With blogs aplenty, video equipment sitting in our pockets, and social media amplifying our voices, everyone can be a content creator these days.
Looking at this state, many marketers in the B2B space scoff.
"Content marketing is for consumer audiences, not professionals. It’s for reaching teenagers and pushing fast food, not selling an industrial software or service," they may say — but in 2022, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whether they’re buying for themselves or their business, consumers are consumers — people are people — and in 2022, 62% of B2B consumers report reading between three and seven pieces of content before ever speaking with a salesperson.
In fact, just last year, 55% said they rely even more on content than they did in 2021 to research and inform purchase decisions.
All modern buyers want to be empowered. They want to be educated and informed so they can make the best purchase decision for themselves, not just be mindlessly sold to. The brands that help them get there are the ones consumers trust and want to buy from.
This is why even B2B companies need to be creating helpful content marketing if they aren’t already. But how do you do it well?
If you're just getting started with B2B content marketing, it's helpful to look at some of the best in the business to learn how to implement the tactics well. At IMPACT, I've been doing this for more than a decade and seen hundreds of other companies rise to the occasion as well.
That said, in this article, I'll share:
15 companies doing B2B content marketing well
Why they are great examples
What you can learn from them
Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Zendesk is a service-focused software company offering tools like online help desks, FAQ knowledge bases, forums, and live chat to other businesses across a variety of industries. Their tools help users offer better customer service and also enable their own customers to troubleshoot common issues without additional guidance.
In order to appeal to these audiences, Zendesk creates a wide array of educational content discussing topics like:
Customer support management
Customer loyalty and retention
This includes blog articles, guides, webinars, and even events and certifications, but their B2B content marketing is not limited to the top-of-the-funnel or awareness phase.
Unlike a lot of B2B organizations, Zendesk also dabbles in what Tyler Lessard in The Visual Sale refers to as "brand entertainment."
For example, in this video, the company positions the impact of its company (improved relationships) from a more human, relatable angle.
This not only endears potential buyers using humor, but it makes the pain points and solutions tackled by Zendesk that much easier to grasp.
Zendesk also creates case studies, which they call "customer stories" to highlight what success with them can look like for potential buyers.
2. Berry Insurance
Berry Insurance, an IMPACT client, is another B2B organization that’s made impressive strides thanks to content marketing.
The personal and commercial insurance company has a comprehensive learning center covering topics like liability, workers' compensation, business umbrella insurance, and property insurance.
The team at Berry makes it clear that it wants to be your go-to resource for learning about insurance. They even share content in a variety of mediums, including blogs, documents, podcasts, and videos to cater to whatever your learning style might be.
What’s most notable here, however, is the fact that they focus on their buyer’s most urgent questions. In fact, their learning center even has the subheader, "All your insurance questions answered in one place."
This IMPACT client is a full-service freight logistics company offering supply chain coaching and managed freight services. As their learning center states, they are here to "take away your logistics worries, so you can focus on making your business great."
They do that by publishing both short and comprehensive articles, videos, and ebooks focusing on The Big 5 topics for their industry:
By focusing on these topics, INTEK ensures every piece of content it shares is something its audience wants and needs to read.
Sharing this kind of wisdom positions INTEK as a helpful, trusted guide, not simply a brand trying to sell the reader something.
With more and more consumers becoming averse to sales pitches, this value is what gravitates them to a brand and makes them more inclined to follow them, if not buy them, immediately.
Uberflip is a digital experience tool that enables businesses to build a dynamic content hub on their websites. As a native of the content realm themselves, it should be no surprise that Uberflip excels at B2B content marketing.
Click over to the resources section on their website and you’ll be met with a page brimming with articles, downloadable guides, original reports, templates, infographics, videos, and podcasts discussing areas of interest like demand generation, account-based marketing, and, of course, content marketing.
They even offer events, webinars, and customer stories to nurture leads closer to a purchase.
Although this comprehensive library of resources clearly positions Uberflip as a trusted authority in its space, that doesn’t mean they are stiff or unapproachable.
This explainer video is a perfect example of how the brand infuses personality and humor to educate its audiences in a friendly way:
This "explain it like I’m five" (ELI5) approach is a popular format for the brand and makes their content not only engaging but memorable.
5. Applied Educational Systems
Another IMPACT client, Applied Educational Systems (AES), strives to help schools develop better digital curriculums, and this is also the focus of their B2B content marketing.
In addition to case studies, they organize their educational content marketing into two primary areas on its website — a blog and a learning center that pulls in articles as well as materials like lesson plans and activities, and guides.
This is all in an effort, as IMPACT partner and They Ask, You Answer author Marcus Sheridan puts it, to be the helpful, most-trusted "teacher" in their space.
You might say they try to educate educators to become better educators by being the best educators themselves.
Now, I can’t go any further without mentioning one of the pioneers of B2B content marketing. HubSpot has been teaching others to do content marketing well for over a decade — and they've done a lot of content marketing themselves, too.
What I’ve always admired about the marketing automation giant is its dedication to diversifying its content and experimenting with it.
Alongside staples like blogs, email, ebooks, and video, HubSpot heavily invests in social media and does its due diligence to ensure the content it publishes makes sense for the platform.
While many B2B businesses just spam each social network with the same automated links and call it "content distribution," HubSpot caters. Its Instagram Stories capitalize on the native features (i.e., polls and questions) and behaviors of users on the platform.
Its tweets don’t just share links to its blog but start conversations.
HubSpot is also not afraid to explore new mediums and tactics as they emerge.
They learn the language or unique offerings of the tactic, how users engage with it, then explore how they can offer value through it before shrugging it off as irrelevant. Nothing is discounted or approved without a thorough trial.
IMPACT client AIS is an IT services and technology company and a noteworthy example of good B2B content marketing at work.
Its learning center does a great job of making it easy to filter through or search for the topics you're looking for while also highlighting key pieces above the fold.
One particularly well-done piece is the article “How much does a copier cost?” The title poses the question as if the buyer were asking it directly to the AIS sales team — or like they would type it into the Google search bar.
Notice how the article makes it clear who the author is and when it was published. Including the author helps establish credibility, and gives the opportunity to link back to their bio on the company’s team page.
Another bonus? It answers the same question in a video that's available on the same page above the written content. When it comes to content that drives revenue, nothing is more engaging than video. In fact, a study by Forbes shows that 90% of consumers say video helps them make a buying decision.
This article from AIS is a great example of using video and text to answer this all-important question, something we know will be one of the first, if not the first question any buyer has when contacting their sales team.
The author also does a great job of speaking directly to the buyer, beyond the title. The author's tone is conversational, honest, and unbiased. They also absolutely knock it out of the park in answering these specific questions most consumers will have as it relates to cost and price:
What drives the cost up, and what brings the cost down?
Why are some companies expensive, and why are others cheap?
This is very important because CTAs with a clear "this is what you do next" action outlined help your ideal buyers know what their next step is. In this article, there is no question of where the buyer should go next.
8. Mazzella Companies
Next up, we have another IMPACT client Mazzella Companies, a leader in providing overhead cranes, overhead crane services, material handling, specialty machinery, and warehousing solutions.
Their learning center is unique in that when you first arrive, they break their content down by medium, sharing the number of pieces available in each one and including a CTA to go directly to that area.
You'll find a feed of all of this content, but again, does a wonderful job of emphasizing the different formats to find your preference. They do this by including play buttons on the thumbnails of videos and changing the button language to "read article," "view resource," or "watch video" accordingly.
In the piece below, we see a great example of a problems article from Mazzella.
If you find this article online when searching for common overhead crane problems, you know from the title that you’re going to learn exactly what those five problems are — and more importantly, you’re going to be educated by Mazella on the specific ways to avoid those problems.
They could have easily made this title “5 common problems with overhead cranes” and left it there. But adding this simple phrase “and how to avoid them” immediately calms the reader’s concerns, begins to eliminate their fears, and entices them to click and learn more about the solutions.
It has a great corresponding video.
As we mentioned above, video is a powerful educational tool and this video from Mazella does a great job of not just telling you about the problems, but more importantly, showing you what they are, up close and personal.
As you scroll through the article, each of the five problems includes a corresponding image. This helps break up the text for the reader, while also telling a compelling visual story.
It’s fearless and, therefore, trustworthy.
It shows Mazella is willing to address these common concerns from customers, while also providing solutions.
The article also features 13 links to related content on Mazella’s website. That’s 13 opportunities for readers to learn more, continue their education, and become more informed buyers about their products and services.
Video hosting platform Wistia has noteworthy marketing, and its content is no exception.
The company has a robust learning center speaking to every stage of the funnel — articles discussing marketing and production for those just becoming aware of Wistia, customer stories for those considering a purchase, and product updates for those who’ve already signed on — as well as a podcast and video series to appeal to members of every audience.
Every piece their team creates is high quality, educational, and full of personality, making it appealing and engaging to even those outside of its target audience.
Below is an especially impressive example of their B2B content.
In this article, the team aimed to educate audiences on how budget impacts your video production, Wistia teamed up with another company to produce three different product videos on three drastically different budgets.
Not only did this result in a compelling and unique piece of content, it created a comarketing opportunity and also introduced their tool (Soapbox) as an effective solution
Like other IMPACT clients mentioned above, Veryable does a great job creating case studies and buyer-question-focused content on its blog to help drive traffic and enable sales.
However, what stands out most from their content marketing efforts is their smart use of a self-selection tool. In their navigation, you’ll find a striking orange call-to-action encouraging visitors to "Find out."
Veryable is a manufacturing labor and logistics solutions company, and this quiz helps guide visitors to the right information and solution for them by answering a few simple questions.
This is not only beneficial to visitors, but to Veryable as well. Self-selection tools like this put buying power back into the hands of the consumer, creating a more independent, “seller-less” experience and freeing up sales teams up to work on the leads that really need that one-on-one attention. It’s a win-win.
11. The KR Group, Inc.
This IMPACT client provides technology solutions for businesses including security, networking, and data storage (among other things), and is a pristine example of They Ask, You Answer in action.
What is most noteworthy, however, is their use of pillar content.
In the company’s learning center, in addition to articles, you will also find "The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT Services." As the name suggests, this comprehensive guide gives readers practically everything they need to get started with managed IT services.
The ungated page is broken down into chapters with a clickable table of contents and also doubles as a lead generator with visitors given the option to exchange their email for a downloadable copy.
Here we have Aquila, another accomplished company IMPACT works with.
In its learning center, the Texas-based real estate busienss showcases essential Big 5 content and makes it easy to sort with filter options and a search bar. visitors to sort content by most recent or most popular.
Early on the team makes it clear that this piece is going to be unbiased, saying:
“As a local, Austin-based commercial real estate firm ourselves, we are obviously a little biased. But we wanted to approach the question honestly and try to give as objective of an answer as possible.”
This candor and honest does wonders for building trust.
The article is also very organized and easy to skim thanks to its use of headers, bolding, call-out links, and graphics.
13. Office Interiors
In this example, IMPACT client Office Interiors uses its learning center to educate its buyers on how to improve team productivity and collaboration through office design.
The first few paragraphs of this article immediately inform the reader of two critical things:
a. Where and how they collected the data for the review
“The goal of our comprehensive task chair reviews is to gather the information you need in one convenient place. First, we scoured the internet for third-party data. Next, we distilled these reviews down for you, providing the critical information, and not judgements or opinions so that you can make an informed decision.”
b. Potential bias
“Please note, we do sell task chairs, and we’re happy to work with you to find the right chair for your needs. However, we’ve done our best to use third-party data and reviews so that our opinions won’t influence the Mirra 2 chair review or any of our other Herman Miller office chair reviews.”
By including that honest and objective information up front, readers are much more inclined to trust the review. This article was clearly not written for the sole purpose of convincing the reader how great the Mirra 2 chair is, but rather, to inform and educate them on what buyers are saying.
They also include an objective pros and cons list, along with “common drawbacks of the Mirra 2 task chair.”
14. EBP Supply Solutions
EBP Supply Solutions is a commercial cleaning and foodservice resource company that uses its blog and learning center to educate prospective buyers on the best product solutions for their pain points.
No matter the industry, product, or service, as consumers we all want to feel like we’re getting the best value. People inherently want to know who or what does it best.
Do they have carpet or hardwood floors? As soon as they answer that question, they can move down the article to better educate themselves on what is best for their needs.
The team also makes effective use of multiple CTAs.
Within the article, the reader finds four colorful CTAs to relevant guides and e-books. Not only do these help break up the text in the article, but also subtly move the reader down the marketing funnel.
15. Sheffield Metals
Now, in much of this article, we have focused on blog content. This is a critical part of your content strategy, but it's not your entire strategy.
Another important part of a content strategy is premium content like long-form guides or reports that often appear behind a landing page.
Here we have an impressive example of B2B content marketing via a landing page from IMPACT client Sheffield metals.
The text is simple, with benefits highlighted for the reader in a short intro paragraph, with bullet points as needed.
Next, the landing page video (One of what we call The Selling 7) briefly describes to the viewer what happens when they fill out this form, which immediately removes fear and concern for people who are usually hesitant to provide a company with their personal information.
Content marketing for all
I could have listed dozens of other B2B organizations doing exceptional things with content marketing. In fact, probably hundreds. The point is, content marketing is effective regardless of your business’ size, product, audience, or industry.
Buyers have changed. They no longer want to sit down or pick up a phone and be told what they should be buying, especially by someone who has a horse in the race. They want to gather information and come to the best decision for their business themselves.
Content marketing is your opportunity to be a part of this effort. Whether you're a startup looking at content marketing for your initial outreach or an enterprise that's neglected it in the past: you have to be able to meet the customer, no matter where they are in their journey.