Are you looking for innovative ways to spice up your B2B content marketing strategy? You’re in the right place.
Creating content that stands out from the crowd is no mean feat these days. Marketers and brands need to develop and deliver a content marketing strategy that gets their ideal customers' attention and encourages them to keep listening, watching, and waiting for the next content-related treat.
The team at Foleon is always super excited to share our content inspirations, and we especially enjoy it when we can show how they are aligned to a robust, actionable, and brand-driven strategy.
With this in mind, we have put together recommendations for 5 types of content that can help you reach your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Ready to leave your competitors in the dust? Grab a mug of something motivational, and let’s get started.
Using different content formats — the benefits explained
Any fan of Indian, Thai, Mexican, or any other type of zingy, aromatic food will tell you that you can’t achieve the right level of taste and heat unless you get the mix just right. When you are spicing up your B2B content marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to use a variety of different elements and formats to get everyone at the content table salivating.
It helps you expand your reach. While all your collateral should perform well on as many devices as possible, some content formats are naturally suited to be viewed on larger screens such as more complex eBrochures. Furthermore, some collateral will get more engagement on social media or via your newsletter. Video on social media for instance or white papers on a monthly prospect or customer email news bulletin.
It boosts brand awareness. Using a range of formats also helps to shape your overarching content strategy and boost brand awareness. Your leads and loyal customers benefit from valuable information, and they get to choose which format they consume it in. So, if they want to hear about your new product launch on their commute home, a blog might hit the spot. If they prefer to get the lowdown on their lunch break they can click on the video link. The result? Your brand, products, and services get in front of more people on the channels they prefer.
It creates maximum impact. Utilizing different content formats means you have the opportunity to optimize your messaging and make the biggest impact possible. You can cross-promote your activities through multiple channels, reaffirming your message and creating a sense of cohesion. Plus this approach can improve the customer journey too.
It establishes thought leadership. As we mentioned, not every lead will prefer to read an in-depth guide over a concise case study or product summary, but some will. Giving readers the chance to dig deep into your expertise is ideal for demonstrating thought leadership.
Why not add a brand video into the mix to build on the storytelling aspects of your content strategy and show what happened behind the scenes of your product development or research? An interview with a key staff member or a video case study could do the trick.
Different content formats drive traffic and boost SEO. The more quality content you have linking back to your website, the better. Especially if it has a natural amount of keywords and SEO search terms. You also need to consider how each piece of content is positioned within your customer or buyer journey.
So, if you have a video explainer you can link to from your latest insights blog, get it front and center. If you have a great illustration, interactive checklist, quiz, or calculator, embed it on a trackable landing page and promote it on your social media channels.
It helps you get more content to market. If you have a great idea and it proves successful (or you are just testing it out) why not repurpose it into multiple formats for different audiences and channels? This means you can get more content to market, and it saves you time and resources. Plus, it enables you to try out different versions and personalize them for specific audiences, which should drive more engagement and conversions.
Now it’s time to create our spice mix.
The best content formats to boost your B2B marketing strategy
1. User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created online by users or the brand’s community. Customers using a product in a real-life situation, for example, or people sharing their stories with their community on a social media platform and using hashtags, usually introduced and promoted by the brand.
The benefits of using UGC are significant. It is a fantastic way to leverage word-of-mouth marketing and acts as a way of proving the authenticity and credibility of your brand, a phenomenon known as social proof. B2C brands like Dove and Wayfair have had considerable success with UGC in recent years, but it is also a viable option for B2B brands.
Hootsuite, for example, encourages its community to share pictures and comments about the location they are currently doing their job from. The Instagram posts are accompanied by the hashtag #IWorkFromHere, building a sense of belonging and increasing their reach. As you can imagine, some of the photos are pretty impressive. A real estate service provider, CBRE, uses a similar approach, asking people to share photos of their favorite architecture, and Adobe asks users to send in examples of work created with their software.
2. Downloadable templates
Downloadable templates are B2B marketing gold. Not every business can find an opportunity to create downloadable templates that benefit their audience. But if your leads struggle with organizing particular parts of their work or home life, and you can provide them with something that will save them time or make their lives that bit easier, a downloadable template can be a great idea.
Take a look at HubSpot’s excellent range of spreadsheets, checklists, and other content marketing tools to see how they have identified pain points their customer has and created a neat solution that is gated but free to use. Any content marketers who have spent hours putting a complex editorial calendar together will doubtless appreciate HubSpot’s well-targeted efforts.
If you aren’t sure whether gating your content is right for your business, read Ritesh Sheombar’s blog on generating qualified leads with mid-gated content.
3. Interactive content
Including interactive content elements in your B2B marketing collateral offers a variety of benefits. It is a great way of putting your prospective customer at the heart of the content and in the driving seat of their experience and journey. By encouraging them to engage with the interactive elements, they can create a deeper connection with the content, and it should make a more lasting impression in their minds.
Interactive content elements are also great for adding value to your leads of customers. Here are some examples of interactive content tools and some suggested uses.
- Interactive quizzes. These can be included in guides, brochures, blogs, or landing pages. Quizzes can be light-hearted and aimed at simply entertaining the user; “Find out which type of curry suits your personality!” and so forth. Or they can be more sales-focused to steer a lead towards the product or service that would suit them most; “Discover which content marketing solution will solve your most pressing challenges.”
- Interactive checklists. Checklists are a great addition to the end of an article or how-to guide. For example, a tool to check the reader has completed every task or process.
- Interactive videos or animations. These content formats are not only super engaging and let your viewer control their journey. They are also great for promoting on social media and encouraging people to share with their community. For example, interactive animations bring graphs to life and help direct customers to the most relevant information, such as an atlas you hover over to see the data findings in a particular country or territory.
Need inspiration for bringing a company report to life? Read our guide to creating and formatting reports for maximum impact.
- Interactive calculators. These are great time-savers for your lead and take away the burden of doing their own calculations for a quote or working out how much they would save or make from a particular deal. Calculators don’t always need to be financially focused. For example, fashion retailers encourage customers to input personal details to find the perfect fit while getting great insights into their buying preferences. Another good example is tech firms using calculator functionalities to give free website and SEO analyses in exchange for their email and website address. More on harnessing this valuable data shortly.
Want some more ideas and inspiration for using these tools in your content? Check out this guide to creating interactive content that engages your audience.
Using interactive elements to collect audience insights
As you can see, interactive content is a valuable tool to attract, engage and convert your target audience. It is also an excellent content format for collecting information about your leads. In exchange for the value, you offer your prospective customer with interactive tools, you could consider gating the content or sending the results by email after the calculator or quiz has worked its magic.
Plus, if you use a content creation platform with powerful analytics, you’ll be able to see how the leads are using and engaging with the content and use these insights to improve the user experience and boost conversions.
4. Long and short-form videos
Video is a must for busy brands who need engagement, engagement, and more engagement. Here are some types of video marketing to consider for boosting your content strategy.
Explainer or tutorial video. Suppose your product or service can be challenging for first-time users, or you want to ensure your new customers are optimizing its potential. In that case, an explainer or how-to video can be really useful.
Brand video. If you want to tell the story behind your business, its mission, and why it is special, a brand video works wonders.
Product video. This is your chance to showcase the features and benefits of your products. These can be powerful personalized sales tools if your marketing team has the production capacity. Not sure you have the time to create that much content? Read this blog on how to personalize content while scaling.
User-generated content (UGC) video. As per our earlier section on UGC, this kind of video is the ideal way to promote your offering while affirming your credibility.
Case study video. Like their copy-based counterparts, case study videos offer the perfect platform for demonstrating the benefits of your product or service to potential customers. They are especially powerful if you can see the product at work and/or get first-hand testimonials from users. If you want to appeal to particular sectors or audiences, it’s worth creating a range to optimize relatability and create the most impact possible.
Find out how to know if your video content is working in Torrey Tayenaka’s guide to measuring your video marketing efforts.
5. Podcasts and webinars
Podcasts and webinars are excellent B2B content formats for delivering information, demonstrating expertise, and entertaining your target audience. They’re also a great opportunity to capture some all-important customer data during the signup process or when encouraging viewers/listeners to send in questions.
Some marketers are under the illusion that these content formats are tricky or time-consuming to produce, but that is not the case at all. The hardest part is often deciding on what subject matter to include. Ask your customers and community if you aren’t sure what topics or themes to cover in your broadcasts. What are the challenges they face? What do they want to know more about? Whose expertise would they benefit from?
Try to produce a regular series of webinars or podcasts rather than only a standalone broadcast. Bring special guests in, including expert colleagues, and publish them on a hub on your website, just like Foleon’s rather fabulous podcast series, Perfectly Content.
Get set to spice up your B2B content marketing strategy
So there we have it! Your content spice mix is waiting for you to dazzle your leads and customers. Whatever you decide to add to your marketing melting pot, keep your audience’s needs in mind and create and deliver content that will address their specific needs and wants at that particular stage of the buyer journey.
Think about how your target audience consumes content at different times and from different devices. What content formats will help you reach a wider audience while still ensuring it is the right people who notice you? What will entertain, delight, inform and convert these people?
When you have your strategy in place and are ready to create beautiful marketing collateral that resonates, it’s time to get your tools and tech in order. Make sure you use a content creation platform that enables you to create content that looks and performs beautifully on all devices, allows for seamless collaboration, and delivers powerful insights into user behaviors, so you can keep refining and improving that delicious content spice mix.
Find out how Foleon’s platform works by booking a free demo today!