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Steps for Writing B2B Content that Generates Leads

Simply posting content isn’t enough: better B2B content must be written in such a way that it engages the target audience & generates leads.

Steps for Writing B2B Content that Generates Leads
Staff Editor

Content, including white papers, research reports, blog post, etc., are key for companies and their salespeople to position themselves as industry leaders and generate leads, according to a Harvard Business Review blog post.

“In today’s digital first world, successful B2B companies like Siemens, NEC, and Natus are simplifying their message and tailoring their value differentiation, everywhere their customers are,” said Gavin Finn, president and CEO of Kaon Interactive.

“With 91% of B2B buyers preferring to consume interactive content, marketing leaders must provide omnichannel digital experiences that allow for both self-service and sales-guided active customer participation.”

But simply posting content isn’t enough, the content must engage the target audience in such a way that it generates leads.

As ON24 notes in FastFWD B2B Marketing Trends Report: Attracting New Audiences with Digital Honeypots: “It’s not as simple as a form for a whitepaper. It’s thinking critically about ways that you can separate yourself from your competitors.”

Related: Reaching Integrators Through Better B2B Content Marketing

“Creating content that converts into leads, and eventually sales, today requires marketers to use visually engaging real-world scenarios to showcase how your products and solutions solving a prospects business challenge,” Finn said.

“By incorporating consistent marketing messages inside immersive storytelling experiences, together with 3D product tours, calculators, configurators, videos, collateral, presentations and much more, customers receive an impactful understanding of your value, which in turn leads to shortened sales cycles and increased win rates.”

Four Lead Generation Content Ideas

“Tech giants lead the way in finding innovative ways to generate leads,” said Christine VanTimmerman, creative and content strategist at ddm marketing + communications.

“Companies like IBM and Cisco prove that creating customer-centric content is the key. But you don’t have to be a giant to implement their lead generation content ideas.”

VanTimmerman recommends the following four types of B2B lead generation content ideas:

1. Research reports

Conducting research and presenting it in a digital report is a highly effective strategy, VanTimmerman said. “It positions you as a leader in your space and provides valuable, timely information audiences can use.”

The report needs to be well-designed, with timely and relevant information and professional and approachable writing, VanTimmerman said. To get the most out of the research, gate your reports to capture leads.

2. Video

Nearly six-in-10 (59%) of consumers prefer to watch a video on a topic rather than reading about it, said VanTimmerman, citing a LinkedIn 2020 report.

“Tech companies should create product demo videos, educational webinars/courses, and how-to videos. These videos can be shared on websites, social media channels and on YouTube.”

Keys to successful videos, according to VanTimmerman: The content must be educational, and it should generate ideas from customer feedback and questions. Companies can track and connect with YouTube subscribers for lead information.

3. Stories of Innovation

“Share stories of how your technology is changing the world and impacting the lives of your customers,” VanTimmerman said. “Highlight customer case studies and give audiences a glimpse at how products are developed and the innovators behind them. Distribute stories on a blog, in a newsletter, in a digital magazine, or through social media.”

To ensure stories of innovation are successful in generating leads, VanTimmerman recommends focusing on customer beenefits, needs and pain points. The content should be distributed across multiple channels to maximize impact. To track the success of different types of case studies, etc., track social engagement, newsletter subscriptions and clicks.

4. Forums

“In the tech space, audiences want to know the best ways to use technology and how to troubleshoot issues,” VanTimmerman explained. Provide the audience with a space to connect together that you have access to. Create a forum, Facebook/LinkedIn group, or Reddit thread. Then monitor the forum for content ideas and jump in to provide answers to questions.”

But for such an effort to be successful, companies need to ensure they forums don’t sound “salesy,” offering help for target audiences is essential, VanTimmerman said, adding that companies need to choose platforms that their customers use. As with other types of content, it is essential to monitor results. So forum providers should track new members, comments and sign-ups.

Determine if Content “Sticky”

For B2B content marketing to be successful, it needs to be “sticky,” said Julie Preiss, Appgate chief marketing officer.

“In today’s buyer-driven world, content is king,” Preiss said. “This is especially true in B2B content marketing in high tech, where buyers do most vendor vetting on their own before ever engaging with sales. It’s imperative to provide content tailored to the buying committee as they move through the journey. There are some ‘old school’ and ‘new school’ ways to figure out what content is ‘sticky.’”

Old School Metrics: Google Analytics provides basic metrics about website content behavior. For example, web pages viewed, the amount of time spent viewing it and what page(s) the reader went to next. Marketing automation platforms offer insight into campaign and email performance in terms of form fills, open rates and clicks, Preiss explained.

“However, open rates don’t mean much since anti-malware software will open an email before the reader ever sees it, inflating the number. A better metric is if the reader engaged with the email’s call-to-action (downloaded a whitepaper, registered for a webinar, etc.). A video service platform will give you data about unique views, view-through-rates and click-throughs on a call to action.”

New School Metrics: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) platforms provider deeper and richer content engagement metrics, Preiss said. ABM platforms enable you to deliver personalized experiences based on what buyers care about, like keywords or topics they’re researching.

“Traditional campaign metrics focus on click-through-rate, impressions served and cost per click, which doesn’t provide a full view,” Preiss added.

Read Next: The Importance of Video in B2B Marketing

“It’s important to understand metrics around exposure, engagement, impact and influence of your content. The AI models in ABM platforms continuously learn from the content consumed and enable you to adjust to increase engagement.”