We've seen a lot of talk lately about how B2B small businesses are making great content marketing efforts and experiencing significant results from them. A recent infographic by digital publishing software providers Uberflip (see below) showed that 91% of B2B marketers are engaged in content marketing in some way and that 68% of CMOs intend to increase their content marketing budget this year. (a content marketing budget horray!)
At SPROUT Content, we work with many B2B companies and most of them have either a one-person marketing team in-house or someone else in the company such as the President or business owner who handles all of the marketing decisions. That is a lot for one person to do alone, and while we all like to think of ourselves as superheroes, an effective content marketing strategy cannot be executed and maintained by an army of one.
A content marketing agency can be your in-house marketing team and complement the one you have, extending your resources and saving you time to focus on other things. Here are some other ways that a B2B company can benefit from working with a content marketing agency.
Telling Your Story
If we’ve heard this once, we have heard it 100 times. “We don't really have an interesting story.” No matter what industry you are in, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not telling your story is a big reason that many B2B focused businesses come across as boring, functional, impersonal and pretty similar.
B2B business owners often don’t see their story as interesting or worth telling. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be in business very long... or at all. The problem is not that they don’t have a story, but they just don’t get what their story is or how they should be telling it.
A content marketing agency can help you develop a content marketing strategy that helps you connect to your audience and think about things from their perspective. You have to explain how your business can solve their problems and make their lives easier, person-to-person, not just abstract “Business to business.”
If you’re selling a traditionally “boring” product or service (think accounting or manufacturing), words can actually paint an exciting and interesting picture of your business and explain how you will help or improve the lives of your customers. The right story can carve out your unique space and make a memorable connection with people.
Companies who don’t think of themselves as a brand with a distinct reason for being, compelling points of difference, and an entity with a voice and personality, will never effectively tell their story. If you are in business, you have a story to tell. Check out how a paper converting company transformed their business by learning to tell their story through content marketing.
Producing Enough Content
The 2013 CMI study on B2B Small Business Content Marketing revealed that producing enough content is the biggest challenge for B2B marketers. B2B companies are gradually understanding the impact that content marketing can have on their business, and increasing their budgets for blogging, lead generation downloads, videos, whitepapers, webinars, microsites and other types of content. But keeping up with all of that content development can certainly be a difficult for small B2B teams. A content marketing partner can not only help you develop a strategy to help you determine the types of content you should be creating to reach your audience, but create content in your voice that speaks to your audience.
A content marketing agency can also help you discover the expert resources you have right in your own company. The people who are in your company, working on the “front lines” in sales, customer service, production and product development are the ones that hear what people want first hand and know your services inside and out. A content marketing partner will find those in-house gems and help transform your company into a publishing powerhouse.
If you’re curious about how other B2B companies are creating great content, check out this roundup from HubSpot on 10 B2B companies that are creating exceptional content. If you want to know more about how you can become one of them, we’d love to help you grow your business through content marketing.