10 B2B Companies That Create Exceptional Content

    by Meghan Keaney Anderson

    Date

    August 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

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    One of the biggest concerns we hear from B2B companies when we explain the importance of content creation in inbound marketing is that their focus is somehow not interesting enough to sustain a blog or other creative content. "Not interesting enough?!" we say. "Are you passionate about it? Do you get up every morning to help your company grow and deliver on your promise to customers? Of course it's interesting enough."

    To prove it, we've compiled a starter list of B2B companies that create killer content on a regular basis to keep prospects coming back to their website and engaging with their business. Still think your company is too boring to create compelling content? You might want to think again.

    Blogs and Written Content

    Intercom's Balanced Blog

    Intercom is a customer relationship management and messaging tool for web businesses. If you don't know what that means, you're not alone. Luckily, the company has one of the best content-driven blogs I've seen. Run predominantly by Intercom COO Des Traynor, the blog is consistently updated and well-toned. It focuses on the questions that Traynor and his colleagues grapple with as business owners, and gives readers a sense of the careful thought that goes into their own product development and customer relationship management. Not bad for a customer relationship management company, huh?

    What They Do Well:

    • Each post is approached as a learning opportunity. It's clear from the first read that each post Intercom creates is thoroughly researched and aims to resolve a tangible business question. Take the blog's post on churn, retention, and reengaging customers, for instance. The article takes a common issue that the company's customers have when using their software, and walks through how to address it with detailed guidelines.
    • Each post is data-rich. We have a saying at HubSpot: "Data needs explanation, and explanation needs data." Each post on the Intercom blog does a good job of not only incorporating data, but also of adding context to that data. Take its post on understanding distribution and conversion. Traynor takes a commonly cited statistic about 2% conversion rates on site and gives it a new spin.

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    • The blog is a good blend of product content and educational material. This point is core to inbound marketing. Intercom's blog does an adept job at creating content that simultaneously educates readers about strategies and best practices as well as explaining in a non-intrusive way how its product fits into that strategy. In other words, the balance is well-maintained. 

    Deloitte's Killer How-to Guides

    Deloitte is a Boston-based consultancy with services that include audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax. The company works with a massive cross-section of industries, from government to life sciences. At Deloitte, their knowledge is their selling point, so creating informed, useful content is core to their marketing strategy.  


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    What They Do Well:

    • A Range of Formats: What is interesting about Deloitte's content is that it comes in a number of different forms. From guides to podcasts, and newsletters to debates, there's never a shortage of new content. 
    • Open Discussion: One of the formats Deloitte's content takes is in the form of open-ended debates on topics like merger integration, big data, and health care exchange. These debates are prime content for CIOs and COOs preparing for a decision on similar topics, and thus, great lead generation content. 

    Gild's Awesome Thought Leadership Content

    Gild, a provider of recruiting solutions for technology companies, takes a different approach to its blog. It starts with the problem most of its prospective customers (tech recruiters) are facing, and posts primarily thought leadership style posts on the causes of that problem, potential solutions available, and what greater trends are at play. In short, Gild posts seem to be an ongoing discussion of the situation many of their customers find themselves in.

    What They Do Well:

    • Focus on the Problem: Gild recognizes that many B2B readers consume a piece of content because they're trying to address a core challenge they face. Take its recent post: "Tech Recruiters: Reflect & Rebuild." In it, Gild spends much of the post peeling apart the various layers to the challenge its prospects face. They don't provide the answer outright; rather, the post is an exercise in exploring the question. 

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    Kuno Creative's Killer Marketing Ebooks

    One of HubSpot's partners, Kuno Creative, does a phenomenal job with its ebook library. The content in its library ranges from in-depth "manifestos" to quick cheat sheets. Each teaser tells the audience exactly what they'll find in the ebooks as well as what they can expect to learn. The inbound marketing agency covers mainly how-to topics, largely sought after by their prospective customers.

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    What They Do Well:

    • An Eye to SEO: The library is already easy to peruse, but Kuno has also created quick links with search engine-friendly keywords like "Social Media Resources" along the sidebar. These small tricks ensure that Kuno's content is more aptly found via the search box.
    • Timely Updates: Some topics are ever-evolving. By adding dates and continually re-releasing content with updates to reflect the most recent changes to a given topic, Kuno makes sure its readers aren't relying on outdated information by breathing new life into old content.

    Visual Content

    Eloqua's Amazing Infographics

    Eloqua, a marketing automation company, is a big believer in inbound marketing and the value of content for B2B. Over the years, in addition to developing a content-rich blog, Eloqua has also released a number of successful infographics focused on the core issues of its target audience. 

    What They Do Well:

    • Infographics With Depth: It seems like everybody is churning out infographics these days. One of the things that sets Eloqua apart, however, is they ensure that the visual display of the information they're presenting adds value rather than just color. Take this infographic on content marketing. Laying out each format of content on a spectrum helps viewers understand the role that each content format plays in a lead's decision-making process.

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    • Plenty of Sharing Opportunities: In addition to making it easy to embed their graphics, the share buttons at the base of this particular post have garnered more than 700 twitter shares and 400 pins on Pinterest. 

    FireRock's Powerful Pinterest Content 

    FireRock, a HubSpot customer that manufactures pre-engineered masonry products for contractors and home builders, has one of the best Pinterest accounts I've seen from a B2B company. It helps that they create really beautiful stone fireplaces, so the imagery is captivating, but they also know how to optimize Pinterest for their business.  

    What They Do Well:

    • Clear Understanding of the Channel: Instead of taking pictures of the raw materials, FireRock recognized how many people actually use Pinterest: to get inspiration for their own designs and projects. Thus, FireRock pins pictures of their work in context of the home so people can envision the finished installation. 
    • Good Use of Geographic Labeling: Many of the pictures are tagged by geography, so viewers searching by region can find them more easily.

    Firerock example

    Cisco's Fantastic Videos

    Cisco, a global provider of networking systems from routers to webinar software, understands that creating valuable content extends beyond the boundaries of a website. They've developed a YouTube channel with videos and tutorials to help their prospective business leads learn the ins and outs of network solutions.  

    What They Do Well:

    • Practical Advice: Cisco's tutorials are clearly marked and deliver on the promise of being educational rather than promotional. Each video adds to what has become a really valuable resource online for companies seeking networking solutions or troubleshooting what they already have.
    • Fully Integrated Content: Cisco not only creates great video tutorials; they have also pulled their entire social network into their YouTube channel. So with a click, you can comment, follow the company on Twitter, or check out their content on other social channels.

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    Social Media Content

    GE Aviations' Engaging Presence

    With 16K followers on Twitter and 4,000 Facebook fans, GE Aviation knows how to engage its audience. Part of the strength of their social content is that there is a clear back and forth between the content created by GE and the content contributed by its followers. Every aspect of GE Aviation's social content is about the community around GE -- not just the company itself.

    What They Do Well:

    • They give their followers a nickname. It may not work for every company, but GE Aviations refers to its followers across all social media networks lovingly as "AVgeeks." They've even turned it into a hashtag that their followers can use in other contexts. Injecting community into their content makes their social media presence about more than just the company, helping it spread farther and wider than it may have otherwise.


    • They share content other than their own. One of the best practices HubSpot recommends to businesses leveraging social media is talking about more than just your own content. GE is a stand-out in this sense, sharing news articles, pictures, and other content for the benefit of the whole AVgeek community.

    GoToMeeting's (Citrix) Terrific Twitter Content

    Another webinar and remote meeting provider, GoToMeeting (run by Citrix) does a really nice job of making sure its Twitter stream is filled with valuable content. They have three team members dedicated to the channel, and their investment in content has paid off in more than 27,000 followers.

    What They Do Well:

    • Sharing Content Other Than its Own: Just like GE Aviation, GoToMeeting is another great example of a B2B company acting as a curator of valuable content. Below, you can see an example of that in action.


    • A Widened (But Still Relevant) Focus: Beating the same drum again and again about online meetings can get old. Instead, GoToMeeting's Twitter content focuses on the larger theme of working better. They include tips for productivity, working from home, and office humor.

    VMWare's Killer Community Content

    VMWare, a virtualization and cloud computing provider, took what can be highly technical content and translated it in a B2B-friendly way through its very own online community. Rather than trying to compete against communities like LinkedIn, VMWare uses its community to be a central hub for finding content, forums, and its existing social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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    What They Do Well:

    • Connecting its Readers: VMWare seems to recognize that forging ties between its customers and leads is just as important as putting the company at the center. The community utilizes forum content, Twitter lists, and other content tools to connect its audiences to each other. 
    • Community Management: It's clear from the activity that VMWare has a team dedicated to adding useful content to the community and keeping its readers engaged. So before you take on a project of this scale, it's worth taking stake to see if you have the resources to keep it going.

    The list doesn't stop here. The bottom line is, there's a world of content opportunities out there just waiting for B2B companies with a little creativity to take on. What other B2B companies do you think take on a fresh approach to content creation? What do you do in your own business to deliver content that matters to your audience?

    Image Credit: breahn

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