Content Marketing ·

How To Create a Successful B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Travis Dailey
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Historically, marketing has played second fiddle to sales when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) industries. But that dynamic’s been shifting as B2B buyers spend less time talking to sales reps and more time researching online.

In other words, websites and marketing content are doing more of the heavy lifting during the purchase decision process.

And having a strategy in place isn’t enough. If you want to be successful, you need to understand the nuances of B2B marketing and what makes it so different from building a relationship with individual consumers.

Keep reading to learn how to create a  B2B content marketing strategy that creates a stronger relationship with your organizational customers, supports sales, and helps you stand out from the competition.

What is B2B content marketing?

B2B content marketing is a strategy where you build a relationship with your existing and potential customers. You achieve that by providing them with free value in the form of content, such as e-books for webinars.

The primary objective of a content marketing strategy is to establish trust and nurture relationships with customers and leads that ultimately leads to a sale.

By providing free value through content, you’re better able to connect with users across different personas and at all levels of the buyer’s journey (top, middle, and bottom of your sales funnel).

Why is it important?

You can’t grow a business solely by bringing on new customers. It’s too expensive. Your existing customers already have a relationship with you, so it’s easier to sell to them and convince them to try new products.

If you want sustainable long-term growth, you have to invest in your existing customers and focus on new leads. And that’s where content marketing becomes important.

According to the CMI report, the top goal of B2B content marketing strategies is building relationships with existing clients, followed by nurturing leads and driving revenue.1

Studies also show that buyers in B2B businesses consider content a key decision-making factor.

The B2B Buyer Behavior Study by Demand Gen found that 62% of buyers chose a seller because they provided content that made it easier to sell the solution within their company. Another 55% of vendors chose sellers that provided higher quality content.

B2B vs. B2C content marketing

Content marketing is an effective strategy for business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B marketers.

But the tactics that work in a B2C marketing environment won’t necessarily succeed for B2B customers. You have to know what makes B2B unique if you want to create a successful strategy.

First, in B2C, you’re selling to one person. The final customer is often the user, decision-maker, and economic buyer. But in B2B, those roles are split between different people who make up the buyer's circle.

The B2B buyer’s circle.

B2B products also tend to be much more expensive, so they take longer to sell because they require several layers of approval or buy-in. A benchmark study by EBSTA found that it takes an average of 50 to 100 days to win a B2B sales deal.

B2B content marketing vs. ecommerce content marketing

Content marketing focuses on educating your audience, building trust, and providing value.

Ecommerce success, on the other hand, relies heavily on cross-platform marketing, paid advertisements, and ease of use. According to Kantar, 66% of buyers listed convenience as the reason they chose their retailer.

In short, B2B content marketing strategies focus heavily on long-term relationship growth. In contrast, ecommerce content marketing is geared toward transactions.

Content marketing statistics

Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the importance of the strategy to marketers:

  • 90% of marketers currently using content marketing plan to continue investing the same amount into the channel in 2022. (HubSpot)

  • Most large businesses have two to five employees dedicated to content marketing. (CMI)

  • More than half of the most successful content marketing teams surveyed by CMI have two or more full-time/outsourced employees dedicated to content marketing. (CMI)

  • Marketing teams spend roughly 30% of their budget on content creation. (Gartner)

  • 53% of brands plan to continue outsourcing content creation using their current setup. (Semrush Marketplace)

  • The number one reason brands outsource content creation is to scale content production. (Semrush Marketplace)

B2B content types

A thorough B2B content marketing strategy usually has a marketing mix that includes several different content types aimed at your B2B audience.

According to Demand Gen’s Content Preferences Survey, B2B buyers listed their preferred content formats as:

  • Webinars 57%

  • E-books 57%

  • White papers 55%

  • Research and survey reports 52%

  • Blog posts 46%

  • Case studies 46%

Let’s take a closer look at each of the top B2B content types.


A webinar is a virtual presentation with an online audience that can be held live or replayed on-demand. Live webinars enable audience interaction through chat features and Q&A sessions.

Webinars are useful for helping existing customers get the most out of your product and introducing your solution to potential leads.

According to the Demand Gen Content Preferences report, buyers find webinars most helpful at the early stage (49%) and middle (38%) of the buying process.

Sign-up page for “DocuSign 101 On-Demand” webinar.

Popular webinar formats include:

  • Tutorials

  • Industry trend presentations

  • Expert panels

Examples include: “How to Grow with SEO by Ethan Smith of Graphite” and “How to Find New Search Intent Opportunities by JR Oakes”.

Clearscope hosts a weekly webinar with the marketing industry’s best and brightest. Topics range from strategy to content marketing to SEO. Join for free today.


E-books are online books that typically answer a “how-to” question for your readers. Content marketers often distribute e-books for download on a landing page built for lead generation.

The content in e-books is usually targeted to a specific person in the buyer persona to help them become better at their job.

For instance, if you’re selling social media scheduling software to a social media manager, you could publish an e-book on “How to Reach and Engage Your Audience on Facebook.”

Facebook Messenger Ads page in HubSpot e-book.

Unlike white papers and long-form blog posts, e-books combine text with compelling visuals that help make complex topics easier for your audience to understand.

Examples include: “The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Payroll” (Intuit) and “Leverage Your Content for Virtual Events” (Cvent).

White papers

White papers are in-depth informational documents that explore a specific problem and advocate for a solution.

While they may also include “how-to” information like an e-book, white papers are more academic in their exploration of a problem. And they’re often more concentrated on a specific issue.

“Securing DevOps Enterprise Environments” white paper.

White papers typically don’t sell a product. Instead, they argue why one methodology or approach is best for the particular problem.

White papers are most helpful for readers at the top of the funnel who are still exploring the issue and comparing potential types of solutions.

Examples include: “Essential Support for Essential Workers” (XPO Logistics) and “Securing DevOps Enterprise Environments” (Microsoft).

Blog posts/articles

Blog posts and articles often play a central role in a brand’s search engine optimization or SEO content strategy. Marketers use them to capture real estate on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive organic traffic to their websites.

What is Green Computing? blog post.

B2B blogs can feature other kinds of content, such as case studies. Other frequently used blog formats for organizational buyers include:

  • How-tos

  • Industry trends

  • Product/company updates

  • Expert interviews

According to CMI, the most successful B2B content marketing brands focused more on long-form blog posts than short-form.

Don’t have a blog? Check out Ryan Robinson’s guide on how to start a blog.

Examples include: What Are Customer Service Objectives? 4 Industry Experts Weigh In (Zendesk) and What Is Green Computing? (IBM).

Research and survey reports

Data reports are documents that you publish summarizing findings and recommendations based on your own research.

Publishing and distributing these reports give your readers access to valuable data-driven insights without needing them to do the heavy lifting involved with surveys and data analysis.

Annual industry or benchmark reports help you provide real value while establishing your brand expertise and authority.

Examples include: “The State of Sales Operations Report” (LinkedIn) and “Global Millennial & Gen Z Survey” (Deloitte).

Case studies

A case study is the story of how one of your customers found success using your solution. It provides real-life proof of the impact your product can make for a particular industry or use case.

“Webflow exceeds 130% organic growth with Clearscope” Clearscope case study.

Case studies answer the following questions:

  • What was the customer's main need or problem?

  • How did the customer choose their solution?

  • How did the customer implement the solution?

  • What results did you provide your customer?

Creating case studies helps you build credibility in your brand based on real-life examples and success stories. The Demand Gen study found that buyers find them especially helpful in the middle (46%) and end (35%) of the purchase process.

Examples include: “A Modern HR Solution for soona’s Hyper-Growth Business” (Gusto) and “GCI Automatically Dispatches 95% of Its Work Orders with Oracle Field Service” (Oracle).

How to create a B2B content marketing strategy

Now that we’ve covered the main types of content used for B2B marketing, let’s take a look at how to put together a successful B2B content marketing strategy.

Understand your audience

Any promotional strategy starts with understanding who you’re creating for. It’s the same for content marketing. Your entire target audience should include your existing customer base and potential new leads.

Then, you can break down your audience into subgroups based on characteristics such as industry, organization size, and use case.

For each target organization, create a buyer persona that includes the following pieces of information:

  • Pain points/needs: What are their business challenges that you help solve? Do they have industry-specific pain points such as regulations and compliance?

  • Buyer’s circle members: Who is in the buyer’s circle, and what role does each person play? You should also know the pain points and goals for each member of the buyer’s circle.

  • Level of urgency: How quickly does this persona need a solution to their problem?

  • Goals and aspirations: What are the organization’s business goals? What are the professional aspirations of the people in the buyer’s circle?

  • Business demographics: What is their geographic location, size, and industry?

Identify competitors

Competitors aren’t just brands that sell the same type of solution as you. Your competitors include any solution that could be used in place of yours — including the solution your ideal customer is currently using.

For instance, if you sell analytics software to small businesses, you may be competing with Google Sheets. You’ll need to know your relative strengths related to Sheets along with other analytics software providers.

In content marketing, you also have indirect competitors, which include brands and individuals that publish similar content to your audience, but they don’t sell a competing product. These represent the competition for your audience’s attention, but not for sales.

But indirect competition isn’t always bad. They can serve as resources or even content partners that can help you establish authority with your readers.

Set goals

Once you’re familiar with your audience and the competitive landscape, it’s time to set clear marketing goals for your strategy. Like any other business goals, your content marketing objectives should follow the SMART framework, which means they’re:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Time-constrained

Each objective should have particular key performance indicators (KPIs) attached, which are the metrics you’ll use to measure success. Metrics used for content marketing can include:

  • Website traffic

  • Click-through rate

  • Leads generated

  • Webinar registrants

  • Webinar attendees

Choose content formats

As we noted before, a successful B2B content marketing strategy aims to provide value for people at all stages of the buyer’s journey. So, you want to have a good mix of content types.

When you begin your content marketing efforts, it’s helpful to look at your competition and see what’s working for them. You can also assess your internal team to identify what types of resources you have available.

For example, do you have a tech expert who can host webinars? Or an SEO marketer that can do keyword research for blog posts?

Finally, remember that consistently publishing new content is a crucial element of an effective content marketing strategy. You should be generating high-quality content on a regular basis.

Inconsistent publishing and poor quality can actually hurt your credibility. That might mean you have to choose a slower schedule at first as you test content to see what works.

Create and publish your content

Whether you have one person or ten people on your content team, you need to keep your publishing schedule organized and hold people accountable for content creation. That’s where your editorial calendar comes in handy.

An editorial calendar includes deadlines for each piece of content, and it’s also a useful tool for identifying opportunities to repurpose existing content into different formats.

For instance, if you publish a survey, you can also schedule a blog post with top insights and a webinar that presents the findings.

Once you have your content calendar ready, figure out if you can create everything in-house or if you’ll have to outsource content creation.

Create a content distribution plan

You’ve done your research, created great content, and published it — you’re all set, right?

Well, no.

It’s not enough to just create high-quality content. The other half of the formula for content marketing is distribution. Your readers aren’t going to find your content right away — you have to make sure your work gets in front of them through consistent marketing campaigns.

Here are the top five distribution channels you can leverage in your B2B content marketing strategy:

Your website

In B2B, your website is often the core of your content marketing distribution plan.

According to Demand Gen’s B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 41% of buyers list the vendor's website as one of the first resources they use when looking for a solution, which is more than review sites (30%) and word of mouth (27%).

The same survey found that the three most important elements of a B2B website are:

  • Relevant content that speaks directly to the reader (70%)

  • Easy access to pricing and competitive information (66%)

  • Easy access to content (e.g., no long download forms) (59%)

Social media

Social media platforms are still important in B2B — they’re just prioritized differently than in a B2C strategy.

According to the CMI, the most effective non-paid B2B social platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Bar charts of organic non-paid social media platforms for B2B marketers.

Surprisingly, the survey found that while most marketers used Twitter and YouTube more than Instagram, organic marketing on Instagram generated better results.


CMI found that 69% of B2B content marketers use email newsletters to distribute content.

Email is one of the most direct relationships you can have with B2B decision-makers, including your existing customers. Your email subscriber lists are transferable — you keep them even if you need to switch email marketing providers.

With social media, on the other hand, you don’t own the relationship with your audience. Ultimately, social media platforms give you access to bigger audiences, but it’s like building your house on rented land.

A good distribution plan should include both email and social media.

Paid advertising

Almost half of B2B marketers have increased their paid advertising budgets over the last year.

Social media advertising takes the top paid spot and is followed by search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click (PPC) and sponsorships at industry events and workshops.

Guest spots

Guest spots can include:

  • Guest blogging

  • Partaking in someone else’s webinar

  • Appearing on a podcast

Including other brands and websites in your distribution strategy not only boosts your credibility but it helps build brand awareness by giving you exposure to someone else’s audience.

That being said, it’s a channel that’s often underused. The CMI report found that only 32% of B2B companies took advantage of guest spots, compared to 46% of the top-performing organizations.

Measure performance

B2B content marketing isn’t a one-and-done promotion. It’s a long-term strategy that you reiterate on so you can figure out what works for your business and hone your brand’s voice.

After you’ve distributed your content, it’s time to look back at your performance and compare actual results to your specific goals and industry benchmarks.

According to CMI, the metrics that provide B2B content marketers with the most performance insight are:

  • Website engagement

  • Conversions

  • Website traffic

  • Email engagement

  • Social media analytics

Website engagement can be broken down further into user engagement KPIs, such as time on page, bounce rate, and pages per session.

Google Analytics insights are especially valuable because they can tell you more about how well you keep users on your website once you convert a search engine or social media click.

B2B content marketing trends in 2022

Marketing is an ever-changing landscape, even when you have a B2B target audience. As technology changes, so do buyer preferences — and marketers need to adapt.

Here are the top trends we’re seeing in B2B buying that you can incorporate into your content marketing strategy:

The growth of video

HubSpot’s 2021 Not Another State of Content Marketing Report identified video as the main form of media produced by content marketers. In CMI’s report, 66% of respondents reported using video in their marketing mix, making it the second most-created format after blog posts.

Webinars are by far the most popular form of video for B2B marketers, and they can easily be repurposed into other formats such as blog posts, infographics, and shorter clips.

Other popular types of video content include:

  • Interviews with industry experts

  • How-to videos

  • Videos about the company

Self-serve buying

A survey by Sana found that ecommerce is the top channel B2B buyers use to place orders, outperforming phone and email.

That’s not to say that human interactions have gone away completely. B2B buyers still spend 17% of the purchase process interacting with vendors, but they spend more time researching online and meeting as a group to discuss the purchase.

So, if you want to be successful with B2B, then your website needs to be as good of a salesperson as, well, your salespeople are. It’s also an essential channel for customer satisfaction and success after a purchase.

Sana’s survey asked buyers about their biggest online customer experience challenges, and they said:

  • Delivery and tracking (44%)

  • Relationship with suppliers (39%)

  • Visibility of product features (34%)

  • Payment terms (34%)

  • Ease of checkout (33%)

  • Ease of repeat ordering (33%)

If you haven’t thought of your website as a member of your sales team, it’s time to start. Specifically, you should make buyer enablement a part of your B2B content strategy.

Examples of purchase enablement website pages include:

  • Product pages

  • Pricing

  • Use cases

  • Comparisons

  • Pillar pages

Once you have the right content online, go through your checkout process and remove any friction that can frustrate your buyers.

The rise of the human element

Even though B2B decision-makers are getting more of their information from online sources, they prefer a human element.

But what exactly does that mean in terms of content?

The LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report results show that 67% of buyers respond more to recognizable authors compared to a faceless brand name. They want the point of view from someone with authority or experience instead of generic content generated by a brand.

The same study also found that 77% of decision-makers would rather hear deep subject matter experts cover specialized topics instead of executives discussing high-level business strategy.

In other words, you can provide more value to your B2B audiences by highlighting your experts’ points of view, such as product development and customer success.

Insights from Uberflip further debunk the common belief that B2B content shouldn’t have too much personality. Instead, respondents listed boring and unengaging content as the most frustrating part of the B2B buying process.

Just because you have to be professional doesn’t mean your content should be dry. Remember, there’s still a human at the other end of your content, even if the entire buyer’s circle is a group.

That’s why it’s essential to understand each member of the buying group so that you can tailor content to that person.

Tools and resources

At this point, managing a B2B content marketing strategy might seem intimidating.

Here’s the good news:

There are several tools and resources you can use to help research, plan, and execute your strategy.

Here are some of our favorites:

Content planning & creation

  • Clearscope — AI-powered keyword research, competitive analysis, and content optimization tool

  • Ahrefs — SEO website auditor and planning tool for content and keywords

  • Moz — SEO toolset that includes keyword research, backlink analysis, and website audits

  • Semrush — SERP tracker with website health analytics and PPC tools

  • Canva — Online design software with templates for infographics, e-books, and presentations

Webinar software

  • Demio — Webinar platform with built-in analytics and user-friendly marketing tools

  • WebinarJam — Budget-friendly webinar creation platform with an easy setup and highly-rated support team


  • Oktopost — B2B social media scheduler and engagement suite for brands of all sizes

  • Sprout Social — Social management software that publishes to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social platforms

Analytics & performance tracking

  • Google Analytics — Vital insights on website performance, bounce rate, and session time

  • Leadfeeder — Website tracking that tells you when someone from a buyer’s circle visits your website and what pages they see

  • Clarabridge — AI-powered social media listening suite for B2B brands

Final thoughts: How to create a successful B2B content marketing strategy

More B2B decision-makers are choosing to get their purchase information online instead of from a sales representative.

What does that mean for you? You should have a B2B content marketing strategy in place that can support existing customers and potential leads through all stages of their purchase process.

Ultimately, your content needs to help readers solve a problem, become better at their jobs, and achieve their company’s goals.

Then, you need to get your content in front of the right people with an effective distribution plan.

And finally, make sure that you set up your website to be a content marketing success.

An effective B2B website needs to meet SEO best practices, provide relevant information to your customers, and have a frictionless checkout process.

For a deeper dive into optimizing your website, check out Clearscope co-founder Bernard Huang’s thoughts on How to do B2B Content Strategy & SEO.

Written by
Travis Dailey

Director of Marketing, Clearscope

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