Most people are familiar with content marketing in a business-to-consumer (B2C) context such as viral videos, social media campaigns or sponsored posts, but business-to-business (B2B) content marketing is a lot different and even more complex.
For one thing, B2B marketing isn’t geared toward one individual, but focuses on persuading several leaders within an organization that a certain product or service can help their business. It’s also a much larger investment on the part of the buyer in terms of cost and their reputation, which creates a greater risk if the product or service does not get results. Therefore, B2B buyers embark on a much more careful process of researching a vendor before contacting a seller.
The role of content marketing in the research process is to address the customer's problem with potential solutions to help them narrow down the best vendor for their needs. According to Erika Goldwater, VP of Marketing at ANNUITAS, “True content marketing isn’t about product, speeds, feeds or company information; it is about delivering educational information, relevant, worthwhile content that the buyer wants to read. No longer is content marketing just marketing-speak.”
Since the buying process for B2B clients is so much lengthier, there are different forms of content involved that you wouldn’t typically find in B2C content marketing, including:
- White papers: thought-leadership pieces meant to establish authority
- E-books: combines practical, useful information with illustrations to communicate ideas in an easily digestible way
- Webinars: a slideshow with audio components -- accessible to a greater audience than a live presentation
- Benchmark studies: an analysis of information written by an industry authority
- Case studies: provides an example of a real-life challenge where the company’s product or service became the solution.
- Guidebooks: a magazine-style format covering a broad selection of related topics
Each of these tactics is employed at a different stage in the buyer’s decision-making process. Since these content types are very information-heavy, they greatly benefit from the skills of journalists to engage the reader without boring them.
Regarding the influence of journalism on content marketing, Goldwater says:
“Just as a journalist must develop a piece of content and build a story, marketers are now learning what that means as we focus more on writing and developing content to engage in conversations with our audience, rather than just producing documents with basic speeds and feeds about our product or organization. Journalism has helped marketers learn to connect with their audience through their writing.”
If you’re looking to break into content marketing or just want to learn more about it, check out the recap from our recent #ConnectChat: Content Marketing 101.
About Erika Goldwater, Vice President, Marketing CIPP/US
Erika has over 15 years of B2B marketing, public relations and demand generation expertise. At ANNUITAS Erika manages all aspects of marketing including demand generation, content marketing, social media and public relations helping to build pipeline and drive results for the ANNUITAS team. Prior to ANNUITAS Erika was the strategic and partner accounts manager at Eloqua. Erika received her BA in Journalism from University of Maryland, College Park and has been a member of the IAPP with her CIPP/US since 2008.
Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here.