The prevailing myth in B2B content marketing says this: keep on blogging and sooner or later you will open up a torrent of leads: they will flow in all day, and you’ll rank, convert and create demand. Just keep blogging!
We help our B2B clients develop content that connects with decision-makers, but we’ve learned a lot along the way about how to build an effective content strategy. Here, with effusive thanks to Actual Agency friend and brilliant digital strategist Andy Crestodina, from whom we have learned as well as liberally borrowed, are the tules of the road we follow.
So, the reality of B2B content marketing is actually much different than the myth: some content strategies achieve results within a reasonable timeframe, while others just never get there.
Why is that? Because in the latter case, the key connection between content and traffic is missing. And therein lies the nugget of the myth:
Visitors click from blog posts to service pages and then become leads – this is actually very rare for B2B companies.
If you study the lead generation conversion rates for visitors who start on a blog post, it is anemic — usually just a fraction of one percent. Why so low? Because these visitors have information-intent, not commercial-intent. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a blog reader had an “a-ha!” moment while reading and decided they needed your services? It rarely happens, because that’s not why they’re on your site.
But blog content serves another, critical purpose. That content is important because of its indirect benefits. Blogs help the service pages rank by being link-worthy. Here’s the connection:
- No content? No one will link to you.
- No links? You’ll have low Domain Authority.
- Low Domain Authority? The service pages will never rank for those competitive commercial-intent phrases.
When a blog post attracts a link, it makes every page on the site more authoritative, more likely to rank. That’s how links and authority work.
The primary goal of the B2B content strategy is this: get the service pages to rank for commercial-intent phrases. The money phrases.
If you’re a B2B content strategist, you know there are two kinds of visitors: those who just want information and those who actually may need your services. And the latter – the commercial intent visitors – are far more likely to convert into leads: they’re pre-qualified.
But Service pages are definitely not link-worthy. If you’re looking for PR services, do you ever really linger on a Services page? Ever link to someone’s service page? I didn’t think so. Further, a website without a blog is an online brochure – and one with very low domain authority and rankings.
With a few quick segments in Google Analytics, you can see the conversion rates for the two types of visitors for a website – and it’s very illuminating:
It’s the visitors who land on our service pages that drive demand. We won’t be successful until we get qualified visitors to those pages. And to get those pages to rank, we need links and to get links, we need a strategy.
In the second part of this post, we’ll examine the 6 Key Components of a Successful B2B Content Strategy.