’ll cover the top B2B content marketing tactics: social media and blogs. Initiate guide in 3…2…1…
For an effective B2B content marketing strategy, we recommend updating your blog weekly, aiming for 1,500 words (for SEO purposes), and sharing all blog updates on your social media accounts. Try branching out with your media types though; 76% of buyers say they would be willing to register for and share information about themselves in exchange for white papers. 63% would give information for eBooks and 79% would for webinars (Curata). We recommend testing these forms of content before investing too much time.
One of the most creative examples of storytelling that I’ve seen comes from Kickbox. The short story incorporates their product (a list managing software) into Santa’s list-making problems. It’s not only time-relevant (released at the end of November), but it also makes use of unique graphics throughout (see below). If you can think of a topic that’s particularly relevant, aligns with your brand’s political involvement, and matches your brand voice, you can create a story that will keep readers hooked until the very last word. Think about it: If you were researching an analytics company to employ for your soap business, a fun, humorous blog post that tells a story about their history is going to go over better than bullet points about the services offered. While both have their merit, storytelling is going to help you stand out from the competition. Effective storytelling should have a clear beginning/middle/end and sell your product. A good place to start is employee spotlights (they’ll share through their personal accounts and you’ll make them feel good about themselves) or a company history post. For effective B2B content marketing, you have to intrigue your reader.
Lists, Countdowns and Series
Lists can be a great way to give users a preview of what they’ll be consuming. They have an estimate of how long it will take them to read the post and how much information they’ll be getting out of it. In our blog post on 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Website Development Agency, we utilize page jumps to make it easier for readers to skip to a specific, numbered section. This is particularly important for longer blog posts. You can find jump code instructions here.
Countdowns are a great way to increase content marketing traffic, since we’re naturally curious creatures and finding answers intrigues us. As one Washington Post article put it “we can’t stand to not know how something is resolved…once a countdown starts, people are naturally interests in what the order will be”. If you’re a B2B company that sells social media marketing services, you might do a countdown on the 5 best social media accounts in a niche industry. Make sure the one you manage is #1 though!
Series are a great way to break up longer blog posts. If the first one hooks the reader, you better bet they’re going to stay tuned for parts 2 and 3. To keep readers engaged, you can add a button at the bottom to ‘get notified when the next part is released!’. You need to maintain a consistent theme throughout, promote the other parts, interlink within the articles, and hype up the series as something special on your social media accounts. We did this with our two-part series on ‘The Future of Digital Marketing’ (part 1 and part 2). Combining lists, countdowns and series can enhance your B2B content marketing strategy.
Reusing and recycling your content saves you time and resources. With the average blog post taking over three hours to write, you want to be sure you’re making the most of your time. It’s a tactic that’s already being used; 29% of leading marketers systematically reuse and repurpose content. Blog posts aren’t a ‘hit it and quit it’ kind of deal. This great post from Robbie Richards outlines how to get the most social interaction from your content and re-share posts without it looking repetitive. Robbie also happens to be one of the best B2B content marketers out there, so don’t be shy about taking his advice.
Go back and look at your blog posts from a year ago. Are there some best practices that have changed since then? Some stats that need updating? Add to these posts and make changes where needed, then share your ‘new and updated’ post on social media. You don’t even have to tell people that it’s reused! Recycling old content makes it seem as though you’re producing more than you actually are, and it allows Google to re-crawl and index your post (this can be done through Google Search Console). You can even turn your blog post into a video using Lumen5 or create an infographic using Canva. This is an especially useful tactic if you have information or updates you want to talk about but don’t have enough content to warrant a whole new blog post. You can include this info in a previous post that covers the same topic.
While not all social platforms are created equal in the B2B world (buyers prefer LinkedIn as the top social network for sharing business related content), we recommend every business maintains a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account for their B2B content marketing. The only other way for someone to find your blog is through organic traffic, a direct link (email) or an RSS Feed. Content marketing allows you to monetize on the ‘fly wheel effect’, wherein content promotion via social media results in more followers. More followers mean a larger audience for your content and more social shares. It’s a continuous cycle. Be sure to tag those who are mentioned in your post and those who you think could benefit from the read. According to our data, the best days to share on social media are….
- Facebook: Thursday-Friday; 1pm and 3pm
- Twitter: Monday-Friday; 12pm, 5pm, and 6pm
- LinkedIn: Tuesday-Thursday, 10am, 11am, 5pm and 6pm
- Instagram: Monday; 3pm and 4pm
Testing on Twitter
One of the ways you can test your content to see whether it’s worth the time investment for a blog post is by gauging reception on social media. With Twitter specifically, you can see which topics get the most shares, likes and impressions. See which hashtags get the most views and which accounts are eager to respond to/like blog posts that they’re mentioned in. Do some preliminary research to see how active these accounts are on Twitter before you feature them in a blog post. Twitter is better for testing than Facebook, because Facebook has basically eliminated organic search. And, with the possibility of a new ‘Explore’ tab, your social media post could be reaching an even smaller pool of people. If you don’t want to spend the money promoting content, you should gauge how well a topic performs on Twitter. Choose content that seems popular and go from there.
Social Share Buttons
As you can see, we’re modeling this feature on our own blog posts! The SumoMe share plug-in makes it easy for readers to share your post on social media and email. Readers can even schedule the post in Buffer! Best of all, it shows how many people have shared your post. For high-quality posts with a ton of shares, this spells good news. You have added validity that your stuff is worth sharing. Some articles even feature ‘click to tweet’ or ‘tweet this’ buttons to make quick tips shareable with one click. If you really want to expand your content marketing reach, you can do giveaways or promotions. Advertise that you can win a prize if you like, share, retweet or tag someone in the comments section. Though it’s an investment, this tactic can provide exponential brand exposure and engagement. For some Facebook giveaway case studies, check out this article.
Keeping Up with Trends
There are some great tools out there to keep up with trends for your B2B content marketing campaign. With BuzzSumo, you can access live updates on trending topics. This information is gathered from social media networks, and you can narrow the topic by your industry. Whether you want to add to the trending discussion or implement contrarian content marketing (taking the opposite stance to the prevailing opinion), you can utilize this tool to narrow your focus. Trending topics on Twitter can also be a good source. Add a stream to your Hootsuite dashboard and filter by keyword to see what others in your industry are discussing.
Bonus Tip: Include case studies somewhere on your site to boost legitimacy. Send out eNewsletters as well. Ninety-four percent of B2B businesses say email is their #1 form of sharing.
We would love to help you get started with your B2B content marketing campaign. Contact us! For more content marketing best practices, check out our guide for content marketing in Kansas City, content marketing case studies that should influence your campaign, and breakdown of what a content marketing agency does.