5 Content Marketing Tactics for 2018 [In-Depth Guides]

By Tom Whatley

15 Jun 5 Content Marketing Tactics for 2018 [In-Depth Guides]

It’s that time of year.

Everyone is talking about content marketing trends for the new year. The channels and techniques that will make an impact towards growth in 2018.

Yet one thing will remain the same: Getting your content into the hands of the right people is hard.

Creating content that persuades them to take action is even harder.

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. According to HubSpot, 36% of marketers believe creating engaging content is their biggest content marketing challenge.

Yet 70% of marketers planned to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016 (according to Content Marketing Institute).

In this guide, I’ll share the content marketing trends we’re working on in 2018 and how to get started with them.

SEO, traffic generation, list building and influencer marketing are all benefits you’ll enjoy from these approaches.

1. Co-Branded Influencer Content

Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is here to stay.

And rightly so. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals over brands – even if they don’t know them. This may not come as news, but the key insight from this statistic is this:

People don’t need to know influencers personally in order to trust them.

The problem is, thought leaders and decision makers are starved for time. They’re bombarded by offers from marketers daily. We’d all love to have the likes of Gary Vee and Rand Fishkin share our content. But they simply can’t read through all of them to warrant sharing your piece.

To get noticed, you must quickly demonstrate the value you can provide them with.

One of the best ways to do this is with co-branded content.

Co-branded content is published and distributed to the audiences of two (or more) brands. It’s a co-marketing technique that increases awareness, authority, and generates leads for all parties involved.

With all the brands vying for (and buying) the attention of influencers, there’s a process to getting it right. This B2B content marketing strategy increases the likeliness of success by avoiding common mistakes when engaging with influencers.

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Identifying the right influencers

If you’re targeting influencers with 1 million followers when you only have a few thousand, you’re going to fall at the first hurdle.

Getting the attention of popular influencers is hard. Instead, play the long game and work your way up the chain.

Create an influencer criteria that contains the following information:

  • Audience Size (e.g. 1,000 to 5,000 followers): This should be close to your own audience size. Use Twitter and Facebook follower metrics to gauge this.
  • Interests (e.g. Fintech): Ensure their audience is interested in topics relevant to your content and value proposition.
  • Influencer Type (e.g. thought/organizational leader): Segment influencers into two categories. Thought leaders have their own personal brand around their content. Organizational leaders work within larger companies. If you want to partner with other brands, you must identify the CMOs, Subject Matter Experts etc. to connect with.
  • Channels (e.g. Twitter, Blog etc.): Which platforms do they engage on? Will they have a blog? A large following on Twitter or Instagram? Ideally, they should be active on the same channels as you are.

With this information, head to BuzzSumo’s “Influencers” tool and search for topics you listed under “Interests”. If you’re targeting thought leaders, this is the best approach to us. Let’s use “facebook marketing” as our example:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - BuzzSumo Influencers

These results don’t fit into our example criteria above. So download a CSV of the data using the “Export” button (next to the search box).

You will now have access to a host of data that will help inform your targeting efforts:

B2B Content Marketing - Influencer List

Remove the id, page_authority, pagerank and twitter_id columns. Then apply the following filters to these columns:

  • num_followers: Using the “Between” number filter, I choose “is greater than or equal to 1000” and “is less than or equal to 5000”.
  • reply_ratio: Greater than or equal to 1.
  • retweet_ratio: Greater than or equal to 10.
  • url: Remove any that are “blank”.
  • person_type: Remove “company”.

Finally, order by num_followers (largest to smallest) and find those that fit into the following criteria:

  • Must have their own website
  • Creates content on a regular basis (less than a month since last posting)
  • Analyze bio (e.g. a career coach that mentions “facebook marketing” doesn’t count)
  • Has a DA greater than 50 (optional)
  • Creates content in English (or whatever your native language is)

Search for them on LinkedIn to get their profile URL. Use Hunter to find their email address and Full Contact‘s Gmail add-on to validate it.

Take the information you’ve gathered and add it to a tracking spreadsheet. Here’s what ours looks like:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Targeting

Note: in this example, we were identifying thought leaders. These are people with a personal brand who create content to position themselves as experts. If you’re looking to create co-branded content with an organization (such as an eBook), filter the person_type column to show only “company”. You may already have a list of companies you’d love to work with, so be sure to include these in your targeting.

Engage before asking

Now you have a list of target influencers, you need to engage with them on the platforms they’re active in.

Why?

Imagine if someone emailed you out of the blue, offering to write some content and put your name on it. You have no idea who they are, and you’d be skeptical at best.

Now imagine if you already knew them from the communities you’re active in. You would likely be much warmer to the idea. This is the approach you should take when engaging with target influencers.

In the tracking spreadsheet, I’ve created a new section labeled “Nurture”:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Nurturing

This is where I’m going to track all of my engagement activity with each influencer.

Contribute to their content by leaving meaningful comments. Meaningful doesn’t mean “Great post!”. Here’s an example I recently left on a post by Ty Magnin of Appcues:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Comment

I share my feedback and what I’d like to see as a reader in future, which is valuable to any blogger or thought leader.

Tweeting, replying and sharing their content will also keep you top of mind. The “Other” column is for activities such as subscribing to their email list, or joining conversations they started in communities and LinkedIn groups.

Each activity counts as one point. The idea is to “score” 10 points with each influencer before reaching out to them. This takes the rule of 7 and then adds some to be certain.

Make this a daily practice and eventually, you should have something that looks like this:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Engagement

Pitching the topic & format

It’s outreach time. We’re not going to use scripts here, as you risk sounding just like everyone else.

We’ve intentional created a small list to reach out to. There’s no excuse not to make each email we send hyper-personalized to the recipient.

Instead of providing you with a script, let’s create an email to a fictional influencer from scratch. We’ll call her Sally for the sake of this guide.

Sally is the founder of a design agency called Grizzly Bear Creative that serves SaaS companies. Her following is similar to ours and she is very active on Twitter. She’s a great target:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Personas

Let’s use this insight to construct an email message especially for this influencer. Your message must be personalized when reaching out to thought leaders. This means crafting each email message manually.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Influencer Email

Sally shares the music she listens to on Twitter. Recently, I notice that she’s been tweeting about Prince. I’ve already engaged with these tweets, so the email hook is contextual.

I then referencing content that I’ve already engaged with. This will ensure I’m not simply name-dropping for the sake of personalization.

I then go into why I’m emailing, with a clear reason for the email. Finally, I wrap it up with a simple call-to-action to take the conversation further.

An email like this is likely to generate a response. But be sure to follow up if you don’t hear back from them. They’re busy and may need a nudge.

The next step should be a voice or video conversation. Explain what you’re proposing, what’s in it for them and the expectations of both parties. Be clear what the benefits are (i.e. a free piece of long-form content and access to a new audience).

Once agreed, you need to create the content. I recommend following these three steps:

  1. Outline a framework: Map out each chapter/section of your content and what they will include. Outline the sub-headings and a description of what you’ll cover. Both teams should agree on the content before a single word is written.
  2. Creation: This is where you’ll write/produce the content itself. Use a voice that compliments both brands. Wrap it up with beautiful design, production quality or UI.
  3. Distribution: Get your content seen. In my next article, I’ll be talking about an effective content amplification & distribution strategy you can use to get your content in front of the right audience.

Of all the B2B content marketing trends

out there, this will help you tap into a wide audience. Do this by building an asset that benefits both you and your target influencer. This can be the beginning of worthwhile and lifetime relationships with prominent people in your industry.

2. Software, Tools & Side Projects

Tools and resources are the kind of content that keeps people coming back. These solutions make jobs easier or provide continuous education and entertainment for your audience.

This year, side project marketing is high on the list of many marketers. Noah Kagan talked about this in a recent video:

 

Side projects have been an effective acquisition channel for many B2B organizations. If you need convincing, check out this roster of success stories:

  • Crew: Had 3 months of cash left. Built Unsplash, a free photography resource on a Tumblr site. Generated over 10,000 visitors in hours and saved their startup.
  • HubSpot: In the early days, Hiten Shah built SEO audits for prospects by hand. He then built Website Grader (now Marketing Grader) to automate the process. He opened it up to the public for free, and is now responsible for 50,000 leads each month.
  • Contentmarketer.io (now Mailshake): Sujan Patel created a free version of his outreach tool, Notifier, that messaged users on Twitter. Generated over 1,000 leads for them within the first month.
  • Pablo: A free visual content tool by Buffer. A simple tool to create images for social media. It was launched it on Product Hunt, generating 2,300 upvotes. Users have created over 500,000 images with the tool so far.

These results make sense. Content is being churned out with quantity as the priority. These highly useful tools put emphasis on quality. They solve specific problems, building habits and drawing users back on a regular basis.

This approach doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming. Here’s an approach to starting on a small scale without blowing the bank:

Uncover problems to solve

Some marketers make the mistake of choosing a format first, attempting to fit a solution around it. It’s much easier to find a problem than to say “we’re going to build a free piece of software”.

Start by looking at your internal processes. Look for problems that your team is facing. Is there something you’re doing on a regular basis that can be automated or simplified?

37signals did this when looking for a better project and client management solution. They couldn’t find the right one, and so they built Basecamp.

The founders of Basecamp put it best in their book “Getting Real”:


“The key here is understanding that you’re not alone. If you’re having this problem, it’s likely hundreds of thousands of others are in the same boat. There’s your market. Wasn’t that easy?
“Basecamp originated in a problem: As a design firm we needed a simple way to communicate with our clients about projects. We started out doing this via client extranets which we would update manually. But changing the html by hand every time a project needed to be updated just wasn’t working. These project sites always seemed to go stale and eventually were abandoned. It was frustrating because it left us disorganized and left clients in the dark.”

Look outside of your organization by talking to your customers. It’s likely there’s something on the fringes of your main offering that you can help with.

Let’s say you’re a social media analytics platform that has a large ecommerce customer base. Using customer development and buyer personas, you may find that a key acquisition channel is Facebook Ads.

By digging deeper, you discover that they’re struggling to create ads that convert. A potential tool could be an ad grader that analyzes their copy and landing pages for relevance. It then provides actionable tips on how to make it better.

Existing content on relevant topics are another source for ideas. Look for the most popular articles and check out the comments. What questions are they asking?

Using BuzzSumo, I found a guide to Facebook Ads by Neil Patel. I know his posts usually generate a lot of comments, so it’s a good place to start. Many of his readers are talking about reducing CPC for their ads:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Comments

There are two potential solutions to the problem outlined in this comment:

  1. A resource, such as a checklist, that shows the anatomy of a good Facebook Ad. It could even be interactive, guiding users through the process, allowing them to progress only once each optimization has been marked as “complete”.
  2. A free tool, that analyzes their ad campaign and provides a score. Provide actionable steps to improve their score, reduce CPC and generate more clicks (see Marketing Grader by HubSpot for an example of this in action).

Build the solution

Building your side project doesn’t need to be time or resource intensive. Focus on creating an MVP that delivers a solution as simply as possible.

If you have an in-house engineering team, you could recruit your developers, designers and UX experts to create the solution for you.

No developers? No problem. There are several tools and services that allow you to build things yourself without any coding experience. Here are a few of my favorites:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Ceros

Ceros is a powerful interactive content platform. Create interactive infographics, eBooks and microsites. The user interface is sleek and super easy to use.

Teachable allows you to create online courses. Provides landing pages and the back-end framework to deliver insanely valuable courses.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Bubble

Bubble builds web apps without programming experience. Bubble provides users with a visual interface to build apps from scratch. Great to build out an MVP side project in the form of software.

Remember: start with the problem you want to solve and work backward. These tools are there to help you solve those problems. Don’t, for example, start with a course framework and then think of what to fill it with.

Launch and distribution

Promoting your side project is like distributing any product. It needs a launch plan to get it in front of your audience.

To cover a product launch would require a post in itself. Here are some quick suggestions on how to get your new tool or side project out to the world:

  • Product Hunt: Get involved with the community and get your side project featured. This guide from ThinkApps will give you a good starting point.
  • Outreach: Find those who would get most value from what you’ve built and let them know about it. Here’s an infographic from HubSpot that will show you where to start.
  • Guest blogging: Write about topics related to your side project on other publications. This will give you a new audience to tap into, not to mention referral traffic and SEO benefits.
  • Communities: Engage with relevant communities in your space. If you’re not already doing this, then be sure to provide value before trying to spam with links to your side project.

Creating something that solves a huge problem for people can quickly become viral. Just look at Crew’s example.

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3. YouTube for B2B

Let’s face it: getting started with video marketing can be daunting.

Of all the B2B content marketing trends out there, this often appears to be the most daunting. However, there are ways to get started and validate this approach quickly and easily.

First, why should you even bother with video in the first place?

Take a look at the stats:

You may already be convinced that YouTube marketing has a place in the B2B world, If not, just look at the likes of Brian Dean, Moz and – of course – Gary Vee.

People love to watch video for entertainment and, most importantly, education. YouTube has a huge user base, and among them are the business consumers you’re trying to reach.

Here’s a simple & affordable three-step strategy to get started:

Topics & research

Look for topic ideas and validate current ones using your data. First, look to Google Analytics for your most visited pages. Your top performing content can point you to the topics you should double-down on:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Analytics

This proves that your audience is interested in this topic. You can produce video content with confidence knowing that you’re creating something people already want.

However, nothing beats actually talking to them. This requires taking a leaf from the Customer Development playbook. Reach out to your subscribers and customers, asking them for a quick conversation.

This is exactly what Alex Turnbull of Groove did when he wanted to learn more about his customers:


“We’re always working to improve the way we position and write about Groove. Hearing our customers talk about the app and its benefits, along with their personal stories, challenges and goals, is the only way we can write marketing copy that actually connects.”

The lesson? Discover what your audience wants to learn by talking to them.

Send them an email, asking if you can get them on the phone for a quick 15 minute conversation. While you’re at it, find out their video preferences – from format to length. This will guide your planning when it comes to creating your videos.

Analyze your competition. Look at the gaps they’re leaving open. Are there topics that you can dig deeper into?

If they’re not creating video content at all, even better. If this is the case, now is the right time to jump in and create some yourself.

Finally, look at the market data. Read relevant sections on industry publications such as Forbes and Inc. to see what people are talking about.

What topics keep coming up? Which areas can you provide more value with video content?

Don’t forget to use tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs and Google Trends to analyze search and social data. Look for topics that are already getting traction. Focus on popular topics that are being undeserved by video content.

Now you have your topic ideas, it’s time to validate and refine them with YouTube SEO.

YouTube SEO

YouTube can be great for educating your current audience. But it’s also a huge source of fresh traffic.

Users discover content in a number of ways, but primarily through search. This is where we’re going to focus our efforts.

Much like “regular” SEO, the process begins with keyword research. This will help you a) further validate your idea from the previous step and b) focus on the right keywords for traffic generation.

Start by generating a list of potential target keywords. Look for relevant keywords with around 500 searches a month.

If lots of people are searching on Google, they’re likely doing the same on YouTube. Here’s the data from Ahrefs:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - YouTube SEO

According to Brian Dean, YouTube ranks videos by user engagement. Here are the key metrics they look out for:

  • Video Retention: This is the percentage of your video that actually gets watched. The higher this is, the better.
  • Subscribes: The number of people who subscribe after watching your video.
  • Comments: An indicator that people watched your video and felt compelled to interact.
  • Favorites: Users who favorite or add to their “watch later” list.
  • Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: You want more of the former.

The key metric is video retention. This is measured by number of minutes watched. Therefore, if you create a long and engaging video, it’s more likely to rank.

Video filename, title and description also contribute to your rankings. Brian has put together a super in-depth guide together on the topic of YouTube SEO. I highly recommend you check it out for a more granular look on this topic.

Now you know what you’re going to create and how you’re going to rank on YouTube. It’s time to create the video itself.

Creating your video

Producing great video content doesn’t have to be expensive. From the low end all you need is some screen capture software, PowerPoint and a decent microphone, all costing as little as $20.

However, quality matters. It’s the difference between a great blog post that succeeds and one that gets ignored. Video content is the same.

The good news? It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Studio space, videographers, editors and animators are incredibly affordable.

Here’s a break down of potential costs:

  • Studio space: $75 to $120 per day (based on London prices, so you’re likely to find something far cheaper elsewhere)
  • Videographer: $25 to $50 per hour (based on PeoplePerHour)
  • Editor: $20 to $75 per hour (based on UpWork, includes animation expertise)

If you plan ahead, you could record 3 to 4 videos in a day. Therefore, each video can cost you as little as $130 to make.

This approach means you or someone else in your organization must get in front of the camera. This helps your audience to build a stronger connection with you and your brand.

Moz have been doing their Whiteboard Fridays for years. Each video puts Rand’s face in front of the audience and adds a personal element to the Moz brand:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Moz

Decide who’s going to go in front of the camera. Then put together a rough script.

Don’t write down each sentence word-for-word. Instead, create an outline of bullet points that your video will cover. You’ll come across more naturally to the viewer.

Once you’ve created your video, upload it to YouTube and start generating views. Do not buy fake views. YouTube figured this trick out a long time ago and you risk being  penalized.

Instead, embed it in your blog posts. Tap into communities, subreddits, LinkedIn Groups and Quora to share your video. Send it to your email list to drive traffic and views.

As your views increase, so will your your rankings.

4. Proprietary Research

Coming up with content ideas can be a struggle. So often we’re looking at what the market is saying we forget to look inwards.

Your product, service, customers and experience are all sources for original content. You likely have access to insights nobody else has.

You can take this insight and turn it into content. This is called Proprietary Research.

Because of it’s nature, it gets referenced and linked to like crazy. People use the statistics and data to back up their own points. Your content gets cited as the original source, generating backlinks and referral traffic as a result.

Neil Patel recently teamed up with BuzzSumo to create a research piece titled “We Analyzed 11,541 Viral Articles from 2016 to Uncover the Secret Formula”.

Since January, it’s been shared more than 2,000 times, generating over 40 backlinks:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Backlinks

Here are two approaches for creating your own:

Survey your customers

In the B2B world, executives often want to know the desires and struggles of their peers.

Therefore, customer surveys can provide several quick wins. You can uncover trends and patterns around certain topics and report the findings to your audience.

Let’s say you have a large audience of CIOs and other senior IT executives. It’s likely that your direct audience and those you have yet to tap into are interested in learning what they’re struggling with.

Start by taking a popular topic within the market. In the example above, I could check out industry publications like CIO.com or search for “top CIO challenges 2017”.

For the latter, I get the following result from Forbes:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - CIO Insight

This article outlines several challenges, including:

  • Digital transformation
  • Customer experience
  • IoT data analytics

Digital transformation is a recurring theme in the IT space. By starting here, we’re likely to uncover enough insight from our audience to turn into content.

Now we need to figure out what questions to ask them. Let’s go to Google and search for queries such as:

  • “digital transformation trends 2017”
  • “digital transformation challenges”
  • “digital transformation experts”

We can also head back to Forbes and CIO.com to search for the topic and see what comes up:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Survey IDeas

From articles like this one on digital transformation trends, we can come up with our initial list of survey questions. These come to mind from this article alone:

  1. What are your biggest digital transformation challenges for 2018?
  2. Is your organization’s culture focused on digital transformation?
  3. How much does user experience influence your product and marketing decisions?
  4. How effective do you feel your customer journey is in satisfying your customers?
  5. Is innovation a priority in your organization?

And so on. I came up with these examples in a couple of minutes. You should spend enough time to make sure you’re asking the right questions.

Once you’ve collected a statistically significant amount of data, it’s time to turn that insight into content. Infographics are a great vessel for delivering this information, like this example from Curata:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Infographics

If you’re looking for best practices, Venngage have an in-depth guide on how to visualize this kind of data.

Use product data

The data within your product is a source of insight waiting to be tapped into. This could be data generated from user behavior or a specific area of the market.

For example, BuzzSumo regularly analyzes the content data they collect to draw actionable lessons they can teach on their blog.

Unmetric has access to millions of social media posts. With this insight, they dissect lessons from top performing brands, providing takeaways for readers of several prominent publications:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Product Data

There are still opportunities to create insightful content, even if you don’t have access to such raw market or product data. Let’s say you’re a service-based business. You can draw upon the results of work you’ve done for your clients. Highlight what’s worked, what didn’t, and how your audience can get similar results.

Go beyond case studies and create trend reports or how-to articles.

These are just a few examples of creating proprietary research. In short, it boils down to two approaches:

  1. Reaching out to the market, tapping into external sources and interviewing your audience
  2. Utilizing owned assets to yield data and insight

The key is to create proprietary insight that tests assumptions and sheds light on to a challenge in a unique way. Do this right, and people will use your content as a point of reference, generating backlinks with ease.

Supercharge Your Content Marketing

Enroll for “7 Day Content Marketing”, a free and advanced course that teaches you content marketing techniques to boost results. From influencer marketing, distribution, SEO and lead gen. Sign up to achieve your goals faster.

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5. Content Hubs

Content competition seems to be getting tougher. Especially in saturated markets.

When targeting popular topics, you’re going up ahead big companies with established audiences. Many marketers are looking to content hubs as a way of beating them.

But what exactly is a content hub?

A content hub is a central page that focuses on one main category or topic, providing other resources for audiences to learn from.

Blog categories and site maps are an old-school form of this. But to create a truly “bookmarkable” resource, many brands are going one step further.

Why should you bother with content hubs? Here are the benefits:

  • SEO: Content hubs align with Google’s shift from keywords to the meaning  of your content. By structing your content around central topics, you’re playing by Google’s rules.
  • Mindshare: Hubs provide opportunity for readers to dig deeper into a topic. The more time they spend on your site, the more familiar with your brand they become.
  • Social Media: Take advantage of the network effect, involving influencers and communities in the creation and distribution of your hub.

To understand this strategy in full, let’s first look at some examples. We’ll note what each have done well, wrapping up with actionable takeaways and a framework to build your own.

Content hub #1: Copyblogger

Copyblogger’s hub on email marketing acts as a piece of content on its own. It opens up with a challenge. Despite the naysayers, email marketing is still relevant.

It then uses statistics to back this up, along with benefits laid out in a format similar to features on a startup home page.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Copyblogger Hub

Links to other Copyblogger articles allows their audience to expand upon specific topics. Most importantly, there’s a call-to-action. This drives cold traffic into their funnel.

Content hub #2: Unbounce

The conversion glossary by Unbounce provides their audience with a learning resource on all things CRO. It’s a truly bookmarkable resource for marketers who want to learn more about conversion optimization.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Unbounce Hub

Each piece of content was created specifically for the glossary. It provides a definition as well as video explanations from relevant experts. This helps Unbounce to tap into expanded audiences.

Much like Copyblogger’s example above, links are provided to relevant articles, meaning readers can learn more in-depth about a topic.

Content hub #3: Help Scout

Help Scout’s customer acquisition resource is a true demonstration of content hubs. They have categorized each section by channels and strategies (e.g. SEO, content marketing etc.). This allows readers to find more information on what interests them most.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Help Scout Hub

Not only do they link to their own article, but relevant content from other brands, too. This would have provided them with the opportunity to reach out to other influencers and brands, tapping into a wider audience.

At time of writing, this content hub ranks #2 for the competition keyword “customer acquisition”.

Content hub #4: Vero

Similar to the Copyblogger example above, this hub focuses on more granular topics under the lifecycle marketing umbrella.

Again, each resource is categorized accordingly. Topics include onboarding, promotional and behavioral emails.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Vero Hub

The hub is very simple, containing only a few paragraphs of introduction followed by a table of contents list style. Yet it’s generated over 2,300 shares and ranks high for “lifecycle marketing” in Google.

Content hub #5: Amplitude

Our final example is a monster of a resource, providing over 50 mobile analytics resources for app marketers.

Each category opens with a definition, educating readers on what the topic entails. Then, much like Help Scout, they provide links to their own articles and content from other sources.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Amplitude Hub

For extra value, Amplitude added statistics and other brands/thought leaders for readers to follow.

Creating a content hub that ranks

Content hubs are all about bringing the best content from your blog (and other publications). Ease of browsing and UX are key to make traffic stick.

Here are seven principles to keep in mind when building your own:

1. Focus on a specific topic

In the examples above, they chose a competitive yet specific topic. This could be mobile analytics or email marketing.

Pick a short-tail keyword with plenty of search volume. Identify a term with ample monthly searches and a manageable keyword difficulty in the mid-range.

For example, “customer acquisition” has over 6,000 global searches and a keyword difficulty of 20/100 (according to Ahrefs). This is likely why it was such a strong target for Help Scout:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - Content Hub Keywords

Content hubs have a high perceived value. You have a high chance of ranking for even the toughest of keywords.

2. Analyze the competition

Punch your chosen keyword into Google and look at what you’re up against.

Look for opportunities for improvement. For example, are the top results articles that shares little practical value? If there are no hubs (i.e. resources that link to other content) then there’s ample opportunity.

For the term “customer acquisition”, Help Scout would have been up against several articles. However, there were no complete resources like the one they put together.

Measure their domain authority and number of backlinks using Ahrefs or MozBar:

B2B Content Marketing Strategies - SEO Analysis

Look for opportunities in the experience and depth of content. Can you provide a more valuable resource to your audience? If so, a content hub may be the right approach.

3. Coordinate the right content

When building a hub, it’s important to bring your best, most relevant content together. This also means having a variety of different formats.

Here are things you should include in your content hub:

  • Links to your own posts and external posts on other publications
  • In-depth content, targeting relevant long-tail keywords
  • Content on other owned properties, e.g. YouTube, Instagram etc.
  • Lead magnets, such as ebooks, email courses etc.

Linking to the right content will help reduce bounce rate, boost SEO results and generate more leads.

4. Make it look beautiful

Content hubs are the perfect opportunity to create something that’s a delight to browse.

Go beyond the plain-text format. Put together a page that breaks down various categories and sections with visual cues.

Take a leaf from the Copyblogger, Help Scout and Unbounce examples above. Notice how careful thought has gone into the UX of each hub.

5. Collaborate with influencers

As mentioned, providing links to external sources is key. Go one step further and get thought leaders involved in the process from the beginning.

Generating quotes or insight from influencers on certain topics can increase the value and authority of your content. It will also help with distribution and can be a great “foot in the door” to establish relationships.

Borrow from the co-branded influencer content technique at the beginning of this article. Make sure you do the legwork. Show what’s in it for them and how they’ll get value from your content hub.

Conclusion

Content marketing is all about empowering, delighting and giving your audience value. However, without distribution, it’s all for nothing.

The B2B content marketing trends I’ve shown you here will help you achieve several of your content marketing objectives. Whether that be SEO, lead generation or influencer marketing. They’re designed to overcome several content marketing challenges, achieving great results at the same time.

Which are you most eager to try out? Is there something that’s working well for you that I haven’t included? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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