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B2B Content Marketing – Match Your Approach To Your Goal

B2B Content Marketing – Match Your Approach To Your Goal

Inbound marketing and content marketing are hot topics right now. One tried and true method we’ve seen great client success with is creating an insightful industry report or white paper to drive folks to your website, build thought leadership and drive leads.

To succeed with such an effort you need to put some thought into your execution. Simply put, different goals require different approaches.

In this post, we’ll consider some goals and methods for distributing an insightful industry report or white paper.

Some realistic goals for a content marketing project like this could be:

  • Industry Thought Leadership
  • Customer and Market Thought Leadership
  • Lead Generation.

While these goals are not mutually exclusive, you do need to decide which one is your top priority and approach it accordingly.

Industry Thought Leadership

  • In this case, your goal is to build thought leadership within YOUR INDUSTRY in order to make the company more desirable in terms of partnerships, integrations, potential buyouts, etc. Along these lines, this could address a technical or business challenge, emerging opportunity or future trend.
  • Method:
    • Research an in-depth topic and publish a piece that will stand out within your industry, offering a new approach or new insights.
    • Conduct “online PR” campaign to get industry insiders reading your piece, posting about it and commenting on it.
    • Pitch the concept presented to industry publications who may want to write about it.
    • Look to use the concept to present at industry trade shows, industry gatherings, etc.
  • Posting:
    • This can be posted to the site in PDF format for direct download or can be accompanied by a mandatory form (to track distribution and gain potential new partnership leads). Leaving it freely available will likely result in further distribution, while adding the signup reduces overall readership but gains contact info.
    • You can advertise this in Google Search if there are searches that are relevant enough, and in Linkedin and Twitter if you can identify appropriate targets.
  • Customer and Market Thought Leadership

    • Your goal is to build thought leadership within a CLIENT VERTICAL. As such, this should deal specifically with issues that already mean something to them (i.e. in my case I might write about Google trends and how they affect software marketing).
  • Method:
    • Research and publish on an insightful topic that doesn’t necessarily need to be nearly as in-depth as it would need to be within your own industry.
    • Conduct “online PR” campaign to get influencers within the vertical(s) reading your piece, posting about it and commenting on it.
    • Pitch the concept presented to vertical publications who may want to write about it.
    • Look to use the concept to present at industry trade shows, industry gatherings, etc.
    • Use the report as a sales aid and conversation starter in your sales process.
    • Posting:
      • As with all approaches, this can be posted to the site in PDF format for direct download or can be accompanied by a mandatory form (to track distribution and gain potential new leads). Leaving it freely available will likely result in further distribution, while adding the signup will reduce overall readership but gains contact info. For this goal, we likely want to have it freely distributed.
      • You can advertise this in Google Search and Linkedin.
      • You will also post far and wide (Linkedin, Twitter) and do sponsored posts.

     

    Lead Generation

    • The goal in this case is to get LEADS FOR YOUR SALES TEAM. To use your report as an effective lead generation tool you need to make sure it identifies how to solve an industry-specific challenge which is ALSO relevant to the solutions you offer. You do zero “selling” within the body of the doc, but at the end of it you can have a separate plug where you mention something like “For those who are interested in solving the hyper-galactic space drive issues addressed in this paper, please contact us. We’d love to discuss a practical way to minimize your radioactive waste while maximizing your mileage.”
  • Method:
    • Research and publish a piece on an insightful topic that illustrates how customers can solve a very specific pain point or take advantage of new developments in the industry (and it should be relevant to your offerings).
    • Conduct “online PR” campaign to get influencers within the chosen industry(s) reading your piece, posting about it and commenting on it.
    • Pitch the concept presented to industry publications who may want to write about it.
    • Look to use the concept to present at industry trade shows, industry gatherings, etc.
    • Use the report as a sales aid and conversation starter in your sales process.
    • Posting:
      • Excerpts from the report be freely distributed and posted while the report itself should definitely have a dedicated and optimized landing page with signup.
      • While you’ll want to post about this report and try to distribute it organically, most companies end up getting most of their distribution through advertising and paid promotion. This is an irony about “inbound” marketing – a huge percentage of it is done by leveraging “outbound” tools to get traffic.
      • You can advertise this in Google Search and Linkedin. In fact, some companies use reports like these as the main “product” they advertise in order to get qualified potential buyers into their funnel. This is particularly effective for high dollar products and those with long sales cycles.

    Requirements for Success (any of the topics):

    • Make sure it’s well written and of significant value for your targeted readers.
    • Make sure the accompanying/enclosed infographic is compelling and punchy.
    • Ensure the topic will be exciting to your readers and that the value of the report can be quickly communicated in a single sentence/headline.
    • Be thorough in promoting it through all the channels mentioned.
    • Consider SEO (for longer term value). While the PDF may not be indexed (depending how you host/present it), you should at least optimize the download/landing page to make sure it can be prominent in search if folks are searching for the type of info it presents.

    I’ve barely scratched the surface on any of these goals and methods, but by aligning your approach to your goal you’ll be off to a great start!