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By Matteo Gasparello
With a single b2b article for a leading innovation company in the Bay Area, we were able to generate 20,699 page views in 14 days.
(As a nice side bonus, we acquired 46 marketing leads and a qualified lead for a potential project worth $300,000!)
The question is, how was this done, and how can you repeat it?
Over the past 5 years of strictly content marketing, I’ve seen many tech companies try to publish content, but never make any real traction with it. Either no one reads it, or people read it and never share it.
In this guide, I wanted to give you a repeatable, simple 3-step process for creating b2b content that works.
Who wrote this?
I’m Matteo. I help ambitious businesses to get more traffic with less content. The content I create with my team has been read by a few million people. I’ve also been featured or mentioned at Hubspot, Backlinko, Social Media Examiner and other websites.
You can learn more about me here.
If you are from Italy, you read this guide in Italian.
The current way companies create b2b content doesn’t work.
This is what usually happens:
The main problem with this approach is that the marketing team doesn’t actually know what content will perform well in their market.
They are not considering that what they want to write about and what a reader actually wants to read are two very different things.
So what should you do instead?
If you want to answer the question “What should I talk about in my blog?” once and for all, there’s an easy four-step process.
Here it goes.
If you want your article to be successful, start from your readers and give them what they want.
That’s very easy to do:
You just need to understand the struggles of your audience.
For our Silicon Valley client, I wanted to target these job titles:
From the following industries:
So I googled:
And noted down their responsibilities, goals, and challenges.
After reading a few articles, I came up with two recurring struggles:
Write the struggles down and move to the second step.
Let’s analyze the leading websites that our audience is reading.
In this case, our target audience spends most of their time on:
I could visit these blogs to analyze which topics get covered again and again, but I found that Buzzsumo is a much faster option.
Just write the URL of one influencer on Buzzsumo:
And you’ll get the most shared posts as a result.
Do you start to see how powerful this can be?
By taking inspiration from the content that is already getting traffic, our own content will have a bigger chance to perform well.
In this case, these are the macro-topics that are performing the best:
Note them down and let’s move to the third step.
This step is the same as the previous one, but we’ll focus on industry websites.
For example, since our audience works in the retail industry, we’ll analyze the top-performing content on retail websites like Retaildive.com.
Here what we found on Buzzsumo:
After my research, I came up with the following the top shared content themes for this industry:
We are now ready for the last step.
I organized all the info above in a chart so I could easily come up with great content ideas that mix struggles, influencers, and industry themes:
We decided to talk about new technology (a struggle of our audience) and to include several success stories (a top content theme from the industry).
That’s how "The Definitive Guide to Progressive Web Apps" was born.
I list my 35 favourite ways here.
Ordered by importance and tool used: generate great content ideas right now.Download Our 35 Content Ideation Tactics
The foundation of this strategy is that you should write less content.
You’ll write less but better content for your audience.
You don’t need to post short articles every week to get traffic - you need to publish long, highly authoritative “power posts” once per month.
In fact, Backlinko discovered that a small number of outliers (“Power Posts”) receive the majority of the world’s social shares.
Specifically, 1.3% of articles get 75% of the social shares.
So what makes these pages special?
If we are thinking just about words, “power posts” tend to be longer than 1000 words:
As you can see, longer content tends to generate more shares.
But don’t let this fool you. If you want to maximize the sharing potential of your article, Backlinko suggests that you keep it between 1000 and 2000 words only:
Why is that?
There can be many explanations, but in my opinion, it’s because long content performs well only if it’s useful.
The key takeaway here is simple:
Don’t create long content for the sake of writing long content. Rewrite your draft for clarity, succinctness, and intrigue to maximize pageviews, backlinks, and social shares.
Writing great copy is just the first step.
But if you want to elevate your brand above your competitors, you need to deliver a great content experience as well.
In fact, customers are paying more attention than ever to customer experience:
If a blog post is your first point of contact with a possible customer, you need to make sure that the content experience is great as well.
There are several ways to delight your content readers:
Custom images are great to break long chunks of text and deliver key information visually.
For example, we created this image for the Progressive Web Apps article to support our point that your mobile website needs to be fast:
We also played with font sizes and we aligned custom images on the side of the copy to keep the readers engaged while reading through examples:
A table of contents is powerful because readers will know exactly what to expect from your content, and they can jump to specific chapters without scrolling.
Place your table of contents directly after your introduction or article title.
Font style plays a huge part in the content experience. We want to make it a pleasure to read our content, so use a big, easy to read font, with enough empty space between lines.
Spend some time with your designer to review the font size, color and line space of your content. Your readers’ eyes will thank you.
With the help of great content, you can really connect with your dream clients on a deep level by leveraging their pain points and industry interests.
The last logical step is to put this content in front of your readers because they won’t magically find your post online.
WordPress reported that 87 million posts were published on their platform in May 2018, so to surface in this sea of content, you need to promote the hell out of it.
To get 20,000 views in two weeks, I focused on three key promotion techniques.
The results speak for themselves:
From June to October, website traffic increased globally by 150%
Let’s analyze each strategy in detail.
Remember step two of our content research?
We researched the websites that our target audience visits the most.
It’s time to reach out to them with an email, where we simply introduce our content and share a link with them.
The key here is not to spam hundreds of bloggers, but to connect with people that can be really interested in what we have to say.
8 websites mentioned us in two weeks and account for most of the traffic we generated:
This is great if you want some traffic from social media.
Make a list of the top influencers in your market, and send them an email (like the one above) or contact them with a private message on Linkedin or Twitter.
They might love your post…
And share it with their audiences.
These are the total social media shares of the article:
You might want to use social media ads to get additional eyeballs on your content.
A great way is to use retargeting ads to keep your costs low and to show your content only to people that already interacted with your content.
But if you also want to generate leads directly from ads (and you have the budget to do it), I recommend that you try Linkedin Lead Generation Ads.
They are different from normal ads because the users will need to submit their contact info directly from Linkedin to access your content.
To capture leads on Linkedin, simply choose “lead generation” when creating a new ad from the Linkedin ads platform:
With this strategy, we generated a total of 46 leads:
Creating great b2b content means that you will publish less often, but you will put much more emphasis on:
Instead of publishing 10 articles nobody wants to read, publish only one that is really helpful and interesting to read. Make it count.
We covered a lot of ground in this article, so I’m sure most of you will want to know more.
Do you have any questions regarding this strategy?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help!
Grow More With Better Content
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