There’s no denying that content is widely considered a critical ingredient to a successful B2B marketing recipe. However, the executive team often judges content’s success by its impact on sales, as they envision content consumption to follow a linear flow, like this:
In a dream content marketing scenario, the above path would be taken 100 percent of the time. However, as a content marketer, I (as well as others) understand the path to purchase via content efforts could be much more complicated, beginning with a cycle that looks more like this:
After several visits to the site and pleasant interactions with the brand, then we could realistically start thinking about a click on the CTA and an ensuing purchase. In fact, we’ve learned that B2B tech buyers typically read between 2 to 5 pieces of a brand’s content before making a purchase.
Each of these visits and interactions with the brand builds awareness among the customer base. B2B companies seem to be better understanding the importance of improving brand awareness in 2015, making it their top organizational goal of content efforts.
But, outside of regular content and social updates, what types of content could help improve B2B brand awareness in the highly-competitive digital space?
Here are five tactics that shouldn’t be overlooked:
1. High-Quality Resource Sections
Successful B2B content strategies are always churning out relevant industry information that provides users with the answers to questions they may have. However, it can be difficult to find a way to organize and present all this material to the users so it’s easy to locate and understand. This is where the resource section comes into play.
If you don’t currently have a resource section in place, or simply haven’t updated in a while, you could be missing out. In addition to giving customers a segmented look at your content, it could increase the time spent on your site (through discovery of other pages) and more importantly, spread your influence as an organization.
If a customer has had a positive experience with your resource library and has gotten some of their pressing questions answered as a result, they may be inclined to share your content or recommend the section as a whole to a friend, client, or colleague. White papers, product demos, datasheets, case studies, analyst reports, testimonials and videos are just a few of the many content assets that should live in the resources center.
A few B2B organizations I suggest using as a model:
2. Industry News with a Brand Opinion
As someone who truly appreciates the art (and differentiation) of news writing and blogging, this one took me a while to warm up to. All the way through high school and college, my journalism professors reiterated time and time again that news stories should be strictly based on the facts.
However, after attending Skyword’s Content Rising Summit, I officially became a convert. A team of IBM Security content marketers put together a great presentation about “making the news, not breaking the news,” where they shared the (impressive) results they’ve seen from interjecting an IBM perspective into hot topics.
IBM Security’s shining moment occurred when they put together a piece that tied mobile security (buzzword) to online dating apps (popular) just days before Valentine’s Day (timely). Using their own technology, they published some eye-opening stats around security vulnerabilities within dating apps.
In short, the majority of dating apps could ultimately jeopardize business data when phones are brought to work. IBM used these stats to get the conversation started, and offered some solutions to readers. Their article was shared across the web and was soon picked up by some very large publishers, driving plenty of eyes to their brand.
The key takeaway here is that B2B brands shouldn’t be afraid to get involved in conversations that are timely and relevant, breaking away from the habit of simply providing coverage on stories that have already been broke by other sources.
A few B2B organizations doing this effectively:
3. Top of the Funnel Blog Posts
Here at KoMarketing, many of our clients cater to what most would call “niche” markets. Within these markets, there are typically very well educated customers/partners that are looking for very specific, technical content to feast on.
While it’s vital to keep these customers and loyal visitors to the site satisfied with their experience, it’s also critical to think about first time visitors (top of the funnel prospects) that could turn into customers after one (or a few) visits to the site. These first time visitors have likely used Google more like a personal assistant than a search engine, asking it a question and getting the answer from the results they’re presented.
B2B marketers need to adapt to this behavior by creating content that provides the answers to these questions. If you need help with coming up with some ideas, check out this post that Casie wrote earlier this year. Similar to a solid resource center, these types of posts can leave a lasting impact on a visitor, leading them to share with their peers before becoming your latest hot lead.
A few B2B organizations that do a good job of catering to the top of the funnel visitors:
4. One-Off Creative Pieces
Chumbawamba (Tubthumping), Blind Melon (No Rain), Soft Cell (Tainted Love) and A-ha (Take on Me) have all made a name for themselves thanks to one hit song. While I’m not suggesting you model your B2B marketing strategy after these (one-hit wonder) bands, I am suggesting that one piece of extraordinarily creative content could keep your brand in the minds of the industry for a long time to come.
I’ve come across a number of B2B infographics, eBooks, blog posts and even a few songs (complete with a video) that pushed the envelope a bit beyond standard protocol, but left me with a lasting remembrance of the brand (when it would otherwise be lost in the sea of others).
A few B2B organizations that got creative:
And oh yeah, if you thought you’d escape without a Chumbawamba embed, you’re sadly mistaken.
5. Participate in the Community
Some of the most effective ways to increase B2B brand awareness may actually occur off your site.
Here at KoMarketing, several of our team members contribute to relevant industry publications like Search Engine Land, SEMrush and Salesforce on a regular basis, sharing their knowledge on other (larger) platforms. This gets our name in front of individuals and potential decision-makers within our industry, with hopes that they will remember our name next time they are looking for a B2B online marketing vendor.
Additionally, we regularly participate in webinars, podcasts, Twitter Chats and LinkedIn Communities (we even have our very own Instagram account that has very little to do with B2B marketing!).
The point here is that you should publish branded content in many locations and across a number of platforms. Get your name out there any way you can (within reason) to increase brand awareness! After all, it’s called the World Wide Web for a reason, right?
A few B2B organizations that stay involved:
B2B content marketing isn’t always about one piece of content equating to one sale. Sometimes, it’s role in driving B2B brand awareness is much more valuable. What are some of your favorite ways to drive B2B brand awareness via content marketing?