If you’re new to digital marketing and want to learn how to create content for your B2B company, this guide is for you.
Our complete guide to content marketing for beginners will teach you why this strategy works for B2Bs and how you can create and distribute blogs, videos, podcasts, and more to drive business growth.
What is Content Marketing?
The primary goal of content marketing is to educate and inform your target audience that they are ready and willing to take a sales meeting.
Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that creates a variety of high-quality content that drives profitable customer actions by a more subtle approach.
Instead of cold calling or emailing prospects or using other outbound techniques like paid search, content marketing helps you engage potential and existing customers by creating and distributing relevant media.
Traditional outbound marketing tactics have grown less effective in recent years. These days, customers want something that feels far more natural and authentic.
In the past, the dynamics of sales and marketing were different. However, the internet has changed the nature of the game significantly.
Modern-day prospects are way more informed. Often, they’ve done considerable research on products or services long before they take a meeting.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on ensuring that prospects can easily access the materials they need to make informed choices.
A successful content marketing program should educate prospects at such a deep level that your sales reps don’t need to convince them to buy your product. Instead, meetings should become more like a discussion or a conversation.
In short, your prospects will already understand what your product or service can do and how it can help them achieve their goals.
Good content will convince them that your brand profoundly understands the problems they currently face and that your company knows how to solve them.
But those aren’t the only benefits of content marketing.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing offers B2B companies several significant advantages.
- According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing creates three times as many leads as paid search advertising.
- A helpful and useful blog post or piece of video content can drive profitable customer action for years. Paid advertising stops producing results the minute you stop paying for it.
- Content marketing is an excellent way for any online business to establish its brand personality and values.
- Quality content that people share and link to will help improve your rankings and visibility on search engines.
- Content marketing is the most cost-effective type of marketing. Sure, it requires an investment of both time and money. But when you compare it to paid ads and traditional marketing, it comes out ahead.
- Content marketing can form a social media strategy that grows your reach and engagement by sparking conversations, answering questions, and gaining followers.
- Content marketing is an opportunity to position your company as a trusted authority in your niche.
- Good content marketing answers your customer’s questions and can help drive deep, loyal, and long-lasting relationships.
Understanding Pain Points
A big part of content marketing is understanding why customers buy products. Consumer psychology tells us that people make purchases to solve existing problems or pain points.
For example, a business might be spending a lot of work hours on inputting and managing their accounts and expenses.
In this case, their pain point is that accounting takes up time that could be better spent on their core tasks. Therefore, the solution to their pain point could be accounting automation software.
Products should be created to solve pain points. They could save time, money or allow the consumer to do something that they currently can’t.
Whatever the specifics, if you create content that speaks to their problems — and how your product or service can solve them — you increase the chances that they’ll become customers.
In summary, customers have a problem that we are trying to solve. A good content marketing strategy helps them understand why your product is the solution.
Sales reps shouldn’t have to convince customers to buy your product. In our information-rich modern world, sales reps aren’t the only way prospects can get the information they need to make decisions. Sales reps just need to help them buy the product.
DO: Give your target audience the content they need to feel empowered to make their own choices.
DON’T: Try and force them to make the choices you want them to make.
Finally, the goal of any content marketing strategy is that your target audience can freely access your materials. Don’t hide your content behind gates or paywalls.
Reducing friction is essential. Make it easy for your audience to read your content so you can generate the trust, goodwill, and brand awareness that leads to sales.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that creates and shares helpful and valuable content to attract and retain customers.
A solid content marketing strategy uses blog posts, videos, and podcasts and promotes them on social media platforms and other publications. As your target audience engages with this content, you increase brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, landing page visits, or sales.
The Two Pillars of Content Marketing: Creation & Distributing
The two main aspects of a solid content marketing strategy are:
- to create content
- to distribute and promote the content
If you fail at either of these, your content marketing efforts will be in vain.
Every piece of content you create should have the goal of attracting or retaining customers.
Here are some of the best practices that you should understand before you start creating content.
Understanding Distribution Channels and the Psychology behind them
There are several social media channels that you can use for distributing valuable content. However, not all of them are the best place to engage your target audience.
Content marketers need to understand the psychology behind each channel. Additionally, they need to know what their current and potential customers use each channel for.
Let’s explore the most popular social media channels and define the primary and secondary reasons internet users access them.
Search engines are primarily used to search and learn. Their secondary use is to buy items.
LinkedIn is primarily used for business networking. However, thanks to its blog and video platform, people also use it as a learning tool.
TikTok is primarily used as an entertainment platform. However, its secondary use is as a learning and educational platform.
YouTube is full of great short and long-form educational content. As such, its primary use is for learning.
But, it also contains every other type of content conceivable, so its secondary use is as an entertainment platform.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter’s primary use are for personal networking. However, these platforms feature a diverse range of companies and specialists, making learning their secondary use.
Like TikTok, Reddit’s primary function is to offer its users entertainment. However, it also contains an incredible amount of helpful content, which makes it a learning platform too.
Of course, we should note that no one really knows for sure why every user engages with different platforms.
The best thing you can do is bear in mind why users are on each platform and use this knowledge to tailor your content. For example, if your users are on TikTok or Reddit for entertainment, overly dry, factual content might not be the best fit.
But don’t be overly prescriptive. Experiment with different content and see how it lands.
Types of Content Formats
Now that you know the different places where you should distribute content, it’s time to think about what formats you can use.
Here are some different content marketing examples that you can use to drive awareness, leads, and sales.
Deciding on a video content marketing strategy depends on your product and your target audience. Your video content can be short TikTok-style clips, or it can involve 3hr deep-dives on YouTube.
Consumers overwhelmingly prefer video. It’s easy to digest, it’s shareable, and it can capture an audience’s attention quickly.
You can use video for product demonstrations, discussions, testimonials, how-tos, interviews, behind-the-scenes, and more.
Audio content marketing can include content creation like podcasts or even audio bites.
A great podcast is an excellent way to drive brand awareness and expertise. However, if they’re too long, many prospects won’t listen. So consider condensing your best stuff into short, easily-shareable sizes.
Another good idea to consider is turning your long-read articles into audiobooks. It’s a popular format for people on the go.
Written content, like long and short blogs, is a powerful content marketing tool. If they’re interesting and engaging, they’ll keep your audience coming back.
Additionally, blog posts, guest posts, and other types of social media articles are excellent ways to improve your SEO.
eBook/ PDF / Whitepapers
eBooks and PDFs are a great way to get across complex information. They can be deep dive into relevant topics, thought leadership, how-tos, whitepapers, or other kinds of technical writing and documentation.
Visual content marketing is incredibly popular with physical products, like clothes, technology, jewelry, etc. However, it can be a good strategy for B2B companies too.
Screenshots of SaaS products can give users a sense of the look and feel of a service or app.
Alternatively, photos, memes, and even statements set on an image can build brand awareness and communicate your message.
Again, the advantage of images is that they are easily shareable on apps like Instagram, Facebook, etc.
The most effective content marketing offers something unique. We live in the information age where many B2B companies generate large amounts of data that they can structure into highly educational materials to engage prospects.
Infographics have become a popular way to put this data into an easily accessible and shareable format.
There are lots of approaches that you can take to use an infographic as a part of your content marketing strategy. For example, you can turn a slide deck into an infographic.
All in all, an infographic is an excellent way to explain concepts that require a lot of data.
How marketing funnels are a lot like movies
Another thing that should influence your content marketing strategy is where your target audience is in their customer journey.
A good content marketing plan should be dynamic enough to build brand awareness and attract and educate new customers.
Generally speaking, where your customers are in their buying cycle should define your content length.
If prospects are at the top of the marketing funnel, you should use short, bite-sized content. If your prospects are further down the funnel, you should serve them more comprehensive, relevant content.
For example, if someone sees a cool 30-second TikTok video that establishes your authority and expertise, they might be prepared to follow you on social media.
On the other hand, if the same audience members’ first contact with your brand is a 1-hr webinar, they might be unsure how it applies to their situation. As a result, they’ll be far less likely to be interested.
One helpful way to think about contact length is to think about how movie content is released.
Even movie trailers have trailers these days! Also, you’re unlikely to find a making-of video to be engaging content until you’ve actually seen the movie.
Let’s consider the order and function of the various types of video content that is released for movies:
Here is our rough guide for video content length based on the principles of movie marketing.
Teaser (15 seconds)
A teaser should be no more than 15-30 seconds. This is a perfect length for TikTok, YouTube, and other social media networks.
Remember, this stage is about driving and building brand awareness. So your video should be short and punchy and solely focus on adding value to your audience. The only call to action is following your profile if they found the video useful.
Trailer (60 seconds)
The next piece of your video content marketing strategy should be a trailer. The optimal length is around 60 seconds.
Trailers need to be more detailed but still concise. One example could be a “7 solutions for you” type video.
Featurette (2 minutes)
Once your target audience has been teased and “trailered,” they’re ready for the next step. Something around the 2-minute length is ideal. There are a few different ways that you can go here.
Featurettes are a popular choice in the content marketing world. They can be funny or light-hearted videos to express your brand’s personality and help you stand out.
Not all brands will benefit from an informal or comic touch. In these cases, a featurette video is an opportunity to convince your audience that you’re an expert in your field by explaining how to accomplish a specific task. For example, How to avoid Pitch Slapping when Social Selling.
Episode (10 minutes)
The next type of video content marketing to consider is something a bit longer, like a How-To video or an interview with a subject matter expert. This type of content can run around 10 mins or so.
Video marketing is a great way to sell your audience members on your solution by giving them a tour of exactly how it works and how it can help them.
Movie (20 minutes)
The final stage of your video content marketing strategy is the big release: the movie! This should be a deep dive into a topic that lasts around 20 minutes or longer.
For example, this could be your webinar, the podcast episode, or even a recording of your live show. The key is to focus on adding value to your audience, not to trick them into watching a 60-minute sales pitch.
Coming up with content
Coming up with content topics is actually quite simple. All you need to do is create high-quality content that your audience members find valuable and helpful.
However, the difficult part is figuring out what it is that your prospects want.
But once you’ve done the work to figure out precisely what your audience wants to read, coming up with content ideas is easy.
Here are seven steps to help you come up with content that resonates with your target audience.
Pick a niche
The first thing you need to do is pick a niche. Many products or services present different possible angles you could take. However, instead of trying to cover them all, you should choose a lane and stick to it.
Don’t try and please everybody, or your content will get lost in a sea of other generalists. It’s best to carve out a niche, drill down, and become the authority on that.
Additionally, this approach will help your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Principles & objectives
The next thing to do is clearly define your principles and objectives. Let your audience members know exactly what your content will do for them.
For example, if your product is a video editing software, your content could be centered around teaching users the tips and tricks they need to produce professional-level videos.
If you sell accountancy software, articles about tax law, rules, and concepts could engage your prospects.
No matter what it is you sell, make sure your audience understands that by following your content, they will learn more about your niche and gain specific benefits.
Next up, it’s time to grow your network.
You can do this by engaging with people in your niche who are already well-established on social media. While you may not have your audience yet, hopefully, you can engage some of them.
To achieve this, you should engage with their posts daily. Offer your thoughts and expertise on the subjects they post, answer questions, and generally be an approachable and helpful presence.
Another excellent idea for B2B companies is to engage with relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups. These groups can be great places to establish authority, find followers, and generate leads.
Identify industry trends
Engaging with established brands and figures within your niche is a great way to stay on top of industry trends and topics. For starters, you’ll see what types of questions your prospective customers ask.
Additionally, you’ll get a sense of how your audience thinks and talks about products or services they’re interested in.
On top of that, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the problems or pain points that motivate your prospects.
By keeping a close eye on which topics get the most attention and engagement, you can get great ideas for content creation. Additionally, you’ll know how they think and talk about their problems, which you can use to inform your content.
Finally, look out for Google trends to see what related search terms and topics are hot right now.
Build a persona
An effective content marketing strategy needs a clearly defined audience. Knowing your customers and your niche is vital. One of the best ways to do this is to build your ideal customer persona.
Check our related blog post Steps to Define & Analyze your Target Market for a deep dive into the subject.
It’s time to put your theory into practice.
You’ll have generated a bunch of ideas about your prospects’ pain points, you’ll have connected with them over social media, and you’ll have built a customer persona. But now, you need to test your hypothesis.
So get on the phone, book a Zoom meeting, or do whatever it takes to see if what you think is bugging them is real.
Are your ideas of what solutions your prospects need accurate? Does your solution offer them a way to do something they can’t do right now? Or will it help them do what they do quicker or more cost-effectively?
Once you’ve mastered all these steps, you’re ready to kick off the content creation process.
Finally, it’s time to create content.
But hold up, there’s something else you need to think about. What type of content is most effective? The answer is evergreen content.
Evergreen content is marketing content that stays relevant all year round. Typically, it’s search engine optimized and concerns subjects that are endlessly interesting to your audience.
It could be something like a blog post that offers valuable information that doesn’t lose its relevance.
The biggest reason why this content marketing strategy makes sense is that it’s cost-effective and easy to maintain and update.
Building a library of content and continuously updating it is a great way to improve your SEO. Going back over your old posts and updating them can really boost your rankings. If you make content that is evergreen, it can continue to generate web traffic, leads, or sales for years.
This option is preferable to creating new ideas all the time. Coming up with fresh content costs money (if you use a content writer) or time (if you write the content yourself)
When it comes to video content marketing, don’t get too hung up on professional lighting or sound quality. People are used to low-resolution Zoom or YouTube videos. Focus on producing engaging content that provides users with lots of value.
Yes, people need to be able to hear what you’re saying and see what you’re showing. However, it doesn’t need to be slick, high-quality video content. There’s no need to deck out the office or fill it with tech.
When it comes to video marketing strategy, you only really need two things:
- For TikTok or Instagram, your smartphone will do.
- For webinars, a laptop and Zoom are perfect.
That’s it! Everything else is a bonus.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is the type of blog post, article, or video that has relevance to your audience no matter when they read it. It can help you reach more people by being relevant on a day-to-day basis – rather than seasonal articles or campaigns, which may only be used once per year at most!
The Content Upcycle Process
Content upcycling is a way to maximize ROI on each piece of content. You get the most from your content marketing efforts by repurposing your existing materials. Because you’ll be producing evergreen content, your insights and advice will be relevant all year round.
Upcycling involves taking your current content and reusing it across several social media platforms.
Now, you might be thinking, “how much content do I have to produce?” But don’t worry, follow this recipe, and we’ll help you turn 1 video into almost 100 pieces of content!
Here are three upcycled content marketing examples.
What is Content Upcycling?
Upcycling content is like taking the original and making something new with it. With upcycling, you’re expanding on your work in different ways across styles or platforms to create brand-new pieces that are still related but not exactly alike as before. Plus, there’s no recycling involved!
Content Creation & Content Distribution Examples
We’re going to look at three examples for three different content types. Remember the movie analogy from before? Good, because it’s relevant here.
Note: If you only post from your company’s LinkedIn or Facebook page, you will not get enough reach. Instead, you should also use your personal account. In our steps below, count LinkedIn and Facebook as two posts — one version from a company and one version from a person.
Movie & Episode Length
This content marketing strategy gets you the most content. But it also requires the highest level of effort.
Here is a step-by-step guide.
1) Interview a subject matter expert. Record it with Zencastr to get high-quality video content and excellent audio.
2) Here are the different types of content you can get from this.
- Full Episode (Video Recording)
- Podcast Episode (Audio recording)
- Longform blog post (hire a writer to summarize the main points)
3) However, that’s not the end of the value you can get from your content. Here are some of the secondary types of content you can generate from your recording.
- Audiograms: Create video or audio clips of the golden nuggets
- Stories: Create video clips of the best insights
- Infographic: If you have a lot of data, hire a graphic designer to create an infographic to summarize the post
- Image Carousel: Make an image carousel that you can post on Instagram based on lists of key points from your content
- Downloadable Lead Magnet: To be clear, don’t gate anything but give people the option to download something if there is enough content there.
4) Distributing content is the next step. The primary distribution step is:
- YouTube gets the full-length video
- The podcast is distributed via Red Circle (which then goes to Spotify, Apple, Google)
- The blog post gets posted on your website
5) The secondary distribution step is
- Audiograms go to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Stories go to TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Facebook Stories, Instagram Reels, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Web Stories
- Infographic on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (PDF it)
- Image carousel goes to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Email a link to your blog post to your followers
- Share your blog post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Slack
- Share a link to the podcast episode on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Slack
- Share a link to the YoutTube link on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Slack
Teasers and Trailers
This type of online marketing strategy works best for people who are creating short video content. Essentially, the idea is to generate videos that hook people into following you.
While this content strategy requires the generation of several videos, the secret is to do them in batches — as well as in different versions.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post that is a list of ” the top 10 ten websites for social media marketing.” Do a video version of the top 10 websites for social media marketing, but also record shorter versions of individual websites.
Here are the steps.
1) Pick a topic. By now, you’ll be the subject marketing expert.
2) Record your videos on your iPhone
3) Add captions + emojis
4) Write a short post for each video
5) Then, publish your videos on the following sites:
PRO TIP: Make sure to include captions.
According to a new report from Verizon Media, a survey of U.S. consumers found that:
- 92% view videos with the sound off on mobile
- 83% watch with sound off
Here are some examples of the kind of short teasers and trailers you can make for your online content marketing campaign:
- Have you ever heard of X?
- This one simple trick will get you X on Y
- Here are X things that will help you with Y
- X resources you need to use right now
You’ll probably already be very familiar with the basic structure of these attention-grabbing headlines. Additionally, consider using “power words” in your title to give them a little more energy. For example, “X amazing resources you need to use right now.”
Next up, we’ve got shorts. These are great middle-of-the-funnel-type materials. As such, you’ll want to emphasize product value and product awareness.
What you want to use is anything that points out your customer’s pain points or that highlights the benefits of your product or service.
Basically, this is a mix of the movie and teasers & trailers process that we’ve highlighted above.
Here are some simple steps to follow:
1) Pick a topic.
2) Record a video on your smartphone
3) Create a:
- Landscape version
- Portrait version
- Blog post
4) Primary distribution:
- The Vertical videos go on LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
- The horizontal video goes to YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- The Blog goes to the website
5) Secondary distribution:
- Share your blog post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Slack
- Share your blog post via your Email Newsletter
Assemble Your Content Creation Team
You might think that you need a huge marketing team to create all this content. However, that’s not true. All you need are four roles.
#1. Subject matter expert (SME)
The subject matter expert is arguably the most crucial role in the process. You want to make content that stands out in our crowded digital world. And to do that, you need to produce valuable, helpful content that gives your audience members free access to thoughts, advice, and expertise they can’t get anywhere else.
If you really know your niche, this can be you. Alternatively, you can also interview other SMEs and mine their insights.
You’ll also need someone to manage the production of your content. You can outsource tasks like graphics, video editing, and copywriting.
You don’t have to worry about the copywriting side of things too much because you’ll provide all of the juicy insights in the video. The writer doesn’t need to be an expert; they just need to put it together in an easy-to-read format.
You’ll need someone who knows all about distributing valuable content. They’ll know the various platforms really well and understand when and where to post your material.
Additionally, they can help your SME post content from their personal accounts.
The operations role will be something like a project manager. They can plan, schedule, and coordinate the other roles and ensure your visual and written content is being produced on time.
Many businesses will compress a few of these roles if they have a content marketer who is flexible enough to perform multiple tasks.
Content Distribution Process & Promotion
Good content marketing strategies take time to implement. And consistent content is key to driving awareness and engagement. So the big question here is how much of the process can we automate?
At In Motion Marketing, we like to use a blended approach.
When a piece of content debuts, we like to get the SME to post it manually. After that, it gets added to the content library and becomes part of our evergreen posts.
Here are some tools we use to help schedule posts
Come up with a content marketing strategy that can unlock the power of “dark social”
Most B2B companies are sales companies. Their expertise lies in producing and selling their product and service — not necessarily in effectively marketing it.
Even when B2B companies have dedicated marketing departments, those teams mainly exist to support the sales team or run lead generation, essentially presales.
Because of the above, most B2B companies look at marketing in a specific way. Their goals and the social media channels they use mean that they measure marketing in a certain way and spend money in certain places.
What we see is that most companies spend money in lower funnel channels to run lead generation to capture email addresses and report back on specific things like marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
And so, they’re waiting for people to go to review sites. They’re waiting for people to search.
I want to buy your software from Google, but they’re waiting for people to visit your website. Or they’re waiting to get intent data to do cold calling.
They’re waiting for a very small part of the market to enter the buying cycle. But when this part of the market enters the buying cycle, they’re not brand agnostic.
As a result, your brand will fight against five or six other competitors or whatever number is in the space to win that business.
At some point, somebody in your category will eventually realize that dark social is how B2B buying decisions get made. And they’ll leapfrog all of you because they’ll win in dark social. People won’t even go to those places anymore because they’ll already be decided and will buy your stuff.
The way B2B marketing is being done right now is marketing to a very small portion of the market already in the buying cycle. The reason for this is that they think about everything like sales.
However, if they shifted how they think, and actually started to do real marketing, things would change. Real marketing is about ensuring the market understands what you do. It’s about ensuring the market has an affinity to your company so that when they realize they need a product or service, they choose you instead of evaluating a bunch of other companies.
If companies started to think about marketing differently, they would win a lot more customers and get more people to buy their product and buy into the category overall.
What is Dark Social?
Dark social has been getting more attention lately, not just because it’s where all your friends are hiding out but also because this type of sharing doesn’t show up in regular analytics. If you’re looking for information about what people share privately on sites like Slack or emails, then dark traffic will give you an idea of how they interact without being public with their actions.
If we had to give you just one piece of advice, it would be this: Get started.
Don’t be a perfectionist. The little things don’t matter. Just focus on delivering value because that’s what your audience is looking for.
Your prospective customers are overloaded with thousands of marketing messages per day. To stand out, you need to produce content that is engaging because it’s helpful, educational, and gives them access to a perspective they can’t get anywhere.
Leverage what you know about your niche. Use all your hard-earned knowledge, insights, and expertise to establish your brand as a trustworthy authority.
A great content marketing strategy works because you’re giving people the information they need to make decisions.
Stop wasting time capturing emails. Put your content out there and get as much feedback as possible. Tag us, and we’ll give you feedback.
Here are our social media links.