May 4, 2021
Content creation has infiltrated B2B marketing campaigns, but one area B2B companies often struggle with is creating compelling content. Content Marketing Institute found that 70% of B2B marketers believe their company will invest in more content creation in 2021, and 66% noted this investment would go to website enhancements. While creating new, useful content is a crucial part of any 2021 content marketing plan, B2B organizations should take a step back to ensure the content is effective in its purpose.
Effective content in the awareness phase educates the buyer on their pain points. A frequent mistake B2B organizations make is educating the buyer on their own company, product, or service. The buyer isn’t ready for that; they are just beginning to understand their problem.
We see this mistake often just by looking at B2B websites. How often do we see the homepage copy that describes the technical product in too much detail or highlights the team’s 40+ years of experience? There is a place for that type of content, but it’s not useful on the homepage.
B2B companies rely on specific crutches when creating content. They fall into common traps that make their content ineffective at educating the buyer or converting the prospect along the sales cycle. Here are common mistakes B2B companies make with content and how to correct them.
Phrases such as “the best” or “unmatched service” are outdated copy practices. Buyers see right through this. B2B companies waste space on their homepage or in awareness-phase copy (blogs, social media campaigns, etc.) by drastically overstating what they can do.
Instead of using hyperbole, organizations should focus on including what value they offer the buyer. Why should the reader care? What benefits do you offer them? This type of information is much more relevant and engages the reader. For the B2B marketers who reported having a successful content marketing strategy, 83% attribute this success to the value their content provides.
Another common mistake when creating content occurs even before content planning. B2B companies may jump into the writing process too quickly without understanding the buyer, their problems, and how to address these pain points. Without this crucial information, writers may miss the mark when creating content.
Furthermore, the buyer’s pain points change. We saw this with the pandemic, as buyers became more cautious. While 70% of B2B organizations changed their targeting or messaging strategy in response to the pandemic, only 25% revisited customer/buyer personas. Market forces, such as the pandemic, means B2B companies need to take a step back to understand customer pain points better. By first addressing the changes in buyer problems, companies can create stronger messaging.
Technical and business disconnect
Jargon can be way too heavy and play too big of a role in content, and sometimes the reason for this is because there is a disconnect between the technical and business teams. B2B companies often face a group buying decision, and those decision-makers are made up of both technical people and business people. So how do you address both of these groups with content?
Start by getting rid of all hyperbole, jargon, and self-centered or autobiographical content. When writing, it’s vital to experiment and test messaging. Run different tests and compare outcomes; try something different. Test various incentive offers and review what types of leads come from those incentives. Don’t pre-plan content and set it and forget it. Find messaging that resonates with both the technical and business teams, something that converts both sides.
Another B2B content trap is being too general or too vague. To attract both the business and technical people, companies may consider messaging that is generalized. This content talks about big themes and becomes vaguely inspirational at best. There’s no position in the market; there’s nothing being put out there that’s edgy or substantial or indicating that the buyer will learn something by clicking on that piece of content and go to the next step in the journey.
B2B companies should get specific in what they do, who they help, and how they help them. It’s a simple concept that businesses often ignore. Avoid writing vague language and write for the exact buyer.
Successful B2B content: test and iterate
B2B companies should not be afraid to test and iterate all marketing efforts, including content marketing. Run a test on an incentive and vary the type of content – use a webinar, an eBook, or a video. Understand what format of content attracts the right types of buyers and measure it down to an individual human level. Don’t measure it in terms of clicks and bounce rates; measure it down to a human level or human being indicating interest by looking at whether or not a person wants to engage with content. Do they download the eBook because they want information? Do they want to take that next step? These types of tests will ultimately guide a B2B content marketing strategy.
Article by Jonathan Franchell, CEO and Founder of Ironpaper, a B2B growth agency.