B2B content is a bit like sleep. We know it's important. People won't shut up about it. But judging by what you'll find perusing any given B2B organization's website (or looking at the tired eyes on early-morning Zoom calls), we're not getting the right quantity and quality of either.
But what makes a "good" piece of content?
If blogs are to be trusted, it's lots of those "-able" adjectives that double as descriptors for hors d'oeuvres. Shareable. Snackable. Stackable. What does that actually look like? What steps can you take to best ensure the content you’re creating is going to be quality? Let's break it down in plain, buzzword-free English.
What makes for quality B2B content?
There are three basic attributes a high-quality piece of B2B marketing content should possess:
1. It was created with a clear set of goals in mind. This means it has a clear alignment to the stage of the funnel those goals are targeted around.
2. It was created with an understanding of the audience. Who's going to consume this content? This is foundational. You can basically start with your audience and what you know about them and work backward from there.
3. It delivers value. There's a lot to unpack around delivering value. But an excellent way to quickly assess the value of a piece of content (and ensure it builds trust) is to see if it does the following:
- Grabs attention without feeling like clickbait
- Is straightforward and easy to read for your target audience
- Delivers on its purported value
How do you create quality B2B content?
Notice that most of the details covered above are around intent. There's not always a secret sauce to cooking up quality B2B content. Sometimes, you really just have to follow the recipe.
Avoiding steering into clickbait territory isn't just about overly enticing titles and calls to action. It's more about over-promising and under-delivering, which ties back into delivering on its purported value. (Unless your business is selling illusions to professional magicians, you probably don't want to try to trick your audience.)
As for ensuring the piece is easy to read, be mindful of industry jargon and acronyms. Don't try to sound smart. Try to be understood.
You can pretty much never go wrong with offering an explanation of a term or breakdown of an abbreviation on the first reference. Besides being useful info for members of your audience that may be new to their industry, this gives you the chance to score some easy SEO points (assuming your content is online and showing up in searches) by answering those highly Google-able "what is X" questions.
Of course, if you're trying to churn out good content, you might think all the above is easier said than done. Like a paint-by-numbers picture, it's not entirely foolproof (as proven by the sad, unintentionally abstract nature scene tucked away in my garage). But while the framework can't do all the work for you, it can help increase the likelihood that your work will do its job.
It also helps to check out other quality pieces of content and get inspired.
4 examples of B2B content that get it right
Let's look at a few awesome examples of B2B content and break down why they're great and why they work.
Summary: Targeted to B2B marketers trying to find a way to solve the biggest challenge facing them today, this asset provides a clear, step-by-step path to improving lead-gen practices.
Funnel stage: Awareness/Interest
Why it works: HubSpot excels at thought-leadership content like this, pieces that give its audience actionable advice. This positions HubSpot well as a reliable source of tactics and tools in the industry.
- "Best practices" is compelling, and it delivers as a "how to" rather than a sales pitch.
- Good structure makes this piece easy to read.
- This asset is a partner piece dual-branded with Jotform. Creating dual-branded content is a great way to reduce production costs, deepen productive partner relationships, and help increase exposure to new audiences for both parties.
Summary: Pipedrive's snazzy-looking catalog of customer stories includes well-structured summaries of problems customers faced, how Pipedrive’s software solved their problems and what components of the software were most critical to their success.
Funnel stage: Interest/Consideration
Why it works: Case studies can make a fine gated asset to grab contacts and get potential customers on your radar, but Pipedrive finds value in laying it all out there. These easily digestible micro case studies can be skimmed through quickly and give a sense of a large user base, which builds confidence. Further keeping barriers to a minimum, Pipedrive's call to action to get a free trial includes a note that no credit card is needed. Fewer hurdles can make would-be customers feel like they can go from on the fence to on the platform in no time.
- Trying to appeal to a broad range of buyers is challenging. Clean design and an easy-to-read format make a connection with many industries and use cases.
- Having a solid number of case studies available at a glance gives a sense of a large user base—even if prospects never navigate beyond this page.
- Producing bite-sized, to-the-point case studies can be easier for both companies involved. Not just in production but from an approval standpoint. These case studies could be quickly reviewed by customers' legal and marketing teams, increasing the chances that they’re given the green-light and go live.
Summary: Curricula's simulator demonstrates the power of phishing with a playful twist: putting a terrifying 5-year old hacker at the center of it all.
Funnel stage: Consideration
Why it works: Training does no good if employees won't do it or remember it. Curricula makes bland training truly engaging, increasing the likelihood that the info sticks and (hopefully) removing some of the negative association workers might have with crucial security and compliance exercises.
- Curricula's creative use of a 5-year-old nefarious hacker can't help but pique curiosity.
- The simulator represents the best in interactive B2B content: creating a memorable, fun experience for employees that will raise security awareness and hits at the heart of what you're getting from Curricula.
Summary: This ePaper speaks to government agencies about how to successfully realize the benefits of digital transformation.
Funnel stage: Interest/Consideration
Why it works: Packed with research and timely content, this ePaper speaks to the pains of a specific audience (government agencies) with a specific problem (going digital). It's soft on the sales pitch, easy on the eyes and elegantly calls the reader to action.
- Structure is important, especially in longer assets. Image API's asset sets clear, actionable steps that are explained and then reiterated by a real-world story that walks through the steps in detail to ensure greater understanding.
- Most companies feel compelled to make their content long-winded. The more words, the more value, right? Not if no one reads them. Despite this guide's broad scope, it's relatively short and to the point. It also uses whitespace and color well, taking your eye from one point to the next and keeping it from feeling like an impenetrable wall of text.
Investing in content pays off
Good content is more than just creating a solid design. You need to consider your goals, buyer and the funnel stage. These foundational elements are critical to executing on good B2B content.
Want to learn more about how Thaynes Marketing can help you improve your B2B content roadmap? Contact us to get started.