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Why content marketing is so important for B2B: A content expert’s take

You can’t imagine B2B (or even B2C) without content today. Content is everywhere: blog posts, social media platforms, videos, ebooks, white papers. Content engages and content converts. 

But looking back to 10 to 15 years ago, you’d see a completely different picture. People relied primarily on salespeople while purchasing. Content was almost nowhere. 

So what changed? And how did content become the backbone of B2B marketing? Many things changed, most importantly, people’s buying habits and how they viewed brands. 

With this post, I want to help you understand the importance of B2B content marketing and why it’s not a trendy marketing strategy but a bare necessity. 

How have people’s buying habits changed?

A decade ago, salespeople were the only source of information people had to learn about a product, and they mainly purchased products their friends recommended. 

Today, B2B buyers like to self-educate—virtually 100% of them want to find out about a product or service on their own. 

They check third-party review sites, the company website, social media accounts, product demos, and other sources to learn about a brand before contacting sales. 

And even after contacting sales, they don’t want a sales pitch. They want to get answers to their questions. This affected salespeoples’ jobs. They’re not selling products anymore—they’re only clearing doubts the prospect may have. 

So, how can you adapt your marketing to this changed behavior? 

The answer: by leveraging B2B content marketing effectively and being available wherever your prospect looks you up. 

Semrush, a popular SaaS platform for keyword research, competitor analysis, and social media management, is a perfect example of a B2B brand using content marketing strategies across multiple channels to show up in front of its audience. 

It’s on every platform where its target audience is present—LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Google SERPs, newsletters, etc., where it publishes effective content (stunning graphics, text, and video formats) regularly. 

Screenshot from SEMRush's Instagram account with over 100k followers showing why content marketing is so important for B2B companies

How have people’s perceptions of brands changed?

Early on, the major market shareholders were top brands from industries, for instance, HubSpot as a CRM, HootSuite as a social media management tool, Ahrefs as an SEO platform, and so on.

Because people bought from trustworthy brands, these big players already had an established brand image. 

Today, market share is diversifying and is shared by small, mid, and large brands. For example:

  • HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo, and many more as top CRM platforms
  • Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialPilot, etc., are popular social media management tools
  • Ahrefs, Semrush, Mangools, SEO Surfer, etc., as SEO platforms

People still buy based on trust (81%,) but their judgment factors changed. 

A brand that produces credible content at scale garners more brownie points from its target audience than a brand that isn’t creating any. 

Content marketing efforts enabled new brands to compete against industry big players. By creating compelling content, small brands established authority and built a positive perception in their audiences’ eyes. 

VEED, Storylane, and Contra are new brands with top-level content games building great brand images. 

Why is content marketing important for B2B companies?

Knowing buyer behavior and brand perception definitely helps, but how does content marketing fit in? How is content helping in different stages of a buyer’s journey? Let’s take a look at some real-life use cases:

Content generates leads

B2B content marketing allows you to generate new leads for your business by targeting a specific audience group and speaking through content. Sharing effective content across multiple platforms is a great way to attract potential customers to discover your brand. 

We’ve seen many new brands using creative ideas to get more leads, such as Mailmodo’s Email Design for Dummies campaign on LinkedIn. They repurposed one ebook and garnered 200k+ social views. 

Mailmodo's Email Design for Dummies ebook

By creating a valuable resource and giving it away for free, Mailmodo got two things: subscribers who’ll become customers in the future and brand advocates. 

Content converts leads into customers

If you’re wondering why content marketing is so important for B2B, this one takes the cake! In B2B, converting leads into customers generally takes multiple touchpoints, mainly because they’re more careful before any investment, as they buy products worth thousands of dollars. 

To fill those touchpoints, B2B brands leverage content to appear trustworthy, authoritative, and experts in front of their prospects. 

  • It can be a LinkedIn carousel about a pain point their target audience struggles with.
  • Or a product comparison showcasing why their product is better suited for the audience’s needs.
  • Or a how-to blog post on how to use a specific product feature the audience is looking for. 
  • Or a customer case study clarifying any doubts the audience may have. 

According to the State of Content Marketing 2023 by Semrush. 97% of content marketers said they experienced some degree of success. 

By increasing touchpoints with your target audience through content, you familiarize them with your brand so they’re more likely to remember you.

Content positions your brand as an industry expert

By sharing deep insights, valuable strategies, analyses, and perspectives, a business can move from being just another name in a category to an authoritative brand in the industry. 

That’s why we see many brands focusing their efforts on thought leadership content, such as Breyta.io publishing thought leadership articles and social media posts.

A resource on Breyta's website

 Also Read: Thought leadership vs. content marketing

Content improves SEO and organic visibility

We all know that search engines have one goal: to deliver the most helpful answer to the user’s query. 

Quality content that answers people’s questions and is optimized for search engines ensures that a business doesn’t just exist online but also becomes an authority in the space. 

Google has more than 4 billion monthly active users, so ranking on SERPs certainly helps attract new visitors and grow organic traffic.

Content improves engagement 

Beyond metrics, there’s a human side to B2B. Building a community around a brand solidifies its place in the market. Creating content helps in starting exciting conversations, encouraging feedback, and building connections. 

Superpath Slack community is an excellent example of an engaging community with more than 15k B2B marketers engaging daily. 

Content educates potential clients

Decision-makers in the B2B sector buy differently from B2C buyers. They have many options; they either seek resources to self-educate or partners who can guide them. 

Through informative and educational content, businesses can simplify complex topics, offer insights, and help potential clients make buying decisions while being understanding and building trust.

B2B vs. B2C buying process: What makes B2B different?

Unlike B2C marketing, selling to B2B buyers is much different. How? Let’s explore the buying processes of B2B and B2C buyers. 

Suppose a B2C buyer wants to buy a wristwatch to gift someone. They’ll search online, find a few options that are within their budget, read reviews, and choose the one they like most. 

The B2C buyer journey is straightforward for two reasons: 

  • The buyer is the decision-maker 
  • The cost of purchase is low

But if a B2B buyer wants to buy a CRM platform, here’s what their journey would look like:

  • Search different queries to find answers
  • Read online reviews about the platforms they’re considering
  • Read case studies
  • Discuss with other team members
  • Read product tutorial blog posts
  • Try using the product 
  • Get on a call with the sales team
  • Understand product features

And then make the decision. 

The B2B buyer journey is more extended and complicated because:

  • Multiple decision-makers (6 to 10 on average) are involved in the buying process
  • The cost of purchase is high 

As a B2B buying process involves multiple decision-makers, getting everyone’s approval before finalizing a purchase is essential. 

And since the products sold are worth tens of thousands of dollars, they need a different content marketing approach than B2C.

Unique features of B2B content marketing

B2B content marketing is about careful planning and strategizing the right content approach to answer audiences’ questions. Let’s now look at how B2B content marketing is different at its core: 

Targeted approach and its impact on engagement

B2B content marketing isn’t about casting a wide net with the hope that some of them would be interested in your product; it’s about targeting a small and interested audience set that will deliver the most impact. 

Understanding the industry, the challenges businesses face, the pain points of decision-makers, and their goals is vital to getting them to listen to you (or resonate with your content). 

This focused approach ensures the content speaks to the intended audience, leading to higher engagement rates. By addressing specific pain points and offering solutions customized to business needs, B2B content marketers can capture attention and build meaningful interactions.

Focused on educating the audience

As you learned earlier, B2B purchasing decisions often involve considerable investments in time and resources. 

Therefore, potential clients need clarity, insights, and data before committing. B2B content marketing solves this challenge by leveraging educational and informative content. 

Whether through detailed white papers, insightful articles, or explanatory videos, the objective remains: to inform and guide. Businesses position themselves as knowledge hubs, earning trust and respect by doing so.

Different stages in a typically longer B2B sales cycle

The journey from interest to conversion in B2B is longer compared to B2C. Multiple touchpoints, decision-makers, and evaluations come into play while finalizing any buying decision. 

Businesses have to be patient throughout the process while making sure they don’t appear too salesy. That’s where B2B content marketing comes into play. 

By crafting a content marketing strategy that nurtures potential clients throughout their decision-making journey—from the initial stages of awareness to the final commitment—businesses leverage content creation as a continuous touchpoint to ensure they remain top-of-mind.

B2B content marketing is about relationship-building

B2B is about building partnerships on mutual understanding, trust, and collaboration—not about buying and selling products. 

B2B content marketing plays a crucial role in establishing and nurturing these relationships. Through consistent delivery of valuable content, businesses show they’re not just vendors but partners invested in mutual success. Sure, relationship-driven content can state facts, but its real impact lies in its ability to tell stories, share visions, and align values, laying the foundation for enduring partnerships.

As a result, B2B content marketing is about balancing strategy, information, and relationship-building. By focusing on these, businesses can guarantee their content reaches the right audience and leaves a lasting impact, which might turn into future partnerships.

Also read: Content marketing vs. social media marketing

Challenges of B2B content marketing 

So far, we have discussed why and how B2B content marketing strategy can become a powerful tool for any business owner, but it has flaws. Let’s discuss some of the challenges faced by business owners and how they can solve them:

  • Producing engaging content consistently at scale: Content is a continuous process, yet many businesses start massive content production only to shut down efforts after a few months. The problem is producing quality content at scale is challenging. But it isn’t impossible—businesses can leverage hybrid content, outsource content, and hire freelance writers to keep the consistency flowing. 
  • Adhering to brand voice guidelines: Working with different writers can cause irregular brand messaging. Defining brand guidelines and partnering with trustworthy platforms like Wordbrew to integrate subject matter experts into the content creation process is crucial. 
  • Measuring ROI: Seeing visible results from B2B content marketing efforts is problematic because it takes time to get some. Yet, many businesses stop too early because they don’t see anything. It is essential to stick around and give it some time while learning to extract insights from tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot.
  • Staying updated with the trends: If there’s anything constant about the B2B industry, it’s constantly changing. Content marketing strategies that work today may not be helpful tomorrow. Therefore, business owners must stay updated with new content marketing trends and adapt to strategies. Following industry leaders on social media and subscribing to newsletters is a great way to stay ahead. 

A B2B content marketing strategy will shape your business’ future

A brand without content is practically invisible. A brand with a simple B2B content marketing strategy created after carefully considering each step of the buyer’s journey will be the one that drives the most revenue. 

Wordbrew helps businesses who want to leverage B2B content marketing but don’t know how. Our subject matter experts create content that answers your audience’s questions and matches your brand guidelines. 

Reach out, and let’s build a winning B2B content marketing strategy together.

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