If you’re looking to build your brand and grow your business, you’ll need to have a strategic content plan in place.
But what if you’re not a good writer? What if you don’t have any great marketers on staff? What if you don’t have the time to vet and hire writers and marketers on your own?
Some businesses that sell direct to consumers think that all they need are clever social media posts and PPC ads. They’re wrong. No matter what you sell or who you sell it to, you need a strong content marketing plan.
And this is even more important for B2B companies that want to be taken seriously in the eyes of other businesses.
If you don’t already have a content strategy and top-notch marketing services in place, it’s time to hire a B2B content marketing agency.
What Does a Content Marketing Agency Do?
Let’s start by explaining a little bit about what a content marketing agency does.
First and foremost, their focus on content creation. Depending on your needs and marketing strategy, that can include everything from writing blogs and crafting white papers to creating infographics and generating scripts for webinars and podcasts.
But before they ever write a piece of content, they do a lot of research, a lot of strategizing, and a lot of organization. Once the content is created, they then publish and promote it to drive traffic to your site and, ultimately, boost sales.
Some content marketing agencies are great at writing blogs, while others excel in generating videos and graphics. Just keep in mind that not every agency is an experienced B2B content marketing agency. B2B companies need to hire an agency that understands B2B marketing as much as they understand D2C marketing.
Why Is Content Marketing So Important?
Having a content marketing strategy is critical, regardless of your brand, your business, what products you sell, or what services you provide.
Strong content is key to brand marketing and lead generation to attract qualified leads that convert to customers.
But there’s a lot more to it than that …
With a strong content marketing strategy, you can:
- Position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field
- Become a thought leader in your industry
- Create opportunities to educate your customers on your brand
- Demonstrate the value that you offer other businesses
How Do You Vet a Content Marketing Agency?
When you hire a content marketing agency, you’re actually hiring an entire content marketing team. And while you won’t be able to vet each and every individual on the team, you can get a better sense of an agency’s marketing efforts and abilities by asking a few key questions.
Here are some of the key steps in vetting a B2B content marketing agency:
Check Their Online Reviews
The first step is to check their online reviews and client testimonials. Sites like Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp are great places to start and can give you a quick overview of how other customers and clients rank and rate an agency.
It goes without saying that you’ll want to hire an agency with as many 5-star reviews as possible, but you should take the time to read some of their 1-star and 3-star reviews as well (if they have them). This is a good way to get an overview of their capabilities.
Ask How They Conduct SEO
Any agency worth its salt should be able to give you an in-depth explanation of how they conduct SEO. They should be keenly aware of the importance of link building, know how to properly research keywords and topics, and help to build your content strategy from the ground up.
Inquire about their process and ask to see examples or case studies of results they’ve provided to other clients.
Learn how link building drives results: How Link Building Helped Scale a Hosting Business 35% in 3 Months
Building a strong content marketing strategy that generates results won’t happen overnight. Ask the agency how long it should take to see results.
If an agency quotes you anything less than three to six months, you’re likely to end up disappointed with the results.
In addition, discuss how you can track the progress of your content deliverables. The more involved you want to be in the process, the more important this becomes. An agency should be able to provide you with an editorial calendar outlining the topics and deadlines for upcoming posts.
Ask How They Report Results
One thing that great content agencies excel at is tracking and reporting results. Ask the agency if they provide metrics on backlinks, keyword rankings, and organic traffic results.
While increased sales may be your only measure of success, understanding how, where, and if your content is performing is just as important.
How Much Do YOU Want to be Involved?
Some clients want to be fully involved in content creation, while others prefer to step back and let the agency handle everything. When vetting an agency, be sure to understand how involved they expect or want you to be.
How a B2B Business Should Look at Content Marketing
Search engine optimization is a key goal of any content marketing agency. No matter who the client is, agencies focus on SEO as a way to drive traffic to your site, connect with your target audience, and boost sales and ROI.
Look at SEO as an Investment
While many B2B companies are skilled at traditional marketing methods, such as print and radio ads, many don’t know a thing about SEO. And that’s okay — that’s what digital marketing agencies are for.
SEO is the best investment you can make in your business. The goal of SEO content is to improve rankings on search engines (primarily Google) so that your website appears as one of the top search results. It’s this high visibility that makes it easier for customers to find your site and buy your product or service.
Studies show that 72% of online marketers say SEO is their most effective marketing tactic, in part because it’s the most cost-effective way to generate the most leads.
For more details on investing in SEO, check out our post What’s the ROI of SEO?
Know What Type of Content You Need
There are all different levels of content that can drive traffic and generate sales, and your content marketing agency should be able to provide you with various types — most of which focus on blogging.
If you don’t already have a blog, you are missing out on sales and opportunities by the second.
Regardless of your business or industry, blogging is THE key component to any successful content marketing campaign.
An experienced content marketing agency will be able to provide you with four different types of blogs:
- Viral content
- Sales content
- Thought leadership content
- Pillar pages
Viral content refers to content that is designed to spur interest, create awareness, and drive visitors to your website.
Viral content pieces aren’t crafted to sell your products or services.
Instead, they are typically one degree removed from your core business, designed to become resources for other blogs which can then steer search authority back to your site by linking to your viral post.
Sales content blogs help to empower your sales team and educate your customers. Sales-driven blogs won’t necessarily drive content to your site, but they’ll serve as informational pieces that can convert to actual sales once a customer has landed on your page.
Thought Leadership Content
Thought leadership content is the best way to demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry.
By positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field, you can gain the attention of other businesses and establish credibility as someone that can be trusted and relied upon for B2B services.
A devoted content marketing agency will also build you pillar pages. These pages are designed to become a definitive resource on other pieces of content that already exist (or will soon exist) on your blog.
Pillar content pages provide a broad overview of a particular topic and act as a sort of synopsis of other, relevant blogs on your site.
They include multiple links to other posts, primarily thought leadership pages that already exist. It’s yet another way to drive traffic to your thought leadership content and, in turn, build site authority.
An important benefit of pillar pages is that when you have internal linking to well-ranked posts within your site, Google can better understand your site’s purpose and more easily crawl it. Pillar pages facilitate internal linking, and internal linking contributes to better ranking.
Know Which Metrics Matter
Your content marketing strategy will likely involve posting blogs on your website as well as various social media platforms. And in order to know what’s performing best, you’ll need to track and analyze the data.
By doing a thorough analysis of site traffic and growth, you’ll know which channels and platforms are performing best and which pieces of content are getting the most interest. With that information, you can steer your marketing strategy in a more profitable direction moving forward.
Know When to Expect Results
We said it before, and we’ll say it again:
Even the best B2B content marketing agency on earth won’t be able to produce results in a week or a month.
Should B2B Companies Invest in Content Marketing?
If your goal is to create brand awareness, drive revenue, and increase ROI, it’s time to invest in content marketing.
A B2B content marketing strategy is the best way to get organic search traffic and attract visitors to your site.
Google likes content, and without informative, well-written content, you’ll never see your site on the first page of Google search results.
Strong content with consistent messaging also helps to grow your social media following, which can lead to increased sales and more brand awareness. With thought leadership content that positions you as a leader in your field, it’s also the best way to establish credibility and make your customers know that you’re a reliable source.
Instead of employing cold sales outreach techniques, a strong content marketing strategy can bring the customers to you.
Should You Handle B2B Content Marketing In-House?
You could, but many businesses struggle to produce enough content or to produce content consistently. It takes 3 hours and 55 minutes to write a blog post and more to write a B2B post. You’ll also need to factor in topic research, editing, and publishing.
If you have the resources, absolutely get started producing that content. We have some tips on how to build successful blog posts.
If you don’t have the resources, talk with a content marketing agency to find out how you can supplement your own output or what having them do it for you looks like.
A smart content strategy helps to define your brand voice and let your customers know who you are and what you’re all about in your own words. Being authentic and honest also helps to build trust that can lead to increased sales.
What Is Inter’s Content Development Process?
Here at Inter, we pride ourselves on creating high-quality content for each and every client we work with. But that’s only one part of what we do.
Before our content marketers start crafting new content, our strategists spend hours:
- Gathering information about your brand
- Researching your competitors
- Finding relevant blog topics
- Strategizing an overall content marketing plan
Once our writers are done crafting and optimizing the articles, we then publish and promote those articles, all in an effort to get your higher search engine results and drive more people to visit your site.
We promote your content on social media and we track results to ensure that our work is working for you.
Inter is a full-service content marketing agency with multiple writers, editors, strategists, publishers, and SEO experts on staff. No matter what your business is, we know how to develop content that boosts search rankings, garners attention, and gets results.
Want to hop on a chat or a call? Get started.
B2B companies often rely on word of mouth and traditional marketing methods to grow their business. But having a content strategy in place is THE best way to take your business to the next level and become more credible in your industry.
Ready to hire a team to develop a content strategy that can deliver results? Contact the team at Inter now.