How niche B2B brands can benefit from content marketing partners

The B2B sales cycle can be a long one. It doesn’t help that nearly every B2B product or service exists in a highly competitive marketplace, and even when purchases are likely to occur, the process is prolonged by groups of decision makers with conflicting priorities. That’s why so many B2B brands turn to content marketing to break through the clutter of the sales cycle and speed up the buyer’s journey. Through content, B2B brands can be seen as experts in their field, illuminate their competitive advantages, and find better qualified leads.

But as effective as it can be, most B2B brands aren’t set up to develop great content marketing programs on their own. In CMI’s 2017 B2B benchmark report, over two-thirds of respondents said their content marketing is in its infancy or youth. The study reported that a majority of marketers are more confident in their content marketing success than they were the previous year, but only 22 percent reported being “extremely or very successful with their overall approach to content marketing.”

While B2B marketers are building more successful content marketing programs, there’s still plenty of room to grow and refine their efforts. And that’s where B2B brands can benefit from a content marketing partner.

In our experience, content marketing partners can specifically help niche brands, or brands who want to corner a niche part of the market. Good partners understand the complexity of the B2B sales cycle—as well as the buyer’s journey and consideration set within that industry—and bring subject matter expertise to the table. Done properly, all of this should help accelerate the sales cycle. It might seem counterintuitive to bring in an outside partner to inform your brand’s marketing, but there are a number of reasons why we’ve found this third-party perspective to be advantageous. We’ll start with two.

They turn to data for total objectivity

The best content marketing partners mine and optimize data from the marketplace to inform everything from content strategy to creation to distribution. Using data—like we do—to make good decisions isn’t new, but it is smart to rely on outside teams to analyze this data. Let’s face it: when you’re working on marketing your company day in and day out, it can be difficult to take a step back and view things objectively. You have expectations, assumptions, and existing processes in place that make this challenging. An external partner has the ability to come in with fresh eyes, assess the data unbiasedly, and identify new opportunities. Through deep research in search engine queries, the competitive landscape, and any proprietary data sources you can share (ranging from your GA and social accounts to your CRM and e-commerce tools), a content marketing partner can quickly become a trusted expert in your industry, your audience, and your content.

In practice

For example, we’ve spent the last few years working with 4tell™ Solutions. 4tell™ develops software products for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), and commercial real estate (CRE) industries. Their content has to be technical enough to provide value for industry professionals, but still readable for the general public and for SEO purposes. To strike that balance, we source expert writers who work in the industry, and our in-house editorial team helps to shape the narrative based on insights developed from our exhaustive research. Bringing this outside-in perspective to their business, brand, and marketing goals allows us to more critically assess the technicality of the language and ensure we are producing great content that targets the right audience.

They strengthen your weak spots

Additionally, partners have the time and resources that are unavailable to most marketing teams. The majority of B2B content marketing teams are small, often even just one person, and it shows—57 percent of B2B marketers say not devoting enough time to content marketing was the biggest detractor from their content marketing success. Big surprise.

A content marketing partner is an effective and simple solution to this problem. A full-service partner can help with everything—including conducting keyword research, sourcing a roster of industry-specific experts and contributors, applying editorial best practices, and leveraging marketing automation data—but also deliver services tailored to a company’s needs and budget. By letting a content marketing partner focus on a particular weak spot (e.g. creating a documented content strategy, producing video content, etc.) your in-house team can focus on what they’re already doing well.

In practice

We began working with leading identity management company Okta in late 2016. Since Okta is so large and multifaceted, it’s challenging for one person or team within the organization to work closely with every single department to create cross-functional editorial. Partnering with Quietly has enabled them to scale their content efforts and ensure consistent messaging across the board in a way that a single stakeholder couldn’t do. And—just like with 4tell™—our in-depth research and partnerships with writers in the field enable us to craft polished content that helps explain complex concepts in compelling, readable terms.

There are many ways content marketing partners can complement existing efforts while bringing an objective, sophisticated, and fresh outlook. Get in touch today to learn how your brand could benefit from working with Quietly.

Image: John Towner/Unsplash

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