Why B2B brands should invest in content

Learn how to create effective content from two B2B brands that are doing it best

Content marketing is an approach as old as America. Benjamin Franklin was not only a founding father but also a content marketer. In 1732, he began publishing an annual edition of a handbook with poems, observations and sayings called Poor Richard’s Almanack , to market his printing business. It became so popular he published it for another 25 years.

Fast forward to today. We live in a world saturated with content. Print is being surpassed by digital. Smartphones are changing how we consume media, increasing demand and more notably, supply. As a result, brands have to do more to cut through the noise. Earning their audience’s attention is a challenge: 60 per cent of B2B marketers struggle to make their content engaging. Marketers are under pressure to demonstrate the ROI of their marketing efforts, and for those who lack the right measurement structure it can be a challenge to prove the effectiveness of their content.

However, content is worth investing in. When done right, content marketing delivers impressive results. Those creating successful content attract 7.8 times more site traffic than competitors. It generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing, whilst being 62 per cent less expensive. As businesses reduce their overheads, content does two great things: it grants leads and a strategy for nurturing them. It comes as no surprise that conversion rates are nearly six times higher for those who adopt a content strategy, in comparison to those who don’t.

How do brands create effective content? They move away from overt sales messages, and focus on building a relationship with their audience over time. They capture their audience’s attention through finding the human interest angle to their story and they build credibility by adding value.

Here are two brands that are creating impactful content:

GE (General Electric Co.) BEST AT: knowing how to tell great stories

This industrial company was one of the first to hire an editor in-chief to create content. Tomas Kellner, previously a Senior Director at Kroll and staff writer at Forbes, helped GE launch what has been called by Contently as “the best brand magazine on the planet” — GE Reports. This is an online hub publishing stories on technological developments and breakthroughs, aimed at engineers and shareholders.

The editorial hones into the human interest angle of technological and scientific advances, focusing on the individuals behind the stories and what has motivated their discoveries. Crucially, they got under the skin of their audience’s media consumption habits. This lets them create content in that style and format, which engages and entertains as well as educates.

How do they measure success? Kellner states average dwell time on GE Reports is a remarkable four minutes. They also earned industry recognition when they won Contently’s ‘Best branded content’ in 2015.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Invest time in getting to know your audience, and create content they will want to engage with.

Goldman Sachs BEST AT: building brand equity through research

Goldman Sachs are experts in a range of fields, with access to huge amounts of data and ample resource to conduct research. Each year they publish an annual report on millennials, adding value to businesses who want to understand a demographic that is notoriously difficult to reach and influence.

The bank’s Global Investment Research division undertook the study, recognising issues of lower unemployment rates to student loan debt. Goldman Sachs’ effectively used data visualisation and journalism, to make the findings accessible and engaging.
How do they measure success? They review online engagement metrics, downloads and shares, as well as how it impacts brand equity over time. Goldman Sachs feature on Interbrand’s ‘Best Global Brands’, together with consumer brands like Apple, and in the top 25 of Brand Finance ‘Global Banking 500’.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Make your thought leadership effective by presenting your research in a visual and engaging way.