Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Drew Hendricks
Content marketing is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of B2B marketing. Unlike B2C marketing, where businesses are marketing to users who have the sole goal of making a purchase, B2B marketing requires that a business strengthens its reputation as a trustworthy source of information to attract new customers.
However, business owners also need to understand that content marketing isn’t as straightforward as other forms of digital marketing like PPC. It takes time, research, knowledge, and perseverance to design and deliver a content strategy that works.
This is challenging enough in a wider niche, let alone in the wine industry. However, the key principles of content marketing remain the same, regardless of whether someone is writing B2C content for a larger industry like beauty, or B2B content for the wine industry. Brands need to produce content that’s useful, valuable, and most importantly, engaging.
With that in mind, this article is going to go over what business owners need to know about B2B content marketing, why they should implement it, and some great examples of brands in the wine industry doing content marketing well. Let’s dive in.
What is Content Marketing?
B2B content marketing is where businesses use content to strengthen their reputation in their industry, develop an audience, and generate leads with the purpose of ultimately growing their sales and revenue.
While most businesses in the wine industry that use content marketing will create content through a blog, it’s not the only form of content available. Other types of content include:
- Case studies
- White papers
- “Swipe files” like templates and checklists
Of course, there are many more types of content that are utilized in content marketing, but these forms are typically the most common in the wine industry.
With B2B content marketing, one of the defining factors is that the content is created specifically for other businesses to use. While it’s entirely possible that regular consumers will see this content, they’re not the target audience, and likely won’t find that content useful for their needs.
How is B2B Content Marketing Different from B2C?
In content marketing, marketers need to maintain a careful balance between useful, engaging, and high-quality. While this is important in B2C content marketing, it’s even more vital with B2B. It’s a common misconception that B2B content marketing is bland and formulaic because when businesses are marketing to other businesses, the content has to be even more engaging and useful.
In both B2B and B2C, content marketing exists to push users further down the sales funnel. However, in B2C, the sales funnel is considerably shorter, and companies that market directly to customers typically sell products that are more affordable. This means that content marketing is typically more sales and product-focused because users are closer to making a purchasing decision in B2C.
However, in B2B, where the products and services are more expensive, the sales funnel is a longer process. So, the business customer wants to be reassured that the purchase will work for them and they’re buying from a reputable and knowledgeable brand. Many B2B customers are also looking for value outside of the purchase itself, as brands that share their expertise in their niche are generally seen in a more favorable light than those who push for a quick sale.
In short, B2C content focuses on products, while B2B content consists more of actionable business advice.
That’s not to say that thought leadership or entertaining content doesn’t have a place in B2B as it does in B2C. Both of these approaches are great for driving brand awareness, but they don’t usually have the actionable and useful content that B2B thrives on. So, B2B content marketers need to carefully consider where this content fits into their strategies.
The Benefits of B2B Content Marketing
Given that marketing is such a time-intensive practice, businesses in the wine industry, and particularly those with a limited marketing budget, may be wondering why they should bother with content marketing.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools for B2B businesses in the wine industry to improve their brand awareness. Regardless of if a business is already using other digital marketing avenues like social media or PPC, content marketing is a fantastic way to build trust with an audience and showcase a business’s expertise.
It’s also an extremely valuable tool for generating and nurturing leads, which is vital to B2B marketing. If businesses have the goal of generating more leads that can be funneled through their sales team, then content marketing is a great avenue for building contacts and finding new potential customers.
Plus, content marketing is a valuable social proof tool. Content like case studies and testimonials allow a business to demonstrate their work and expertise, and reviews from previous customers are a great way to build trust in a business.
Overall, content marketing has a wide variety of applications in a business’s sales funnel, and it can just as easily greet new users at the top of the funnel as it can be the final step in helping them to make a purchasing decision.
This graph is a great summary of why content marketing is such a powerful marketing tool for B2B.
[GRAPH: Goals B2B Marketers Have Achieved by Using Content Marketing Successfully in Last 12 Months Source: Content Marketing Institute]
When Should Brands Start Using Content Marketing?
Because content marketing is a vital part of any wine business’s marketing process, brands should consider developing a content marketing strategy as soon as possible.
However, it’s not recommended that businesses new to content marketing throw their entire budget behind it at the very beginning. It’s a practice that takes time to work, and in the beginning, it can be easy to get discouraged by what appears to be a lack of progress. Particularly in B2B, where sales generally aren’t made on a whim, it can take time to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
With that in mind, businesses should start relatively small with their content marketing, which gives them greater scope to experiment.
It can take anywhere between six and nine months for businesses to see results from their content marketing, so investing a ton of time and money into this strategy isn’t advised until business owners know what approach works best for them.
Content Marketing Considerations
Before businesses get started with content marketing, they need to spend time thinking about what unique value they can offer their customers. Given that B2B marketing thrives on creating value through useful and actionable content, businesses need to consider what kind of content they are able to create.
Not only that, but they should also consider what format they want, and works best, for that kind of content.
For example, this article from Canton Cooperage, which covers the function and benefits of using oak barrels for fermentation, is a great explainer of how oak barrels function and the qualities this method can impart on the end product. It’s an extremely scientific look into the process of fermentation and the chemical compounds of oak, and how the two interplay.
While the company itself produces oak barrels, there’s no push towards a purchase in this article. It’s simply an expert look at how oak barrels aid fermentation, helping to show their expertise on the topic.
This is a great example of a wine business understanding what information their business customers are looking for, and providing that valuable information without pushing a sale.
Content Marketing Strategies for the Wine Industry
Just as with any form of marketing, content marketing is only successful when businesses and marketers have a strategy in place. After all, it’s content marketing’s job to push business customers further down the sales funnel while still creating usable and engaging content. Without having a plan in place, content marketing isn’t likely to deliver a good return on investment or the results a business is hoping to achieve.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is a plan where marketers use a business’s goals and objectives to create content that works towards achieving those goals. Businesses that are new to content marketing may think that content strategy is something that can be addressed further down the pipeline, but it’s important that it’s put into place as early as possible.
As an example, imagine a vineyard harvesting equipment had the goal of generating more leads from independent vineyards. To achieve this, their content strategy may heavily focus on SEO, and in particular, keyword phrases used by vineyard owners, to attract their target audience and drive traffic to their content.
When businesses are building their content strategy, they need to remember to plan for every aspect of their content marketing. This article will cover how to build a content strategy in a later section, but for now, business owners need to start thinking about the following things:
- Who do they want to see their content?
- What platforms and channels do these people use?
- What forms of content do they already like?
- What should the content inspire them to do?
- How should the content represent the business?
- What content does the target audience expect to see?
- What unique content does the business have to offer?
- How will the content be distributed?
- Does the content need supplemental marketing to be successful?
Why are Content Strategies Important?
Content marketing isn’t an exact science, and it can be hard to predict what will work for a specific business or industry. But, with that being said, having a content strategy makes it easier for marketers to keep their eye on the goal and have a metric that they can measure against. Without this sense of direction, content marketing can easily feel like a pointless endeavor.
In addition, it’s important to understand a business’s goals in content marketing before a marketer begins to create content. Given that content needs to serve a specific purpose in B2B marketing, content needs to be extremely focused on achieving that goal.
Not only that, but different kinds of content can achieve different results. For example, evergreen content, or content that’s designed to be a long-lasting resource, can continually generate leads and elevate a brand’s reputation. However, a how-to article that addresses a particular problem that the industry is currently facing, like the COVID-19 pandemic, won’t be relevant for as long.
Using a Content Marketing Agency to Build a Content Marketing Strategy
Understanding and building a content marketing strategy can be a challenging task for business owners and marketers who are new to content marketing. It’s a time-intensive process, so owners of small businesses in the wine industry can often find that they don’t have time during the day to do all the research they need.
This often results in a content marketing strategy that’s not well-optimized or no content strategy at all. But, in both cases, the business will likely end up creating content that doesn’t serve any particular marketing goal and doesn’t return a significant ROI.
In these cases, using a B2B content marketing agency can help. Not only do marketing agencies offer the support of experts who have decades of experience in B2B marketing, but they can take the stress out of attempting to build a content strategy without having the time or experience.
While small businesses may be concerned about having the budget for a B2B marketing agency, there are some fantastic agencies that offer budget-friendly options. Whether that’s developing a content strategy for a one-off fee or offering a stripped-down marketing package, there’s an option that can work with almost any budget.
Examples of Content Marketing Strategies
Although this blog doesn’t have much content yet, Bergin Screen Printing and Etching provides a great example of a top-of-the-funnel content strategy. These blog posts all focus on helping the user decide on what kind of labeling they want to use for their wine bottles and look at the benefits and drawbacks of each solution. They’ve also branched into publishing a wider view piece about the future of printing for wine bottles, which is beginning to cement their authority in this niche.
The Furrow by John Deere is perhaps one of the best examples of content strategy. While they have multiple avenues for content distribution, The Furrow, as it says above, is a journal to educate and inspire people who work in agriculture. The content is a variety of historical, technological, and educational, with some thought-provoking pieces from various authors. The result is a well-constructed magazine that helps agricultural wine businesses improve their processes without pushing a sale of a John Deere product.
It’s clear that the goal is to increase brand awareness and trust by cementing the John Deere brand as an authoritative source of information in agriculture.
7 Tips to Build a Better Content Marketing Strategy
Building a content strategy can feel like an impossible task, particularly for business owners and wine industry marketers who are new to content marketing. Given that B2B content marketing can be particularly challenging to do well, having a content strategy is vital, but it can be tricky to understand which goal marketers want to work towards.
So, for businesses that have been wondering how to put together a successful content marketing strategy, here are some top tips.
Define a Marketing Goal
For a content strategy to be successful, it needs to focus on a dedicated marketing goal. In B2B content marketing, in particular, there are a variety of different goals that a content strategy can work towards, such as:
- Generating new leads
- Nurturing leads
- Increasing website traffic
- Increasing brand awareness and trust
- Increasing sales and/or revenue
These goals all relate to a different stage of the B2B funnel, so marketers and business owners should think about where their content marketing efforts will sit in relation to their other marketing activities.
For example, generating leads and increasing website traffic all sit at the top of the sales funnel. However, this means that marketers will have to use different types of content to reach these goals, as compared to if they were trying to improve sales at the bottom of the funnel. So, marketers need to understand their goal with their content marketing before they begin to plan the rest of their content strategy.
Not only that, but they should also define how they’re going to measure success with this goal. SMART goals are the best way to measure this. This stands for:
Let’s take a look at an example of SMART content marketing goals in action. For example, let’s say a business wants a content strategy that increases traffic to their website. When this is put into a SMART goal, it looks like this:
- Specific: The business will create two SEO-focused blog posts a month that address a key problem their readers might have with their business.
- Measurable: The business will measure the organic click-through rate (CTR) and the number of page views. They want to see an improvement of at least 10%.
- Achievable: The business will hire a freelance content writer, so writing this volume of content is achievable.
- Relevant: As a new business, they need to increase their website traffic to begin generating leads and building brand awareness.
- Time-bound: This increased traffic should be noticeable within 12 months.
Define an Audience with Buyer Personas
Once a business has defined a goal for their content strategy, they need to understand who they want to reach with their content. The best way to do this is by creating buyer personas to represent that business’s target audience. Whether a business has already done research into their target audience or they’re just starting out, going through the process of creating buyer personas can help a business to get into the mindset of their target audience.
A buyer persona is best described as a fictional profile of a specific type of user. In B2B marketing, buyer personas represent that business’s ideal customers, based on data from both current and prospective users. These cover that person’s problems, pain points, and ideal solutions, as well as other key information like the content channels they use, their demographics, and their goals.
This gives businesses the information they need to determine not only what topics they should cover in their content, but also what format that content should take, and where it should be distributed. It’s also a great starting point for keyword research when it comes to creating content.
HubSpot’s free Make My Persona tool is a great way for businesses to get started if they’ve already got an idea of who they want to target. However, for businesses that don’t have the time to do this research, a B2B marketing agency will be able to create buyer personas for that business.
Think About a Variety of Content Formats
When marketers think of content marketing and strategy, it’s easy to immediately think of blog posts, articles, and other written content. However, that format is not the be-all and end-all of content marketing. That’s why it’s important to use buyer personas, as these will give business owners some insight into the content these target users already like to digest.
Regardless of whether a target audience prefers video content over blog posts, or aren’t interested in podcasts, business owners should still think about using a variety of content. That doesn’t mean they should completely disregard what they’ve learned from buyer personas, but rather that they should consider saving some content formats for other goals and opportunities.
For example, let’s say a bottling company has found that its target audience, which is small independent vineyards, regularly searches for blog posts that can help them optimize their revenue. However, they very rarely listen to podcasts or have the time to watch videos.
This doesn’t mean the owner of the bottling company shouldn’t bother with videos or podcasts, but rather that they should focus their efforts on blog posts. Podcasts and videos are still a valuable content stream, but if the target audience doesn’t necessarily consume this content, then it’s perhaps a better option for them to guest star on another podcast or video series rather than make their own.
Use a Content Calendar
Content marketing requires consistency to work and create the best possible return on investment, which is why business owners and marketers need to use a content calendar as part of their content marketing strategy.
A content calendar, or editorial calendar, is quite simply a visual representation of content workflow. This helps businesses to plan not only when they’re going to publish their content, but how much time it’ll take to create in the first place.
While some businesses like to use a physical or virtual calendar to track their content, others may use productivity software like Trello to keep themselves organized. It all depends on their needs and what editorial calendar process works best for them and/or their content creators.
Having a content calendar is one of the best ways to maintain a consistent content strategy and keep everyone involved with content creation organized. It’s also a good way for businesses to track the impact of the content creation process on its success, giving them greater insight into how to optimize their content in the future.
Determine Distribution Channels
While it’s true that some formats of content will only have a limited number of ways they can be delivered, marketers still need to think about where that content is going to be published and how it’ll be distributed afterward.
For example, if businesses are creating video content, then the easiest way to publish this is through YouTube. However, it’s unlikely that these videos will be widely distributed by the platform itself, so marketers should use additional channels to distribute content, such as through social media, email newsletters, or by embedding that video on a business website.
Again, this part of content strategy requires a good amount of understanding in both what channels the target audience use and, to some degree, the algorithms of certain publishing platforms.
To go back to the YouTube example, a small channel owned by a relatively new business may struggle to distribute their video through YouTube itself. However, videos on a larger channel that’s already known in the industry will be distributed to subscribers through email and on their YouTube homepage. It’s also more likely that it’ll be suggested to other users who have watched videos on the wine supply chain.
That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for both how content will be published and distributed. Content marketing is a fantastic tool, but it also has to be used in conjunction with other marketing channels to see any significant ROI, particularly if the business is still relatively small.
Manage Content After Distribution
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make with their content is that once it’s published, they never revisit it. After all, every industry moves fast, and the wine industry is no exception. Every business that’s done content marketing before will know all too well that, after a while, content needs to be updated with new information.
Not only that, but given the nature of the Internet, it’s easy for links to other businesses to die without the content owner noticing. Third parties may cease trading altogether, delete the linked content, or simply move to a new URL. So, over time, a business’s content can become less useful than was originally intended.
So, it’s vital that businesses set reminders in their editorial calendar to revisit content every few months, or whenever there’s a significant industry development, whichever comes first.
It’s worth noting that some formats of content are easier to manage post-publication than others. Blog posts, for example, can easily be updated, and downloadable content can easily be taken down, fixed, and re-uploaded. However, videos and podcasts can be trickier, particularly as the only way to edit this content is to take it down – thereby erasing its previous metrics – and reuploading it.
With that in mind, businesses need to evaluate the cost of managing content following distribution, and if there is a significant development cost, whether it’s worth it based on how difficult that content is to fix.
However, continuously managing content can go a long way in cementing a business’s authority and trustworthiness in the winery supply chain. It’s a clear sign that the business cares about what information they’re distributing, and it helps to demonstrate their commitment to being a good source of information.
Collaborate With Other Businesses and Their Content
Earlier, this article briefly touched on the idea of using guest slots with other businesses. Guest slots can be a valuable addition to a business’s content strategy, and they work for almost every top-of-the-funnel marketing goal.
Guest slots are, in essence, where a business owner or marketer collaborates with another to create content for another business. Some common examples include:
- Contributing information
- Guest posting
- Article features
- Guest presenting on a podcast
This offers benefits for both sides of the collaboration, which is why it’s such a powerful tool for content marketing strategies.
Both businesses get the benefit of showcasing their content in front of a new audience, which gives them greater visibility than if they published content on their own.
In B2B marketing, this collaboration is also fantastic social proof that both businesses are trusted and valued within their industry, which can help build trust with new audiences. It’s also a great way to generate leads from an audience that a business may not have attracted with their own content. Finally, for businesses with a very limited budget for marketing, it can also be a good way to boost their marketing without having to spend money on creating their own content.
B2B Content Marketing on a Limited Budget
For smaller businesses in the wine industry, content marketing can often seem like a luxury that they cannot afford. Social media marketing, for example, is relatively cheap and easy to run in comparison, and many small businesses see it as a more accessible way to increase their brand awareness.
It’s a common misconception that content marketing has to be an expensive endeavour. While it’s true that content marketing does, inherently, cost time and money to do well, there are plenty of ways a business can maintain a successful content marketing strategy on a limited budget.
How Much to Budget for B2B Content Marketing
Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer for how much a business should budget for B2B content marketing, as the amount they spend will greatly depend on what their goals are and what content formats they want to create.
Fortunately, in most cases, business owners and marketers can teach themselves the skills they need to create content, which can serve as a stop-gap while the business has a limited budget.
There are thousands of free and cheap resources available online that can help marketers learn how to write great content, produce videos, or even start their own podcast. Plus, with the state of modern technology, using a smartphone camera or microphone can be a cheap way to get started with producing content.
However, given that producing content takes time, money, and constant development of a marketer’s skills, it’s understandable that many business owners may prefer to go down the route of paying a content creator or agency.
As a rule of thumb, business owners should consider spending between 25-30% of their marketing budget on content marketing. This ensures that they will be able to pay for great content while also maintaining a budget to pay for distribution and other marketing efforts. If content marketing is where they want to focus their efforts, then anywhere up to 50% of their budget is recommended.
In addition, business owners should also be prepared to spend anywhere up to $10,000 to get started with content marketing through an agency, as this will cover the cost of building buyer personas, conducting keyword research, and developing a content strategy. Adding a content audit to this will bump the price up further.
Ideas for Content Marketing on a Budget
If a business only has a limited budget, that’s not to say that they can’t build a successful content strategy. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways a business can produce great content on a budget, whether that’s through paying a content creator or going the DIY route. Let’s have a look at some great ways to create content on a budget.
Social media marketing is, of course, its own marketing avenue, but it can still be a great place to start with content marketing without having to spend money on a content management system, or CMS. That makes it a good option for small businesses that don’t yet have the revenue to build their own website.
In particular, B2B wine industry businesses that are looking to create content on a budget should consider using LinkedIn, both as a platform and a distribution channel. LinkedIn is the best social media network for B2B marketing, given that its algorithm is designed to distribute wine industry content to other professionals and businesses within the industry. Plus, it’s free to sign up and use LinkedIn, so it’s a good place to start.
Facebook is also a good option for content marketing, as its business tools are designed to help businesses publish and distribute text, video, and image content. Plus, it’s easy to use Facebook Ads to increase the reach of content through the platform.
Creating content in-house is the best way to maintain a content strategy on a budget. Thankfully, it’s never been easier to create content in-house, even if an aspiring marketer doesn’t yet have all the professional equipment or training they need.
As mentioned above, content creators no longer need an entire suite of expensive equipment to get started. Any modern smartphone is likely to have a camera and microphone that’s good enough to create video and audio content, and it’s easy to find free or cheap word processing software online.
Websites like Udemy have thousands of free and cheap courses on content creation, management, and marketing, making it easy for business owners or their employees to learn the skills they need to create content.
Learning to create content in-house isn’t just a great way to save money on content marketing now, but it’s also a way to invest in future marketing.
Invest in Training and Development
As this article just mentioned, businesses can save money on content marketing in both the short and long term by investing in their own or their employees’ training and development.
For example, if a wine supply chain business wanted to work with a freelance writer, the average cost of a 1500-word blog post is $300.That cost covers the writer’s time, expertise, research, and editing. Business owners looking for a writer that specializes in the wine industry can expect to pay higher rates than this.
However, for the same cost, a business owner could pay for training materials and courses for an in-house employee, as well as a few hours each week to work solely on the business’s marketing strategy. So, not only does the business get a 1500-word blog post, but they’ve also got an employee who is now beginning to learn about content marketing and can apply those skills to the business.
While that’s not to say that investing in training is easy, or even financially viable for some businesses in the winery supply chain, it’s a good option for businesses that have the budget available and want to save money on content marketing in the long term.
Educational Content Marketing for the Wine Industry
According to the Content Marketing Institute, educational content marketing is one of the most popular B2B strategies for nurturing leads.
[GRAPH: Content Marketing B2B Marketers Use to Nurture Their Audience Source: Content Marketing Institute]
This is, perhaps, one of the defining features between B2B and B2C content marketing. As established earlier, B2B marketing works with a much larger sales funnel, which is why nurturing leads is so important in increasing sales and revenue.
However, given the popularity of this method, it’s clear that educational content marketing is one of the best middle-of-the-funnel B2B content marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at why.
Why Educational Content Marketing is Great for B2B
In B2B content marketing, a primary goal at the top of the funnel is generating marketing qualified leads. As established earlier, B2B leads are often in the market to spend more money than regular, non-business customers and the purchases they make are often of greater significance to them. That’s why the sales funnel is often longer, and requires more lead nurturing, than with B2C content marketing.
One of the greatest benefits of educational content marketing is that it’s ideal for marketing at both the top and the middle of the sales funnel. While it does require a different approach at each part of the sales funnel, it’s a highly versatile and effective content marketing strategy.
This is a massive benefit for new B2B business owners in the wine industry. As a new business, it’s understandable that other businesses in the winery supply chain will need reassurance that it’s reputable and the owners are experts in their field. Educational content marketing shows those businesses that not only are the business owners knowledgeable, but they’re willing to share their expertise.
This can go a long way in fostering trust and respect in a new winery business and is a great strategy for inbound marketing.
Just as with B2C, B2B customers only care about adding value to their business. Educational content marketing allows a business to provide this value without asking for more than an email address. This content marketing strategy ensures that B2B customers are at the heart of a business’s marketing efforts, which is key to generating and nurturing leads.
Giving away value through educational content marketing is also a fantastic way to build a relationship with customers, which can also help businesses to network through the winery supply chain and make new connections.
Generating Qualified Leads
In B2B marketing, one of the main goals is to generate qualified leads. Whether they’re MQLs or SQLs, qualified leads need to be the main focus of any educational content marketing strategy. However, a significant benefit of educational content marketing is that it helps to convert standard leads into qualified ones.
That’s because educational content marketing gives users and standard leads the information they need not only to learn about what a business offers but also how it can work with their business. This can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to generate qualified leads.
Increasing B2B Sales
As with any marketing strategy, the end goal of educational content marketing is to increase sales and revenue. However, the main advantage of educational content marketing is that it teaches potential customers not only how a business’s products or services work, but also why it’s a necessary part of the winery supply chain.
This can be a key sales tactic for businesses in the winery industry that aren’t considered “traditional”, like marketing or automation. However, that’s not to say that this strategy can’t work for other elements of the winery supply chain, too, as there will always be new businesses looking to decipher what they need to be successful.
6 Educational Content Marketing Strategies for a B2B Wine Industry Brand
With all of the above being said, educational content marketing is only at its most valuable as a marketing tool if there’s a strategy behind it. While educational content is a great marketing asset even outside of strategy, understanding where it sits in regards to both content marketing and other marketing avenues is vital for ensuring it produces the best results.
So, let’s take a look at six different educational marketing strategies that can help accelerate business growth in the winery supply chain.
Educational Content for Lead Generation
Educational content is a great way to generate leads, as this type of content lends itself to powerful lead magnets that can encourage users to sign up for a business’s mailing list. Given that search engines act as a digital storefront for B2B businesses, brands should think about educational content as the offer that gets people through the door.
Lead magnets can be as simple or as complex as a business likes, but they should always remember to make the “buy-in” – or how much information they ask for in return – relative to the perceived value of the content.
Using thought leadership in an educational content strategy is a tricky balance to do well. On one hand, educational content marketing is about teaching users about a business, its products, and its services from a very factual and logical point of view. However, when it comes to building authority and trust, thought leadership content is a brilliant way to engage leads and encourage them to consider a new viewpoint.
With that in mind, the occasional thought leadership content can be extremely beneficial to an educational B2B content marketing strategy. Provided that the opinions in that content are relevant to that business and the place it sits within the industry, thought leadership content can be a very effective tool in a business’s content strategy toolbox.
Making the Strange Familiar
For businesses with a new product or, as is common in the wine industry, one that moves away from traditional techniques, they often face an uphill battle in helping leads down the sales funnel. Educational content can help these new products, techniques, or services seem like less of a risk.
Educational content using this strategy has to demonstrate how these new developments can help a business work towards its goals without compromising its beliefs. This content should also begin to demonstrate the need for innovation and new technologies to MQLs.
Making the Familiar Strange
B2B businesses in the wine industry, as mentioned earlier, will often come across areas where other winery supply chain businesses may be hesitant to innovate. Instead of in the previous strategy, this one asks readers to consider why they run their businesses the way they do and educate them on ways they can improve by introducing something new.
Case studies are a brilliant format to use with this content strategy because they directly demonstrate how a real-world business has benefitted from introducing something new. However, it’s important for businesses using this strategy to understand that their target audience is more open to the idea of change than with some other strategies, so businesses should create content that builds on their existing excitement.
Growing the Market
In B2B educational content marketing, one rarely-considered user intention is resource-gathering. It’s all well and good using educational content to market to existing businesses, but when someone is considering building a business in the winery supply chain, it’s likely that they’ll be searching to learn more about how their business would fit in the winery ecosystem.
Growing the market is a powerful content marketing strategy that directly educates users and leads to the benefits of the product or service that the business provides. This is perhaps one of the most common examples of educational content marketing because while it doesn’t focus directly on the business, it poses the business as both a knowledge resource and the best place to acquire that product or service.
Growing the Ecosystem
In the winery supply chain, businesses are all reliant upon each other to keep their economy going. From vineyards to bottling plants, packaging producers to distributors, none of these businesses could run without others alongside them. Educational content marketing can be a great way to “grow the ecosystem”, or nurture other businesses in the supply chain.
Just as with any ecosystem, the theory behind this is that by helping their partner companies thrive and increase their revenue, some of that revenue will ultimately be returned to the business with the educational content. It’s a strategy that thrives on helping the ecosystem flourish, rather than solely educating leads for one business’s gain.
6 B2B Content Marketing Examples that Actually Work
Now that business owners and marketers understand how B2B content marketing works, and have some ideas for how to implement it in their own businesses, it’s time to look at some of the best examples of B2B content marketing in the winery supply chain.
The Boswell Company
The Boswell Company is a great example of the “making the strange familiar” strategy in B2B educational content marketing. Their product is oak adjuncts, which as the blog post discusses, are often not held in high regard because they’re not traditional French oak barrels. However, this blog post sets out why oak adjuncts have a place in traditional winemaking, the benefits of using them, and how they can improve a wine.
As a result, the reader is left seeing this company’s products from a new perspective. But, not only that, they’re more educated in why oak adjuncts are useful, giving them greater knowledge that can empower and improve their business.
Codi Manufacturing’s Canning 101 blog post is a great example of how wine supply chain businesses can create educational content to grow their market. In this blog post, they explain what wine manufacturers need to know about canning as a packaging method and how to go about choosing canning machinery that fits their needs.
As canning is not a traditional packaging method for wine, this article is written with the intention of educating winemakers on how canning can be a viable alternative to bottling. The end goal is, therefore, enticing more winemakers into canning their product with Codi Manufacturing products.
This blog post from Berlin Packaging is a great example of nurturing the ecosystem as a content marketing strategy. Containing both text and infographics, this blog post explains everything a winery supply business needs to consider about wine bottles.
While a reader may first assume this information is only relevant to vineyards and bottling plants, the information within is still useful to other areas of the winery supply chain. Because this post includes information about how different glass types affect wine storage and common wine bottle sizes, it’s likely that this will also be useful information for storage businesses, distributors, and end retailers.
Oak Solutions Group
Oak Solutions Group is a business that’s highly focused on research and development, which is why their content marketing strategy of using white papers with original research is a great example of non-blog focused content marketing.
This helps to cement the business’s reputation as highly knowledgeable and a great source of information, which will increase their brand recognition.
Meras Water Solutions
As a B2B service provider, Meras Water Solutions’ use of a case study is a powerful way to demonstrate the value of their services while also educating leads on why they need to treat their micro-irrigation systems.
This is a good example of educational content marketing used closer to the end of the sales funnel, as while it’s educational, it also highlights how Meras Water Solutions solved the issue and has a call to action to potential customers.
Wine Software’s target audience is wine retailers, so their content marketing is geared towards helping retailers to improve their business. This post, in particular, helps to teach retailers how to improve their inventory tracking and includes information on what to do if their inventory count is wrong.
It’s a good example of content marketing used to educate B2B customers at the top of the sales funnel without necessarily selling them a solution. However, it clearly encourages the user to click through other blog posts or book a demo of the software, which can be a great way to generate MQLs.