Why B2B Companies Need to Change Their Content Marketing Strategy Immediately
We all know the tried-and-true approach of creating buyer personas and buyer journeys when it comes to creating content calendars to fit your content marketing strategy. However, with the influx of content available on the internet, it’s getting tougher for businesses to stand out in a sea of available information. Especially when you’re a business providing B2B services.
A 2017 Forrester study reported that 68% of B2B buyers prefer to do their own research. Most recently, researchers are seeing this trend vastly accelerate due to the onset of COVID-19. In fact, McKinsey found that “self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders, and arrange service, and customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience.”
This means that the content you provide not only needs to be relevant and worthwhile, but also convenient for your customers to access and absorb. There’s a massive shift away from creating content that is gated. Additionally, you need to match the content type to where your buyer is in their journey. Content Marketing Institute’s recent study about what works for demand-generation content in the early days of 2021 found the following:
How This Data Impacts Businesses
Tending to the early stage and middle stage of the buyer’s journey for your company is critical. Having quality content for the wider audience at the top of your funnel shouldn’t be underestimated. If you take a look at the chart above, you’ll notice that Interactive Content, Blog Posts, Podcasts, and Videos are most effective in the early stage, and Case Studies, E-books, Webinars, and White Papers are the most effective at the middle stage.
As you think about the content you’re going to create, matching the best content to the best form for its function ensures that you’re maxing out your budget and your energy. It wouldn’t make sense to create a case study aimed at a buyer persona who’s at the early stage of their buyer’s journey, because it’s only 15% effective. Case studies are a better match for customers who are in the middle stage and late stage.
It’s important to note that this year E-books are rated as more effective in the middle stage than in the past. This points to the fact that demand gen marketers are using E-books further down the funnel than in the past. This provides those buyers with content that’s meatier and inculcates trust along the buyer’s journey.
Combining Components to Maximize Outreach
Studies have shown that we all prefer to consume content in a variety of ways. One technique to address this is to provide information in various forms, or in a combined form.
As an example, take a look at this CNC machining masterclass. The course is a combination of video content and written (article) content. It could technically fall under “other types of content,” but truly, it’s a mashup of several. The course also includes downloadable checklists, such as the “Least Effort DFM Checklist for CNC Machining,” for the user to have on hand. This sort of stacked value truly meets the buyer where they’re at and maximizes the early stage and middle stage of the journey.
You’ll also note that the course does not require an email address to access it. Buyers have too many emails sitting in their inbox already. By meeting the customer where they’re at, this content is consumable, accessible, and convenient. It hits several of the points McKinsey raised.
If you wanted to take a look at a different field, Axero Solutions, an intranet software company, offers case studies that are downloadable without being gated or requiring an email address. However, they also offer various other resources, including an “Intranet University” and multiple e-books and guides.
Overall, as content continues to flood the internet, including social media channels, content will need to focus more and more on building a relationship with the customer and meeting them where they are before they realize they have a problem. Quality content can strengthen a relationship with the customer when you’re not around.
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