Content Marketing/How To

Research: The Most Engaging B2B Content in 2017

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Consumer brands have it easy when it comes to content creation and driving consumer engagement.

For B2B companies, crafting interesting, engaging content is a lot harder.

Many companies get caught talking too much about their products and services rather than  creating content that engages prospects and entices them to learn more.

Buzzsumo, a content marketing platform that helps you discover the most popular content on any given topic or particular website, offered a deep dive into engaging B2B content, sharing in this post 10 B2B content types that worked well in 2017 to drive B2B engagement.

The post itself is a great example of engaging B2B content: It offers original research on a hot, trending topic and provides How-To advice.

One word of caution:

Buzzsumo’s research is based on social media shares and content on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, not content that resides on company websites.

Top 10 B2B Content Types

If you want to amplify your B2B content shares in 2018, the content types that engage prospects and social shares, according to Buzzsumo, are:

  • Industry technology changes
  • Future trends
  • Opinion or viewpoint posts
  • Inspirational stories and case studies
  • Practical tips and how to posts
  • Personal career advice
  • Research and reference content
  • Leadership tips and advice
  • Industry news
  • Hot topics like artificial intelligence or content related to hot brands

The content identifier platform goes on to add a bonus content type: LinkedIn Pulse articles.

“If you want to gain more attention on LinkedIn, then you need to be publishing on Pulse,” according to the post. “Nineteen of the top twenty most shared articles on LinkedIn this year were published on the perform.”

The company and I share the same view on creating content for LinkedIn or any other social platform: doing so drives traffic to those social media companies, not your own website. That’s why I don’t currently post on Pulse.

Instead, Buzzsumo and I suggest you first write something for your own site, wait a few days and then modify the content to post on Pulse.

Why B2B Content Types Performed Well

After its list, Buzzsumo takes a deep dive into each kind of content giving examples and explaining why it performed so well.  The post is well worth a read. (Full Disclosure: I don’t write for Buzzsumo, nor have I used their platform.)

In addition to learning why the B2B content types were so engaging, you should examine the  headlines to learn several secrets to success and how to write better headlines.

Throughout the detailed portions of the post, I identified nine hacks that B2B marketers can add to their  content creation tool kits.

9 Writing Hacks to Boost Social Sharing of B2B Content

Among the hacks I plan to incorporate include:

  • Words such as ‘the future of’ and ‘trends’ gained above average engagement on LinkedIn
  • Make sure your social posts have reference-able articles – they’re far more likely to generate links than trending/of the moment content
  • The LinkedIn posts that drew the most engagement were How To posts
  • One of the popular topics on LinkedIn is sales content
  • ‘Success’ or ‘Successful’ in your title helps to get traction
  • You don’t always need original research to engage B2B buyers; Curation of a number of research reports works well.
  • Reference content such as data driven reports or charts do very well.
  • People are particularly keen to learn the secrets of successful leadership
  • And a Pulse tidbit: As a general rule people do not link to content on Pulse. None of the top 20 most shared posts on Pulse got more than 20 links, according to Buzzsumo’s research.

I was surprised that two content types – career advice and leadership advice – were among the top performing content.

As I thought about how my B2B clients might take advantage of these content types, I remembered the context in which the types were identified – social media, including LinkedIn.

Of course a business networking site would be filled with career advice and leadership advice. After all, LinkedIn is used to find new business and find new jobs.


Tell me: what kind of B2B content performs best for you on social media? Is it different than the best performing content on your company website?

(For me, my about page and blog posts about living in La Conner among the tulips and The Content Marketers Guide to Freelance Writing Fees are the top performers.)

 P.S. I no longer live in La Conner…

Content/Content Marketing/How To/Writing

Demystifying Epic Content For B2B Marketing

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Demystifying Epic Content For B2B Marketing

One of Tom Douglas' new restaurants is the Dahlia Workshop Biscuit Bar where fresh pastries are made from scratch every day.

Sonia Thompson authored a great article last week, which was published on Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic site.

It was called Demystifying Epic Content: How to Actually Create It (Not Just Jabber About How Important It Is)

The article was a whopping 5,200 words, but the basic outline went like this:

One of Tom Douglas' new restaurants is the Dahlia Workshop Biscuit Bar where fresh pastries are made from scratch every day.

Epic Content:
• Is valuable to the reader
• Includes specific details
• Is different and unique
• Taps into reader’s emotions
• Includes great design or visuals, or both

How to Achieve Epic Content

• Research the hell out of your subject
• Provide case studies that show people “how” to do something
• Break the rules – look for flaws in conventional thinking and find a better way
• Become a mind reader – know your customer and what they crave
• Get Naked in Public – share challenges you’ve faced or your company has conquered

Thompson did a great job of explaining the steps to create great content. Read her post if you want to learn more about what it takes to create Epic Content, a word choice stamped on content marketing’s conscious when Hubspot’s Joe Pulizzi used it to title his book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less.”

(Here’s an excerpt from the book Joe shared about Epic Content Marketing’s Six Principles.)

Epic Content for B2B Content Marketing

While her post pertained to blogging, I’d like to add a line item or two to the outlines for B2B Marketers.

Epic Content:

  • Motivates readers to take action beyond simply tweeting or bookmarking or Liking

Great content marketing should motivate readers to take action, such as digging deeper into your content well, forking over their email to sign up for a newsletter or white paper, or calling your company to learn more about your services or products. Bookmarking or Liking doesn’t move you a step closer to a conversation with you.

Additionally, To Achieve Epic Content in B2B Content Marketing, there are two steps that happen before you begin research:

  • Buyer persona development
  • Content marketing strategy

Epic Content isn’t a one and done. Marketers need to figure out where this content fits into their strategy and continuum of content and lead nurturing. To figure that out, you need to have a full understanding of who your buyers are, and what steps and decisions they go through as they move through the buying process.

Only with buyers in mind and a strategy in place can you begin to brainstorm what Epic Content will look like for your customers.

Where have you encountered “Epic B2B Marketing Content?” Please share your thoughts and links about who is doing great work in the comments below. Or, tell us how you are working towards producing Epic content.

Content Marketing

9 B2B Content Marketing Sins to Stop Today

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
9 B2B Content Marketing Sins to Stop Today

Content is not king if it fails to ignite any interest or engagement from your customers. If it fails, your B2B content is noise and easily forgotten.

In her new book, Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content & Strategies that Drive Results, Ardath Albee outlines 8 ways (I added one ) your content practices are making your content, and thus your company, irrelevant and ineffective. Are you committing any of the following sins?


  • A website visitor fills out a form and you instantly send the lead to sales
  • Sales immediately contacts the website visitor, who isn’t a qualified prospect
  • You send emails to people who haven’t indicated they want them
  • You create content simply to keep your company top of mind
  • Company newsletters only tout company events, achievements, products and new hires
  • Your corporate Twitter profile only tweets company-focused blog posts and offers
  • Ditto for your corporate LinkedIn profile, with no discussion about or after your post
  • The most updated part of your website is the press release page, cluttered with self-promotion
  • The webinars you hold are simply product demos

If you are a B2B Marketer committing any of these sins, stop today. Realize that your organization is company-focused, not customer-focused. In today’s competitive world, company-focused content marketing doesn’t cut it. No one likes a blowhard.

Buyer Personas, Strategy before Content Creation

To reverse course, you need to change your mindset and figure out who your best customers are at a deep level, learn how they progress through the buying cycle, and learn what motivates them. You also need to create a strategy to engage prospects, turn them into buyers, and then into advocates. Only then can you create content that delights and engages prospects, turning them into customers. While it sounds simple, it’s not easy.

Many B2B marketers commit the sins above because they simply create content skipping the buyer persona and strategy work. Yes, it’s difficult, but very necessary.

Ardaths book jacketLuckily, Ardath shows B2B marketers how it’s done. Her principles not only work for enterprise companies with complex sales but any company that wants to become customer focused. Buy the book – I’m only through the first chapter, but I will devour the rest.

If you aren’t familiar with Ardath, you might want to check out her Marketing Interactions website, which is stuffed with great content.


(Full Disclosure: I’ve worked with Ardath. But I purchased the book, and she did not solicit a review or this post.)

Tell me: What problems have you had changing the mindset at your company? Please share any tips or resources that could make it easier for others. Or, if you like this post, please share it using the buttons below.