Do you ever wonder why you see industry-specific infographics, whitepapers, and case studies floating around the web? It may seem like industry people are less valuable than consumers and end-users, right? Judging by the proficiency of some businesses at propagating B2B content, you would think they exist just to do that. (see also: those ultra-clever B2B marketing wizards at HubSpot.)
There must be some reason so many businesses generate B2B content though.
Online content has a massive influence on business-to-business (B2B) buying, according to a report from the CMO council. With such strong emphasis on end-users and consumer groups in the digital space, you may be overlooking key demographics – other businesses – if you are not engaging in industry sharing. Whitepapers, case studies, reviews, and other industry-specific content can keep your business connected with your industry in a way that can be profitable.
Have you ever come across B2B content and thought, “This company has an identifiable consumer, why are they wasting time sharing with their industry?” Obviously, whatever your industry is, it encompasses your competition – a group that might not spring immediately to mind when it comes to sharing anything. The truth is that your industry depends on your success. Even those businesses that are, ostensibly, your competitors will engage in sharing your content in many cases. As they say in the news business, no press is bad press.
Nevertheless, it is highly beneficial to take control of the B2B content that you share, and that you present it in a way that brings back returns for your business. This means, just like marketing content, your B2B content needs to be creative, engaging, and snackable. It may surprise you just how easy it is to go viral through B2B channels. After all, if a particular case study or pioneering whitepaper is of value to you, it is almost certainly of value to others in your industry.
Now, let’s look at what B2B content can do for your business – and how it can potentially lead you to writing (and winning) more proposals.
Know your stuff, then strut your stuff
Why sit on your findings?! Why not publish them in the form a whitepaper, press release, or better still, an infographics? (Infographics are so hot right now.) You may think, “Why reach out to the industry?” That is at least partly understandable, but the argument simply does not hold up against reality. The CMO Council report tells the truth – that 87 percent of B2B buyers say sharing content online has a positive effect on their sales. A similar report from MarketingProfs puts the figure at 91 percent using content marketing. Either way, what business would not appreciate those odds?
Why does it work? Part of it is because it lends credibility. It also shows that your company is focused on collaboration. Now, as yourselves…
What content works for B2B?
B2B content actually benefits from breadth and depth, as 47 percent of respondents in the CMO Council survey said, they are keen on content that gives them something to chew on. This fact stands in contrast to the well-established demand for brevity in content intended for consumers. In a B2B setting, this is your chance to talk shop, to let your inner geek flag fly.
B2B content need not be overtly advertorial – in fact, it should be considerably less salesy than, say, a blog post intended for the average consumer. The idea is that B2B content is interesting in its depth and nobility. It should move itself by the strength of its value to your industry. It should garner respect (and retweets) within your industry.
Likewise, whatever content you share, it should be easy to access. Whereas you may normally use a comparatively lengthy form on landing pages, content for businesses should be somewhat easy to get. You can still ask for their email, but you might want to avoid requiring them to download the content. The easier it is to get, the more likely it is to go viral. (Plus, you know we’re all about recommending a cloud-based world!)
It’s almost universally understood, but do not share your trade secrets through B2B content. Instead, look for data that means something, firstly, to anyone in your industry (and similar industries), and secondarily, emphasizes strengths of your business. Want to see this in action? Checkout the expertise at B2B going on at (you might have guessed it) HubSpot.
Where to share B2B content
Sharing your B2B is a given on your website and blog, but the real power of B2B content emerges in social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are great ways to promote your best content to the business personalities in your extended network, and they each come with their own easy way for the reader to re-promote your content quickly.
The ideal content to expect to gain traction from social platforms is highly snackable, tweetable, and broadly understandable content. Think in terms of infographics, which can connect to larger reports and articles that breakdown the data shown in the image. Think about how many cool facts and features you have picked up through social media, and how the companies that present that information resound in your memory.
If you’re in the marketing business, you might have guessed it: HubSpot. Their e-books, infographics, and other materials permeate throughout their respective industry, ubiquitously. Maybe if you invest some time into the B2B content marketing side of your business, you can be just as “likeable” “pinnable” and “retweetable.”
Results of B2B content
What comes from sharing your B2B content? Ideally, new customers would be the answer. If, for example, you are a video production company, sharing the results of a study supporting the value of video content in digital marketing can passively result in receiving a request-for-proposal six months later. You may just end up with a direct message through Twitter directly awarding your company new business. It has definitely happened before, many times, and that is the reason B2B content is spoken about so much these days.
One of the best things about B2B content is that it lets you share something from inside your business while raising its prevalence in your respective niche. With sharable content, you really cannot go wrong with B2B content if you can excel at it well enough to get people – friends and foes alike – talking about your company. That, friends, is what marketing is all about.
An added bonus is especially for freelancers and SMBs who don’t happen to work in NYC, California, Tokyo, Berlin, London or another international start-up hub — networking. Competition or not, it’s truly beneficial and rewarding to collaborate with folks from your industry, sharing data along the way.