We all hope that we’ll be returning to a world of in-person events, lunch meetings, and networking mixers very soon. However, even once we do return to in-person meetups, the importance of digital marketing and online communications won’t disappear. In fact, the recent pandemic has demonstrated that digital connections and communications technology (like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, etc.) are critical to everyday business.
With distributed workforces becoming more of the norm, it’s essential to create content that can be accessed remotely. You can’t rely on in-person meetings as the only touchpoint for educating your audience.
In this post, we explore the crucial B2B content marketing activities you should be doing now…and into the future to remain relevant and reachable to your target audience.
Creating Thought Leadership (aka Blogging)
In certain circumstances, “creating thought leadership” is a fancy way to say “blogging.” But, it’s important to note that not all blogs must be thought leadership pieces.
Let me explain.
True thought leadership articles and blog posts educate and provide helpful information for professionals in a certain industry or position. Unfortunately, there are a lot of firms out there who use their company blog to purely promote their own services and offer little to no value to their target market. If a blog post is a pure promotion, it’s not thought leadership, it’s a sales piece.
Crafting educational thought leadership blog posts regularly (ideally 1 – 2 posts per month, more if you have the bandwidth) is an essential B2B content marketing activity. In addition to helping your prospects gather the necessary information they need to make informed decisions, it enables your firm to add fresh, unique content to your B2B website monthly – a practice that will improve your standings with search engines like Google and Bing.
Takeaway: Blogging is great for educating prospects and for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Designing Takeaways and Downloads
Blog posts are great for providing snackable bits of information – anything from 500 – 1500 words. A great companion to blogging is designing digital takeaways or downloads that your target market can use to do their job better, get better results from a product or service, or convince their superiors that purchasing a product or service is the right choice.
These types of content pieces can be grouped into a broad category that includes white papers, e-books, guides, case studies, use cases, industry studies, etc. These B2B content marketing pieces often require a significant investment of strategizing and resources. If done thoughtfully, these content pieces are incredibly useful to prospects, can be used to nurture leads or generate leads, and move a potential client closer to a purchasing decision.
Takeaway: Strategic, downloadable content pieces are great for lead generation, lead nurturing, and as part of the sales conversation.
Sending Emails to Your Subscribers
Email marketing isn’t dead, but it has evolved. We’ve mentioned before that the pandemic has caused many individuals to re-evaluate how they spend their time. Time spent reading emails hasn’t diminished, but the number of email subscriptions has come under scrutiny by individuals.
B2B marketers can’t rely on automated email sends that are hastily thrown together or have been running for several months to engage their audience. Rather, marketers need to make sure that any email marketing provides real value to the subscribers. Marketers need to really put themselves in their target market’s shoes and only send emails that resonate with the recipient.
This doesn’t mean that promotional emails are dead and gone, rather they need to be used sparingly. It’s more critical to connect with your audience than it is to get them to click and buy immediately. Consider email marketing a long-term strategy to create and build a relationship with prospects and clients.
Takeaways: Don’t simply schedule email blasts based on your marketing schedule. Create thoughtful, targeted emails that compel recipients to open, read, and connect.
Sharing on Social Media
Yes, “Delete Facebook” was a big trend recently. It’s also not uncommon for people to take breaks from social media. However, recent studies show the average time users spend on social media each day is 142 minutes (Source: Statista). That is 2.4 hours. That’s a lot of time in one day. Regardless of whether users take breaks or stop using certain social platforms, people are still using social media for upwards of 2 hours a day.
If your brand doesn’t have an active social presence, it’s essential to add social media posting to your B2B content marketing strategy now. Determining what you share depends on your brand and your target audience. Similar to email marketing, it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate in what you share on social media. Making a connection and humanizing your brand is more important than pushing out a certain number of posts.
Takeaway: Creating an active social media presence for your B2B brand is crucial to engaging with your target market, but content must be thoughtful and designed to connect.