State Of Affairs
5 Brands That Are Killing It At B2B Content Marketing
Every year, CMI releases a highly anticipated commandment capturing the latest trends from the world of content marketing. This year, their B2B edition stated that a whopping 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing efforts. A quick EpicBeat search on B2B content marketing threw up 142.4K pieces of content that were published in 2016 alone.
We bring you the top insights, ideas and case examples for B2B content marketing to discover what it takes to create winning B2B content.
What To Create
Listicles are a winning bet when it comes to B2B content. However, EpicBeat’s content insights suggest that if you’re a B2B marketer who is in the mood to be a bit more adventurous, product reviews are a good route to take. Though reviews account for under 1% of the created content, they’re the highest grossers when it comes to engagement.
Another interesting fact to note is that irrespective of the number of items created, most content formats attract high levels of engagement.
Rule of thumb: Irrespective of the format chosen, focus on being useful when it comes to B2B content marketing and your audience will take note!
Long Posts Work Best
Content in the B2B industry further reinforces the growing confidence in long posts. Posts with over 2K words get maximum engagement and are most popular with the audience.
Interestingly enough, long posts seem to work best across social networks as well. Engagement levels for posts that have over 2K words are significantly higher on LinkedIn, Twitter and even on Facebook.
Pro tip: Spend all your energy on creating few in-depth content pieces instead of creating a high number of short posts. Also remember to keep the language simple as the audience enjoys easier posts than heavy duty ones.
When To Post
Plan to publish your content towards the middle of the week: Tuesdays are ideal for publishing, followed by Wednesday and Thursday. However, particular content formats work best on different days of the week. Check out format specific insights on EpicBeat to optimise your publishing schedule.
Now that these insights have set the ball rolling on what it means to find success for B2B content marketing, here are some brands that are doing a great job when it comes to content.
Small businesses are an integral part of Square’s growing customer base. Their content marketing initiative, Town Square, focusses on giving advice to early stage businesses. With a well laid out list of categories that cater to different aspects of running a business, the blog is a goldmine for any small business looking for good advice.
Useful, relevant to the target audience and easy to consume, Town Square checks all the right boxes for great B2B content marketing.
Brownie Score: Square’s vibrant Instagram page scores them an additional point. A majority of their posts feature existing customers and how Square simplifies payments for them. What stands out is the way they weave themselves into each image making it the perfect testimonial: mostly about the customer but subtly, also about them.
It’s hard to keep track of all the cool things IBM does when it comes to content. They have a thriving content marketing strategy that spans industries across their many verticals. They also use multiple content formats that creatively weave their products into real life examples. A recent gem was this data backed report on how fashion brands are embracing digital and finding newer ways of reaching the customer. The data-rich report was part of IBM’s ‘Insights on Business’ and was published by their Retail division.
The report combined insights gleaned from in-depth text analysis using IBM’s content analytics tools, psycholinguistic research of tweets using Watson Personality Insights and a broader social network analysis with a special focus on Twitter. The study provided a wealth of information on what brands need to do in order to engage with a tech-savvy and constantly evolving audience that is no longer defined by geographical boundaries.
If you have a team that sits in different parts of the globe but needs to work collaboratively on a daily basis, there isn’t anything quite as good as Basecamp. With a range of plans suited to businesses of varied sizes, project management is a dream with Basecamp.
What sets Basecamp apart from a lot of the other tech successes out there is that they’re one of the few startups that focussed on slow growth. In fact, Founder Jason Fried spoke about Basecamp’s ‘Stay Small’ strategy as being an important component of their sustained success. Their monthly podcast, The Distance, features thriving businesses that are at least 25 years old and have barely been covered by traditional media.
In a world obsessed with overnight success stories, The Distance is a one of a kind B2B content marketing example that focuses on lauding the more sustainable way of doing business. They put the idea across quite succinctly in this excerpt from their description page: “If you’re looking for an alternative to today’s glut of stories about hot startups, tech company valuations and jargon-spouting CEOs, you’ve come to the right place.”
In the year 2009, before content marketing became one of the cool things to do, Intel collaborated with Vice to start the Creator’s Project. The platform focuses on providing artists with newer outlets of creative expression that combine art with technology. It features popular artists like Florence and the Machine, Daft Punk as well as lesser-known upcoming artists.
Intel has always been at the forefront of finding creative ways to reach their audience. Another notable feather in their content marketing cap is the Intel IQ Magazine. The publication focuses on telling innovative tech success stories that are improving lives across industries.
Stories, on the Novartis website, showcases well crafted research pieces about the latest advancements in the field of medical science. With a range of categories, not just limited to health, these stories convey messages of hope from across the globe. Content created by Novartis checks all the right boxes when it comes to content marketing- it’s useful to their target audience and is immensely relevant to their industry.
Something that stood out among their recent initiatives, was this collaborative venture with Red Cross to provide ongoing care and medical assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Creating worthwhile content for the B2B industry follows the same principle as content in any other vertical. In order to make an impact, your content needs to be unique, relevant and speak to the target audience.
While this makes it hugely challenging for B2B content marketers, it also means that creating good content is largely dependent on correctly identifying your niche. Here’s what we think makes for great B2B content marketing:
- Include tried and tested content formats in your overall strategy but be adventurous and experiment with newer forms as well. We vote for product reviews. Data shows that they work like a charm
- Take time and focus on creating longer pieces of content. Content pieces that have over 2000 words work best across all major social networks
- Publish B2B content pieces towards the middle of the week: Tuesdays are your best bet
- Podcasts are a great new way of reaching the B2B audience. Right now is a great time to start considering podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016
- We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it till the cows come home, ALWAYS be useful!
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