What is Content Marketing? A B2B Perspective + Resources

By Lizette Louw - June 13, 2017

On a previous occasion, I wrote about the benefits of content marketing for a b2b business and discussed the elements you’ll need to put in place before kicking off. As mentioned, developing a content marketing mind-set in your team is one of the first and most important foundational stones to put in place before you start. Without a solid grasp of what it is and a team that's on the same page, your content marketing efforts are bound to be a waste of time.

This is why today’s blog is about defining ‘content marketing’ from a b2b perspective and breaking it down into its essential components.

What is Content Marketing? A Definition.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Based on this definition, digital marketing entrepreneur, Josh Steimler points out the differentiating factor between this and other types of marketing: content marketing should be valuable to the buyer and thus sought-after instead of avoided.

Did I hear you sigh in relief? Yes, for most business owners and b2b marketers this is great news indeed. Companies that implement content marketing don’t have to follow the likes of traditional marketers that purchase lists so they can spam strangers with unsolicited phone calls and emails. Content marketing requires you to do what you do best: to be a specialist in your industry and to share your expertise with buyers who can gain value from it. 

Breaking Down the Elements that Make up a Content Marketing Plan

‘Just do what you do best and share your expertise’, will put you in the content marketing mind-set. And yet, your success will depend on how well you execute each of the elements that make up the methodology. To cover all these bases, a more encompassing definition of b2b content marketing would look more like this:

A technique of creating content that is focussed on creating value to an ideal buyer in a format that appeals to this intended audience, presented to them at the appropriate time throughout their decision-making journey, through their preferred media channels. The success of your content marketing efforts can be measured by the profitable response from your audience.

  • Valuable to an ideal buyer: Most of us are familiar with the retail industry’s application of content marketing where valuable content is mostly entertaining or aesthetic. In the b2b industry, the value of content lies in how it educates, informs or provokes new ideas to aid buyers in achieving their goals and resolving their pain points.
  • Appealing format: While b2b marketing is educational in nature, it certainly doesn’t have to be a dull or overly-complex school teacher. Once again, the focus is on the user, which is why content must be formatted to be appealing and easy to digest.
  • Right time: There is a time to educate buyers about your product specs, but that time is not when a buyer has only just become aware of their pain point. According to our choice content marketing methodology, inbound marketing, the buyer’s journey entails three distinct phases: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Buyers in each of these phases are looking for different types of content to help them progress along their journey. For more on this topic, download our guide on getting to grips with sales and marketing in the age of digital transformation.
  • Right channels: Why spend effort and money on Instagram promotion when your buyers are on LinkedIn or reading industry publications? While it’s important to be selective, converging various media channels will help you gather the biggest number of ideal buyers.
  • Profitable response: In retail industries a profitable response often comes in the form of an immediate purchase or repeat orders. Due to the length of the b2b decision-making journey, the future profitability of your content can be measured by its leading factors such as an increase in website traffic, social media engagement, number of leads generated, and the rate and speed at which leads convert through the different stages of your marketing funnel.

B2B Content Marketing Resources

Now that we have a content marketing definition in place and have looked at its practical implications, it’s time for you to dig a bit deeper into the topic. To help you do just that, here’s a collection of my favourite content marketing resources.

7 Reasons to Invest in B2B Content Marketing + 7 Quick Tips [Blog]

Do you feel left behind with an intimidating distance between you and your competitors? It’s not too late to get on board to reap the benefits of content marketing. Consider the following benefits for your business and get started with our seven quick tips. Read more…

Creating Great Content [eBook]

Content is the backbone of inbound and digital marketing. It is through informative and engaging content that you attract, convert, close and delight customers. But can you build out a fully-fledged B2B content strategy? In this eBook, we provide an easy-to-follow content strategy framework, which will help you create content that wins customers and delights clients. Download your copy…

Content Marketing for SaaS Companies [Blog]

Before dipping your toes in the content marketing process there are many questions to ask yourself. You may need to assess if your content serves a purpose. Should it be in long form, short form, or a downloadable asset (an eBook or whitepaper)? These are some of the vital issues you need to address early on. Read more…

Content Marketing All-in-One Template Pack [Download]

Great content marketing starts with good planning and effective management of your content. Kick-start your content marketing strategy today by using our easy all-in-one Microsoft Excel template pack. Download the template pack…

Getting To Grips with Marketing and Sales in an Age of Digital Transformation [eBook]

This eBook is our guide to help you face tackling sales and marketing in the face of digital transformation. The guide includes an overview of digital transformation, a ‘Digital Marketing 101’, and looks at website strategy and sales enablement. Download it here…

What’s So Smart about Smart Content for B2B Marketing [Blog]

Companies who have implemented a contextual marketing strategy have seen, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. “Contextual what?” Let me introduce you to smart content, and how it can make your marketing smarter. Read more….

A Smart Content Strategy for your B2B Marketing [Blog]

Smart content addresses one of the major struggles of the industry. That is, the long and arduous buyer’s journey resulting from big spend and huge responsibility associated with B2B purchases. The smart content solution: speeding up a buyer’s conversion from lead to customer by presenting them with the right content at the right time. Read more…

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