Content is playing an increasingly important role in the business-to-business purchase process, according to a 2016 report from Demand Gen. Fifty-one percent of B2B buyers say they use content more now than they did in past years when doing research on potential purchases.
But what information matters to them -- and in what forms?
B2B buyers want honest, practical content. They look to white papers, blog posts and other forms of educational content to find solutions to business challenges. But with time constraints, many are increasingly selective about what they read. More than two-thirds of the buyers surveyed by Demand Gen -- 73% -- stated they have less time now to read and research than they did in 2015.
This means marketers must be smarter with their content strategies. Here are six keys to creating content packages that meet buyers’ time and information needs.
- Offer credible, neutral information. Content from reliable, independent sources matters to buyers. They want to know that the information they are receiving is truthful and without bias. Their top picks for educational content include reports from analysts and third-party research as well as case studies.
- Keep it short. In Demand Gen's report, B2B buyers say they are overwhelmed with information (83%) and have less time to wade through it all. They still rely on white papers but 88% say they prefer shorter versions of content.
- Provide research and benchmarks. Purchasers want data. They use this information to make a case to stakeholders. Give them content that incorporates analyst insights, independent research and benchmark data to strengthen your position.
- Make it practical. Content that includes tips, evaluation tools and feedback from thought leaders resonates with B2B readers. They want ideas they can apply and test in their own environments. These pieces are a great way for vendors to connect and begin relationship with buyers.
- Include stories from peers. Case studies that feature peer organizations help buyers see product and solutions in a real-world context. The most reliable case studies are those that give a full picture -- not just the high points. Create case studies that show the successes and challenges of a deployment. This will go a long way toward building trust with potential customers.
- Ditch the pitch. Buyers will engage with vendor content but are turned off by heavy sales pitches. They measure vendors by the trustworthiness of their content. You can build that trust by giving them honest, practical information and avoid saturating it with sales pitches.
The field of B2B content is crowded. Following these tips will help you cut through the noise and get your content in front of those you’d like to reach -- and ensure that it remains top of mind as they move through their buying cycle.
Kanoe Namahoe is the custom content editor for SmartBrief Education and Workforce. Learn more about SmartBrief’s content solutions, including SmartFocus, a new turnkey, performance-driven approach to white papers produced by SmartBrief’s editors.