Content Strategy Tips from Top B2B Brands

Content Strategy

Building a small business content strategy is hard work, but it’s probably about to get much harder.

Many subject matter experts believe that our current state of content overload is just the calm before the storm. As Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners spectates, “the rush to content marketing in every industry will make it harder and harder for your brand to rise above the noise.” If your entire strategy to date has relied on doing what you competitors already did, a few weeks later, it’s definitely time to pause and reset.

To inspire you to a more original small business content strategy that’s built to weather an era where literally every company blogs, Tweets, and pens eBooks, we’ve taken inspiration from some of the hardest-working companies on the block: B2B companies with brilliant content.

Don’t Be Like Your Competition

Content Strategy - Don’t Be Like Your Competition

Image source

How do you draw the attention of Cimation’s target buyer personas, oil and gas engineers? With a sports theme, of course. About a year ago, the B2B company promoted their process automation services for energy companies with a high-energy offer.

According to John McTigue, part of the marketing team behind the offer, “most companies [in the industry] are publishing case studies, specification sheets, or press releases...we wanted to ‘punch things up’ a bit.” It worked brilliantly, and the campaign’s ability to generate qualified leads was described as “stunning.”

Breaking the status quo should play a role in any small business strategy.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Content Strategy - Sungard Infographic

Image source: SunGard/TopRankBlog

B2B buyer personas aren’t necessarily buttoned-up professionals. If you’ve got room to infuse humor or unusual concepts into your marketing, run with it. SunGard, a managed IT services firm, received some well-deserved accolades for their recent Zombie campaign.

Titled “Survive a Zombie Attack: Move to the Cloud,” the company achieved more than just prospect awareness. Their download rates improved 300%. Even if your small business strategy won’t mesh well with Zombies, don’t be afraid to be bold.

Dominate Your Niche

Content Strategy - Dominate Your Niche

Image source: HubSpot/PoweredbySearch

Who wants to read about marketing automation software? Actually, about 170,000 marketers and the number is growing daily. HubSpot is among the best at making B2B content marketing people love, and the phrase has even become their tagline. From daily high-quality blog articles, visually-stimulating social media content, and marketing-themed covers of popular music, few companies can compete with the quality or quantity of content produced by HubSpot’s team.

The company’s Pinterest page, shown above, runs the gamut from marketing templates to company culture to inspiring quotes - proof that your small business strategy is only as limited as your imagination!

Have a Voice

Content Strategy - Have a Voice

Image source: AppSumo/Chris Brogan

AppSumo is a daily deals and discounts website, much like Groupon or LivingSocial. However, the company has a B2B twist; they curate discounts and sales on tools that startups and tech companies need to thrive, like inner-office chat software, and project management tools.

Despite their technical focus, their marketing team has developed one of the best-defined, and most appealing voices in content marketing. They’re hilarious, light-hearted, and totally relatable. As a result, people love their marketing in a way that should be the goal of any small business strategy.

Who doesn’t want to engage with a company that states on their landing page “Spam is for jerks, and jerks we are not?

Be Transparent

Content Strategy - Be Transparent

Image source: Hugh MacLeod

37Signals, a subscription-based provider of software for businesses, is a brilliant example of small business strategy which scaled. In the example above, the company commissioned the brilliant cartoonist Hugh MacLeod to showcase one of their founders’ thoughts.

Throughout the company’s blog articles, social media, and website design, there are no secrets about who they are, or what they’re trying to do. It’s actually brilliant because as a successful startup, their target buyer persona of startup entrepreneurs is drawn like a fly to their content marketing.

Don’t keep secrets from your prospects - honesty is one of the few tactics that stand out in an era of content abundance.

Be a Resource

Content Strategy - Be a Resource

Image source: Credit Suisse/Business2Community

If you provide enough value, your website visitors will return, and probably tell your friends. Credit Suisse is a stellar example of a company whose positioned themselves as such an amazing resource that B2B decision makers can’t help but be repeat visitors with their digital magazine, “The Financialist.”

Your small business strategy should aim to engage your end user by providing up-to-date information on the topics they need to know, even if they aren’t perfectly aligned with your product.

What lessons have you applied to your small business strategy from big companies’ marketing plans?