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How to build a successful B2B marketing content strategy

June 28, 2024

Maria Vasserman

Having a B2B marketing content strategy is crucial. It’s the secret to standing out in a saturated market. Without a clear strategy, your content may get lost in the noise.

Imagine having a roadmap that guides your content efforts. This strategy attracts potential clients and keeps them engaged. We call it a B2B content strategy.

This strategy helps you create and share content to attract and keep clients. B2C targets consumers, while B2B focuses on the needs of other businesses. This means your B2B content must address more complex, multifaceted problems and decision-making processes. B2B buyers are often more educated. They typically use different channels from B2C buyers. 

Key differences between B2B and B2C content including approach, audience, channels, and goals

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Many people think B2B content has to be dry and boring. 

This is a common challenge in B2B marketing. How can you make your content engaging and fun while also being detailed enough without becoming boring?

This is where a B2B content strategy comes in. A good B2B content strategy helps:

  • Build trust
  • Show expertise
  • Guide leads through the sales process
  • By offering valuable content, you can position your brand as a leader in your industry.

This article will explain the key parts of a successful B2B content strategy. Let’s start at the beginning.

Brand and product positioning

This is the foundation of any effective B2B marketing content strategy. You need to clearly understand your brand and product positioning.

Start here: identify your unique product value and how it solves customer problems. Here are a few steps to follow.

  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis. Find and write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your product. This will help you understand what sets your product apart and where it can improve.
  2. Define your unique selling proposition (USP). Clearly state what makes your product unique. This could be a specific feature, a unique benefit, or a distinctive approach.
  3. Create value statements. Write concise statements that explain how your product solves specific customer problems. These should be clear, compelling, and easy to understand.
  4. Develop brand guidelines. Create a document that outlines your brand’s voice, tone, and messaging. This will ensure consistency in how your brand is presented across all content.
  5. Gather customer feedback. Conduct surveys or customer interviews to understand what they value about your product. Use this feedback to refine your positioning.
  6. Analyze competitors. Look at your competitors’ positioning to understand how you can differentiate your product. Identify any untapped opportunities in the market that you can take advantage of.
  7. Align messaging across channels. Be consistent about your unique value proposition across all marketing channels. This includes your website, social media, and sales materials.
Brand positioning: intersection of what consumers want, what you brand does best, and what you competitor does best

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Your content should communicate unique benefits of your product. It needs to align with your overall product marketing strategies. This consistency reinforces your brand message. As a result, your audience will recognize and trust your brand more.

Comprehensive audience analysis

How can you create content that resonates with your audience? First, understand them. A thorough audience analysis will help you tailor your content accordingly.

Create detailed buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional research-based representations of your ideal customers. They’re based on real data and market research. They help you understand your audience better and create targeted content. Here’s how you can create them.

  1. Collect data from surveys, interviews, customer feedback, website analytics, and your CRM.
  2. Identify key characteristics like common traits among your best customers. This includes demographics, job roles, industries, company sizes, and pain points.
  3. Create detailed profiles for each segment of your audience. Include information like:
    • Name and demographic details
    • Job title and role in the company
    • Goals and challenges
    • Preferred content type and channels
  4. Use visuals representations of your personas – charts or infographics. Make them real!
  5. Update regularly based on new data and changing market conditions.
  6. Map the buyer’s journey.

This helps you understand the different stages your audience goes through before purchasing. With this knowledge, you create content that addresses their needs at each stage. Here’s how to do this.

  1. Identify the stages: awareness, consideration, and decision (or more).
  2. Outline buyer questions for each stage. For example:
    • Awareness: what is their problem or need?
    • Consideration: what are their options for solving it?
    • Decision: why should they choose your solution?
  3. Align content to stages. Create specific content for each stage of the journey:
    • Awareness: blog posts, infographics, social media content, and educational videos.
    • Consideration: whitepapers, case studies, webinars, and detailed guides.
    • Decision: product comparisons, testimonials, demos, and free trials.
  4. Track how your audience is interacting with your content at each stage using analytics.
  5. Create a journey map. Visualize the buyer’s journey with a map that outlines each stage. Also include the buyer’s goals and questions, and the content you will provide. This helps your team understand the flow and create content accordingly.
Buyer person template and example with prompting questions

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Let’s dive into the content for each stage.

Content types and formats

Different stages of the buyer’s journey require different types of content. Here’s a breakdown of effective content formats for each stage:

1. Awareness stage

  • Blogs. Create informative and educational content that appeals to your audience’s pain points and interests. Include industry trends, how-tos, and introductory guides.
  • Infographics. Use visuals to simplify complex information and make it easily shareable. Infographics can highlight key statistics, processes, or overviews.
  • Social media content. Share bite-sized insights, tips, and engaging visuals.
  • Explainer videos: short and engaging videos that explain your product or service. They make it easy for new prospects to understand what you offer.

2. Consideration stage

  • Whitepapers. Offer in-depth analysis and insights on specific topics relevant to your industry. Whitepapers help establish your brand as an authority.
  • Case studies. Show off real-life examples of how your product or service has helped other businesses. This builds credibility and trust.
  • Webinars. Host live or recorded sessions that explore industry challenges and solutions in depth.
  • Quizzes and assessments: engage your audience through personalized insights. Use their responses to show how your product fits their specific needs.

3. Decision stage

  • Product comparisons: detailed comparisons between your product and competitors.
  • Testimonials: quotes and stories from satisfied customers that build trust and social proof.
  • Tutorials: step-by-step guides that show how to use your product. They help reduce barriers to adoption.
  • Product webinars: live or recorded sessions that provide in-depth demonstrations of your product’s features and benefits. You can also address the audience’s questions and concerns.
  • Case studies: real-life examples showcasing how your product has successfully solved problems for other businesses. This provides concrete evidence of its effectiveness.
Content formats matched to the funnel stage, including TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU

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Addressing user feedback and FAQs in content

Do you ever wonder what to write about? What kind of content to create? Even with all this research and analysis, we all sometimes hit writer’s block.

There’s one place you might’ve missed that always has many ideas. It’s your users’ feedback.

Your customers are already asking you questions. Why not answer them in your content?

If you’re already collecting feedback, it’s time to process it and look for patterns. What are the common themes and recurring questions?

Once you have those, separate them into:

  • Technical questions you can answer in the FAQ section on your website
  • Industry-related questions or common pain points you can address in your blog posts
  • Specific product usage questions you can answer through a help doc and/or tutorial video

Do this regularly, and you’ll never run out of content ideas!

Now, let’s talk about the specifics of creating B2B content.

Content creation and workflow

Creating content involves several key steps.

Ideation

This is when you usually get the team together for brainstorming sessions about content ideas. Coming up with new content ideas can be challenging, and 16% of content marketers agree. So, let everyone bring ideas, but know how to choose the best ones. 

Base your content idea on audience needs, industry trends, and research. The latter can include SEO, competitive research, social listening, and more. You’ve already researched a lot, so make sure your content matches your audience well.

Content planning

Now you have a list of the best ideas. It’s time to plan when each piece of content will go out. You can use some tools to help you.

  1. Prioritization tools (Canny, ClickUp) to select the best and most impactful ideas.
  2. Project management tools (Trello/Asana/ClickUp/Monday) can help you track tasks, deadlines, and progress.
  3. Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets) lets you collaborate and keep everyone on the same page.
  4. Content management systems (CMS) (WordPress, HubSpot, Webflow) manage the entire content lifecycle.

Canny's prioritization content planning roadmap with custom scoringScreenshot sourced from canny.io (provided by Maria Vasserman of Canny)

Finally, develop a content plan. Include:

  • Goals: clear and measurable objectives for your content strategy
  • Key milestones: major content projects and deadlines
  • Responsibilities: assign clear tasks and roles to your team

Potential roles may include:

  1. Content strategist: develops the overall content strategy and ensures alignment with business goals.
  2. Writers: create the written content, ensuring it meets quality and SEO standards.
  3. Editors: review and polish the content, ensuring clarity, accuracy, and consistency.
  4. Designers: create visual elements to enhance the content and improve engagement.
  5. SEO specialists: optimize content for search engines, improving visibility and reach.
  6. Project managers: Oversee the content creation process, meeting timelines and goals.

With all that outlined, you’re ready to create content.

Content creation

Create a detailed content brief for each content piece. Include:

  • Focused keyword
  • Suggested title
  • Objective
  • Target audience
  • Research
  • Funnel stage
  • Critical points
  • Outline

Write the content according to the outline. Make sure it aligns with your brand’s voice and message. Incorporate visuals, infographics, and other design elements to enhance readability and engagement.

Don’t forget to review the content yourself and ask your team to review. Make sure the content is clear, accurate, and error-free.

SEO

It’s one thing to create an excellent piece of content. But you need people to see it, right? SEO is a great way to do that – it makes your content discoverable in search engines. If you did your keyword research when building your content strategy, you should already know what terms each piece of content should cover. 

Keyword research is identifying the words and phrases your target audience searches for. You should know what search terms your customers are using well before you get to writing.

Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords. They can help you discover keywords with high search volume and low competition. Focus on long-tail keywords (phrases with three or more words). They are more specific and often less competitive. Make use of these keywords to effectively target niche audiences.

Look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for. This will tell you what works in your industry and help you find opportunities to rank for similar terms.

Organize keywords based on user intent – informational, navigational, or transactional. This will help you generate content that aligns with the specific needs of your audience at various stages of the buyer’s journey.

Screenshot sourced from canny.io (provided by Maria Vasserman of Canny)

Finally, develop a content plan. Include:

  • Goals: clear and measurable objectives for your content strategy
  • Key milestones: major content projects and deadlines
  • Responsibilities: assign clear tasks and roles to your team

Potential roles may include:

  1. Content strategist: develops the overall content strategy and ensures alignment with business goals.
  2. Writers: create the written content, ensuring it meets quality and SEO standards.
  3. Editors: review and polish the content, ensuring clarity, accuracy, and consistency.
  4. Designers: create visual elements to enhance the content and improve engagement.
  5. SEO specialists: optimize content for search engines, improving visibility and reach.
  6. Project managers: Oversee the content creation process, meeting timelines and goals.

With all that outlined, you’re ready to create content.

Content creation

Create a detailed content brief for each content piece. Include:

  • Focused keyword
  • Suggested title
  • Objective
  • Target audience
  • Research
  • Funnel stage
  • Critical points
  • Outline

Write the content according to the outline. Make sure it aligns with your brand’s voice and message. Incorporate visuals, infographics, and other design elements to enhance readability and engagement.

Don’t forget to review the content yourself and ask your team to review. Make sure the content is clear, accurate, and error-free.

SEO

It’s one thing to create an excellent piece of content. But you need people to see it, right? SEO is a great way to do that – it makes your content discoverable in search engines. If you did your keyword research when building your content strategy, you should already know what terms each piece of content should cover. 

Keyword research is identifying the words and phrases your target audience searches for. You should know what search terms your customers are using well before you get to writing.

Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords. They can help you discover keywords with high search volume and low competition. Focus on long-tail keywords (phrases with three or more words). They are more specific and often less competitive. Make use of these keywords to effectively target niche audiences.

Look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for. This will tell you what works in your industry and help you find opportunities to rank for similar terms.

Organize keywords based on user intent—informational, navigational, or transactional. This will help you generate content that aligns with your audience’s specific needs at various stages of the buyer’s journey.

Keyword magic tool SEMrush recommending related keywords and showing data for each

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Then, move on to on-page optimization. This is about optimizing your content to rank better and drive more relevant traffic from search engines. It includes:

  • Both content and HTML source code optimizations
  • Title tags – 50-60 characters that include the primary keyword and accurately reflect the page’s content
  • Meta descriptions: 150-160 characters, including the primary keyword
  • Header tags:
  • H1 tags: each page should have one H1 tag that includes the primary keyword and clearly indicates the page’s main topic.
  • H2 and H3 tags: to split content up into sections (include secondary keywords where appropriate)
  1. Keywords: integrate primary and secondary keywords naturally throughout the content. 
  2. Quality: ensure your content is high-quality, informative, and provides value to the reader. Avoid keyword stuffing, which can harm your SEO efforts.
  3. Internal and external links:
    • Internal links connect related content on your site. This helps search engines figure out how your site is set up (structure) and makes it easier for people to find their way around (user navigation).
    • External links should link to high-authority sites. They provide additional context and credibility to your content. Ensure these links are relevant and enhance the user experience.
  4. Image optimization:
    • Add descriptive alt text with relevant keywords to all images. This boosts accessibility and ensures search engines understand the images’ content.
    • You can shrink the file size and make your page load faster by compressing your images, all without losing quality.
  5. Mobile optimization:
    • Make your website mobile-friendly and ensure it provides an enjoyable user experience on all devices.
    • Optimize page load times – minimize code, browser caching, and content delivery networks (CDNs).

All these efforts will help you boost your SEO.

On-page SEO checklist

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Note: not all content pieces need to be optimized for search. For some pieces, there won’t be much search traffic, and you need to promote them via other channels. For example, people might not search for a specific case study with one of your customers.

Publication

Schedule and publish your content through a content management system (CMS).

Remember to let the world know when you publish something! Share the content across various channels, including social media, email newsletters, and influencer partnerships.

All this is undoubtedly a lot of work. Many content marketers rely on AI to automate some parts of this process. Others outsource specific tasks.

In-house vs. outsourced content creation

Whether to outsource or not depends on your resources and expertise. Both approaches have their pros and cons.

In-houseOutsourced
ProsGreater control over the content process and brand voice.Quicker turnaround times and easier collaboration.Access a greater variety of skills and expertise.Can scale content production quickly without straining internal resources.
ConsMay require significant time and resource investment.Limited by internal expertise and capacity.Potentially higher costs.Less control over the content process and brand consistency.

Now, let’s talk about getting your content seen.

Promotion

Simply publishing a blog won’t cut it. You need to amplify your content’s reach and enhance your brand’s credibility.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing means using social networks to promote products or services. This includes:

  • Creating and sharing content
  • Engaging with followers
  • Running ads to reach and connect with a larger audience

The goal is to tell more people about the brand, direct traffic to the website, and increase sales. Here are a few things to try.

  1. Develop a social media strategy
    • Choose relevant social media networks for your audience.
    • Be consistently present. Outline and schedule your social media posts ahead of time. Manage your posts using tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial.
  2. Create engaging content
    • Use images, videos, and infographics to make your posts more engaging. Visual content typically attracts more eyeballs and generates more shares.
    • Create polls, quizzes, and interactive posts. This will help you get your audience more involved and interacting.
  3. Leverage hashtags and trends
    • To make it easier for people to find your posts, try using hashtags specific to your industry. Research popular hashtags and incorporate them into your posts.
    • Participate in trending conversations and industry discussions. This will increase visibility and engage with a broader audience.
  4. Engage with your audience
    • Reply to comments, messages, and mentions. Develop connections with your audience and show that you appreciate their involvement.
    • Run contests or campaigns that encourage your audience to create and share content about your brand.
  5. Monitor and analyze performance:
    • Use social media’s built-in analytics tools or third-party tools to track key metrics. Focus on reach, engagement, and conversions.
    • Regularly review your social media performance. Adjust your strategy based on what works and what does not.

B2B social media marketing strategy – what to do, why, and how

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Influencer marketing

Try engaging with influencers and maintaining an active social media presence. 

Influencer marketing is about collaborating with popular social media users. They are called influencers or content creators. By working with influencer marketing agencies like Get Hyped, you can find influencers who resonate with your brand vision. Influencers’ recommendations can help increase brand awareness and trust among potential customers. How can you take advantage of that? 

  • Identify relevant influencers
    • Research with tools like BuzzSumo or SparkToro to find influencers in your industry. Look for influencers who align with your brand values.
    • Evaluate reach and engagement rather than just the number of followers. Look for highly engaged influencers with a more active and interested audience. Look for highly engaged influencers with a more active and interested audience, but also consider the advantages of collaborating with micro and nano-influencers.
  • Build relationships
    • Follow influencers on social media, comment on their posts, and share their content to start building a relationship. 
    • Reach out with personalized messages to propose collaborations. Consider guest blog posts, co-hosted webinars, or social media takeovers.
  • Create collaborative content
    • Have influencers write guest posts for your blog or contribute to existing content.
    • Work with influencers to come up with content that shows off their expertise and features your product. Try joint videos, interviews, or case studies.
  • Track and measure the impact
    • Use tracking tools to measure influencer collaboration performance. Analyze reach, engagement, website traffic, and conversions.
    • Utilize gained insights to refine influencer marketing strategy and identify best practices for your brand.
B2B influencer marketing statistics

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Using ads can really help get your content out to more people and make it more effective. Most social platforms have made their algorithms less likely to promote your content organically. Advertising is a great way to overcome this. Here’s how you can approach it.

Advertising

  1. Develop an advertising strategy
    • Tap into the data from your current audience and buyer personas to figure out who you want to reach.
    • Consider demographics, job roles, interests, and behaviors.
    • Choose the appropriate platforms to promote your content, such as Google, Facebook (Meta), LinkedIn, or Twitter (X). Use your customer and buyer persona data to determine where your audience is the most active.
  2. Create compelling ad content
    • Highlight your content’s value proposition. Explain why it’s beneficial and what problems it solves.
    • Use high-quality visuals, such as images or videos, to grab attention and improve engagement. Ensure visuals are relevant to the content you’re promoting and reflect your brand’s style.
    • Determine what you want to achieve with your ads. Potential objectives: brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, generating leads, or promoting specific content pieces.
    • Include a strong call-to-action (CTA) that directs users to engage with your content.
  3. Set a budget and bid strategy
    • Decide how much you’re willing to spend on promoting your content.
    • Determine the budget based on your goals and the platforms you chose.
    • Choose a bid strategy that aligns with your goals: cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-impression (CPM), or cost-per-acquisition (CPA).
  4. Monitor and optimize campaigns
    • Regularly track the performance of your ads using platform analytics. Monitor metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
    • Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for promoting your content.

Speaking of monitoring and optimizing – how do you know what’s working and what’s not? You need to track each initiative’s performance. Let’s talk about that next.

Measuring and adapting strategy

Regularly measure your content marketing efforts’ performance and make necessary adjustments. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) you outlined at the beginning. Conduct content audits and incorporate customer feedback too. That’s how you’ll know where to spend more time and see a higher ROI.

Track the following key metrics:

  • Website traffic. Monitor how many visitors your website gets. Also, check the sources of this traffic (e.g., organic search, social media, referrals).
  • Engagement rates. Track metrics like time on page, bounce rate, social shares, and comments. This way, you can gauge how well your content resonates with your audience.
  • Conversion rates. Track how many of your visitors complete desired actions. This can be filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying.
  • Lead generation. Monitor the leads you generate through your content. This includes gated content downloads, webinar registrations, and demo requests.
  • SEO performance. Use Google Analytics to track keyword rankings, organic search traffic, and click-through rates (CTR).

Along with these metrics, run regular content audits. They can help you assess your existing content’s effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Conduct a content inventory
    • Complete a comprehensive list of all your content.
    • Organize your content by type, topic, and stage of the buyer’s journey.
  2. Evaluate content performance
    • Assess each piece of content based on your KPIs through an analytics tool.
    • Highlight content that is performing well and determine what makes it successful.
    • Identify content not meeting expectations and analyze why it may fall short.
  3. Optimize and update
    • Update outdated information, improve SEO, and enhance visuals.
    • Turn high-performing content into different formats. For example, try turning an article into an infographic or a video.
Content audit definition

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Remember: ongoing customer feedback can refine content relevance and effectiveness. Track your comments, run surveys and interviews, and analyze all that feedback. Then, you’ll know what kind of content really resonates with your audience.

Conclusion: why B2B marketing content strategy is vital

A strong B2B content marketing strategy helps you stand out. It also builds trust with your audience and helps you grow. Consistently provide valuable content, and people will trust your brand and expertise.

A successful B2B content marketing strategy does more than attract potential clients. It nurtures leads through the sales funnel, retains existing customers, and encourages upselling. It ensures your content efforts are purposeful and aligned with your business goals.

B2B content creation doesn’t have to be boring! Successful B2B content marketing, first and foremost, serves valuable content. Have fun with your B2B content, and your audience will love it too.

Use this guide as a checklist for your B2B marketing content strategy. Remember – there’s no universal strategy. Each business is a little different. The key is to try, test, and adjust based on your unique results.

Maria Vasserman
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Maria Vasserman

Maria Vasserman is a content marketing manager at Canny. She loves all things creative – writing, photography, movies, and beyond. When she's not creating content to tell the world about Canny, she's either photographing a wedding, jumping at a rock concert, camping, traveling, snowboarding, or walking her dog.