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Marketing

The new B2B

content marketing guide for 2021

Discover actionable B2B content marketing strategies designed to generate demand and convert leads in 2021.

21 January 2021

Andy Gaylord

Senior Content marketing manager

In 2021, content marketing is one of the primary ways​ for B2B companies to generate demand, convert leads, and increase sales.

The problem is, B2B content marketing isn’t as easy as writing blog posts and watching the leads pour in. Because the B2B sales cycle is personalized and complex, you need specific forms of customized content for each phase of the customer journey.

In this guide, we’ll take a close look at actionable B2B content marketing strategies for 2021.​ Let’s begin by diving into the current state of B2B content marketing.

What is B2B content marketing in 2021?

B2B content marketing uses digital content to gain brand recognition, expand your audience, generate demand, drive more leads, and convert sales. When marketing to businesses, you must place impactful content in front of decision-makers.

With fewer industry events and limited in-person interaction, digital content marketing is more important than ever. It’s important to keep your audience in mind at all times.

This evolving audience is busy and has high standards. They’re on their mobile phones more than their computers and they’re being hit hard by your competition. Your content must be instantly compelling, mobile-friendly, reflect your brand effectively, and targeted to specific personas.

In short, B2B content should be:

- Branded
- Targeted
- Useful

- Personalized
- Visually-engaging

- Mobile-ready
- Easily shared

Now that we’ve established a standard for B2B content, let’s take action. This starts with prioritizing your brand, personalizing content to your target audience, and effectively distributing content where it matters most.

Begin with your brand

Brand recognition should be the first goal of every B2B content marketing strategy. But brand content is often put off and brand inconsistency plagues large enterprises.

Before you begin creating content, it’s important to establish brand standards.​ This includes your logo, brand voice, color palette, typography, and photographic style. Make sure all stakeholders are on the same page and your brand voice fits your intended market.

Once you’ve established your brand, incorporate this standard into your content management system. Ensure every kind of content your company produces is on-brand and reflects your business positively.

Refine your brand content:

- Make sure your primary websites reflect your expertise with consistent messaging and design.

- Update all of your social media and email templates with your brand style.

- Add consistent branding to all of your sales content.

- Design for engagement using rich media, like videos and infographics, that expands your brand to new audiences.

- Fuse branding with positive customer experiences.

Your brand is the first impression you make and it has a lasting impact. Focusing on your brand is both an essential first step and a continual process.

Target ideal accounts with personalized content

Successful, enterprise-level B2B sales teams take a personalized/account-based approach that leverages familiar technology, brand control, and custom design.

First and foremost, all of your content, no matter what form it is, should be digital and easily shared on all devices—laptops, desktops, large screens, tablets, and mobile phones. It also needs to stand out and not look like everyone else’s content.

The next step is customization, which is an essential aspect of every high-touch B2B sale.​ By tailoring your content to specific decision-makers within an organization, you can implement account-based sales and marketing tactics as well as speak to specific audiences about what matters most to them. ​ ​

To customize your content, you need to:

- Determine your ideal customer profile and top target accounts.

- Tailor your content to specific decision-makers and business accounts.

- Distribute content efficiently through familiar technology.

Align your sales content with marketing

Sales and marketing content are no longer mutually exclusive.​ When designing your content strategy, you must consider the entire funnel, from the first touch to when the deal is closed.

According to Forrester, a leading B2B technology market research company:

“Tighter marketing and sales alignment is crucial to executing effective demand generation, post-sale customer enrichment, or account-based approaches.”*

Your sales content should speak directly to your prospects, so you need to tailor it directly to your audience. Once you’ve engaged with an account, extend your personalization tactics. Update your content with relevant, personal details. By the time the deal is closed, your sales content should reflect the entire engagement, including the final proposal.

Keep content alive and reuse valuable content

Content should never be static. As large B2B deals progress, it’s important to update content for each phase. When you change your offerings or pricing, updating static content shouldn’t mean starting from scratch. Keeping your content alive increases your relevance and allows you to build a single piece of collateral that has multiple uses.

B2B content takes time and resources to create, but it's often only used a few times. Agile content management systems allow you to easily iterate your content and design collateral. The ability to reuse content and divide it up for new purposes increases ROI​ and maximizes the value of your creative efforts.

Build demand generation content

Because B2B business is complicated, clearly defining your products and services is essential.

Ask yourself, “What business problems are we solving?” Once you have a clear vision of the value you’re bringing to the market, develop pieces of content around your core offerings.

Categorize and be specific. Rather than creating general content about everything you offer, create unique content and specific landing pages around each product or service.

Ultimately, you need web-based content that you can send traffic to and has the opportunity to drive inbound traffic and new leads.​ Once again, incorporating rich media into your demand generation content will increase its value.

Develop outbound campaigns

Everyone wants inbound leads, but the truth is, a lot of B2B content marketing is outbound, meaning email and advertising campaigns.

Once again, targeting the right people and tailoring your content to your specific audience is essential.

It takes multiple touchpoints to drive B2B leads. When developing email campaigns, remember to be concise and direct. For advertising, it’s easy to waste money on unqualified leads, so focus on targeted strategies.

Everyone has limited time, so share a specific message that solves a real problem, make sure you have a compelling landing page to click through to, and be persistent.

Continue to grow inbound traffic

Inbound leads from published content provide a high ROI because the work has already been done. But growing inbound traffic is a hard, long-term strategy. Before you begin writing your masterpiece, be sure you’ve done the research and create with a target in mind. Once you have a target, build specific web pages for exact search queries.

If you want to rank on Google, the best place to research is Google Search Engine Results Pages.​ See who is ranking and try to emulate their content. Dig deeper with SEO tools, like MOZ and SEM Rush, to discover volume around queries related to your business.

Stay active everywhere

Timing is everything. In the digital world of 2021, there are millions of conversations taking place every minute. Pay attention to trending topics and, when relevant, insert your business solution into these conversations.​ Since each industry has its own favorite social channels, be sure you’re present where your customers spend the most time. ​

Your content is the fuel for all of your marketing channels. Once you’ve created content, get the most value out of it by sharing it in different forms and locations. Don’t be afraid to reshare content or publish content in multiple places. Remember, in order to be heard, you need to say something a thousand times.

Thanks for exploring B2B content strategies

Thank you for digging into 2021 B2B content strategies with Brandcast. We believe that compelling content is the foundation of quality customer relationships.​ As you seek new ways to engage with the rapidly changing business world, we hope that these tips inspire you to take action and discover the lasting value of digital content marketing.

*Source: Laura Ramos, “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q3 2020,” Caroline Robertson, Mary Shea, PhD, Miriam ElKorchi, Kara Hartig, Forrester.com, Sept. 15, 2020 (www.forrester.com/report/The+Forrester+Wave+Sales+Content+Solutions+Q3+2020/-/E-RES159936).

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