Last updated: 28th Jan, 2019
Content creation is tough—especially when you’re a B2B business.
And, if you’re falling into the trap of thinking all B2B content has to be boring, it won’t be long before you’re pushing content marketing to the bottom of your priority list (if you’re not doing so already).
12% of B2B marketers publish new content monthly, but 8% post less than once a month—and 2% are unsure.
It’ll come as no surprise to learn that producing content consistently is 57% of B2B marketers’ biggest challenge.
Does that sound familiar?
A lack of focus could be your problem.
With so many types of content out there, how do you know which formats you should be investing your business’ time, effort and resources into?
Which type of content has the best ROI?
And how should you balance the mix of B2B content you’re creating?
Those aren’t easy questions to answer.
But in this guide, I’m sharing the six types of B2B marketing content you need to be producing—along with examples that prove B2B content doesn’t have to bore your (or your readers) socks off.
1. Blog posts
I’m not gonna tire you with a huge spiel on how important blogging is.
You likely already know that–and if not, there are thousands of other blog posts available on the same topic. Just do a quick Google search for them.
Instead, I’m gonna fire off a few benefits that B2B blogging brings:
- Websites that publish 16+ blog posts every month see 3.5x more traffic
- 71% of buyers engage with blog content
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see positive ROI
- Websites with blogs generate 67% more leads
If that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what is.
To take advantage of these statistics and see similar results for your own business, start by creating a solid blog calendar (AKA a ‘content calendar’).
This spreadsheet, Trello board, Asana tasklist or CoSchedule dashboard should detail every piece of blog content you’re trying to create:
Feel stuck on what to blog about?
Turn to your buyer personas. More specifically, their pain points.
Look at what they’re struggling with, and base your blog content around that–while experimenting with the types of content proven to be popular.
For example: If you’re selling an accounting software, your customer’s pain point might be a struggle to track expenses and keep them organized for tax time.
Based on that, your content ideas could be anything from:
- How to Prepare Your Books for Tax Season
- 6 Ways to Organize Your Receipts for Stress-Free Tax Returns
- The Ultimate, Stress-Free Guide to Storing Receipts
One of the best B2B blog post examples I could find from a SaaS company comes from Slack. Take a look at this blog post, targeted around their audience’s pain point of weak team performance:
If you’re one of Slack’s ideal customers, you’ll want to read it.
The same goes for this post on Zendesk’s blog–only this time, the pain point is making the most out of holiday season sales:
The key here is simple:
Create B2B blog posts that are in-demand by your audience, targeted to their pain points, and detailed enough to solve them.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many B2B companies fail to do it.
That’s why this type of B2B content (done well) can help you stay one step ahead.
B2B eBooks have been named as one of the most cost-effective content marketing strategies–and for good reason.
They’re jam-packed with information, valuable to your audience, and able to collect (or convert) potential customer information if you’re using them as a lead magnet.
…All of which are the sign of a create piece of B2B content.
Why? Because 63% of buyers are willing to register for, and share information about themselves, in return for eBooks–meaning you could get a leg-up on lead generation if you’re adding them into your “content to create” list.
You’ll find the basis of your eBook similar to how you created your content calendar: Look at your audience’s pain points, but share them in more detail. eBooks tend to be over 2,000 words in length.
HubSpot have an awesome collection of free marketing eBooks on their website which are used for lead generation:
But, here’s where they really shine: They’re a great base for repurposing.
You can take a 2,000-word B2B eBook and turn it into a series of blog posts, a video script or a podcast–all without starting from scratch every time.
Talk about a double whammy.
(Or quadruple, if you’re creating all three.)
3. Original research
If you’re looking to create B2B marketing content that gets backlinks and improves your overall SEO, it’s original research.
Why? Because people–writers especially–want to backup their content with statistics.
By collecting your own statistics (whether you’re running a survey or analyzing a bunch of data), you could be a writer’s first point of call. That’s bound to result in tons of industry authority and backlinks–a key ranking factor in any search algorithm.
“B2B companies have more data than they realize. They know their own numbers… what their churn rate is, how many customers they have, which features of their product gets used, and much more. They’re often privy to a customer’s specific information and use of product, as well. If you’re looking to use data, start here. But you can also conduct your own surveys or partner with a market research firm to do one.
Original data is… original. No one else has it.
If any one is going to cite it, they need to give credit back to you, which usually results in a link. This is great fodder for SEO.
You should publish your data in a number of ways so it can be used by a large group of people. A lengthy blog post detailing the results, an infographic, a slide deck, a webinar– these are all ways to share your original data. And be sure to use your proprietary data in supporting content such as blog posts.”
…and that, my friend, is why data-driven content should fall pretty high on your B2B content to-do list.
Fancy a bit of inspiration?
Wyzowl ran their own survey on the state of video marketing, and compiled the results in a pretty neat blog post:
Here’s the founder of Wyzowl, Matt Byrom, explaining how these reports have benefitted their business–with a step-by-step guide on how you can do it for your own B2B brand:
Now you’ve got no excuse!
78% of marketers say video gives them a good ROI. And, 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video.
(Side note: See that link above? That’s from the same Wyzowl study I just linked to, proving it really does help to get backlinks.)
You should be taking advantage of those statistics and including video marketing into your B2B content strategy.
But first, let’s chat about the main reasons you’ve probably avoided video content to date–and why they’re not substantial enough to stop you from creating video:
- You’re not confident on camera = Get someone else on your team to feature in the video
- You don’t have time to record a video script = Use an old blog post as your video script
- You don’t know how to edit video = Hire a professional video editor to do it for you
…Remember what I said about having no excuses?
Once you’ve realized that either of those three issues shouldn’t hold you back with B2B video marketing, you’ll need to think about the type of B2B video content that your audience will actually watch.
There’s not much point in creating a 30-minute long video if nobody’s gonna watch it.
So, head back to your trusty buyer persona documents and think of video ideas that resolve, answer or aggravate their pain points. Then, publish the video to YouTube, Instagram Stories, Snapchat or Facebook Live for maximum exposure.
Here’s how Freshbooks base their B2B video content around a customer testimonial:
Whether you’re doing the same, or creating videos on how to use your software, remember that it’s the “year for video”.
…even if that has been said about every year since 2010.
Why not turn remove the visual aspect from your video and turn it into a podcast? Giving you a chance to target more people through platforms like Anchor and the App Store, it’s an easy type of B2B content you’d be mad to miss out on.
That’s because 11% of podcast listening happens at work.
You can capture people when they’re in the zone by creating a podcast they can listen to by, you guessed it: Talking about things that relate to their pain points.
Quuu, a B2B company who offer social media content curation, have a weekly podcast where they interview leaders in the marketing space:
But if you can’t commit to recording a B2B podcast, don’t neglect this type of content altogether.
…Sponsor one, instead.
67% of podcast listeners say they either don’t mind sponsorship messages or find them useful (compared to just 6% of TV or radio listeners)–meaning you can still get in on the podcasting action without the commitment of hosting your own.
Talk about a win-win situation.
6. Case studies
60% of B2B tech buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials before purchasing.
If you’re not creating case studies to satisfy that craving, you’re essentially missing out on 60% of your conversions.
Here’s their secret sauce: Case studies, particularly if they’re actionable, prove to potential customers that your product or service works. You’re giving them data to show it in real-life, while tieing-in a success story from your previous customer.
That’s bound to bring some form of trust to your B2B website.
“Because no other content asset can be used across the entire funnel as effectively as a case study—and it’s not even close.
They’re the ultimate third-party proof: B2B clients respond to the success stories of companies just like theirs with problems they can relate to, especially when you bring in customer quotes, metrics, and specific details. (Your sales team will thank you!)
Case studies are also versatile and easy to repurpose: one case study can be used as printed collateral for pitch meetings, sent in cold outreach, as an online lead magnet, converted into a blog post, used in social ads, attached to RFPs, split into testimonials, and more.”
Think your B2B brand is too boring for case studies?
Let Backlinko’s prove you wrong.
Brian’s case study on how he helped a client to go viral with a piece of content is filled with great advice, and neatly packaged in a blog post:
At the time of writing this, Brian’s post has 8,500+ social shares.
People want to see case studies and examples of how your brand has helped another–and you could be denying perfect customers if you’re not publishing this type of B2B content.
Ready to make a dent with these types of B2B content?
If you’ve reached this point and forced yourself into a state of panic, don’t worry.
There’s no better time to get started than now.
Get your ducks in a row and create a plan of action that will allow your B2B brand to create each of these types of digital content.
It might take a while to get the wheels turning–but at least they’re not stationary.
Oh, and if you need an extra pair of hands to create so much content, give me a shout. I’m a B2B writer for SaaS and marketing brands, and I’ve created this type of B2B content for brands like HubSpot, ConversionXL and Databox.