When the term content marketing first came on the scene a couple of years ago, it was no surprise that business-to-consumer (B2C) powerhouses like Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, and Southwest Airlines became its poster children. After all, they market to people, and people love content, right?
For a long time, it seemed as if their business-to-business (B2B) brethren would be forever denied a place at the content marketing party. Because, hey, what could a stuffy old B2B possibly have to share on a blog, social media, and other content venues?
Answer: A lot.
So move over, Starbucks. B2B content marketers are here to stay … and maybe even teach you a thing or two.
The Growing B2B Trend
John Deere’s initiative was certainly a terrific idea back in the day, and it’s delivered more than its share of benefits over the decades. But, let’s face it, content marketing (or whatever it was we used to call it) has never been a pressing need for B2B businesses … until now.
As content marketing continues to evolve from a “nice to have” to a vital component of any marketer’s strategy, B2Bs are quickly making making up for lost time.
Recently the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs partnered up to find out just what B2Bs are up to when it comes to making content a part of their inbound marketing scheme. Some of the results might surprise you.
Most B2Bs Are Saying “Yes” to Content Marketing
In CMI and MarketingProfs’ survey of more than 5,000 marketing professionals, 86 percent of B2B marketers affirmed that their organizations use content marketing to attract and retain customers.
B2Bs Are Producing More Content Than Last Year
As the content space grows more competitive, B2Bs are realizing the need to produce more quality content just to keep pace. In response to the question “Compared with one year ago, how much content is your organization creating?” 70 percent responded with either “More” or “Significantly More.”
B2Bs Are Publishing Content Frequently
Of course, the content marketing game is all about being top-of-mind on a continuous, consistent basis, and B2Bs are catching on: 42 percent of B2B respondents reported that their teams produce content either daily or multiple times per week.
So if you’re a B2B brand and your team is working a solid content marketing program, you’re in good company. If not, now is probably a be a good time to start … because chances are some of your competitors already have.
Three B2Bs Who Are Rocking Content Marketing
So, just who are these B2B brands who are killing it with content marketing, and what can we learn from their mojo? Check out what these guys are doing:
Moz: Getting Interactive With Whiteboard Friday
If you’ve done any research on search engine optimization (SEO) recently, chances are the name Moz has come up more than once. Every Friday, the company releases a 10-minute video featuring one of its employees answering a frequently asked SEO question with the help of a whiteboard. Recent topics have included how to drive traffic from Facebook, paid media’s impact on SEO, and getting to know your audience:
Whiteboard Fridays have become one of Moz’s most popular content marketing initiatives, helping the brand attract more than 10,000 YouTube subscribers.
Maersk: Leveraging the Power of Images
It just doesn’t get more B2B than the heavy transport industry, and Danish company Maersk has created its own content marketing niche using, of all things, photography.
Several times a week, the brand publishes stunning images of its ships and the worldwide locales in which they find themselves. Many of these images are snapped by employees using mobile phones, like this pic on the Maersk Facebook page (note the number of likes, comments, and shares):
The brand’s creative approach has racked up more than 2 million Facebook fans, 30,000 Twitter followers, and even 1,000 followers on Pinterest.
Econsultancy: Romancing the Marketing Geek
Econsultancy serves a global community of marketers and commerce professionals with a wide range of research, data, analysis, training, consulting, events, and online resources. Through its blog, its Daily Pulse e-newsletter, and a vibrant social media presence, Econsultancy has established itself as a go-to expert for all things marketing.
Econsultancy’s blog posts routinely rack up hundreds of shares, and the brand has amassed more than 200,000 Twitter followers as well as nearly 10,000 followers on LinkedIn.
Taking It From Here
If yours is a B2B brand that’s been resisting the call to add content marketing to your strategy, there’s never been a better time to jump in. The data says we have to start doing it — or risk losing ground to our competitors — and real-world B2B marketers are proving it can be done with tremendous success.
While it’s true that we B2B brands may lack some of the innate sex appeal of a Starbucks or a Nike, what we do have is a wealth of knowledge and resources that our audiences are hungry for. And with a solid content marketing program, we can begin sharing those assets to build relationships that will serve us for years — even decades — to come.
Just ask John Deere.