You’ve spent tons of time, money, and effort on content marketing. The only problem is you’re still not getting as much business as you should.
It’s frustrating. You know your business provides something valuable to your audience. Why doesn’t anyone see it?
Well, your content marketing might be lacking in one or more areas.
It’s understandable, though. “Content is king,” after all. So, you might think you need to create as much content as possible to reach anybody and everybody.
That sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t work in practice. If you don’t have a strategy, your content marketing will fall on deaf ears.
That means no new leads, loss of sales, and your audience moving to your competitors. You know, the brands with better, more attractive content.
Sounds like a bleak future, right? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that way.
This article goes over the most common content marketing blunders B2B businesses make and shows you how to fix them. By fixing them, you can ensure you get the traffic — and conversions — you’ve worked so hard for.
Let’s get started.
Content marketing helps you build a relationship with your target audience by putting your business right in front of them. When done correctly, it can earn you their trust, and eventually, their business and loyalty.
The main priority of content marketing is providing value to your target audience. That means creating content that they want to see, such as informative and educational content that will help their business succeed.
So instead of spending all of your time, money, and effort pitching potential clients, you make them come to you. Make them seek out the information they’d want to find from your business.
That way you can keep them coming back for more, essentially creating loyal subscribers. So when it comes time for your target audience to make a purchase, they’ll be more likely to buy your product or service.
A great example of this is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the go-to platform for professional networking. It is the place to connect with past, present, and future employers and employees. People need to know how to use LinkedIn effectively – and nobody wants that more than LinkedIn themselves.
That’s why LinkedIn has created various forms of content marketing in its resource center, such as blogs, webcasts, reports, video tutorials, and more. These free resources allow LinkedIn users to network more effectively, positioning the site as a trustworthy and essential business...
The more users find LinkedIn as a helpful resource, the more likely they’re willing to pay for its premium subscription and other online-industry-specific courses.
In short, LinkedIn is using content marketing the right way.
But not every business knows how to replicate this…
Below is a list of the most common mistakes B2B businesses make with content marketing. You’ll also see the steps you can take to fix them.
If you don’t truly understand who your target audience is, you’ll have a harder time reaching them. That is why you should start with proper research about your target audience. To get a better understanding of them, try answering these questions.
It will also help to create an ideal client portfolio for them. When you have a target client in mind, you’ll know exactly who you’re trying to appeal to, rather than a vague customer avatar. For example, what is their:
What are their:
The list goes on. But be as specific as you can. The more specific you are, the better you’re able to create content that will attract them.
Since your target audience is other businesses, that means you have to appeal to business decision-makers rather than individual consumers.
Here are some of the key differences you should consider:
Businesses value the expertise you offer to help them succeed. That means they are drawn to logic, statistics, and examples of how your product or service can help them reach their business goals.
Individual customers, however, are more driven by their emotions rather than cold hard facts. So it’s more important to be entertaining and emotionally provoking.
Businesses’ main concern is generating ROI. So providing content with data, numbers, and infographics are great ways to appeal to them. Anything informative and educational should be the main focus of the content you provide.
For individual consumers, again, more important to trigger an emotional response from them. They’re less driven by data and numbers. Instead, they would rather feel emotionally satisfied with their purchase.
Business decision-makers got where they are by being leaders in their industries. That means they value the same things you do: cultivating new leads, getting more sales, earning more revenue, keeping up with industry trends, and generating ROI.
Individual consumers are made up of a wider audience with broader values. They don’t all have the same specific needs like business decision-makers do. Instead, they prioritize more general values, such as safety, security, status, family, and community.
The appeal should be toward real humans, not business entities.
Businesses take a longer time with their decision-making. There’s usually more than one decision-maker in the business, so they are less likely to purchase on a whim.
Instead, businesses compare and contrast their options carefully. They weigh the cost-benefit analysis of multiple products or services, which takes a long time. That’s why you have to make it as easy as possible for multiple decision-makers to say yes to your business.
Individual consumers take less time to deliberate on their purchases. Often, not a lot of consideration goes into their decision. They’re more likely to be driven by impulse or an emotional response.
They also tend to focus more on the convenience and immediacy of their purchase... For them, it’s more important to be attention-grabbing.
That’s not to say businesses only care about data, or that individual consumers act only on their feelings. Logic and emotions are important in both cases. It’s just a matter of which to emphasize more when considering your target audience.
Bottom line: getting clear on how you can help other businesses reach their goals will give you a better idea of the kinds of content they want to see.
Only then can you begin constructing a plan to systematically create and distribute winning content.
If your clients have to keep guessing, they’ll never know, lose interest fast, and look elsewhere.
So, get a firm understanding of who your ideal clients are, and what exactly you can offer them to help their businesses.
Learn how to spark buying behavior in your target market here.
Again, businesses require specific considerations that are different than individual consumers.
That also means they go through the buyer's journey differently.
Here is a breakdown of the stages of a typical buyer’s journey. B2Bs have a specific buying process they go through:
By understanding these things, you can create content that helps B2Bs move along their buyer’s journey, making it easier for them to say opt-in to your business.
After understanding your target audience, the most important thing your business needs is a content marketing strategy.
Even with your target audience in mind, if you just throw out random content and see what sticks, you’re not taking advantage of the potential rewards content marketing can offer.
That means you’ll be stuck with unpredictable and unreliable results.
Plus, your content will just get lost amongst your competitors who are better at attracting your target audience’s attention.
Content marketing done right should provide your business with a systematic way to produce content with consistent results.
So: Establish a plan of attack.
The first thing you should do is determine the type of content your target audience wants to see.
To help you get more ideas, try answering these questions:
Remember, you need to create useful content. So what kind of content would help businesses reach their goals? For example:
Bottom line: You want to establish yourself as an experienced and knowledgeable resource for your target audience.
Providing helpful content is a given. But you also want to show potential clients how you fit into their goals. Some examples include:
Bottom line: Use the right kinds of content to best illustrate your value
You can do this to get more ideas about the kinds of articles or opinions potential clients want to see. Some examples may be:
Bottom line: Provide similar kinds of content that attract attention and engagement from your target audience.
Once you know these things, then you can create useful information for your target audience consistently and more systematically
Learn how to sell more effectively to your core buyer persona here.
You may think that you’re already being as specific as you can be with your content.
But you can even take it a level further by providing super-niche content.
What do I mean?
Let’s say your business is helping new tech companies generate sales. Blogging about “The Best Tech Companies Ever!” is not going to be relevant to your audience.
Not only is it irrelevant and unhelpful, it’s not very specific.
A better blog post could be “The Best Marketing Strategies for Tech Products in 2020 (And How to Copy Them).”
That’s at least actionable and useful.
But what makes content super-niche is being more specific with the information you provide.
For example: “10 Things All Tech Startups Should Do to Generate Profit in Their First Year.”
See how specific it is?
The blog post is tailored to new tech companies within their first year. It helps them achieve a clear goal, which is to “generate profit in their first year.” And it provides ten actionable steps for them to follow.
It’s the perfect niche piece that would attract a lot of readers in that demographic.
To figure out how to be more niche with your content, ask yourself:
By answering these questions, you’ll not only have more content ideas, you’ll also create very niche content that will attract a specific audience.
Your content will be so niche that other competitors might not be providing it. But if it’s something your target audience needs to see, they will come to you.
Once you attract their attention, you have a better chance of keeping their interest. That means more leads, sales, and happy loyal customers down the line.
Learn how to write hyper-specific copy with the help of this article.
Let's say you’ve got all of this great content lined up on your website.
Your landing page and CTA are optimized, your blog provides useful and actionable material, and you’ve uploaded videos that clearly explain your product or service. But what’s the use if nobody knows where to find it?
That’s why you need to strategically promote your content on the right platforms.
But before you start blasting all of your friends and family on social media, it’s important to note that the right distribution channels depend on your industry.
The first thing you should do is identify where your target audience spends their time online.
Do they use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Is there a niche publication or podcast they read or listen to? Are there industry leaders that they follow online?
Now that you know where your audience is, get your business in front of them.
If you know where your target audience is, you can set up a system to streamline consistent content, and distribute it in places you know will get seen by the right people.
These are just a few suggestions. If you want more ideas, you could always hire a marketing consultant.
Let’s say you know exactly who your target audience is and what kind of content appeals to them. The next thing you should do is set the right goals.
What do you want to focus on improving? For example, brand awareness, brand engagement, leads, sales, retention rate?
Once you have these ideas down, determine the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and create time-based goals. Remember, they have to be measurable. The best KPIs deal in exact numbers (ex. 6 blog posts per month) ― otherwise you’re doing it wrong.
Many entrepreneurs and marketing executives make the mistake of setting too many KPIs, which is going above and beyond. All it does is make every goal that much harder, so limit these to 3 per category at most (accounting, sales, management, and every other department should each have 3 goals to work toward).
Determine if you’re measuring things like:
Not all of these metrics may apply to your business, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Only then will you know if you’re meeting the right goals. And if you’re not getting the results you want over time, then you can course-correct and put your business back on the right track.
Now that you have a clearer idea of who your target audience is and how your business can benefit them, it’s important to promote yourself effectively.
A great way to do this is through storytelling.
As mentioned above, both logic and emotions are great ways to attract not only individual consumers but also B2Bs.
While it’s true that businesses are more persuaded by data, decision-makers are still human, after all. Good storytelling is just icing on the cake that can help set your brand apart from your competitors.
It is also an effective way to appeal to your target audience’s emotions while sharing your brand’s mission and voice. This helps you tap into the deeper reasonings behind their purchasing decisions, and potential connection to your brand. Things like maybe wanting to eat certain foods so they can accept themselves (their newer, leaner body).
You should still provide all of the hard data and evidence to convince them to do business with you. But incorporating storytelling elements will make your content more compelling and more enjoyable to read.
After all, your audience is using their free time to read your content. So reward them with something fun.
Some useful ways to use storytelling to promote your business are writing up case studies that describe how you’ve helped other businesses achieve their goals and fix their pain points.
Remember, your customers’ primary goal is their ROI. If you can illustrate how you make their investment in your business worth it to them, you can get new customers, and keep happy loyal ones as well.
Here's a storytelling guide to help you create better copy.
By now, you should have a solid idea of the most common content marketing blunders. You know how to avoid them and you’re well on your way to upping your marketing game.
Make an effort to remember these mistakes and how to avoid them. Then you can build credibility, recognition, and authority in your industry with measurable and actionable goals.
Keep in mind: this isn’t an exhaustive list. It is a good start and gives you the potential to create a content marketing strategy. Doing that the right way can mean more consistent leads, sales, and revenue.
Not only that, but having a deliberate content marketing strategy will also save you time, stress, and money.
That’ll give you more opportunities to attract the right audience and keep them. After all, that’s the only way to keep your business thriving.
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