Is your B2B content marketing stuck in a rut?
Maybe your team has been reliant on the same tactics. Maybe you’ve joined a new company and you’re determined to improve the content your company produces and its results.
Whatever the reason, sometimes we all need a refresh, so we can push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
In this post, we’ll explore 20 unique ways to take your B2B content marketing from basic (and boring) to advanced and ROI-generating.
B2B content marketing from basic to advanced
Before you dive in, you might be wondering...
What are the world’s best B2B content marketing teams doing that other companies aren’t?
Advanced content marketing isn’t just about hot new tactics. There’s something deeper going on.
What makes content marketing truly advanced is the ability to target potential customers directly, generate leads in a cost-effective way, and maximize the reach and revenue-generating capabilities of each piece of content.
The strategies and tactics employed simply support those goals.
What elements make a company’s B2B content marketing efforts “basic?”
Basic and ineffective content marketing looks like this:
- Lack of alignment between the target customer and the reader the content actually targets (often too beginner, or the wrong niche)
- Little to no content promotion and repurposing
- Little to no involvement in content from anyone in the company outside of the content marketing team
- No feedback loop with customers and target audience
- No way to measure results
What qualifies as “advanced” B2B content marketing?
Advanced and effective content marketing looks more like this:
- Complete alignment between the target customer and the actual target audience of the content
- Systematization of content promotion and repurposing
- Involvement in content from senior leaders, product team, and sales team as needed to provide strategic guidance and subject matter expertise
- Feedback loop from customers and target audience in terms of content engagement measurement, comments, surveys, and focus groups
- Monthly, quarterly, and annual KPIs and goal tracking
However, don’t assume you can pluck one of the below strategies and all of the sudden become an advanced B2B content marketing team.
You need to have the above fundamentals in place too, of course.
20 B2B content marketing strategies and tactics to swipe
Ready for some swoon-worthy inspiration?
Let’s check out what some of the world’s top B2B content marketing teams are up to as well as tools and strategies you can use.
While many of these strategies can be put into place by your content marketing team alone, some will require support from growth marketers.
1. Personalized nurture journeys based on behavior
One of the best ways to get better results from your content marketing efforts is to set up personalized nurture journeys.
Using a simple automation tool like GoSquared for example, you can nurture leads based on what actions they have taken on your website.
You can set up automated emails and on-site chat prompts that are customized to which assets have been downloaded, which pages have been viewed, how many times the user has been on your website and a whole lot more.
2. Fast hand-off of content leads to sales
Another important tenet of advanced B2B content marketing is the quick hand-off of leads to sales.
A tool like Drift can make this a reality. With Drift, leads can book a demo straight away, instead of downloading an asset with company information and waiting for a response.
By booking a demo quickly, you’re able to set the appointment when the lead is most interested. With the old way of forms and manual responses, you run the risk of your leads forgetting why they even filled out the form in the first place.
3. Meaningful employee advocacy
Many companies are trying to do employee advocacy, but not all of them are doing it well. Gong has several employees engaged in very active audience building and employee advocacy.
Basic employee advocacy means asking your employees to comment on the CEO’s post or to share links to their profiles even though they aren’t building an engaged audience. In essence, it means posting to crickets.
On the other hand, you can practice advanced employee advocacy by training your employees in audience building, growth, and engagement so that their company-related posts perform well.
4. Problem-solving content for key buying-cycle stages and audience segments
The worst type of content exists for its own sake.
It has no inspiration, no goals.
It was literally created just to fill in the content calendar.
Great content, like this post on Instagram for B2B content marketing teams (if we do say so ourselves), should seek to solve a problem.
It isn’t easy to build an engaged B2B audience on Instagram, and yet because it’s a platform with so many opportunities for brands, many B2B companies want to try their hand at it.
By creating content aimed at this problem, we’re able to attract our target audience and satisfy the needs of our existing customers.
5. YouTube SEO
Many B2B content teams are only creating content for search engines like Google and Bing. They’re completely ignoring another important search engine, YouTube.
But when we type in “what is a CRM” in YouTube, we get a video from Zoho with nearly 370k views and one from Salesforce with 660k views.
In reality, you don’t have to post to YouTube every week to get similar results. Even one SEO-focused video per month can offer great results in terms of brand awareness and new leads.
6. Google search traffic hacking
Forgive the use of the word “hacking”, but is there a better word for the strategy we’re discussing here?
Sure, you’ve seen “competitor” and “alternatives” blog posts, but have you written them yourself?
Blog posts that hack your competitors’ brand name can be enormously effective. When you can get them to rank on search engines, they often produce more leads and sign-ups than any other category of blog posts.
7. Content upgrades to gated assets
It can be hard to get downloads for generic assets. One strategy that works particularly well is to offer gated assets that act as upgrades to your blog content.
For example, in this blog post on finding property management leads, there’s a large image CTA for a free guide on growing a property management business.
While you may not be able to create a guide for each individual blog post, you should seek to have about 3 to 10 unique downloadables so that you can increase the relevancy of what you’re offering in your blogs.
Because the downloadable is super relevant to the post, it generates far more leads.
8. Tutorial-style case studies that benefit readers
Traditional case studies are really important for many B2B content marketers if they’re companies that serve enterprise clients.
However, B2B companies that serve small businesses can put off potential customers with case studies that are too formal and stuffy.
Instead, try making a tutorial-style case study blog post like this one from quiz software Interact.
In this example, we learn about a customer’s success with the product and the steps they took to get there.
This sort of content can help potential customers and existing customers alike get inspired to make use of your solution.
9. Practical gated assets like templates and calculators
Hubspot does a great job of making practical-use downloadables instead of just the traditional guides.
Check out their blog post templates, which is a gated asset bundle that is linked to many blog posts related to...you guessed it...writing blog posts. How meta.
Templates, calculators, example lookbooks, video tutorials, and other useful content tends to get downloaded more frequently than PDF guides.
Because these items save time for your target audience, instead of requiring them to spend time reading.
Regardless of if they become a customer or not, these items hold value.
(Hubspot also employs #7 on our list, because they typically offer a download that is very relevant to each blog post.)
10. Smart pop-ups that are based on user behavior
Poptin’s popups are smart and data-driven. This is why they’re so effective. They have tons of advanced triggers and targeting options, so you can ensure that the user experience will be tailored and as unobtrusive as possible.
For example, you can set a specific popup for a free trial after someone has visited 3 pages on your website. Or, you can also offer a free ebook download after someone has scrolled through 40% of your blog post.
By creating popups that are based on user behavior, you improve the user experience and your popup conversion rate, because they are more relevant to the individual.
11. Snackable product education
Another pro tip is to create bite-sized content about complicated things: your product, your industry, thought leadership, etc.
Clickup’s Instagram account features snackable product tips. In the center of their grid, they’ve got very short videos that explain a different feature each week.
You can use this strategy to educate potential customers and current customers about your features, or you could use it to dissect complicated industry-related content and thought leadership, such as AI in marketing or scaling company culture.
12. Digital PR for promotion and reach
Many small companies don’t have dedicated press professionals on staff. Instead, B2B content marketing teams often need to take some digital PR into their own hands.
You can pitch C-suite bylines to popular online news outlets and industry blogs. You can even write for blogs of companies in your industry, so long as they aren’t competitors of course.
Take these opportunities to link to gated assets or high converting blog posts that are proven to bring in leads.
13. Segmented retargeting ads
Being omnipresent means that you show up everywhere for your ideal audience.
While they’re going about their day reading recipes for street corn, there you are. In this example, LinkedIn is showing an ad targeted only to business owners.
You can also use your content categories to create segments for Google display ads.
For example, maybe you have beginner and advanced blog content. You’ll want the display ad to show a freebie download or offer that is best suited to their level.
You could also segment your retargeting audience based on their industry or user role.
Set up your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts to accurately target the right segments with the right offers.
14. Google search ads for high-converting assets
Do you run search ads to your best assets?
If you have downloadable assets that are known to convert well and deliver high-quality leads, then you should experiment with different ways of promoting them.
Collaborate with your growth marketing team to determine the best potential keyphrases for your highest-converting assets.
15. Facebook ad promotion for high-converting blog posts
You should also promote your high-converting blog posts: the ones that lead to the most email subscribers, asset downloads, lead forms, chatbot conversations, or free trial subscriptions.
Once you know which blog posts perform the best, try boosting them on Facebook or other advertising platforms.
16. SEO-driven glossary or library for valuable topic clusters
Google loves well-organized content.
Glossaries and libraries like this example from Hotjar are a great way to organize content on related keyword clusters.
Creating glossaries and libraries gives you a chance of ranking for high volume key phrases that would otherwise be too competitive.
You can reserve this strategy for keyphrases very closely related to your solution, or try it out for several keyphrase clusters on different topics.
17. Virtual events with cutting edge content that hits popular pain points
Many people bemoan virtual events. Aren’t they all boring?
They can be very effective for driving leads if you get one thing right: the content of course.
To attract the highest amount of qualified leads (translation: attendees) to your event, make sure that the content is cutting edge, can’t be found elsewhere, and solves problems.
This virtual summit from Usersnap took knowledge about scaling CX and qualitative feedback from the world’s leading brands and delivered it straight to attendees for a very affordable price.
Capturing and utilizing large amounts of qualitative feedback is notoriously complicated. By partnering up with companies who are doing it right, Usersnap solved this problem for potential customers and gained thousands of leads.
18. B2B content marketing partnerships
Content marketing partnerships are another underused strategy.
You can partner with brands and influencers in your industry to create guides, webinars, ebooks, events, and more.
Don’t just look for companies you can partner with. Consider individual consultants too. That’s what Privy did with their Ecommerce Marketing Handbook. They’ve partnered with e-commerce email marketing expert Val Geisler and other consultants and experts.
The great thing about working with people of influence is that they include your resource in their social media posts and marketing newsletters. Check out the below example from Val.
19. Proprietary research that gets picked up by journalists
Every year for four years in a row, Upwork releases their Future Workforce Report, which yields illuminating statistics on the growth of freelancing and the gig economy, as well as with how US businesses hire freelancers. From the survey results, the B2B content marketing team produces a press release, results deck, trends report, and infographic.
Their PR department sends the report to journalists and bloggers, and every year their statistics get tons of reach, visibility, and backlinks.
You might think that only a company with a massive budget could take this, but that’s not true. Examples from much smaller companies than Upwork include:
- Userpilot’s State of SaaS Product Onboarding, in which 1000 SaaS product trials or free plans were analyzed.
- TravelPerk’s How Innovative Companies Travel, in which business travel statistics from the company’s own customers were presented.
20. Incentivized backlink outreach that really works
It’s easy to write off backlinking outreach as unnecessary, obnoxious, and ineffective. But the truth is that the number of backlinks to an SEO page or post has a huge impact on whether it ranks or not.
However, backlink outreach is a lot of work. You need to research your prospects and email them. Seige Media recommends that you email 100 to 150 people for each post or page.
In this example from Chameleon, the writer says “To say thanks for making the change, we’ll plant a tree in the Amazon rainforest for mentioning our article, so you'll be making more than just one chameleon happy.”
In other words, the request for a backlink is incentivized.
Here are some smart ways to incentivize your prospects to link to your SEO-optimized blog posts and web pages:
- Donate to a charity of their choice if they place your backlink.
- Give them a free lifetime deal to your product if they place your backlink.
- Backlink to them from a guest post that you write on another website (so that the backlink exchange is indirect).
You won’t be able to tackle all of these strategies and tactics. Nor should you. Consider each one, its likely ROI, and how effectively your team could achieve it. Then choose the top ones to implement.
And don’t forget, there’s always room to grow. Save this list and come back to it.
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