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Establishing a solid online presence is no longer a choice for modern B2B brands and businesses — it’s essential. 71% of B2B researchers begin their research process with an organic search, invariably exposing them to B2B content which will likely shape their purchasing decisions.1
From there, B2B researchers consume some 13 pieces of content before reaching a buying decision and are 52% more likely to buy from a vendor after reading their content.2
As such, it’s unsurprising that B2B businesses that actively invest in their content marketing efforts are more likely to be successful than those that don’t.
A well-executed B2B content marketing strategy extends its reach throughout the entire sales funnel, and can even transcend a business beyond its classic product category and audience, helping them reach more customers than was previously thought possible.
Building and optimising B2B content is a fine art — implementing a few tips and tricks can go a long way to improving content performance. This article delves into B2B content optimisation, helping you squeeze the most out of your past, present and future content.
1. Constantly re-evaluate your personas and ICP
Don’t assume anything about your audience — it could prove to be a fatal error!
Today’s hugely diverse business landscape means a wider potential audience, and with that comes an array of opportunities for content targeting. So, what sort of things do you need to consider?
Well, there are two interesting facts to ponder here:
- Millennial B2B buyers aged between 18 and 34 account for nearly half of all B2B buyers.
- 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in B2B purchasing decisions, and while 64% of the C-suite do still have final sign off on a purchasing decision, so do 24% of the non-C-suite.
This immediately shows that B2B buyers and researchers are an eclectic bunch, and your content may need to adapt as a result, but again, don’t assume without doing some digging. The Google Analytics ‘Audience’ tab provides a trove of highly useful insights into your web users.
The three most important tabs are:
- Demographics: Providing broad demographic data, such as gender and age.
- Geo: Providing locational data.
- Interests: Probably the most interesting selection of audience data, broken down into Affinity Category, In-market Segment and Other Category.
This data can be cross-checked against customer relationship management (CRM) or your customer database if you have one. The end goal is to create a number of personas with mutual interests and pain points, while audience data can also be used for other purposes down the line, e.g. email marketing.
Audience analysis and segmentation are time-consuming — B2B marketing agencies can help businesses discover their audience and create buyer personas, then use that data to better inform inbound marketing strategies.
2. Use the right type of content
Numerous content types make up the content universe that is the modern internet, including:
- Blogs, broken down into everything from informational and educational posts like how-tos and listicles, as well as news stories and thought leadership.
- Product pages.
- eBooks and long-form (4,000 words plus).
- Case studies.
The first three content types on our list are broad and ubiquitous across B2B and B2C spaces, whereas the latter two lean more naturally on B2B.
Most importantly, different content types affix themselves to different stages of the sales funnel. As a result, you may find yourself needing to include a strong mix of awareness and discovery-focussed SEO-optimised blog content and video, balanced with product guides and case studies that revolve around your products, services and business processes.
This illustrates both “what our business knows, and our expertise” combined with “what we do, and how we can help you”.
3. Don’t neglect existing content
A fresh lick of paint and spot of TLC can breathe new life into old and existing content.
Delving into your site’s back catalogue of older posts can provide numerous opportunities for improving and repurposing old content, bringing it in line with current best practices.
Consider making the following improvements to old content:
- Checking spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting and readability.
- Including tables of contents.
- Strengthening CTAs.
- Adding links to new blog content you publish.
4. Make the most of topic clusters
When Google or any other search engine indexes your site, it’ll likely prefer to see well-grouped content with evident and obvious topical and semantic links, or topic clusters. Topic clusters are clusters of related content that complement one another, creating a strong internal linking structure in the process.
As we referred to in the section above, adding links to the new blog content you publish on your website is a great way to optimise existing content. This process of interlinking your content helps Google identify a topic cluster, which are often rewarded with higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The Gripped blog is an example of well-clustered topics. We don’t elaborate on important subjects over just one blog post, but several which are linked and complement each other, providing additional scope and context for readers.
5. Utilise your keywords to their full potential
Keyword research is easily neglected, but it’s the one rather laborious and technical step that you don’t want to skip.
There are many routes to discovering keywords, and you’ll want to be sure you’re following B2B content marketing best practices when you undertake keyword research. Once you’ve obtained relevant keywords for your content, you’ll need to make sure you utilise them to their fullest extent.
One of the most important steps required in order to fully utilise your identified keywords is intent analysis. This means using the SERP results from your keywords to identify what people making that search query are looking for — allowing you to align your content with those desires and maximise your chances of ranking for those terms organically.
This process allows you to understand the stage of the sales funnel potential customers or leads making that search are in, and then make appropriate content choices around that keyword accordingly — e.g. product pages, awareness blogs, or thought leadership pieces.
Furthermore, the advent of the natural language processing (NLP) algorithm Google BERT means that including stacks of exact-match keywords in every piece of content is no longer entirely necessary, with emphasis now being placed on the quality of language, structure and overall use of terminology. With that said, classic best-practice for keyword placement (e.g. titles, headings and intros) still apply.
Keyword research is worth investing in, so consider expert help if you’re lost, stuck or confused at any stage.
6. Continually track performance
Tracking content performance is vital for understanding how your traffic fluctuates and where it comes from, also serving as a means to optimise future content based on your findings.
Tracking content metrics also enables businesses to analyse the performance of their content marketing campaigns.
Google Analytics is your go-to free web content tracking tool. 3 website metrics worth measuring in Google Analytics include:
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of users that land on your pages and leave without committing to any further interactions. Bounce rates exceeding 70% should ring alarm bells, potentially indicating slow page speeds, potential website design improvement opportunities, loading errors or device and browser incompatibility issues.
- Traffic Sources: Understanding whether traffic is organic, direct (resulting from someone typing the address directly into the URL bar) or referred from another domain allows you to separate your organic traffic from other traffic sources.
- New vs Returning Users: Increases in new users might indicate that top-of-the-funnel marketing activity is working, whereas increases in existing users signify that users are progressing further down the funnel, and are potentially there to be converted by bottom of the funnel content.
7. Keep producing new content
First of all, it’s important to recognise that it’s difficult to predict which pieces of content will go on to outperform themselves. A piece of content can even lie seemingly dormant only for its traffic to suddenly increase without heed or warning.
That being said, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, with many marketers agreeing that a content marketing strategy needs at least 6 to 9 months to yield meaningful results. Even though your posts might be indexed and discoverable on SERPs within just days, it can take a lot longer for them to pick up a consistent stream of traffic — giving you plenty of time to produce new content.
Consider the 80:20 rule — 80% of content marketing results are generated from just 20% of content (or less). That’s part of the reason why content marketing requires a process of constant mining for new keywords, as well as a consistent push to write them up into quality pieces of content.
Whenever you publish a fresh piece of content, Google will crawl your website in order to index its new content. So, if you continue updating your site with reliable and valuable content on a consistent basis, your chances of ranking high on Google increase.
However, producing fresh and informative content continuously is a time consuming and challenging process. If you’re struggling to cope internally, it is always worth considering using expert assistance to scale content marketing efforts.
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8. Amplify your reach with paid advertising
Paid search and social advertising is worth toying with at some stage. It often requires specialist skills and expertise that many businesses don’t have access to internally, but it can be a great way to complement your efforts to rank organically on SERPs.
There are two primary avenues for paid advertising:
- Pay Per Click: Businesses running advertisements are only charged when a user actually clicks on their ad.
- Pay Per Impression: Businesses running advertisements are charged based on the number of impressions, or views, their ad receives.
When orchestrated correctly and effectively, paying to place adverts on search engines and social media allows businesses to target terms with high purchase intent, and significantly extend their reach and awareness.
Whilst paid advertising unquestionably demands specialist skills, expertise and dedication to get right, it’s often not as costly as businesses expect it to be, and can represent a significant return on investment (ROI).
9. Work with experts for the best outcomes
Content marketing is multi-faceted, dynamic and forever evolving. Working with content marketing experts provides businesses with the skills and execution they need to successfully orchestrate a killer content strategy at scale.
When it comes to the finer, more technical aspects of content marketing, such as keyword research and intent analysis, professional collaboration also ensures that budgets are well-invested.
At Gripped, we pride ourselves on helping clients enhance their content marketing strategies for better outcomes. The skills and expertise of our team extend from lead generation to paid search and SEO. We’re here to help you create and distribute expertly-constructed B2B content that engages and converts.
Sign up for our free growth assessment to find out what we could do for your business.