Enterprise Software Marketing, Part 2: How to Create B2B Content
This is part 2 of a 5-part series all about enterprise software marketing. Part 1 is about defining your message and audience. Next, this part covers content creation, and then part 3 explains how to promote that content. Lastly, part 4 reviews how to track, measure, and optimize, which is rounded out by part 5, covering ongoing lead nurture.
With your audiences clearly defined, it’s time to start figuring out the right content that will appeal to each of them. While creating high-quality, genuinely valuable content for several different segments requires a lot of time and work–it’s an essential part of marketing enterprise software. Here’s how to create B2B content that your prospects are interested in.
74% of B2B buyers consume three to seven pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
Want all the details on how to build out a robust enterprise software marketing strategy?
Read our 13-page eBook: Marketing Software to the Enterprise
How to Create B2B Content
First – Your CTA
Many marketers get so swept up in campaign design and overarching messaging that they forget the most crucial thing — picking the right call to action (CTA).
Your marketing campaigns won’t be successful without the right offer. But unfortunately, most people reading your content won’t be ready to get a demo, talk to a salesperson, or sign up for a trial right away. Most people — especially busy people, like those in your audience — prefer to spend some time learning on their own before dealing with a salesperson.
If you push the sale too early, you could push your prospect away completely. Ninety-six percent of B2B buyers say marketers can improve content by curbing the sales messages.
Start with engaging content and educational materials to get your prospects’ attention and build trust.
Then – Your Topic
Every successful piece of content has to start with a topic relevant to your audience. At the very least, you want your content to be good enough to gain (and keep) your prospects’ attention. But even more importantly, the goal is to create content that is enticing enough that they’ll be willing to give up their contact information to access it.
If you don’t already have content topics, here are some ideas to get you started:
- How your product benefits each specific target segment
- What makes your solution unique (aka your secret sauce)
- High-level discussions of the problem the target audience faces (and how to solve them)
- Content that highlights third-party validation
- Case studies
- Generalized use cases
- Topical news that’s relevant to your audience
- Answers to common questions
Niche Doesn’t Mean Boring
Once you start brainstorming topic ideas, you’ll probably end up with a whole list. As you look over that list, you may begin to worry. Many marketers in specialized industries have a common concern: “Isn’t this all just…boring? It’s too niche. Who will even want to read this?”
The answer is simple: your audience will.
Sure, your topics won’t make for good conversation at the next dinner party you go to (unless you happen to hang out with people in your target audience). However, as long as the topics relate to the day-to-day needs of the people you’re talking to, those people will find them interesting. They’re who matter here.
Don’t Forget to Make Your Content Authoritative
Now that we’ve (hopefully) eased all your worries about your niche content being boring and given you plenty of insights into how to create b2b content–you have another related concern to consider. The flipside of having a specialized audience interested in your technical content is that you have to make sure the information you provide goes deep enough into the details to show you know what you’re talking about.
Of course, you’ve got a company full of specialists who know your product inside out, but all your internal subject matter experts are busy doing their main jobs. So adding content creation to their to-do list generally doesn’t work out. Beyond that, they probably weren’t hired for their clear communication skills.
You need to figure out a way to translate all that specialized knowledge your employees have into content that’s accessible to your audience.
Many software companies don’t have the resources to pull that off in-house, but outsourcing can come with its own difficulties. Everyone I know in this business has a story about how they got burned hiring freelancers or an agency that just couldn’t generate the technical content they needed. Sometimes people think that means that this work has to be created in-house because no one else can possibly understand their product or market in a sufficiently deep way. To that, I say, think again. You just haven’t found the right partner.
Finally – Pick a Format
Once you’ve picked your topic, consider how you want to deliver the information to prospects. Different formats are better for different things. The more in-depth formats, like eBooks and webinars, tend to work best when a prospect is interested enough to provide contact information. At the same time, shorter educational content like blog posts and infographics are good for gaining awareness with new prospects.
Every content strategy will have a unique content mix. Some of the most common formats to include are:
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Interactive tools