Are you making costly mistakes in your B2B content marketing campaigns? Eliminating the following missteps could be the difference between outright success and utter failure. It's also the difference between attracting eager prospects that are ready to buy right now, or no one at all.
According to Neil Patel, one of the world’s leading experts in the field, B2B content marketing has been around since 1732. The first content marketer was none other than Benjamin Franklin himself! Who would have thought?
As you can imagine, content marketing has come a long way since then. Businesses are publishing hundreds of thousands of articles every day and for good reason.
MarketingProfs suggests that marketers write 2 million blog posts every 24 hours in today's world. But they also say that if you are publishing 500-word articles that are getting read by no one, you are “completely and absolutely wasting your time.”
It's important to note some common mistakes that keep articles from being noticed. Content marketing can be effective when done in the right way. Mistakes can be costly and should be avoided if you want your articles to be effective.
A common mistake that can be avoided is not planning an effective content marketing strategy in advance. The reason: you never know what could happen that could keep you from getting your content out on time. In fact, 69% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy.
One of the best ways to rank on the search engines is by putting out consistent content. If you have content ready in advance, this takes a lot of pressure off and makes the process much easier. All you need to do is schedule that content ahead of time on a marketing platform such as Trello, Buffer, or Hootsuite.
Ideally, you should be working on content that will not get published for 3 or 4 weeks. One obvious drawback to this method is when something totally unexpected happens. This can make your content seem irrelevant unless you at least incorporate trending topics into your existing content.
For example, the recent COVID-19 crisis is changing how businesses operate. In this case, for obvious reasons, companies have been scrambling to revise their content to compensate. Otherwise, their audience would either ignore the content or it would sound awkward and out of place.
Sometimes you need to adapt to the world around you and use common sense. Recent studies show that more B2B businesses are going digital than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But under most normal circumstances, it's best to plan out your B2B content marketing strategy far in advance. This practice will help your business flow smoother.
Secondly, it's important to know your audience and how to best speak to them. For example, do they have their own jargon and expressions? Do you understand their concerns and what they are most interested in?
Your ideal buyer is often referred to as a “buyer persona” or an “avatar.” The best way to get to know them is to go to where they hang out. If they are hanging out on Instagram, and you publish your content on Twitter, then chances are, they will never see it.
But that is not the only thing that matters. You also want to find out what they are talking about. This is important to understand, specifically when it comes to B2B content marketing. Understanding their thoughts makes it possible to put content in front of them that happens to be exactly what is on their minds.
When you can speak to them in a way that “gets inside of their heads,” so to speak, they will take notice and listen. You want them to say to themselves, “How did he/she know what I have been thinking about?”
Companies also make the mistake of ignoring B2B content marketing altogether. A lot of companies believe that paid advertising is all they need, and that content marketing is a waste of time.
Granted, they may be profitable with paid advertising alone. But if they incorporate content marketing into their strategy, this can push their revenue to the next level.
“Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”—Jonathan Perelman, Buzzfeed
Remember this: B2B content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. But what it does do is gain momentum over time, if done in the right way. Think of it like compound interest. In the first year, you may get three or four sales a month. By year five, content marketing alone may be pushing hundreds of sales through your business.
A lot of businesses think they need to make a choice between content marketing and paid advertising. But once that momentum gets going, the paid ads can help boost content marketing and vice-versa. The most profitable businesses understand the importance of both, and how they fuel each other.
It's not uncommon for content managers and inexperienced copywriters to ignore the business owner’s voice. When you write content, who are you writing for? You are often speaking for someone besides yourself.
Do you understand that person’s expressions, beliefs, and values? Do you understand their jargon and the speed of their speech? If the business owner speaks in a slow manner, you do not want your writing to sound fast and vice-versa.
An experienced copywriter understands the unique voice of the business owner. They will make sure their content sounds like something the business owner would say if they wrote the piece themselves. This is crucial if the brand name is the same as the business owner’s name.
For example, if you were to go to Oprah’s blog, you want the reader to think the content “fits” her personality. This is one well-known illustration, but the same idea holds true for any B2B content marketing.
If you are writing for a company that is selling a 60-hour course, have you watched that course? This may sound like a time-consuming and daunting task, but how else could you speak intelligently about it?
What topic does the company represent? Do you understand that topic well enough? Let’s say that you are writing for a science blog. Can you speak intelligently about scientific topics?
If not, you need to find an experienced copywriter who is familiar with that niche and does understand the common discussions. If not, you run the risk of sounding like you know less about the topic than the reader does. And you don’t want to give that impression.
That is the best way to take credibility away from the owner and the company. Make sure you understand the topic!
Headlines and sub-headlines are imperative when writing content for articles. This holds true for at least three main reasons. The first reason is that you want to capture the attention of the reader. If the reader is not interested in the headline, chances are, they won’t see the article at all.
The second important factor when writing headlines and sub-headlines is that they need to contain keywords that will help the article rank in the search engines. If the article doesn’t rank, then once again, no one will see it. Sure, you can drive paid traffic to it, but wouldn’t you like to take advantage of free traffic as well?
And the third and final factor that is essential to keep in mind when writing sub-headlines is the idea that they need to make sense on their own. The reason for that is simple. Some readers skim the page and read nothing but the sub-headlines. If one catches their attention, they may start reading from there.
You want your sub-headlines to make sense to the person who glances over your article. In other words, each one of them needs to be relevant and support the main point of the article. Never put sub-headlines in there that seem out of place.
You also want to make sure your headlines and sub-headlines are the proper sizes. A headline needs to have the H1 size and the sub-headline needs to be sized at H2. Believe it or not, this will help your article rank, so remember to get this right.
Another common B2B content marketing mistake that a lot of content writers make is by putting too much focus on branding and not enough focus on value. Think about it from a prospect’s point of view. They don’t care about the brand. What they do care about is what you can do for them.
Always make sure that you give them something of value in all your articles. How can you help them? What good information can you share with them? What questions can you answer for them?
Do they have problems that you can help them solve? Consider all this when writing articles and make sure they find your content helpful.
Branding should come naturally when they read the article. Not in the article itself, but somewhere else on the site. Let them know about the brand in an indirect way. The direct message needs to be about the value you are providing to them.
What are your prospect’s pain points today? Do you know what keeps them awake at night?
What do they worry about? What challenges are they facing? But more importantly, how does this relate to your business and how can your company help them with these problems?
For example, if they lost their job due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, can you teach them to work from home? Or is there some way you can help other companies that were forced to shut down due to this catastrophe?
Here are some B2B examples relevant to this particular crisis:
A healthcare company may be able to reach out to other businesses with safety advice or supplies.
E-commerce companies may be able to help businesses restock emergency supplies.
Marketing companies can reach out to businesses and help them to get vital aspects of their business online.
Is there some way that your company can help other businesses solve important problems right now? B2B content marketing is a perfect way to reach out to them with support.
As mentioned earlier, if your article doesn’t rank high enough in the search engines, no one will see it unless you are driving paid traffic to it. Do you have the proper tools you need to do keyword research? Do you understand the best keywords to use?
This is commonly referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You are optimizing your article for the search engines so that it will have a better chance of being viewed.
One great way to do this in B2B content marketing is by using what is called long-tailed keywords. For example, the keyword, “red summer sandals in size 7” is much more apt to be viewed by the right person than the keyword, “sandals.” Make sure you optimize your articles with the keywords that will best attract the right buyers.
Do you link to other articles inside your blog? This is one of the best ways to offer value to your reader, as well as credibility. Equally important is linking to outside articles or helpful information. This may seem like you are leading them elsewhere. But the search engines will use this data to help your business rank.
What matters to the search engine algorithm is the rank of the companies are you linking to. If you are linking to a blog that has little traffic, it won’t help your article rank. But if you are linking to a high-traffic blog, then this will help your algorithm score. In turn, this will help you to show up higher on search engine pages.
The algorithm is what Google and other search engines use to decide which article ranks where. It's a scoring system, where they take different factors into consideration. How high you rank is directly influenced by the score of companies you are linking to in your article.
Also, you need to rank to other articles on the same blog you are writing for. Most refer to this as “inbound” links, and this will help drive more traffic to your site.
In other words, this is what you want to achieve. You want more traffic to your site. But you also want to link to other high-traffic blogs.
Some companies think that the best thing to do is to throw a lot of content out there and see what sticks. This is a bad idea. The reason you don't want to implement this strategy is that you will have a lot of low-quality articles floating around, and this will not help your business at all.
Instead, it's better to put out fewer, high-quality articles. The more quality in the article, the better. You don’t want to fill them with common knowledge. You want to go deep with helpful content. This will give your site a better reputation and help your site score.
Once you write articles, are you linking to them? You want to link to your articles from other places as often as possible. Most marketers link to them from social media sites or paid ads. If a high-traffic site links to your article, this is even better.
Often in B2B content marketing, you are writing to one niche. But make sure you hit that niche from different angles. For example, if they are into social media, share social media tips and techniques with them whenever possible.
Also, ask yourself what other niches would be interested in what you have to offer. This is an angle commonly used by software companies. Software is often used by a wide variety of people. This means that it's not uncommon for software to be marketed to more than one niche. If that is the case, be sure to speak to each niche in a different way.
Now, this is a biggie. It's essential that your audience knows, likes, and trusts you. You need to come across as sincerely trying to help them and do what is in their best interest. Surely, you do want to help them!
This is all based on authenticity, integrity, and ethics. Do you mean what you say? Are you keeping in mind how you can help them, rather than how they can help you? You MUST come at it from this angle and mean it.
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, 'make me feel important.' Not only will you succeed in sales, but you will also succeed in life.”—Mary Kay Ash, businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
The idea here is to establish a relationship with your prospective buyers. Find ways that you can connect to them authentically. You want to create a relationship, but you also want to nurture this relationship as time goes on.
Another great way to strengthen your relationship with your reader is by incorporating video. Marketers who incorporate video into their content have seen a 49% faster revenue growth than those that don’t. Videos make it more personal and make the reader feel like they actually know you.
Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. Nobody! Whatever you do, don’t push your ideas on them and sound too anxious. This can make you sound desperate, but it can also make you sound like you do not care what is best for them.
This is a disastrous mistake. Always remember to ask yourself how you can sincerely help your potential buyer. Is what you have to offer something that can truly improve their lives and be worth the price they pay? If not, find a different company with a more authentic product.
Pushing sales down someone’s throat is the fastest way to get them to click off your article and RUN the other way. Social media has made a drastic impact on this change of pace in the field of marketing. People don’t deal with pushy salespeople anymore because, to be honest, they don’t have to.
What is “repurposing?” This means that you take one piece of content and revise it for other platforms. For example, let’s say you wrote an article. You can then take that same article and read it out loud and turn it into audio for a podcast.
Then, you can take that article and break it down into PowerPoint slides, turning it into an educational video. You can also take parts of it and turn that into an infographic. Meaning, a pictorial diagram that condenses the highpoints.
You want to repurpose content when you first write an article. But you will also want to repurpose them for years to come. Ask yourself if you can find an old article that received a lot of traffic and popularity. Can you bring that old article back to life?
Not tracking your results is probably the biggest mistake you could make in your B2B content marketing. Let’s say you wrote an article and then you posted that article on Twitter and Facebook. Then you created a video and put it on YouTube and linked to it from there.
Next, you get bombarded with sales. Wouldn’t you want to know where that traffic came from? Did it come from Twitter or YouTube? Or did it come from Facebook? This is essential information to have because you want to know how to best spend your advertising dollars.
It would be kind of crazy to spend money on Facebook if the majority of your traffic came from YouTube and vice-versa.
Think about some ways you can track your traffic. You can use tracking links through a reputable company. Some of these companies charge money and some of them are free. Or you can learn where your traffic is coming from by making use of free tracking tools such as Google Analytics or Google Console.
One of the best ways to get your blog to fall into the graveyard is to stop publishing content. It's important to post articles and other forms of content on a regular basis.
Remember, the search engines are tracking you. If you are not putting out fresh new content on a regular basis, your company will start falling behind in the search engines.
Old content may rank when you have no competition for the keywords you use. But most of the time, if you don’t keep up with this, your competition will leave you in the dust.
This is probably the biggest “no-brainer” mistake with B2B content marketing. If your article leads your reader to a dead end, this will get you nowhere. You must have a place to take them after they read your article, and that is called your “call to action.”
What is it that you are trying to achieve? Where do you want them to go? Do you want them on your email list, or do you want them on a chatbot? Would you prefer to have them join a Facebook group? Do you want them to comment?
Always ask yourself before you start what is the goal of your article. And make sure you give them a clear call to action to help your business achieve that goal. On articles, you can highlight specific words and if they click on those words, they will go to the destination.
Speaking of destination, what is your destination? Do you want them to go to a landing page or do you want them on your email list? One common mistake a lot of businesses make is they ignore email marketing altogether.
Email marketing is critical to the success of your business. Why? If you are not using email marketing, you are leaving money on the table. A good copywriter knows email strategies that work based on proven data.
Once you put those strategies into action, you can expect your sales to increase. An email campaign has a couple of important functions.
1. First, it helps you to show a relationship with your potential buyer and strengthen your connection with them.
2. Second, it keeps your business on top of mind. They may not be ready now, but when they are ready, who do you think they will go to? Whoever it is they can think of, that’s who! Let that be you and your company!
Do you think one email sequence is enough? Most of the time, the answer to that question is no. Even if you have one product to offer, you still have your buyers and your non-buyers and you will be speaking to each of them differently.
But imagine if you have more than one product or service. Take a car dealership, for example. They have a sales department, a service department, a body shop, and a parts department. Do you think it makes sense to speak to the customer who had a repair done the same way you would speak to someone who purchased a new vehicle?
Of course not! That would be absurd. They are two different buyers with different questions, problems, wants, and needs. It's important to understand all these aspects of your business and speak to the buyer in a way that matches their behavior.
To create email lists for each part of your business is called “segmenting.” In other words, “separating.” You want to keep some of your prospects separate from others. And speak to each of them based on what they are currently doing or dealing with.
How is your B2B content marketing strategy going? Do you have time to publish current and effective articles and videos on a regular basis? If not, join the 84% of marketers that outsource their content creation.
Let’s face it. Writing and publishing articles on a regular basis can be a daunting task. It truly is a full-time job.
Do you have time to do two full-time jobs? Do you have time to run your business and publish regular content? Here at Copywriters.com, let us do all the heavy lifting for you. Contact us today and you won’t need to worry about any of this! Let us put out professional articles for you on a regular basis.
Debbie Landry resides on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With a background in sales and business, she has a BS in psychology. She has several marketing certifications in copywriting, freelancing, masterminds, course creation, consulting, life coaching, Facebook advertising, funnel building, and more. Her focus is on the big picture of copywriting and content marketing, as well as personal growth and development.Hire Deborah