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Why content marketing is essential for business success

Why content marketing is essential for business success


In 1996, Bill Gates wrote “content is king”. Time has shown how right he was. The internet provided endless space to publish content, and in this digital world, content marketing is a key strategy for any business that wants to attract and engage customers. B2B content marketing has a few distinct qualities, because business buyers typically have very different goals, personas, and journeys. 

When selling to a business, you typically have multiple decision-makers involved in any given purchase and a longer lead time. The stakes can be higher with business purchases; the product might be a longer-term service or product and involve a lot of company money. 

This makes it all the more important to have a careful strategy in place, carefully considering persona, content type, messaging and channels. Without this, businesses run the risk of creating content for its own sake. However, a B2B Content Marketing study conducted by CMI in 2022 found that only 40% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

This blog will look at some of the challenges and benefits of B2B content marketing.

How can you create content for B2B marketing?

When creating content for a B2B audience, your starting point, as in any other marketing strategy is your buyer persona. Who is your primary customer? What position do they hold in a business? What are their concerns and pain points? And what channels can you reach them on?

Thought leadership often plays a central role in a B2B content marketing plan. Neither aesthetics nor brand loyalty will cut it in the B2B space. Demonstrating your expertise is crucial if you are to attract a business buyer and persuade them that you are equipped to solve their sometimes very specific pain point. Creating thought-leadership with content like blog posts, white papers and eBooks is a valuable way you can do this. It’s also important to consider channels that might be specific to business or your target industry. LinkedIn is one obvious example of a business-orientated platform.

A business buyer won’t make purchases on a whim. Authoritative content will attract their attention, but you will need to nurture a business lead all the way down the sales funnel to close a sale. We have previously written on how to tailor content to each stage of the funnel. In this blog, we explained that the customer should pass from awareness to consideration and finally to make a decision about whether to make their purchase. In this time it is important for a marketer to offer interesting and relevant content throughout this period, and focus on alleviating any concerns the customer might have. 

This deliberation process might take 3 months, 6, or even more, so a light touch is needed. The aim is the opposite to a hard-sell. Instead you want to gently familarise yourself with the customer, before you present them with detailed differentiation about your business as they research you further, and then only when they are actively considering your service, do you encourage them to buy.

It can be extremely useful to proactively identify different content you can create for the awareness, consideration, and decision stage. You should also think carefully about what channels you might reach your customer on at these three stages in the buyer journey.

Challenges of B2B Content Marketing

Interestingly, creating content that appeals to different stages of the buyer’s journey was identified by 61% of content marketers as the biggest challenge they face in the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Insights for 2023 report. This simply goes to show that you can’t wing it with ad-hoc content and provide content tailored to those stages. Instead you have to take a strategic approach and embrace forward planning. This way, your content will have the most impact it can. 

The report identified a number of other challenges that B2B content marketers faced,  listed below in order of prominence:

  • Creating content that appeals to different stages of the buyer’s journey
  • Aligning content efforts across sales and marketing
  • Developing consistency with measurement
  • Communicating internally among teams/silos
  • Differentiating our products/services from the competition's
  • Accessing subject matter experts to create content
  • Achieving consistency with messaging

These challenges work as an effective checklist for marketers putting together a content marketing strategy. By checking against the pitfalls, you can make sure you have ticked every box for a successful strategy.  Of course, with so much content out there, it's important that not only is yours tailored to your buyer persona and journey, with good internal buy-in, and messaging consistency, but that it cuts through the noise. The ultimate challenge every content marketer faces is ensuring that their content gets noticed. However when it does, the rewards are very substantial.

Benefits of content marketing 

Businesses routinely invest heavily in their content.According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report for 2022, content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers. There is a good reason for this. It delivers. Results have shown time and time again, that content marketing is one of the most effective ways to create brand awareness, grow audience engagement, and drive sales. 

Figures from Demand Metric show that content marketing generates 3X the leads, but costs 62% less than other digital marketing channels. Creating that valuable content that demonstrates your expertise certainly takes time, work, and buy-in from subject matter experts in your business.

However, for a number of reasons, it is well worth the investment. Firstly, as we mentioned above, the ROI on B2B content marketing is often particularly good. Secondly, in this day and age, customers expect high quality content from their brands as a matter of course. If you fail to keep up, it could count against you. Lastly, once you have produced your content, you can reuse, repurpose, refresh and optimise as you wish. 

The most important benefits content marketing specifically brings a business are the following:


How has the B2B buyer changed? 

As digital marketing has matured, the B2B buying journey has evolved. Business sales used to revolve around lunches and in-person demos. However, buyers now have access to a wealth of information online and conduct extensive research before making a purchase decision. Online lead generation is crucial, and buyers now expect an ever more personalised content experience, and to be able to go on most of that journey virtually, before they speak to a member of a sales team. In this marketplace, content isn’t just a useful asset for a business, it is mission critical.

 Key takeaways 

  • Your content must be tailored to your buyer persona and journey. 
  • Other challenges businesses face include securing internal buy-in and collaboration, ensuring consistency in messaging, and making your content stand out.
  • The biggest benefits to businesses include building trust and authority, driving website traffic, and generating leads at an effective cost. 
  • Changes in B2B buyer behaviour in recent years has only made content marketing more crucial for driving sales. 

Looking to create content that cuts through the noise? Contact our content marketing experts.