I know exactly why you’re here.
You want to get more leads for your business, and you’re wondering what the right content strategy is to accomplish that.
Lucky for you, I’ve already tried plenty of content strategies for my own business and for our clients.
Therefore, I’ve created a little list of 5 popular content marketing strategies ranked from best to worst.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a crystal-clear vision of which content type(s) to move ahead with.
A note on how I’ve ranked the list
To interpret this list correctly, I want you to first become aware of what separates good b2b content from bad.
In one word, lead generation.
Content that actually gets you clients and puts money on the table is good.
Content that is popular but doesn’t drive conversions is redundant. As is, content that is relevant, but never gets seen by your target audience.
Content that focuses on things like brand awareness, social responsibility, etc. is utterly useless. Unless you’re a $100m company and your PR efforts actually make a difference in your client acquisition.
Content that generates leads:
- Needs to be seen by your prospects
- Needs to be relevant to their problems
- Needs to sound trustworthy
These are 3 criteria that I have used to rank this list.
Now, let’s start.
5. Social media (Except LinkedIn)
If you’re using social media as a B2B marketing strategy, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?
This is the absolute worst strategy out there. It’s so bad that it’s counterproductive.
Allow me to explain.
Let’s assume, you’re a B2B accounting/financial consulting firm, and your prospect is a CFO at a major organization.
What makes you think he’s going to see your Instagram post, much less start exploring your company through Instagram?
Here’s what you need to remember:
Your prospect is not on Instagram to find companies to help his company make more money.
He is on Instagram to see pictures of his neighbor’s dogs, his sister’s kids, and vintage baseball bats.
There is absolutely 0 intent or active interest in your service on Instagram.
The vast majority of people use Instagram as a sort of social credit score/dating app.
Nobody is on there searching for business problems.
And ask yourself this question.
When was the last time you actually left the app to explore a company’s website?
And all of this is assuming your prospect is seeing your posts in the first place.
Organically ranking B2C like Fitness, law, real estate, etc. is tough enough, but B2B?
Forget about it. Never going to happen.
And the same thing applies to TikTok. In fact, TikTok’s, even worse because your prospect is 50, not 15.
So, the next time some marketer throws a random Instagram or TikTok stat at you, remember it doesn’t matter:
- How many of your prospects are using the app
- How long your prospects have been using the app
- What is the average age of the users is
- How many businesses are using the app
Your prospects do not want to see your face on social media
Consider this, you’re at a carnival on a date, and you and your girlfriend are sharing cotton candy and admiring the bright carnival lights.
You’re having a good time.
Then all of a sudden, unexpectedly, some random geek spawns out of nowhere and starts talking about how he’ll improve your payroll accounting.
How are you going to react?
This is basically the B2B social media marketing experience in real life.
LinkedIn is the only exception to this, because that’s a professional network, and people are actually on there to do business.
However, LinkedIn can take ages to mobilize inbound leads, and the ROI is still pretty low.
That’s why social media is at the very bottom of B2B content marketing strategies.
If you’re using social media to generate leads for your B2B business, disabuse yourself of it immediately.
You are wasting time, money, and effort.
Podcasts are great if your goal is to provide educational content to up-and-coming b2b specialists.
But if you want to market your business by providing informational content through podcasts, yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Just like with social, what you need to understand is, your prospect is not a 20-year-old college student listening to a podcast to expand his personal development.
Most of your prospects will be in the C-suite or just below it. People who are that high up the corporate ladder will not want to listen to business podcasts for two reasons.
2. Lack of time.
I’ll address both of these below.
Why your prospects don’t want to listen to B2B podcasts
Someone who is very high up the corporate ladder didn’t get there by just sitting on his hands. He probably put in years and years of work to get where he is. As a result, he’s built a large amount of competence in whatever department he’s working in.
And competence leads to confidence.
Someone who is already confident in their ability to deliver is not going to pick up their phone and start listening to a podcast.
His subordinates might, but they’re not your target audience.
Nobody who is underconfident in their domain is your prospect. They might be your listeners, but not prospects.
Your prospects are higher-ups in organizations, and the mere fact that they’re higher-ups indicates they’ve been working in their domain for a while and have built a competence in it.
They need to be intrinsically motivated to improve to want to listen to your podcast.
Now, I’ll address lack of time.
C-suite executives working in large concerns are working themselves to the bone every day.
It could be a 9-5, but you best believe they’re getting a lot done in those 8 hours.
No one’s sitting around playing Angry Birds.
When they’ve been through the gauntlet all day, do you really think they want to spend their free time consuming “educational content” and that too about what they just got done with?
What if they have a specific problem that my podcast solves?
That is a much better bet to get them to listen to your podcast. I’m not going to lie.
However, their journey of searching for a solution to their problem won’t land them on your podcast.
Let me explain what I mean by this.
Let’s say your prospect, a CMO has a problem generating leads, so he types into Google, “How to generate leads for a healthcare SaaS company”.
Google is not going to show him your podcast.
It will show him blog posts and videos covering this topic.
And he definitely isn’t going to type this problem into Spotify or Apple podcasts. So how are you going to get your podcast in front of your prospect?
This lack of intent and visibility is why podcasts are number 4 on the list.
Now we start getting into the effective content marketing channels.
If you’re “great with people”, in that you have charisma and a presence, youtube can be somewhat effective.
The main advantage to youtube is that it requires very little investment from the viewer to consume your content. Unlike email or blogs, they don’t have to exercise their mind to understand things.
Your video just plays like a movie, and they sit there and watch.
And if you make high-quality videos with content that has a unique perspective, you can do well through Youtube.
It’s also useful as a ToFu (Top Of The Funnel) strategy.
You can make 5-minute videos on youtube and then funnel people to your blog posts, where they can read in detail what you just talked about.
Youtube works best if your perspective and delivery is captivating.
Drawbacks of Youtube
1. Hard to grow
This, according to me, is the biggest drawback of running a youtube channel. I have friends who have put their heart and soul into consistently creating high-quality content and never gained traction.
Youtube has its own version of search optimization where it chooses the best, most relevant videos to rank for a query.
Unlike written content though, youtube/google’s crawlers can’t interpret audio, so your video could be completely relevant but still not rank.
Instead, Youtube relies on things like session duration and user interaction as ranking signals. If you’re a new channel with less than a thousand subscribers, it can YEARS to grow your youtube channel.
And here’s another little fun fact. Once you grow your youtube, to 10k subscribers or more, the ROI you’re going to see from your videos is still going to be less than Email and blog posts.
So why bother with a sub-optimal marketing strategy?
2. Youtube can ban you
People get banned and censored all the time for complete nonsense. You don’t have to be doing anything wrong to get banned.
If you’re making waves, and a bunch of your competitors report you out of spite, that’ll be enough to land you a ban.
I personally don’t like being at the mercy of a platform. All your months and years of hard work can get undone in a snap.
3. How many of your prospects are searching youtube for solutions to their problems?
No one your prospect’s age is directly searching for solutions to their problems on youtube.
The only way your prospect is landing on your youtube channel is if they searched for a problem on Google, and your video appeared in the search results.
Youtube can drive a positive ROI, but it’s nothing great. This is why I have it at number 3 on the list.
Email as a form of content marketing’s super effective.
It helps you keep your company top of mind in your prospect’s mind, and with a large enough group of prospects on your email list, you’ll see a steady stream of clients coming in each month.
If you create 100 to 150-word emails that you send your prospects once every 4-5 days, they’ll remember you when the time is right.
When they need someone to help them with the service you provide, yours is the first number they’ll dial.
How to “provide value” over email
The absolute best way is to keep your emails short. And use them as a way to funnel people to your blog posts.
A short email will get read more than a long email. Long emails seem intimidating, and people don’t really want to exercise their mind enough to read a long email.
If you don’t have blog posts, use your email as your primary source of content distribution.
Here’s what you do:
[Step 1] Research your prospects, and list about 100 niche topics that would be relevant to them. These topics are going to be problems that they’re presumably facing in their business.
[Step 2] Then, twice a week, you’re going to address one of these problems through your content.
[Step 3] Your email will include: the problem, the solution, the outcome, and a subtle but highly relevant call to action at the bottom.
Subject: firing an employee
“Having to fire an underperforming employee is never fun, it sucks, needs to be handled delicately and with tact, etc.
We recommend doing this, this, and this to break the news to them.
As a result, they’ll leave without feeling like they’ve been wronged, one less disgruntled employee is helpful for PR. Blah blah blah…
If you’re having trouble letting go of your team members or need help staffing new team members, reach out to us.”
This is just a quick and dirty example, but you get the point.
[Step 4] Use MailChimp to automate the sending process.
Once you grow your email list to 1000+ subscribers, you’ll have 2-3 warm leads coming in every month.
Drawbacks of email
Just like youtube, email is slow.
To collect a 1000 email subscribers is no small feat.
It can easily take up to a year and a half to get there.
Marketing is not instant, and 1.5 years to build a predictable funnel of clients is not long at all. That way, you aren’t reliant on referrals all the time.
However, there is a faster way to generate leads, and that’s blog posts.
1. Blog posts
This colossal powerhouse of a content strategy has only amplified over the years.
It’s the fastest, most-effective, and most scalable B2B content type. If you really want to make a change in your revenue, blog posts are the only way to go.
Let me give you a little example of just how effective they are:
Let’s say you’re a business consultant, and you post 20 blog posts. Out of those 20 blog posts, 7 do well on Google and bring you about 3k visitors in traffic every month.
Of the 3k visitors, we’ll assume 1% click on your booking page to book a meeting since you helped address their problem in your blog post.
Then we’ll say 60% fall out because of budget constraints, lack of trust, not motivated to solve the problem, etc.
You’re left with 10 prospects who’ve signed with you. Let’s say you bill them an average of $5k a project. That’s $50k a month or $600k a year that you’ve added through what?
20 blog posts..?!
That’s the power of blog posts.
Now it’d be great if you can just write 20 posts and wait for Santa to start bringing you presents, but it’s not quite so straightforward.
How to do blog posts the right way
The plain and simple truth is, you can’t do this. Not by yourself.
For you to get the 3k high-converting traffic a month, your content needs to rank on Google and then be persuasively written to convert your audience.
And this is where most b2b firms get it wrong. They think content and optimized content are the same thing.
Content can be any mumbo jumbo you post on your blog or social media.
Optimized content requires:
Audience research, Keyword research and clustering, SERP analysis, and online content writing mastery.
It’s a mix of SEO and content and often needs multiple people to get it right.
To get it right, you need tons of experience ranking articles on Google, which if you’re reading this, you probably don’t have.
And no, chatGPT won’t work. It lacks the unique perspective, depth, tonality, etc. needed to connect with your prospects.
Blog posts are a zero-sum game
To achieve the results I mentioned above or anything even remotely close to it, you need to outsource your content marketing to experts.
Look at it this way.
90% of your competitors thought they had the skill to create content that ranks and converts.
They all had that confidence blow up in their face, and I’ll tell you exactly why.
Because 10% of your competitors that dominate the market share on Google, worked with SEO and content EXPERTS to develop their content.
As a result, the more inept of your competitors went head-to-head against seasoned content pros armed merely with chatGPT (if that), and some “ideas”.
If I put you in the ring against Mike Tyson, are you going to win simply because you saw some boxing videos on youtube?
That’s the logic your losing competitors applied against the winners.
Blog posts are the path to victory, but you can’t go it alone.
For every post you want to rank, you need to dethrone a previously ranking competitor.
Blog posts and competition are interlinked.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C content?
And believing there is a difference is what will keep you from bringing clients to the table. With both, B2B and B2C, you have an actual human person reading your content.
The only difference is that it is a bit harder to motivate B2B buyers since the problems you’re addressing are not personal.
There’s differences in the amount of time it takes your prospect to make a decision, the sales cycle, etc., but in the actual content?
No, there’s no difference.
How many B2B Companies use content marketing?
Almost each and every one of them.
But, like I mentioned in the blog posts section, there’s very few B2B companies doing it successfully.
I know I said 90% fail at content marketing, but I think it’s more like 95% now.
Which is exactly why it’s so popular.
Cause if you’re in the top 5%, you’re raking in tons of leads a month.
And, to be really honest, getting to the promised 5% land is not as difficult as it seems.
All you need to do is bring a gun to a knife fight. Hire some SEO and content experts, and let them go to town creating your content and ranking it. Within a few months, your digital presence will expand so much, your competitors will feel like you just shot them in the gut.
If you want us to handle your blog posts and help you fight your competitors, use the button below, and we’ll be in touch.