80% of the fastest growing B2B companies engage in intensive content and inbound marketing. Nevertheless, their content strategy doesn’t always bring fast results to B2B marketers.
In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, only 34% of B2B marketing managers rate their content marketing as effective or extremely effective. The remaining 66% feel that their efforts are in vain.
Are you among these 66 percent? Don’t worry. When it comes to inbound marketing, the road to success is sometimes rocky and often long. We’ve researched 10 B2B companies for you that offer inspiration for sustainable, creative content marketing. Perhaps you’ll end up applying some of these tips yourself?
1. Simply Business
Sometimes you can find success stories where you’d never expect to find success stories. Insurance companies are neither popular nor exciting. Most businesses deal with insurance companies because they have to, not because they want to, and the processes involved are both boring and complex. Simply Business, England’s largest insurance agency, vies for customers with smart content marketing. The company specializes in smaller businesses and publishes content that offers practical advice for everyday life – even if it doesn’t relate to insurance. The most popular among these are an email productivity guide, a Google AdWords guide for small businesses and a guide to business blogging. The result? Top rankings for their most important keywords, number one on Google and improved organic reach.
2. Unbounce: Page Fights (R.I.P.)
What do you get when you combine a growth hacker with an experiment for website optimization? Electrical power. Unbounce, a landing page software company based in Vancouver, created the project Page Fights based on this concept.
Page Fights was only produced for a year, but the livestreams of marketing experts who criticize landing pages in real time are still worthwhile. Unbounce already had a successful blog, but Page Fights was a form of content that further relaxed the written form. And the readers loved the mix of humor, expertise and authenticity. Supplementing your blog with other content formats, such as videos, can certainly be a smart move.
3. NextView Ventures: Startup Traction
Once again not exactly a conventional form of content. Startup Traction by the VC company NextView Ventures is active on Medium.
Why did NextView opt for a separate blog that’s not even mentioned on their own website? We’re not Medium fanboys, but in any case, a Medium blog is a good way to manage off-site content. And with a bit of skill, this can create more awareness, diversity and quality for a new audience, especially on a platform as popular as Medium. Since Startup Traction isn’t directly connected to the website, NextView can experiment with different styles and narratives. Medium also makes it especially easy for users to share, like and search for content. And the best part? Medium is packed with over 6 million readers looking for content. Perhaps for yours, too?
4. Wistia: Instagram
The human component is a classic success factor in marketing, including for B2B companies. That’s why we love social networks that let us look behind the scenes of our favorite brands. Wistia, a video hosting platform, does so by uploading photos of employees – and their dogs – on Instagram. This not only fits with the visual focus of the company, but is also smart: After all, the internet loves pets!
Regardless of your field: Always remember to create visual incentives. It doesn’t have to be your own YouTube channel, but think about what and where potential readers like to see. Pictures in blog posts already increase readability immensely, and for some B2B companies, even creating their own Facebook page can open up completely new possibilities.
5. Autodesk: Line//Shape//Space
Content strategy isn’t as complicated as it may seem at first glance. If you’re an expert in your field and enjoy sharing your passion, you have a good chance of succeeding.
A good reason to like Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space blog. Autodesk produces 3D printing software and is probably the top source for 3D printing and innovation in the construction industry. Stories like the “Future of Construction: Your Next Building Won’t Be Built—It Will Be Manufactured” create real added value and have been shared thousands of times.
A classic: When you think of B2B, the name LinkedIn usually isn’t far behind. Accordingly, the network has to create interesting and informative content for over 300 million professionals.
It does so mainly in the form of helpful content centered around its own network. This includes infographics for profile optimization, guides for LinkedIn campaigns, e-books, SlideShare presentations, webinars and tips and tricks – all geared towards professional marketers.
The example of the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn campaign, which appeared in all forms including print, shows the success of this strategy. Within the first 30 days, the guide was downloaded 10,000 times, and LinkedIn was able to win more than a third of these readers as customers. In addition, around 3,000 new registrations were recorded after the seminar.
Leadpages designs custom mobile landing pages and offers a test service to increase companies’ reach. Founder and CEO Clay Collins knew he had to come up with something to be able to take on giants like HubSpot and Infusionsoft. Rather than spending a lot of money on customer acquisition, Collins established a growth hacking strategy based on the assumption that a four-person content team could outperform 80+ people in sales. How so?
- Leadpages runs a popular marketing blog dedicated to customer acquisition, A/B testing and related topics
- Free marketing resources, e.g. marketing courses, e-books, case studies and infographics
- ConversionCast, a popular podcast by Tim Paige
It worked. Leadpages has grown tremendously – by 35,000 customers in under three years – and ranked 148th of the fastest growing companies in the US in 2016. All thanks to content marketing.
MYOB, a financial management tool from Australia, focuses on informing its customers through educational content. After all, one should be well prepared when it comes to taxes. One of their most successful offers is the End of the Financial Year tool, where users receive tips on the upcoming tax season. Clever proof that the people at MYOB know what they’re doing.
The fundraising platform Classy knows its target audience very well: non-profit organizations. But it’s also aware that its own sales depend heavily on how successful these organizations are. Classy found the solution in education and training. Its blog and resource center are filled with courses, e-books and webinars on nonprofit marketing, fundraising and accounting. Classy helps its customers help themselves and thereby achieves steady growth.
Cisco, the market leader in networking and IT, launched a branding campaign in 2016 to showcase how Cisco is changing the world of work. The company relies heavily on emotion with There’s Never Been a Better Time. In Never Better, Cisco features true customer stories that demonstrate how the company drives innovation in a variety of areas. Ultimately, the campaign reinforced the brand’s values and illustrated how Cisco connects the world.
Summary: Success in content marketing for companies can but doesn’t have to consist of blogging alone. The key is to create valuable content for your audience. Authentic narratives and interesting materials with real added value strengthen your content and highlight your identity.