Wondering what B2B content marketing is? Fair question. There are at least two points of jargon in the phrase: “B2B” and “content marketing.”
Not to worry. In this post, I’ll unpack what B2B content marketing means, what it’s used for, and provide a few examples.
Let’s jump in.
What does B2B content marketing mean?
To understand the term, you’ve got to break it down into its component parts – which, again, are kind of jargon-y in and of themselves. Here’s what we’re working with:
B2B means “business to business.” It’s a qualifier that means the end buyer of a product or service is a business, not an individual consumer.
For example, you could call a company that only sells products to other businesses a B2B company. At New North, that’s us – we only provide marketing services to businesses.
You could also call a product or service that is only available to businesses a B2B product or service. For example, ERP software is only for businesses; it’s a B2B product.
At the other end of things you have what B2B is typically set against: B2C. This is short for “business to consumer” and applies to any business that sells to individuals. Nike, Netflix, Apple, etc. – they’re all great examples of companies that are primarily B2C.
Content marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses on content creation to draw customers into a relationship with a business.
Content Marketing Institute (which is, as you’d expect, a good resource on the subject) describes it this way:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.
It’s in the same vein as inbound marketing (a term coined by HubSpot); the point is that, instead of being pushy about sales, you meet people where they’re searching and pull them in with valuable or entertaining content.
You can argue that any kind of marketing that involves content creation is content marketing (meaning that an ABM campaign or an Instagram ad are content marketing) – and people do. I think the argument’s kind of dumb, though, because all marketing involves content, which would make all marketing content marketing.
And if that’s the case, why use the term at all?
So, content marketing is not any marketing that involves content; it’s a unique approach focused on drawing people into a business relationship through the provision of value.
Okay – with that clarified, let’s put our two terms together:
B2B content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing that uses content to build valuable relationships with business consumers.
Or, in the words of WordStream:
B2B content marketing is the art of using content to expand your business’s audience, strengthen and develop brand affinity, and ultimately drive leads and sales by appealing to other businesses.
Once the jargon is out of the way, the term is pretty simple. It’s content marketing for businesses. That’s it.
What is B2B content marketing used for?
Now that we’ve defined the term, let’s clarify it with some application.
B2B content marketing is most effective for products or services that have a certain market size. I’d say it’s best where there are at least 5,000 potential customers (and, honestly, the more the better).
If there are fewer customers than that in the market for a product, it’s likely more effective to go out and get them than it is to try to draw them in with content.
Tactically, B2B content marketing can take many different forms:
- Blog posts
- Social media campaigns
- Mixed media
Really, what’s key is the approach, not the medium.
Examples of B2B content marketing
To make the term as concrete as possible, let’s cap things off with a few examples.
You’ve probably heard of Deloitte. This is basically their resource center. It’s a treasure trove of information (blogs, podcasts, reports) that positions Deloitte as a market leader without focusing on directly selling services.
Salesforce offers enterprise CRM solutions – and they’ve got a podcast that’s a great example of B2B content marketing. It features stories and tips from Salesforce admins, and it’s meant to strengthen the company’s user community (again, not for direct sales).
This blog post.
Meta, right? This blog post is, in fact, B2B content marketing. Here you are learning about what B2B content marketing is, and now all of a sudden you realize you’re on the website of a company that provides B2B content marketing. Life is crazy.
Want help with your own B2B content marketing?
As you might expect, you’ve come to the right place.
At New North, we’re experts at using content to drive lead generation, brand value, and growth for B2B tech companies. If you want to tap into the power of B2B content marketing, schedule a free consult today.