ith the B2B space being increasingly competitive, many companies are now leveraging content marketing to rise above the noise. However, one benchmark report revealed that over 60% of B2B organizations’ content marketing efforts are still in its early stages, with only 22% of marketers reporting their results being “extremely or very successful.”
Any marketer will agree that content marketing can be a massive undertaking — if you’re doing it all on your own, it can seem intimidating or even outright impossible. Here’s where a content partnership can come in.
What Is a Content Partner?
A content marketing partner is any business organization with which you can exchange content or backlinks. For B2B companies, this may be a supplier, distributor, or manufacturer. By forming a mutually beneficial partnership, you can tap into each other’s audience, ensure that your content is more widely distributed, and ultimately boost the bottom line.
To marketing novices, it may seem strange to partner with an outsider to support your marketing efforts. But as a Mckinsey business report notes, organizations aiming for growth “need to shift their organizational model away from ‘boxes and lines’ to a fluid ecosystem of internal and external partners.” For B2B companies, having a partner-focused content marketing strategy can mean providing richer experiences for customers while saving time and resources.
How Can I Collaborate With a Content Partner?
Ultimately, your bandwidth and resources will determine what ideas you can successfully execute. Consider utilizing different content channels to develop uniquely creative nuggets of wisdom. You can:
- Create a case study based on your partner’s successes and innovative initiatives. Example: IBM creates videos and detailed deep-dives into their clients’ challenges and solutions.
- Pen guest thought leadership content for each other’s blogs. Example: HubSpot actively solicits guest posts from their partners and other industry leaders.
- Design a co-branded infographic using internal and partner research findings, which you can both distribute. Example: Salesforce and Razorfish partnered to conduct a research study on changing shopping patterns, eventually releasing a lengthy co-branded report full of figures, charts, and information.
- Develop a full-funnel campaign that revolves around a shared cause or community initiative. Example: Amex partners with dozens of other companies, including Square and FedEx, on their #ShopSmall movement, which supports small and local businesses.
Additionally, you can also:
- Co-host a virtual roundtable, webinar, or masterclass
- Co-sponsor a research study
- Organize a partner showcase event
Ultimately, the goal is for both parties to support each other’s content marketing mix in a way that supports the industry-specific buyer journey so that it eventually brings business to everyone.
How Do I Map Out the Right Partners?
Before you email everyone in your company listserv, make sure you spend the time to determine your needs and end goal. The whole team must have a clear understanding of the KPIs you’re targeting with partner marketing — is it lead generation, brand awareness, or something else?
Then, take the time to thoroughly research potential partners. Much like any relationship, searching for the perfect partner can be a daunting task. You’ll want to find a counterpart that is relevant to your industry in order for them to understand and fit into your complex B2B sales cycle. Ideally, they are reputable, bringing subject matter expertise, insights, and ideas to the table. You can consider companies that are in your supply chain, or even reach out to your best customers to see what other B2B vendors they use in tandem with your business.
Once you identify a list of partners, take a moment to evaluate the content that they have been putting out. Does their content move you, demonstrate expertise, and inspire you to learn more? Or is it spammy, ridden with grammatical errors, and lack substantive takeaways?
Then, it’s time to make a pitch. But how can you be sure that your targeted partner will accept your proposal? Why will they choose to recommend your products over those of your competitors? Here are some ways to make your offer more persuasive:
- Be armed with a rich array of evergreen content ideas and capabilities, from research study case studies to social posts, downloadable resources to thought leadership articles, or even videos. You want to deliver turnkey content known to help boost sales and move buyers down the funnel. By having an innovative mix of content formats, you can target buyers with different preferences on how they consume content.
- Optimize your own public content by refreshing old stats, removing low-quality pieces, and adding high-res images. This can help build your audience engagement and brand credibility. If your site needs a revamp, go for it. You’ll want to bring something — namely readership and engagement numbers — to the table, rather than have your proposal coming off as having a one-way ask.
- Make sure your proposed partner experience makes it easy for your partner’s audience to learn about your company, and vice versa.
- Be transparent about the resources, analytics, and insights you can share, which will guide both companies’ content strategy.
Building partnerships within your supply chain is a great way to drive growth — through partner-based content marketing, B2B brands can build brand awareness and authority while finding better-qualified leads. If you’re searching for someone to support your efforts to develop high-quality content, look no further. Shoot us a message and let us know how we can help.