Content marketing for B2B is different from B2C, and you should approach it with different goals in mind. Whereas B2C marketing can be full of flashy hype, B2B content marketing often succeeds best when it favors substance over style, honesty over hyperbole, and payoff over promise.
One reason B2B sales and marketing is more demanding than B2C is because, on average, seven people are involved in B2B solutions purchases, according to HBR.org. But how can you tell if you're developing an effective piece of content marketing that appeals to all stakeholders? You should ask yourself if your B2B content message is achieving the following goals-my five favorite "E's."
Educate Provide educational value whenever you can, because it's no longer the sales staff's job to educate prospects. Cater information to the knowledge level of your audience to provide value for their time.
Engage Meet your audience where they live and connect with their environment. Engaging content demonstrates how deeply you empathize with pain points that they encounter frequently.
Expertise Present yourself as the authority that you already are on the topics that you know best. You have a unique set of experiences and a unique breadth of knowledge that no one else has.
Evidence Prove your value with demonstrated results and unique insights. B2B case studies can hit on all the "E's," providing real-world evidence of success stories that the audience can identify with.
Entice Content marketing is a relatively soft sell as your prospects travel on their different buyers' journeys. Successful B2B campaigns entice prospects to get engaged, stay engaged, convert into customers, and remain loyal.
Let's take a case in point: This article. It is a piece of content marketing. I hope it succeeds as an illustration of the five "E" goals:
Educating you on how to develop effective B2B marketing content consistently
Engaging you with fresh B2B perspectives, pain point empathy, and achievable goals
Expertise demonstrated with actionable insights and systematic processes
Evidence that the five "E's" work in the real world (keep reading, below)
Entice: Succeeding at the first four hints at bigger payoffs in marketing ROI
Now here's that Evidence element, condensed into a mini case study. In manufacturing settings, static electricity can disrupt production. The client developed an efficient solution. The content marketing message was systematically distilled to: "How static forms and how to neutralize it."
This simple message hits well on all five "E's," and was a big hit on an email campaign to a large, somewhat jaded audience. When used as an email Subject Line and Headline for a White Paper download, the open and click-through rates far exceeded similar emails to the same audience, generating 1,000 qualified leads.
As a bonus, that direct message also reinforces how B2B content marketing succeeds when it favors substance, honesty, and payoff. And you can deliver those more easily and reliably by starting with the five "E" goals that guide successful content creation strategies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Romanik is the Content Marketing Strategist at The Alias Group, managing the planning, development, and execution of content marketing across all media and platforms. Ron was developing content marketing strategies well before the term became commonplace, publishing thought leadership articles on a wide variety of B2B topics in the fields of branding, packaging, and consumer behavior.
Ron splits his off-time between keeping up with all the interests and hobbies of his budding paleontologist son and spending time enjoying the outdoors hiking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, and golfing.