An important factor in content generation is the audience. Whether it’s in written form, video, or audio, tailoring content to the right target audience can help ensure potential prospects read the material. For example, business-to-business (B2B) marketing is different from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. In B2B marketing, most readers already understand the industry and business subject matter. So, those creating B2B content should aim their work more toward relationship building by standing out as knowledgeable professionals and thought leaders. Generating content regarding insights, education, and the decision-making process can help attract the correct buyers.
So, if content is king, what content types should B2B leaders be producing? There are three very important, very different content types. They include storytelling, educational, and actionable works. All of which are needed to create a successful inbound marketing strategy.
- Storytelling — Your product is not the star of this show. This is a way to build rapport and relationships through telling your stories. Storytelling pieces can include company history or culture, business or industry news, background of who you are personally or as a company, or how you began your company or selling your products or services. The value of personal branding is another nonpromotional means of storytelling. With personal branding content, you are “putting a face to the name” and showing character. It allows you to really stand out in a competitive marketplace!
- Educational — This content type is more granular and informative. Here, you have the opportunity to educate decision-makers while one, addressing problems, and two, explaining how to solve them. You can address needs in the market. You can also address how to go about solving problems, therefore providing value. Here, you are teaching — not selling. Offer tools, methods, and more to solve problems. Why? Because if prospects themselves can’t solve these problems, you can do it for them while also letting them make their own decisions. However, do not be overly salesy here, either. With this content type, you can show you are a thought leader and expert in your industry.
- Actionable — This is what your other two types of content prime your prospects for. What do some actionable items look like? “Download this white paper,” “register for this seminar,” “take this course,” or “opt-in.” Here, your products or services are the stars because you offer unique, valuable solutions. And your prospects will likely be more receptive because you will have created a personable presence through storytelling and shown yourself as an industry thought leader. So, what now? Lead your prospects to action.
What if you don’t use all three forms of content? What if you only use two? Each form plays an important role and serves a different purpose. If you skip out on any one, you are only providing your prospects part of your message and only half the value of your competitors — they aren’t getting the whole picture. The obvious consequence? You lose sales.
Say you’re representing yourself as a thought leader and have plenty of white papers available to explain how your solution is “the one,” but you don’t present personable information; there is no human-to-human connection.
Chances are your competitors are telling their stories — and that could be the factor that sets them apart. What if you have a great story but don’t clearly show you understand and identify problems or offer solutions? It might make you likeable, but it doesn’t make you a “go-to.”
Lastly, what happens if you do a great job showing your personality and knowledge through your content but don’t offer a next step? Actionable content is key to filling your pipeline, but the other two are key to nurturing relationships and maintaining prospects’ trust. You should produce a majority of storytelling and educational content. Why? It builds your company foundation as well as relationships. High-dollar B2B sales rely on these fundamentals, and to stay at the forefront of your industry, you must clearly showcase your value — often.