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How to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy (and Why You Need One)

Reading time: 8 minutes
Papers and a phone laying across a table, a hand holding a highlighter over the papers

"We now understand the power of what content can do."

That's a consistent revelation among business-to-business (B2B) content marketers who were consulted for Content Marketing Institute's B2B Content Marketing Insights for 2022.

The pandemic pushed B2B content marketing to the forefront of marketing communication, and companies are now cognizant of the role that valuable content plays in lead generation.

But you can't just start aimlessly churning out content and see where it sticks. Your business needs to develop a comprehensive approach to this type of marketing campaign.

To create an effective B2B content marketing strategy, you should understand what makes it different from a B2B content strategy, why it’s important, how to create an actionable plan, the common goals, how to write a piece of content, and what to do if you need help. The following topics will be covered.

  • What Is a B2B Content Strategy?

  • What Is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?

  • Why Is Content Marketing Important for B2B?

  • How Do You Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?

  • Common B2B Content Marketing Goals

  • Tips for B2B Content Writing

  • Writing a B2B Content Marketing White Paper

  • Finding a B2B Content Marketing Agency

First, let’s clarify the difference between a B2B content marketing strategy and a B2B content strategy.

What Is a B2B Content Strategy?

A B2B content strategy is the overall plan for your content that answers who, what, where, when, how, and why.

  • Who will create the content?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What types of content will be created?

  • What types of actions do you want customers to take?

  • Where will the content be published?

  • When will it be published?

  • How will the content be promoted?

  • How will the customers find it?

  • How will you maintain brand style across different content platforms?

  • Why are you creating this content?

A B2B content strategist outlines the objectives, guidelines, and delivery of content to attract engage, and delight customers. They build a blueprint by setting goals, building customer journeys, choosing the right content types, defining distribution and promotion channels, and creating an editorial calendar.

What Is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?

A B2B content marketing strategy is a component of your B2B content strategy that focuses on the approach to generating and distributing content. This initiative is more specific in terms of assets and processes.

Post-it notes pinned to a board
  • Developing buyer personas

  • Brainstorming topics

  • Producing quality content

  • Promoting material

  • Analyzing results

  • Making adjustments

A B2B content marketer plans, creates, and shares content to meet goals such as increasing brand awareness, organic traffic, high-quality leads, and sales. They support the long-term objectives of the business by giving customers valuable information through blogs, case studies, white papers, and more.

Why Is Content Marketing Important for B2B?

Content marketing is the foundation of an inbound marketing strategy. It draws customers who need your product or service to your business by addressing their concerns and solving their problems. Content marketing builds your audience’s trust and helps your website rank higher in search results. It reduces cost per lead and can be used across multiple channels.

Content marketing is especially important for B2B businesses because companies need to form relationships before they can work together. Your target B2B brands may have several decision-makers who take time to evaluate products and services to determine value. B2B content marketing can help them view your company as an authority and confidante.

How Do You Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?

Developing and executing a successful B2B content marketing strategy will help you connect with your customers and grow your business. Follow these nine steps to create your plan.

1. Set SMART goals

What are you hoping to achieve with your content? Are there certain keywords you want to rank for? Do you want to target all stages of the funnel or certain levels of the buyer’s journey? Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) that reflect your objectives and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress.

2. Know your audience

A whiteboard with the word "Audience" written on it and arrows pointing to it
Who's going to consume your content? What do they care about? What keeps them up at night? Assess the demographics of your current customers regarding age, gender, education, and income. Inquire about their most urgent needs and how they feel about your existing content. Gathering all of this information will allow you to create personas you can speak to directly when creating new content.
3. Research competitors

What’s the competition doing? How does your product or service compare? What could you do better? Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses so you can zero in on what really sets your business apart. That’s your unique selling proposition (USP). Use it to explain to customers why they should choose your business over the competition.

4. Assess existing content

How much content do you already have? How well is it performing? What are you missing? Performing a content audit can show you what’s effective, what needs to be improved or updated, and what should be removed or replaced. You can also identify gaps that new content could fill. Look for keywords related to your product or service that you’re not targeting. Find out which questions customers are asking that you haven't answered.

5. Brainstorm topics

What do customers want to know more about? What are their pain points? Is there a common theme? Talk to your sales team about the most popular customer questions. Use that information to come up with as many content ideas as you can think of, then narrow down the list through keyword research. Choose topics based on what potential customers are actually searching for as well as their intent.

6. Choose content types

Which content formats are best suited for your audience? Which types will give you the results you want? Should you gate your content? There are many ways to deliver information to your customers such as blogs, case studies, eBooks, white papers, social media posts, email marketing, webinars, infographics, and podcasts. Research each one’s purpose and how they fit into the stage of the buyer’s journey to choose which ones to implement.

7. Develop creation process

Who’s responsible for creating content? When will the pieces be done? How often do you want content to be created? Assign tasks, create a content calendar, and establish consistency in production. Determine whether you’ll use marketing tools and resources you have in-house, hire a person or a team of creators, or outsource the work to freelancers or an agency.

8. Promote content

Where can customers find your content? Do they visit social media sites like LinkedIn? Which channels are best for your content types? Deploy search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to help customers discover your content organically. Use an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to find social media platforms where your content is shared. Set up a schedule to develop posting habits. Look into paid advertising and email marketing as well.

9. Measure results

How is your content performing? Are you hitting your SMART goals? What needs to change? Now’s the time to look at those KPIs you established in the beginning so you can measure your progress. Metrics such as views, read times, and conversion rates can let you know what’s working and what’s not. Keep monitoring results at regular intervals so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Common B2B Content Marketing Goals

Whether you already know your objectives or don’t know where to start, here are some common goals that can help shape your B2B content marketing strategy.

  • Brand awareness—share expertise and knowledge to reach an unfamiliar audience

  • Traffic—use valuable and relevant content to bring more visitors to your website

  • Thought leadership—position your brand as a thought leader in your industry

  • Removing roadblocks—address customer objections and erase doubt

  • Lead generation—gather information to move customers into the sales funnel

  • Lead conversion/upsell—strengthen customer relationships of trust

  • Customer engagement—develop personal bonds with your customers

  • Brand loyalty—nurture customer relationships and stay top-of-mind

  • Customer education—answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) and solve problems

  • Talent recruitment—show potential employees what your brand is all about

This list of goals touches every point in the buyer’s journey; however, it’s difficult to focus on all of them at once. Pick your main goal and a few secondary goals that best meet your needs at the moment.

Tips for B2B Content Writing

Just because you're writing for B2B buyers doesn't mean your content has to be boring. You’re still talking to humans—they're just making purchase decisions for a business instead of themselves. That being said, B2B content can’t be all fun and games. You need to offer substance to convey authority. Fortunately, there are ways to share valuable information with B2B companies in an engaging manner.

Two hands pointing at an open laptop screen
Everyone’s busy, but it seems B2B decision-makers have a lot more on their plates. Simplify their lives by making great content that's easy to read, remember, and redistribute. Write in a conversational style while using your brand’s tone. Catch (and hold) your B2B customers’ attention with a little humor and a few short stories. Be clear, concise, and professional. Give them a takeaway they’ll want to pass along to their colleagues. Don’t waste their time.

Writing a B2B Content Marketing White Paper

You may want to incorporate white papers as part of your content marketing strategy if you’re trying to establish your brand's expertise. A white paper is a long-form, detailed report on a complex issue that presents a solution. White papers can help your content marketing strategy by expanding your reach and making you more discoverable in online searches.

To get started, pick a common problem in your industry that your brand can solve in a unique way. Develop an outline that includes an introduction, challenge, solution, and summary. Do your research, back up your claims with statistics and data, and cite your sources. Create visual appeal by breaking up the text, using white space, and bolding important details. Make your white paper stand out with a catchy title.

Finding a B2B Content Marketing Agency

Once you understand the importance of having a B2B content marketing strategy, you may have difficulty finding the resources to devote to your B2B content marketing efforts.

Enlist the help of a digital marketing agency like O8! We offer content marketing services to help you gain loyal customers through data-backed, customer-centered content creation.

Talk to a member of our content marketing team today about ways to generate authentic interest in your business with solutions for your customer's needs. Start developing a greater digital marketing strategy for your content to thrive today.

About Karen Pomazal

Karen Pomazal is a collaborative and results-driven marketing leader with a demonstrated track record in digital marketing, marketing strategy, branding, thought leadership, content strategy, social media strategy, and content development. Karen has earned multiple national awards for writing and video content. Before joining O8, Karen led an in-house integrated marketing team that achieved record lead generation and new client generation, loyalty and profitability, grew inbound business from $0 to $1 million, and accomplished 20% year-over-year business growth for 6 years. She has also run...
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At O8, a global digital agency based in Minneapolis, MN, USA, we specialize in delivering measurable growth on demand for marketing and sales teams. We pride ourselves on our transparency, agility, and deep technical expertise. In a world that's often stressful and chaotic, we offer experienced, actionable guidance to help you achieve your goals. Our approach is professional, clear, and authentic, ensuring you receive customized, data-driven solutions that drive results.