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7 Strategies to Become a Content Shark: Own the B2B Ocean

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December 15, 2021

6 mins read

7 Strategies to Become a Content Shark: Own the B2B Ocean

7 Strategies to Become a Content Shark: Own the B2B Ocean

Too often, B2B marketing teams approach content strategy as an afterthought. It’s not because we don’t think it’s important. It’s because keeping up a constant stream of fresh content is so daunting.

To be sure, the internet has an insatiable appetite for content. In order to adapt, B2B marketers have to become Content Sharks. If we’re not constantly moving, constantly pushing content through our gills, we suffocate. This makes content strategy, however intimidating it may seem, one of the most important B2B marketing strategies to tackle.

Here are 7 ways to become a B2B content shark:

1.Think in terms of journey stages.

Don’t let your product release schedule dictate your content strategy. Only prospects in the lower funnel will care about your products.

Top of the funnel prospects want to see that you are an industry leader, and you can show them that you are with thought-leadership. Serving up details about your features and functionality will fall flat on audiences that are barely aware of your brand.

Mid-funnel audiences are interested in tips and tricks, how-tos, and best practices. They are looking for something useful in order to continue engaging with you. Only after they are aware and engaged will they show a real interest in your products and solutions.

The genius of building a content strategy around the customer journey is that you are basing your next best content offer on customer behavior, not your brand agenda. Making it all about them, instead of you, can make all the difference.

Once they are aware, then you engage them. Once they are engaged, then you sell them.

2.Lean in on research-driven thought-leadership.

Feeding your prospects with new data around industry trends makes them smarter, more valuable in their jobs, and makes you the hero for building those smarts.

Many of the most successful content-driven campaigns catch your prospects’ attention with headlines like, “65% of B2B Marketers Say Martech is the Most Important Investment in 2021.”

The added bonus of building thought leadership with primary research is that the content permutations you can spin out of your data are endless. Whitepapers, blogs, webinars, infographics, contributed articles, and speaker placements can all be spun out of a single primary research study.

3.Use caution when gating content.

Today’s B2B audiences have email fatigue. Just over 2 percent of them ever complete a form because they don’t want to be part of your email nurture program. Gating content also leads to decreased engagement. When faced with a gate, huge percentages of visitors bounce.

Consider ungating your upper and mid-funnel content.

The goal in the awareness phase is to build trust, so you want your content to be broadly accessible. The main exception is event registration, where contact information is needed.

During the engagement phase, consider ungating certain whitepapers, how-tos, and tips and tricks in order to drive increased engagement.

Later in the buying process, more members of the buying committee will be accessing your site, looking to understand and validate the decision. Case studies, ROI analyses, and other forms of social proof are important here.

Give the broad buying committee a good experience by making it easy for them; you can still add contact info to your database from other sources. (For example, technology can automatically pull contacts from email cc’s or meeting invites with the account and add that information to your CRM).

4.Go big on virtual events.

B2B virtual event registration and attendance skyrocketed in 2021. Webinars are excellent platforms for delivering thought-leadership, industry strategies, and best practices — and they are in high demand.

Take advantage of the huge appetite out there and beef up your webinar program.

To boot, online visitors don’t shy away from form fills. If it’s for a timely event for which they want to receive notifications, they’ll willingly provide an email address.

5.Don’t forget about pipeline acceleration.

B2B marketers have a history of not thinking about how to market to accounts once they enter the pipeline. But today, more and more marketing organizations are (rightfully) measuring success by business objectives beyond marketing-sourced pipe, including close rates, deal size, and pipeline velocity.

Show pipeline accounts you’re ready to do business with them and what being your customer will look like. Content that works great for this stage includes user conference promotions, what onboarding will look like, customer case studies, and executive briefings. Also, third-party validation and ROI information lend to your credibility.

6.Build your content producing bench.

Marketing organizations typically have at least one person in charge of content development and strategy, but there are certainly more folks in your organization you can cultivate to become good content producers.

Take me, for example. I don’t have responsibility for creating content for Demandbase, but I have a point of view that I enjoy sharing.

Tap your fellow marketers, product engineers, customer success team, and sales folks who are passionate about the industry and the roles the serve. Chances are they have some compelling insight to share.

7.Get creative.

Content is still, and will always be, king (or queen), particularly across the web, a primary channel that B2B buying committees use to make their buying decisions. But there’s so much content, that often buyers are inundated with it and much of it gets lost and untapped.

To be a modern strategic marketer, we need to continue finding ways to create content that breaks through the noise. Recently, Jon Miller, CMO at Demandbase, said this about the challenges of creating content that gets noticed, “We used to build our brands with thought leadership first. We’re increasingly moving into a world where, because there’s such a deluge of content, the way you build your brand today is through word-of-mouth, the advocacy, and the influencers talking about you.”

A good reminder is that while we should rely on best practices, we should never stop finding innovative ways to connect with our audiences where they are in their buying journey and in a way that resonates with them.

What to read next

Oftentimes, when I speak with Campaign Managers and Content Strategists, they are all in on conducting journey stage-based campaigns. But they’re often unclear about what content to serve up to audiences in each journey stage.

Check out my article, Courting Your Prospects: When and How Should You Pop the RFP Question?”, were I explore how serving up the right content at the right time is a like dating — you want to first get that first date and build the relationship over time before you pop the question.

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Bonnie Thomas

Senior ABM Strategist, Demandbase

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