In one of my recent articles, I explained how you should better not position your company. This time I am on a constructive mission: in this article I will show you how to reach your target group as a B2B company with effective content marketing.
Table of Contents
Whom Do You Trust?
Imagine you are in search of an online marketing consultant for your company. You invite two candidates to get to know them and get a first impression.
Candidate #1 tells you for an hour that he is a great online marketer. He promises you enormous success in case of a cooperation. To technical questions he responds with mysterious hocus-pocus – you are not smarter afterwards than before the interview.
Candidate #2 first asks you what you want to achieve with online marketing. Who and how is your target group? Then, together with you, he develops initial approaches and ideas. He will answer technical questions in an understandable and confident manner. After the interview, you will have the impression that you have learned something and are already one step closer to your goal.
Which of These Candidates Do You Like Better?
Candidate #1 has intensively praised himself and contributed only little professional value. He missed an important opportunity: he did not prove his expertise and his ability/willingness to solve your problem.
You probably have more confidence in candidate #2. He has shown interest in you and your problem and has obviously answered technical questions competently. He seems to know something about his business!
Your prospective customers will also gain a first impression of your company. What does your marketing material, your website look like today? Does your target group recognize your competence at first sight?
Establish an Expert Image with B2B Content Marketing
Positioning is not a one-off effort, but a permanent process. How do you want to be perceived by your target group? Particularly as a medium-sized company with complex products that require explanation, you benefit from a clear positioning as an expert in your field. Your most important marketing task therefore is to prove your competence. And this is exactly what B2B Content Marketing is the perfect instrument for. The mission is:
We work on developing an expert image for our brand.
Serve Your Target Group with Relevant Content
Content Marketing is about content that is valuable and relevant to your target group. For many companies this means a major paradigm shift: content marketing is neither advertising nor self-promotion. It pursues a completely different goal – namely to serve the target group and serve them in the form of content.
B2B content marketing pursues the goal of serving your target group in the form of relevant content.
B2B Content Marketing: Content Types
The content can be made available to the target group in a variety of forms.
- Explanatory content presented in the form of blog posts
- Explainer videos
- Infographics and diagrams
- Whitepapers, studies, guides
- Books and e-books
- Wiki or FAQ on your website
I have gathered good experience especially with blog posts, explanatory films, graphics and checklists. However, depending on the topic and target group, other formats can also be suitable.
B2B Content Marketing: Examples
My B2B Platform Temperatur Profis is an example of content marketing in the industrial sector. I created the site in early 2018 to produce over 20 videos and explanatory content for and with my father. He works for a company that produces temperature sensors and has been generating multiple leads with the help of the platform. Another great example for B2B Content Marketing is this German Article by Trafag on pressure sensors. Also, the whitepapers and studies that big consultancies regularly publish on various topics can be put into the content marketing category. Here is an example from this sector: Study on the behavior of B2B purchasing managers.
Your Start into B2B Content Marketing
Now before you simply start generating content off the shelf, I recommend two steps. They give you important clues for your content marketing strategy and content creation.
1. Develop Buyer Persona
Up until now, you have probably worked with a simple target group definition like this:
We target buyers and technicians in medium-sized companies in the woodworking industry.
The disadvantage of this rather general description is that it does not represent individuals. This is exactly what makes the Buyer Persona concept different: a Buyer Persona is a fictitious character that you put together from typical characteristics of your customers. Let’s stick to the example of the woodworking industry. Here we would have at least two Buyer Persona that could look like this:
Marina, buyer in a furniture factory
- Background: Business studies or commercial apprenticeship
- Afraid of: supplier unable to deliver, production halt
- Goals: find reliable and affordable suppliers
- Challenges: Managing hundreds of suppliers
- Technical knowledge: average
- User of our product: no
- Use of media on the job: desktop computer, telephone
- Workplace: >50 % of working time at the desk
- Calm and diligent
Markus, production manager in a sawmill
- Background: carpenter, certified technician
- Fear of: Risk of injury to employees, production stop
- Goals: reproducible and consistent quality, increase in capacity
- Challenges: Recruitment of qualified personnel for the production
- Technical knowledge: high to very high
- User of our product: yes, he or one of his direct employees
- Use of media on the job: smartphone, laptop/tablet
- Workplace: >80 % on the road in production, only little at the desk
- rather impatient, always under pressure
You can already see now: Marina and Markus are both in your target group “woodworking companies” and yet they are very different. Accordingly different will probably be the questions they ask. These are differences you should be aware of also beyond content marketing. You should adapt your communication to the respective Buyer Persona.
2. Research Keywords and Talk to Customers
You will discover this in discussions with your customers. You can also brainstorm with your sales staff and collect the most typical questions from your customers. This often results in a really interesting overview and is a good inspiration for relevant content!
Another important source for relevant questions about your field of expertise are search engines. By means of a keyword research you can find out which terms users search for – and how often. Over 50% of the content I produce is inspired by such research.
Content Marketing Is No Advertising
Before you start creating content, please internalize once again: content marketing is not advertising. Its purpose is to convey knowledge and answer the questions of your target group. When you explain how pressure sensors work, that is informative content. However, if you present your portfolio of pressure sensors, then that is advertising. Your users will recognize that!
Do not abuse content marketing as an “advertising platform”. Instead, build identifiable bridges between informational content and, for example, product pages. Using the pressure sensor as an example, this is what it might look like: In a blog post, you explain in a completely neutral and ad-free manner how pressure sensors work. Next to or at the end of the article you point out that you offer such pressure sensors. It is important that this message is not the focus of the article!
Purchase Content from Third Parties
Buying content from third parties is quite common. One decisive advantage is the external view on your company and your product. Furthermore, “insiders” often tend to go too much into detail. An external copywriter can then effectively reduce the level of complexity. However, the cooperation will only bear fruit if your text source adequately explores your topic and your target group. After all, well founded and technically correct content is the basic ingredient for your expert image!