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What is Business Content (B2B)? Top 10 Questions About B2B Content Answered

#1 What is business (B2B) content? 

Business or B2B content is informative or educational content created by a business for its business customers. 

A key element of the larger brand marketing strategy, B2B content works to engage customers and build brand credibility.

Examples of B2B content include:

  1. A real estate company releases a blog called “Top 10 business districts for small manufacturers in 2023’ to help their customers – small businesses – choose an ideal factory location.
  2. A SaaS accounting software company publishes an eBook titled ‘5 New Profit Tax Rules for Every Indian Business’, to help its business customers understand the implications of the new tax rules
  3. An insurance company releases a guide about ‘How to Insure Your Delivery Fleet in 5 Easy Steps’ aimed at helping logistics companies protect their surface transport fleets.

#2 Why is B2B content so important for businesses? 

The business buying cycle is long – a sale can often take weeks or months to close. Business content informs and engages customers over this period, so when they are ready to buy, they already know and trust the brand that’s been educating and nurturing them through their buying decision. 

A pool of informative, educational, and thought-provoking B2B content resources is a credible way for brands to establish themselves as an industry authority. Content Marketing Insititute’s 12th Annual Content Marketing survey found that almost 90 percent of the most successful B2B content marketers use business content to build brand awareness, credibility, and trust. 

And to create all of that credible content, they need B2B content writers. 

#3 Is B2B content a growing industry in 2023?

Between 2021 and 2025, businesses are set to spend upward of $400 billion on their content marketing strategy, a CAGR of almost 16 percent YoY. 

Research firm Gartner says marketing teams already spend a whopping 30% of their budgets on content creation. 

And according to SEMRush’s  State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, ‘B2B content marketing’ is the 9th most popular search category on Google. 

Stephanie Stahl, the General Manager of the Content Marketing Institute, recently tweeted that content marketing budgets are set to increase across the board. The CMI survey also found that 84 percent of business brands have a content marketing strategy, and 79% of companies use content marketing to generate quality leads. 

#4 How does B2B content work? Can you explain with an example? 

Business buying is neither impulse-based nor quick. Typically, when a business needs to purchase a high-value product or solution, say a new video conferencing tool for the company or insurance for all employees, not only will the buying cycle be fairly long, but will also involve multiple stakeholders. Depending on the company size, the CEO, CFO, and functional heads such as CMOs, head of technology, legal, operations, etc. could get involved in the buying decision. 

B2B content supports each buying role at each stage of the buying process. This process, and how B2B content supports them, is captured in the B2B buying funnel model.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur via digital channels. In other words, customers will complete 80 percent of their buying journey down the funnel using only different forms of B2B content to inform themselves. 

Only at the final stages do they contact the shortlisted vendors and set up demos and other in-person evaluations. 

The main way B2B brands can influence potential customers so they are invited for the final-stage demo is – you guessed it – with high-quality B2B content.

Click on the image given above to check out our B2B freelance writing workshop!

#5 Which industries use the most B2B content writing? 

Almost any company that sells to other companies in any industry vertical, from healthcare to automotive manufacturing, travel, and hospitality to legal and accounting firms, needs B2B content. 

The verticals that spend the most on B2B content marketing today include:

  • SaaS tech companies
  • Real estate
  • Legal, privacy, and consent management 
  • Cyber security
  • IT infrastructure and computing
  • Healthtech
  • Edtech
  • HRTech
  • Marketing technology, Ad tech, Sales tech
  • Fintech, including Crypto
  • Insurance 
  • Cloud Tech
  • Construction
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing and automation
  • Travel and hospitality

In its 2022 annual B2B content marketing survey, the Content Marketing Institute found that half of all B2B marketers outsource some content marketing, including content writing. The percentage of large companies who outsource rose from 61% last year to 75% in 2022.

#6 What are the typical formats for B2B content?

As we saw in the content funnel graphic, different content types and formats work at different stages of the B2B buying journey. Typical content formats that are part of the business-to-business content marketing strategy include:

  • Blogs 
  • Articles 
  • Guest posts (ghostwritten) 
  • Interviews
  • eBooks
  • Guides and Playbooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Video scripts
  • Podcast scripts
  • Weekly or monthly newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Website copy

The 12th annual content marketing survey by the CMI identified that long-form research reports (over 3000 words) and medium-format blogs (under 3000 words) are the most effective content formats used by B2B brands. 

For B2B content writers, that means lots of different forms to choose from!

#7 What are the 10 traits of great B2B content?

Great B2B content, like all content and marketing communications, works hard to achieve business goals. But there are certain characteristics that define stand-out B2B content. Here are the top 10.

  1. High on value to the reader – aka the buyer. Original, unique, thought-provoking content always helps the brand stand out as a thought leader and industry influencer.
  2. Aligned with brand strategy: B2B content must speak in the brand voice and reflect the brand’s personality without actually hard selling anything. 
  3. Audience-centric: the purpose of B2B content is not to talk about product features but to help customers solve their problems and do their job better. The content must anticipate buyer questions and answer them as clearly and quickly as possible.
  4. Evidence-based: to be trusted and credible, the content must be well-researched, logical, and cite multiple data points to support all claims. 
  5. Professional: credibility comes not just with deeply researched content but also well-written, well-edited content in perfect business English. Content structure, headings and sub-heads, and bullet points make the article skimmable and convenient for busy readers.
  6. B2B is also H2H: content must be easy to read, understand and apply, explaining complex business concepts in simple narratives, minus the jargon. The B in B2B doesn’t have to mean boring. The best content is human-to-human and leverages wit and emotions where appropriate.
  7. Multi-channel: some professionals read content on the move and others prefer to print out eBooks and white papers. Good B2B content is designed to be readable and sharable on multiple channels, platforms, and devices.
  8. Discoverable: there is a sea of content out there. Great B2B content is written to be SEO-friendly without compromising the quality and readability of the content. 
  9. More than text: make text interactive with elements such as graphics and visuals, tables and charts, as well as audio and video snippets to help readers visualize complex concepts. 
  10. Result-oriented: the best-looking or worded content in the world wouldn’t count for much if it can’t help the brand meet its marketing goals. The best content motivates readers to take action and drives results in the form of metrics like downloads and conversions. 

#8 What are the big B2B content challenges for 2023?

Brands struggle with multiple challenges, many of which are opportunities for B2B content writers:

  • Not finding the right writer: the ideal B2B content writer has a combination of subject-matter expertise and writing chops. 
  • Finding the right value: AI writing assistants are changing the value-equation for B2B writing, and human writers who learn to work efficiently with AI will thrive.
  • Creating enough content: staying on top of the content charts means constantly churning out great content for each stage of the buying funnel. Which means more work for content writers!
  • Distributing content: writing content is not enough – B2B marketers need to distribute and amplify content. B2B content writers with knowledge of social media are an asset.
  • Staying ahead of SEO: B2B marketers struggle with keeping ahead of Google’s constant changes to SEO/ search algorithms. Content writers who understand SEO will be in demand.

When it comes to working with freelance B2B content creators, the CMI survey confirms that finding writers who can bring a deeper knowledge of the content niche into the writing is a challenge. Lower down, finding professionals who stick to commitments is also a challenge.

#9 How do brands find B2B content writers for their content marketing?

Brands increasingly see the value in outsourcing their content writing to a panel of freelancers. Not only does this approach give them flexibility in how much they want to spend each month, but also to hire a diverse set of writers for different content formats and subject themes. 

Brands often invest a lot in training good writers about their products and services. When they find the right combination of writing skills and subject matter knowledge, they don’t let them go easily.

Some of the top channels for brands to find freelance B2B content writers today include:

  • Content writing agencies
  • SEO agencies
  • LinkedIn or Twitter searches
  • Freelance job boards such as Fivrr and Freelancer.com
  • Internal networks

#10 How can I build a career as a B2B content writer?

Freelance B2B content writing can be a convenient, flexible career option. You have to do your work on a schedule, but with no time and place restrictions. If you have previous work experience in any domain, you already have a starting point to kick off your career.

Creating content for business audiences needs a combination of industry knowledge and writing skills. If you’ve been on a break from work and want to restart your career; are already a content creator and want to explore a new genre with B2B content; or want a more flexible or creative career on your own terms while using the industry knowledge you’ve picked up at work, B2B content creation could be a great option for you. 

There are many aspects to consider if you are trying to create a career as a business writer. While each article takes longer to research, structure, and write, it also pays better than most other forms of writing. Especially if you manage to build a solid portfolio of international clients.

Chitra Iyer, who has been a successful B2B content writer for years, will share all that she’s learned over years in an intensive four-day virtual workshop that will take you through each step in the process, including finding your perfect content niche, what skills to level up on, how to create effective content, and how to get your career going. If you are looking to kick off your own freelance business content writing career, you may want to consider joining Chitra’s upcoming online workshop starting from February 11 – Click here to know more.

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