We all hope that we will return very soon to a world of in-person events, lunch get-togethers and networking mixers. However, even once we return to in-person meetings, the importance of digital marketing and online communications will not disappear. In fact, the recent pandemic has demonstrated that digital connections and communication technologies (like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, etc.) are essential to day-to-day activities.
With distributed workforces increasingly becoming the norm, creating content that can be accessed remotely is essential. You can’t rely on in-person meetings as the only point of contact to educate your audience.
In this article, we explore the crucial B2B content marketing activities you should be doing now…and in the future to stay relevant and accessible to your target audience.
Creating Thought Leadership (aka Blogging)
In some circumstances, “creating thought leadership” is a fancy way of saying “blogging.” But, it’s important to note that not all blogs have to be thought leadership pieces.
Let me explain.
Genuine thought leadership articles and blog posts educate and provide useful information to professionals in a given industry or position. Unfortunately, many businesses use their business blog solely to promote their own services and offer little or no value to their target market. If a blog post is pure promotion, it’s not thought leadership, it’s a sales post.
Writing education thought leadership blog posts regularly (ideally 1-2 posts per month, more if you have the bandwidth) is an essential B2B content marketing activity. In addition to helping your prospects gather the necessary information they need to make informed decisions, it allows your business to add fresh, unique content to your B2B website monthly – a practice that will improve your rankings with customers. search engines like Google and Bing.
Takeaway: Blogs are great for educating prospects and for search engine optimization (SEO).
Design takeaways and downloads
Blog posts are great for providing snackable information – between 500 and 1500 words. A great companion to blogging is to design takeaways or digital downloads that your target market can use to do their job better, get better results from a product or service, or convince their superiors that the purchasing a product or service is the right choice.
These types of content items can be grouped into a broad category that includes white papers, e-books, guides, case studies, use cases, industry studies, and more. These elements of B2B content marketing often require a significant investment in strategies and resources. If done thoughtfully, these pieces of content are incredibly helpful to leads, can be used to nurture or generate leads, and move a potential customer closer to a buying decision.
Takeaway: Downloadable strategic content pieces are great for lead generation, lead nurturing, and as part of the sales conversation.
Sending emails to your subscribers
Email marketing is not dead, but it has evolved. We’ve already mentioned that the pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate how they spend their time. Time spent reading emails has not decreased, but the number of email subscriptions has come under scrutiny by individuals.
B2B marketers can’t rely on automated email sends that are hastily started or have been running for months to engage their audience. On the contrary, marketers must ensure that any email marketing delivers real value to subscribers. Marketers really need to put themselves in their target market’s shoes and only send emails that resonate with the recipient.
This doesn’t mean that promotional emails are dead and gone, just that they should be used sparingly. Connecting with your audience is more important than getting them to click and buy immediately. Think of email marketing as a long-term strategy for creating and building a relationship with prospects and customers.
Takeaway: Don’t just schedule email sends based on your marketing calendar. Create thoughtful, targeted emails that compel recipients to open, read, and log in.
Sharing on social networks
Yes, “Delete Facebook” was a big trend recently. It’s also not uncommon for people to take breaks from social media. However, recent studies show that the average time users spend on social media each day is 142 minutes (Source: Statista). That’s 2.4 hours. That’s a lot of time in a day. Whether users take breaks or stop using certain social platforms, people still use social media for more than 2 hours a day.
If your brand doesn’t have an active social presence, it’s essential to add social media posting to your B2B content marketing strategy now. Determining what you share depends on your brand and your target audience. As with email marketing, it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate about what you share on social media. Building a connection and humanizing your brand is more important than putting out a number of posts.
Takeaway: Creating an active social media presence for your B2B brand is crucial for engaging with your target market, but content should be thoughtful and designed to connect.