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How To Master Content Marketing For B2B Tech

By September 12, 2022No Comments
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Content is a B2B tech marketer’s secret weapon.

Well, it’s actually not a secret at all. Everybody’s doing it – and they’re investing big bucks.

Seriously, the average amount spent on SaaS content marketing is $7.5k-$15k per month.

But here’s the thing:

Although everyone understands the value of good content in the tech world, marketers seem to be falling at the first and most crucial hurdle:

They struggle to produce content that customers actually want to read.

Let’s change that, shall we?

We’ve created this guide to help B2B tech brands cut through the noise, produce content that makes an impact, and scale their efforts without burning out.

What Is Content Marketing For B2B Tech?

Content marketing for B2B tech is the creation, publishing, and distribution of branded resources that are…

  1. Educational
  2. Actionable
  3. Insightful

… to help your target audience identify and solve challenges, be better at their job, and grow their business.

As a form of inbound marketing, the point of content marketing is to lay down the groundwork so that prospects come to you when they’re ready.

Whereas outbound marketing is a bit more…

The most prevalent and effective examples of content marketing for B2B tech are:

  • Blogs and case studies
  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Organic social media content eg. LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok
  • Online courses and masterclasses

Professionals are exposed to tons of content marketing examples from B2B tech companies – it might be an email newsletter that you occasionally read on your lunch break or a LinkedIn post series that sometimes stops you mid-scroll…

So, why should you invest all that effort into content marketing for your B2B company, particularly if you’re in tech?

Let us explain.

Why Content Marketing For B2B Tech Is Such A Big Deal

Content marketing is crucial for B2B tech for two crucial reasons:

  1. The value of a B2B tech solution is tricky to express instantly compared with a traditional B2C product – eg. a sales prospecting tool vs. a dress – so you need to leverage long-form content to articulate what your product does and prove that it delivers results.
  2. The buyer journey for B2B tech takes longer and involves more stakeholders to win over – one customer persona needs to influence a few decision-makers before you close a deal – so you need an arsenal of messages that are relevant to each stakeholder’s unique pain points and priorities.

But that only scratches the surface of why having a powerful content marketing strategy is crucial to making an impact in tech.

1. Many B2B tech niches are highly saturated

Take a wild guess at how many sales CRMs there are…

Not 500. Not even 1000.

Try over 2,285 CRM companies (as of 2022).

Unless you’ve invented a CRM that’s capable of maximising sales through mind control…

…you’re going to have a hard time using flashy paid ads to promote it.

Because most CRMs have the same basic features as the thousands of others on the market.

Instead of focusing on features and benefits, you should provide your target audience with

  • Education
  • Community
  • Thought-leadership

And the only way to do that consistently and effectively is with long-form, engaging content.

Need inspo?

Just look at the goldmine of relevant resources offered by Pipedrive, one of the most well-known and effective CRMs out there:

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #1

2. B2B tech customers do their own research

When someone encounters a problem at work, they’re not going to wait around to be contacted by a sales agent that just so happens to have the solution.

No, they’ll think on their feet and do their own research – because a growing proportion of your prospects have grown up with Google in their pocket.

In fact, various sales experts (such as Gartner) find that up to 80% of the buyer journey is complete before a prospect has even spoken to a sales rep.

B2B audiences will use a huge variety of sources to get the low-down on their challenge and the potential solution for it, such as:

  • Taking to the search engines and Googling their problems
  • Visiting review sites
  • Posting about it on LinkedIn (if they’re brave)

If your tech company has a strong content marketing strategy, you’ll be there waiting to provide the answers like the fairy godmother of tech.

And, if you publish valuable content at scale, your domain authority will give you an advantage against other competitors on the SERPs – so prospects click on your content first.

3. Complex buyer journey with multiple decision-makers

The B2C buyer journey is pretty straightforward. Like nipping down to the shop to get a Cornetto.

On the other hand, B2B marketers must take an unexpected journey through Middle Earth…

Only instead of dealing with trolls and orcs, you have to win over 6-10 decision-makers.

Choose your opponent: Gollum or the CEO. Only joking.

The B2B tech buyer journey is non-linear and time-consuming because there’s a lot at stake with these decisions:

  • Businesses are investing a lot of money in your product
  • Adopting your solution might require a lot of resources
  • Customers need to ensure that they’re going to see ROI
  • Decision makers, as individuals, have a lot riding on whether they choose the right solution for the business

Rather than sitting in countless meetings and fending off objections left right and centre, having a robust digital marketing playbook can do the hard work for you – and help your customer influence their boss(es).

4 Steps To Master Content Marketing For B2B Tech [1400]

We’ve covered the why; so let’s get into the how of content marketing for B2B tech.

The first three steps will be dedicated to mindset and approach, then we’ll dive into producing and scaling your efforts.

TL;DR: here’s what we’ll cover.

StepKey Points
1. Do the basics really well
  • Content marketing efforts need to come back to a core brand identity and assets
  • Discover and refine your ‘why’, customer personas, and USP
  • Invest in your website, landing pages, marketing team, and tech stack
2. Prioritise research and customer interviews
  • Content has to resonate with each customer persona’s priorities, pains, and goals
  • Interviewing customers, reaching out to communities, being open to feedback and discussion
  • Use those insights to directly fuel content marketing funnel, pillars, topics, and channels
3. Break out of the ‘problem-solution’ trap
  • Problem-solution topics restrict the potential for prospects to find your brand until after they’re comparing you to competitors
  • B2B tech brands can cut through the noise by creating content that helps customers with their big-picture goals and challenges
4. Scale content creation
  • Results from content marketing require high publishing velocity and consistent production across channels
  • Marketers who manage everything in-house create bottlenecks and put the team at risk of burnout
  • Scale content production using skilled freelancers and robust documentation

1. Do the basics really well

To truly master content marketing for B2B tech, you have to start from the very beginning.

And we’re NOT talking about SEO – not yet.

We’re talking about brand awareness.

If we think about content marketing as a journey, there needs to be a due north – otherwise, your team will lose their way as soon as search volumes fluctuate.

That due north is what all your quality content should refer back to:

  • Identity: your USP, audience personas, your ‘why’
  • Assets: your website, landing pages, marketing team, and tech stack

Before you go all guns blazing into your content marketing strategy, it’s wise to invest the time and resources into tech branding, web design, and forming your marketing dream team.

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #2

And it seems like most SaaS marketers have the same idea – branding > everything else.

Start with gathering your team and running a few strategy workshops to explore and distil why your tech business exists, who it’s for, and what success looks like – for you and your customers.

The tangible results drawn from that exercise – a brand story, style guide, and customer persona breakdown – will help guide and action the next steps.

Which are to build and perfect all your content marketing assets and mechanisms:

  1. A stunning website: with intuitive navigation, impressive graphics, and scroll-stopping copy to maximise lead generation.
  2. Strategic landing pages: to make leads feel like you truly understand who they are, what holds them back, what success looks like – and how your product can help.
  3. Marketing dream team: in-house leaders to take care of strategy and briefs, and a pool of talented freelancers to produce high-value content at scale.
  4. Powerful tech stack: SEO tools, project management systems, content optimisers, documentation hubs, and communication tools ready to support and manage your campaigns.

There you have it, it’s systematic, automatic, hydromatic…

…it’s the Greased Lightning of content marketing engines.

Now you better shape up and be an industry expert.

2. Establish a psychic link with your target audience

Earlier, we explained that the B2B tech buyer journey was far longer and non-linear compared to other traditional customer experiences.

And that’s because you must navigate up to 10 levels of decision-makers and influencers (eg. sales rep, sales manager, VP of sales, CEO).

If each of those decision-makers had identical pain points and priorities, life would be easy.

But each level of responsibility faces more nuanced problems and stings – your success with content marketing in B2B tech depends on whether every piece of content makes them feel seen.

So, how do you discover what truly makes your audience tick?

You could play the world’s most expensive guessing game by pulling keywords out of thin air, lurking on Quora and Reddit, and looking at review sites.

Or you could get the information straight from the horse’s mouth – ask your customers directly!

Content marketing is resource-intensive enough; the last thing you want is to waste your entire marketing budget on content topics that aren’t useful to anyone.

So, here’s how to establish an almost psychic link with your audience:

  • Reach out to your current customers
  • Make regular posts on LinkedIn opening a discussion
  • Follow relevant industry hashtags on social media
  • Subscribe to relevant newsletters and podcasts within your niche
  • Keep track of trending topics using your SEO tool eg. SEMrush’s topic research tool
  • Join Reddit communities and other online forums (as your brand, not as a lurker)
  • Make peace with your sales team
  • Build relationships with thought leaders and influencers in your sector

As long as you’re honest, open to listening – and don’t try to sell during the interview – you’ll likely build some truly meaningful relationships with your customer base.

And you’ll be bursting with ideas for your content marketing strategy.

3. Focus content around your customers’ version of success (forget about your product)

Ask how to focus your content topics and B2B marketers will shout a lot of answers.

Most of them will be:

“Don’t sell features, sell benefits!”

“Don’t sell features and benefits, sell solutions to problems!”

“Focus on your customer’s pain points!”

There’s merit to all those ideas. But to master content marketing for B2B tech, marketers should go beyond the transactional “you need / I sell” mentality.

They should focus on what success really looks like for their customers.

Because here’s the truth: Your customers don’t see their job as a long list of problems needing solutions.

In most cases, they probably haven’t even identified that they have a problem – at least, not one that’s tied to a software tool.

Although problem-solving topics can be highly valuable, too many B2B tech brands are sticking to that framework and making it their content marketing strategy.

But if you’re only covering topics that are related to your customer’s pain point, you’re ensuring that customers only hear about you once they’ve discovered that the problem exists.

And that means that when they discover you, they discover your competitors as well.

Here’s how you cut through the noise and strike a chord with your audience – before they’ve even clocked that they need to solve a challenge.

Create content that discusses, supports, and educates your audience on their big-picture goals, such as:

  • How to get promoted (eg. a sales manager who dreams of becoming a VP of Sales)
  • How to look good in front of their boss
  • How to enjoy a better work/life balance
  • How to manage a remote team meaningfully
  • How to be more productive

Toggl is a powerful example of how to base content ideas around its target audience’s big-picture goals.

Toggl is a time-tracking tool, project management system, and hiring tool used by agencies and freelancers.

Toggl pushes the envelope with its content marketing, covering topics that go beyond the problem-solution binary by diving into the big conversations that agency owners think about daily.

Just take a look at these topics:

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #3
Content Marketing for B2b Tech #4

Toggl expertly tackles big-picture discussion points that its target audiences (remote agency owners and freelancers) would think about regularly.

Sure, there are more product and pain point-related topics in their blog – as there should be – but by opening the possibilities of topics, Toggl creates more opportunities to be top-of-mind.

So that when customers realise they need a time-tracking tool, they know exactly where to look and are less likely to shop around.

4. Scale content production

Let’s say you’re the head of marketing, or head of content, for a B2B SaaS company.

You’ve followed all of the above steps, and you’re ready to roll out some epic content: you’ve got topics ready for blogs, email newsletters, and LinkedIn posts.

It’s time to… do the thing.

This is where B2B tech content marketers run into three key problems:

  • Organic traffic stagnates
  • Internal team is at capacity and at risk of burnout
  • Hiring new staff is too resource-intensive

Ultimately, one of the dangers of content marketing for B2B tech is that marketers fail to build a content production machine and become, well, full time content writers.

And that’s not the most valuable use of your time. In many, content marketing is only part of your job – so by getting bogged down with content, your outbound media channels lose out.

If your in-house marketing team is writing content, you’ll reach capacity and burnout very quickly – especially when your boss wants to increase publishing velocity next quarter!

So, there’s one golden solution to this problem – scale content production using freelance SEOs, editors, and writers

Unless you can afford a massive team of full-time writers, producing content in house is very expensive.

It’s cheaper, more efficient, and more scalable to build a pool of talented freelance SEOs, writers, and editors who can take care of content production for you – and scale as soon as your CEO says:

This method is how Content Distribution’s Bojan Maric, pushed his client’s organic traffic from 0-60,000 in under 11 months.

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #5

It meant publishing 40 x 2500w pieces every month.

We know what you’re thinking – how do I manage all those freelancers without compromising on quality?

It all comes down to having robust documentation and processes:

  • Create a detailed style guide for your content
  • Document processes for every stage of content production – from topic ideation, brief creation, drafting, editing, optimising, and publishing
  • Hire freelancers with proven experience in your industry (always test them first!)

This method doesn’t work for all types of content, of course. Case studies, whitepapers, and thought leadership pieces should be kept in-house, where you can leverage your client relationships.

But for top-of-funnel content? Scale it and reap the rewards.

3 Stunning B2B Content Marketing Examples

Now that we’ve schooled you on the best approach to content marketing for B2B, let’s get some inspiration from a few industry legends.

1. Ahrefs: no CTA’s, just answers

Are you guilty of this common toxic trait among B2B content marketers?

It goes something like this:

Shoving sales pitches in every bit of content – especially a CTA at the end. As if any prospect is going to read a top-of-funnel blog and whip out the company credit card…

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #6

It’s not just lazy – it’s disingenuous. The whole point of B2B content for tech audiences is to be as helpful as possible without pushing the sell.

Because they’ll come back when they’re ready.

This is why Ahref’s blog stands out as one of the most valuable SEO resources on the internet.

Every Ahref’s blog dives straight into value and doesn’t fluff around with:

  • Long-winded intros and conclusions
  • CTA’s disguised as infographics after the fold or at the conclusion
  • Awkwardly name-dropping product features at every opportunity

The tone is candid, straight-to-the-point, and full of relevant examples based on the brand’s own experiences.

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #7

Now that’s authenticity.

And the best part? No lazy “contact us” in the conclusion – not even a cheeky link to a ‘buy now’ page.

Just a few helpful signposts to find even more relevant content – with a simple review widget to make doubly sure what they’re writing is helpful.

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #8

What makes Ahref’s content so refreshingly authentic is easy to replicate in your own blog – don’t sell, just help.

It’s that simple.

2. Gong: Data and daring to be different

Sales enablement tool Gong has mastered the art and science of content marketing for B2B tech.

What makes Gong stand out is its refreshingly candid, cheeky, and community-minded approach to organic posts on LinkedIn.

From using hilariously relatable sales memes on LinkedIn…

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #9

To fascinating and in-depth data drawn from their own studies:

Content Marketing for B2b Tech #10

Gong has taken organic social media marketing by storm, predominantly on Linkedin. Thanks to its authenticity and high publishing velocity, each post gets a ton of engagement from like-minded sales leaders.

And here’s the kicker: most of Gong’s LinkedIn posts don’t even sell the product.

It’s just relevant, actionable sales guidance, summarised from the in-depth guides available on the dedicated GongLabs blog – aka, the #1 data-backed sales blog on the internet.

3. Clearscope: supporting customers post-sale

B2B tech content marketing doesn’t stop at the sale. In the world of SaaS, where customer lifetime value is a crucial success metric, that would be super awkward.

Content marketing is your CLV secret weapon, helping you ensure that customers continue to be absolutely stoked with your product – and contribute when you ask them for feedback while conducting research!

Clearscope does this well with its webinars and email newsletters to current customers:

Content Marketing for B2B Tech #11

In this email, Clearscope invites a customer to attend a workshop with a thought leader in content strategy.

It’s worth noting that although the webinar will mention some of Clearscope’s features, that’s not the dominant focus.

This is literally free education for Clearscope’s customers – that’s how you nail customer retention rates.

Clearscope isn’t trying to sell us anything, just help ContentOps teams be successful at their job.

See? Content marketing for B2B tech is just as important post-sale as it is before the customer is even aware your brand exists.

The Secret to Tech Content Marketing: Be Seen, Be Helpful, Be the Best

Those three Be’s sum up the most crucial elements of a successful content marketing strategy.

It’s not about having a complicated playbook or hammering prospects with “problem vs. solutions” messages.

Success with content marketing comes down to cutting through the noise, offering inspiration and education, and leaving the hard sell to outbound campaigns.

Ready to get started with your content marketing strategy?

Start with Step 1 using our Audience Persona Builder – a free resource for our readers to get started building out accurate ICPs for their content marketing strategy.

And if you’d like to keep reading, check out our Practical Guide to FinTech Branding.

Find out how we can help your online presence reach new heights! Get in touch