B2B Content Marketing During The Covid19 Crisis

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue,” says best-selling marketing advisor, Andrew Davis. With the rise in content consumption and the need for guidance in difficult times, this is a vital period for B2B companies to revamp their content marketing.

Early in 2020, Forrester released a report on the changing B2B content marketing landscape, highlighting that millennials now constitute more than 33% of global technology-buying decision-makers. The report detailed the diverse expectations of millennials, including but not limited to:

  • Credible and substantiated reports
  • Genuine and empathetic stories
  • Diverse content, such as video, short-form, and community-contributed content

Armed with these insights, how has stepping up your B2B content marketing skills become indispensable during the coronavirus pandemic?

As the world’s consumers recede into quarantine bubbles, people are spending more time at home and more time on their devices. This has caused the consumption of online materials to shoot up – a Nielsen study in March found that 2 in 5 consumers report an increase in social media activity and one-third of consumers reported watching more online videos.

The appetite for both short-form and long-form content will necessarily rise, as businesses move towards work-from-home models and business buyers have more free time to consume marketing insights. Now is not the time to skimp on long-form content either – Forrester’s report suggested that, even with increased demand for short-form content, millennials still highly value long-form content that offer strong business insights.

For B2B companies that have been planning to diversify their content offerings to include video and social media marketing, marketers should invest in picking up the necessary tools to make that happen. With more potential consumers stuck at home, now is the prime time to reach buyers by beefing up your design and editing skills by making use of EdTech platforms.

Digital course providers like EdX, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning are offering their courses and other educational resources at discounted and even free rates. Such courses include Graphic Design, Social Media Marketing, and Video Fundamentals, a boon to marketers who wish to upgrade their skillsets quickly.

You can also improve your marketing strategies by implementing a human touch in your outreach. For example, McKinsey has noted the “consumerisation” of B2B buying, in which B2B buyers operate more like traditional consumers. They highly value self-service options as well as transparent and speedy assistance. As such, McKinsey recommends adding tools such as live chat platforms on your website in order to humanize the buying experience. These tools will help you display your customer-oriented mindset and your ability to address their needs quickly.

This is particularly true for companies that are buying new technology to help them adapt to the digital period. From edtech to e-commerce, businesses globally have had to suddenly adapt to a world in which the digital space has become the default landscape, with varying degrees of preparation. Nielsen reported in March that in China, technology-assisted companies have had the first-mover advantage to capturing market share during Covid-19. On the other hand, less tech-savvy companies have scrambled to find solutions to the obstacles posed by this online shift.

B2B content marketing is thus very well positioned to help technology buyers cut through the noise and chart important trends for them. A recent study shows that 73% of respondents find email marketing the premier way of getting excellent ROIs, even compared to SEOs and paid search. Forrester has noted in the past that 74% of business buyers conduct more than half their research online, and that B2B businesses should engage proactive buyers and advance their decision making process. As companies search for digital solutions, B2B companies should step in and be responsible for highlighting current trends. Demonstrating expertise in your content will help you gain their trust.

Ultimately, B2B content should provide essential recommendations to improve the performance of the business buyers who engage with their content. The best B2B marketing delivers useful and reliable insights for readers consistently. In fact, the period of Covid-19 is when businesses need that the most.

Now is hence the time for B2B companies to establish their online presence as thought-leaders. Your B2B content should be the first that business buyers turn to for business insights and trends. In the deluge of new content and opinions being produced during the wildly unpredictable Covid-19, businesses are looking for thoughtful and trustworthy content to guide them.

The recent 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study found a striking paradox: even though B2B buyers highly value thought leadership, B2B marketers significantly underestimate its importance. If there is any time for B2B marketers to re-orient and ramp up their thought leadership status, it is now. Your content should serve as a compass for the readers, guiding them through the choppy waters of Covid-19.

What does that boil down to?

Even as trends change and the world changes, one thing remains constant: humanity’s capacity to be influenced by a good story. Your goal as B2B content marketers will be to empathize with your readers and weave narratives that convince them to stick with you even as the post-Covid-19 upswing happens. Advertising and marketing have always been about the art of telling a good story – as long as you can update the story to the zeitgeist, you are sure to win over your audience.

Eventually, a content marketer’s job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more empowered to get to where they’d like to reach.

https://medium.com/@ideacomm2018/b2b-content-marketing-during-the-covid19-crisis-c68601317664

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project