It’s still early in 2023, and the B2B content marketing landscape is more challenging than ever. With a recession looming on the horizon, B2B buyers are nervous about spending their budgets.
According to HubSpot, marketing budgets are also getting bigger this year. More competition means you’ll have to use your existing budget to deliver helpful, relevant, and memorable content that breaks through all the noise.
Ready to develop a content marketing strategy guaranteed to get you noticed? Follow the steps below, and add our content recommendations to your to-do list.
Can content marketing help my brand break through?
Great content marketing can help B2B brands capture leads, drive revenue, and break through to audiences who are constantly bombarded with ads and visual noise.
Keep these three tips in mind as you design your content marketing strategy (more on that below!).
Ditch the boring creative
B2B content marketing assets are notoriously more boring than B2C campaigns. Just think about how memorable Super Bowl commercials are!
That’s because creative work is more memorable than logical appeals—and logical appeals are often a default in professional marketing content.
If you haven’t already given your team the permission to be creative, 2023 is the time to experiment. Task your team with connecting to audiences on a more personal, emotional level.
Create meaningful touchpoints
Don’t just relegate creative content marketing to your company blog. Think about all the touchpoints for interacting with your brand. How can content make the experience more meaningful and memorable every step of the way?
Stay in the game
There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the air. With uncertainty comes the temptation to cut costs, and businesses are likely to slash their marketing budgets first.
If you’re in the B2B market, that’s a big mistake. Our lead times are longer, which means you need to be top-of-mind when budgets free up later this year. Plus, research shows that halting ads for as long as 6 months decreases customer awareness by as much as 24%. Yikes!
The only way to stay in the game is to be present in the channels where your customers spend time. From paid media to original content, your content strategy can continue to educate, inspire, and build brand recognition—even if your customers aren’t buying (yet).
How to build a breakthrough content marketing strategy
1. Define what a breakthrough marketing goal looks like for your brand
As B2B brands compete for air, get specific about your brand’s marketing goals. What outcomes will make the biggest difference to you this year? Does “breaking through” to your target market look like:
- An increase in organic traffic?
- More demo requests?
- More content downloads?
- All of the above?
Identifying goals for reaching your audience is the unskippable first step of any content marketing strategy.
2. Choose fair and measurable KPIs
Once you have your goals in mind, choose KPIs that you can measure.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, be clear about which campaigns contributed to that goal. Put a plan in place to measure perception.
On the other hand, if your goal is to increase leads and sales, design an incredible attribution plan for each piece of content you publish.
Remember to be fair to your marketing team as you identify goals and KPIs. If your stated goal is to increase conversions, but your team has a mandate to pump out top-of-funnel content, you may have a mis-matched strategy on your hands.
Goals, KPIs, and outcomes should all work together, making it possible for everyone to contribute to their success.
3. Audit your existing content
We’re all in the habit of creating content to drive SEO results. But we’re not necessarily in the habit of regularly reviewing and assessing existing content for new opportunities. (Listen…we’re busy!)
While content audits do take time, reviewing your existing content can help you dial in your marketing efforts.
- Which pieces of old content can help you reach your new goals?
- Which content has more value to customers at this specific moment?
- Do you see any opportunities to update old content for SEO to drive more organic traffic?
Ultimately, you may not need to create pages of new content to meet your goals in 2023. Auditing gives you the opportunity to repurpose old content, generate less new content, and save your budget.
4. Assess your channels
As B2B marketing spends increase, the channels that typically generate the most leads and traffic may shift. Now is the time to assess how each of your channels are performing.
- Where is your audience actually devouring your content—and in which formats?
- Which channels offer the best avenues for meeting your goals?
- Where do you have the most competition? The least?
- Do you have an active or growing audience that you’re not yet taking full advantage of?
Don’t be afraid to experiment, refine, and pivot based on your findings.
5. Develop creative content
B2B companies can take a cue from the best B2C advertisers: ditch boring content. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 92% of the most successful B2B marketers say their companies value creativity.
Whether you’re designing a LinkedIn campaign or a new eBook, consider how to stand out with stronger creative. Bold campaigns, conversation starters, and emotional appeals will stand out—especially if they’re backed up by relevant, helpful advice.
6. Publish, analyze the results, & refine your message
We put a lot of pressure on marketing teams. But when it comes down to it, every piece of content—and every publishing strategy—is an experiment. Even if a similar campaign did well last quarter, you may never see the same results again.
Take note of whether your content resonates—or falls flat. As you assess what to change for next time, consider trying the same message:
- In a different medium
- In a different format
- In a different channel
Does it work better?
If you’re still not seeing the results you want, it’s time to refine your message. Go back to what you know about your audience.
- What are their needs and pain points:
- What do they value?
- How can you speak directly to their concerns?
Be willing to change your content, refine your message, and try again until you discover what works for your brand.
6 types of content marketing that will help you stand out
Just because your ideal customer isn’t spending money yet doesn’t mean they’re not searching for answers to their biggest problems, identifying solutions, and evaluating their options.
Try a mix of content types to see which formats your audience finds the most helpful:
Video-driven platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are great places to build audiences and engagement. Plus, embedding video on your website drives traffic and supports on-page conversions.
Don’t forget about the power of on-demand video libraries, either. If you’re already creating video content, including webinars or short explainer videos, make it easy for your audience to find on your site and social channels.
2. Short-form content
According to Hubspot’s 2022 State of Inbound Report, short-form content is the most effective type of content you can create.
Short, “snackable” videos like Instagram Reels or 30-second explainers have the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy. According to HubSpot, short-form content:
- Increases video completion rates
- Drives engagement
- Drives traffic to your other video content
This makes short videos a great investment for 2023.
Webinars are an incredible B2B content marketing strategy. They help educate your target audience, offering instant value.
These events will also help you generate leads even after the event is over. With an on-demand video library, you can generate traffic and capture lead information into the future.
4. Ungated eBooks, guides, and white papers
We know how important it is to use content to capture leads and drive sales. But if your goal is to break through with your audience, consider un-gating downloadable content. Un-gating content:
- Reduces friction between you and your audience
- Boosts SEO
- Gets the attention of qualified leads who will bump you to the top of their evaluation pile
When everyone else is demanding an email list for the simplest tool, you’ll stand out by giving away great insights—for free.
5. Creative case studies
Look for fun ways to connect with your best clients or customers and to tell the human side of their story. In a sea of logical appeals like price comparison tables and feature charts, creative case studies make an emotional connection with your audience.
Case studies also have a ton of ROI because they can be broken down and re-used across multiple channels and mediums. Tie your case studies into social campaigns, blog topics, or newsletters to get the most mileage out of your work.
6. Pillar pages
Have a ton of content dedicated to a specific topic? Consider creating a pillar page.
A pillar page is an SEO-driven piece of long-form web content that presents a deep dive on a specific topic. It should be a one-stop shop for readers who want to learn everything on a topic only you know how to cover.
Once your SEO and linking strategy is in place, a pillar page should generate huge amounts of organic traffic. If you need to break through the noise, showing up on the first page of search engine results is the way to go.
As more B2B marketers fight for air time, you’ll need a strong content strategy to break through in 2023.
With Welcome in your tech stack, you can create and share incredible virtual events that engage your audience and drive leads. Use high-quality recordings of your beautifully designed webinars, roundtables, and live Q&As to build a video library that keeps working for you long after your event is over.
Schedule a demo with Welcome today to learn how our engaging live event platform can be a hard-working part of your content strategy in 2023.