Effective content marketing for your B2B technology brings your products and services to a wider audience, builds brand awareness, and puts valuable information out there to engage prospects.
But good content has to be more than just a thinly-veiled sales pitch. Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows just two-thirds of strategies prioritize the informational needs of their audience above their brand’s sales message — unlike nearly 90 percent of the highest-performing companies.
But…and it’s a big but… you need good ideas to create good content, but generating them is a considerable challenge for even the most seasoned marketer.
So, how can you come up with content marketing ideas that suit your brand, your audience, your products, and your goals?
In this article, we’ll reveal all.
Confirm who you want to target
Want to write B2B content that grabs your readers by the collar and holds their focus so well they feel compelled to convert as soon as they’ve finished?
That’s great. More than 75 percent of marketers agree content marketing boosts engagement, so you’re on the right track. But the best way to make sure your content engages your audience is to actually know who you want to target in the first place.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Yet, it seems that most companies simply don’t have this insight. This is perhaps why just 20 percent of organizations questioned would describe their approach to content marketing as “very successful”, 21 percent say it’s “minimally successful”, and more than half view it as “moderately successful” instead.
To be in that top 20 percent, it’s essential that you take a closer look at your target audience and consider their customer journey. Think about:
- What characteristics, values, and buying habits do your current customers share?
- Who are your major competitors targeting in their content marketing campaign(s), how do they engage readers/viewers, and do you think they’re overlooking any type of buyer?
- Which demographic(s) are your technology products tailored to, and what are the most popular?
Answering these questions will help you define your target audience in greater detail and lay the foundations for an effective content marketing strategy. Collate as much information on each of the above and explore the potential questions or issues your content can address.
For example, if your target audience consists of web design agencies and freelancers, how can you capture their imagination with your technology-focused content?
Here are a few ideas:
- Tutorial videos for your technology, covering everything from basics for beginners to in-depth guides on complex features
- White papers on integrating your technology into existing routines and workflows without affecting momentum
- Blog posts discussing the creation of your products and looking ahead to incoming updates
- Troubleshooting ebooks that your target buyers can keep for future reference.
Again, these are just a few ideas, but they demonstrate the amount of flexibility and diversity you can embrace in B2B content marketing for your technology once you know your target audience in depth.
Granted, this is far easier if you operate within a niche sector with a narrow audience, but the process is still highly effective for broader customer-bases too.
“You get into a rhythm and that enables you to schedule these things out and produce content at scale…”
Chief Marketing Officer
Study trending topics and discussion points on social media
Love it or hate it, social media matters. And it makes a great ideas-gathering resource for your B2B content marketing strategy.
Looking at the most talked-about matters related to your technology, industry, or audience across social media can stoke your creative fires. You or your content-creators could be inspired to write a new blog post, shoot a fresh video, or publish an in-depth white paper that offers your target audience real value.
All that just from a stranger’s throwaway comment or an influencer’s insights.
Clearly, those topics prompting the most discussion and gaining thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of interactions are worth covering. You can tap into this burgeoning interest and contribute to the conversation in your own way. Your B2B content may even bring a fresh voice or shed new light on a subject, either of which could help your marketing gain traction.
And the more users sharing, liking, or commenting on your posts, the more brand visibility you can expect to build. You can leverage a number of tools to see the latest trending topics on different social media channels, such as BuzzSumo and Social Animal.
But be warned: look for topics that are likely to remain in people’s minds for some time, rather than 24-hour fads.
Why? Because you don’t want all interest to dry up in the time it takes to create and publish the content. Act fast for maximum relevance. This is especially important when it comes to technological innovations or product launches related to your own hit the news.
Be sure to pay most attention to those social networks that attract users in your target audience. Check out high-performing content related to trending topics to see what other content creators are doing and how. Take inspiration from these sources. Can you respond to their viewpoint with an alternative perspective? Can you present a more detailed examination of a subject?
If so, get writing.
Target prospects based on their position in the customer journey
An effective B2B content marketing strategy should aim to achieve engagement and drive conversions by speaking to buyers based on where they are in the customer journey.
This is why it’s so critical that you map your customer journey and try to identify the purpose of each piece of content, depending on where it sits on this map.
Let’s take a look at some of the different roles content has throughout the buyer journey:
In the awareness stage, you want to supply prospects with all the information they need when they are looking for solutions to a specific problem. You content should focus around topics that answer key questions and pain-points.
Awareness-stage content could be:
- Ebooks (gated or ungated, depending on your other lead-generation tactics)
- How-to guides (exploring how your technology can make a positive impact on their problem)
- Instructional video (a polished guide on how to solve a certain problem)
The consideration stage is the point in the customer journey where buyers are narrowing down on a range of options. You want to make sure that your solution is positioned at the single best choice in the market, and content is a key way to do this.
Want to target prospects in the consideration stage? Consider an FAQ related to your technology, touching on the advantages your products offer over others.
A webinar is another solid idea, inviting prospects to contribute questions as your experts offer insights into your technology. Look at your main competitors and consider how you can use content to show your brand is the superior option.
During the decision stage, buyers want to address any remaining doubts they have about your products before they commit. Your content should persuade them they’re making the right choice and are in good company.
Top ideas to help you do this: case studies and customer reviews focusing on people in a similar situation. Include images and videos of those recommending your business/technology to inject extra authenticity.
Cover all the relevant benefits your company delivered in each case, and aim to leave prospects with little room to doubt their decision.
In the Retention Stage of the customer journey, produce content that continues to engage buyers and makes them feel valued. Gather feedback through surveys, supply how-to guides for the products they purchased, and offer access to gated content to reward their loyalty.
This can help to retain buyers and encourage them to become advocates for your brand.
Generating content marketing ideas for your B2B technology takes time, research, and significant flexing of your creative muscles. But following the tips explored above can make a major impact on your process, helping you identify the most engaging topics for your target audience and the biggest opportunities to secure new sales.
Don’t aim to release a slew of generic, unfocused content and hope for the best. Focus on producing high-value content that’s relevant to the buyer based on their position in the customer journey. Publish articles, blog posts, white papers, videos, e-books, and more that cater to prospects’ direct needs.
A clear, strategic approach to generating quality ideas can transform your entire content marketing process. And the level of impact it makes on your ideal audience.
Written by Tristan Pelligrino
Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.