For business marketers, boosting the credibility and findability of B2B content for today’s digital-first customers is key — but where should B2B marketers begin?
Luckily, our CEO Lee Odden and the team at TopRank® Marketing have been working on solving these important marketing questions for many of the top B2B brands in the world.
As a result, we’ve shown how optimization delivers on both the findability and credibility fronts for today’s digital savvy B2B buyers.
Let’s take a look at six top B2B content marketing strategies that Lee has explored recently, to inform your 2022 marketing efforts and drive better results.
1 — What is the Role of SEO in B2B Marketing?
B2B purchases typically involve longer sales cycles with more time spent on research, often by a committee. Search engine optimization (SEO) can play a critical role in delivering answers to questions that buyers have and affect their awareness to purchase.
Virtually all forms of B2B content represent opportunities for optimization:
- Research reports
- White papers
- Case studies
- Press releases
- Product specification sheets
Each format has its only opportunities for optimization as well:
Google quality rater guidelines that are built around its expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T.) concept can play an important role for B2B content and optimization. The inclusion of credible internal and external industry experts’ knowledge and insight in B2B content can both help SEO efforts and build trust.
B2B marketers that use SEO data to both inspire content topics and select the right experts to co-create content with can make themselves the best answer for what B2B buyers are looking for. It’s key to optimize for both findability and credibility.
2 — What Are Some of the Best Content Marketing Strategies for B2B Businesses & Brands?
B2B brands that publish what they may consider great content often do so without considering buyer preferences, SEO, or without adding third-party credibility to their content initiatives. Simply publishing content certainly doesn’t make it great.
The best B2B content starts with understanding the nuances of buyer content preferences, including such areas as:
- Discovery: Keywords, publications, events, media, associations, and influencers
- Consumption: Text, image, video, and audio
- Action: Appropriate calls-to-action (CTAs) to download, begin a demo, register, or buy
Mapping the B2B buyer journey helps identify the kinds of topics and types of content formats that will resonate best during the buyer journey.
Developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) — much like a persona — that is based on data can help B2B marketers develop the right kind of content designed to attract, engage and convert with “best answer” content wherever buyers are looking, as we outline in further detail in “5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy.”
3 — How Can B2B Businesses & Brands Leverage Social Media for Their Business?
For B2B social engagement, companies that want to do business are doing business primarily on the LinkedIn (client) platform. B2B social can also include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, or anywhere buyers discover and engage. It’s important to always remember that B2Bs are comprised of people, too.
B2B brands effectively engage on social by collaborating with industry influencers to promote co-created brand content, cover events, and engage in activities such as Twitter chats, all to create value for the brand’s community in a credible way.
Beyond traditional digital marketing, B2B brands can leverage social media channels to build thought leadership, grow brand talent, share brand purpose and community involvement, and to go behind the scenes of the brand by utilizing more human-focused content.
Social selling is a hot topic for B2B brands, and tools including LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can be very effective for engaging with key decision makers and prospective clients.
4 — Which Channels Produce the Most Growth for B2B Businesses, & Which are Underrated?
Not all B2B brands or their customers are the same, so the answer to the right channels for the most growth depends on each particular brand and who they are trying to sell to. Generalized best practices are rarely the silver bullet marketers seek.
Two areas where we’re seeing a lot of growth for B2B companies include:
- Episodic or recurring live-stream video (plus recorded video shows)
Recurring content platforms build subscribers, community, and relationships.
Many B2B marketers may be tempted to over-rely on paid ads to drive traffic to content. Our take, however, is that content should always be optimized for findability in search and for trust by co-creating with relevant internal and external experts.
Explore this topic further in “7 Ways Influence Optimization Boosts the Findability and Credibility of B2B Content.”
5 — If You Want to Dive Into Your B2B Industry, Here Are 3 Ways To Conduct Industry Research
Industry research is one of the most effective investments a B2B brand can make. Data can be insightful and is also imminently promotable, fueling prime SEO opportunities, along with the ability to be used in public relations, thought leadership, content marketing, and demand generation objectives. Here are three related insights to consider.
- Conducting industry research can be formal, such as a broad-based survey that asks a relevant audience questions about important topics in the industry. In fact, we’re running a B2B survey now which you can find here.
- B2B industry surveys can also be informal, such as the weekly polls @TopRank posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. These questions are designed to engage the community and also collect data over time, which are then also used to inform relevant blog posts.
- A third way for B2B marketers to conduct industry research is through competitive analysis, third-party data, and analysis of the brand’s own web and social media data. Additionally, aggregating relevant research that other brands, organization, and industry associations have done can be useful.
6 — How Do Understanding a B2B Audience & Creating Personas Differ from B2C Audience Development & Understanding?
The task of understanding a B2C or B2B audience is in essence no different. However what marketers will find is that B2B buyers are often not merely individuals, but committees of people tasked with research and recommendations. As a result, individual personas aren’t always right for B2B.
Frequent, impulse B2C buying behaviors are different than the larger, more considered purchases found with B2B solutions. Therefore, there are different strategies for developing a B2B audience over a longer sales cycle of awareness, consideration, purchase.
With the growing use of account based marketing (AMB) in B2B, the development of ideal customer profiles are used to describe the characteristics of the best companies to sell to. Then personas can be created to target individuals at those companies.
If you’d like to talk with us directly about how to improve your own influencer, search, and content marketing performance as we have done for B2B brands ranging from Adobe to LinkedIn, please connect with us here.
Additionally, to learn more about the rising power of influence in B2B, watch our CEO Lee Odden in the comprehensive new webinar “How to Accelerate B2B Marketing Results by Working With Influencers,” and learn how to create greater marketing impact with influence.