4 Research Strategies for B2B Content Marketing

Selling to B2B audiences is an undertaking, and content marketing can help generate and cultivate leads. Shooting in the dark with your content efforts isn’t going to work. At the heart of every great content marketing strategy is a solid research foundation. Operating on instinct alone won’t deliver the best results–research will. So, what kinds of content marketing research should you start with? We’re glad you’re curious. Here are four avenues of content marketing research you can consider.

Conduct thorough buyer intent research.

Buyer intent research isn’t easy to pull off. It involves a lot of involvement from multiple parties, but the results are so worth it. Buyer intent research and content marketing go hand-in-hand. When you know your buyer, you can empathize with their pain points and craft content that meets them where they are. After all, your product isn’t right for everyone–and that’s okay. With buyer intent research, you can zero in on what kind of audience you need to reach and develop a plan to deliver a perfectly curated content journey that generates qualified leads. Buyer personas aren’t just a nice-to-have–they should be a priority.

We’ve got a full article on this topic if you want to learn more.

The 434 Approach:

At 434, we like to joke that a chunk of our job is acting as armchair psychologists. Intimately knowing buyers shapes better content, and we never want to assume what’s best for our client’s customers. We aim to interview at least 5 actual end customers on behalf of our clients. As a third party, we are sometimes able to uncover unique perspectives that align with the 5 Rings of Buying Insight. We use other tactics, too, like conducting proprietary data studies. We can’t give away all our secrets, but if you’re curious what we deliver to clients, check out our Buyer Research Summaries. 

Pro Tip: Using a tool like Great Question can help collect, consolidate, and pull insights from customers.

Understand your sales cycle straight from the source.

In order to write compelling content that addresses each stage of your buyer’s journey, you need to understand how your organization sells. The best way you can do this is to learn directly from your sales team or your client’s sales team. No one understands client pain points, buying criteria, and the product better than the people who work hard to close deals. If your job is to get leads to your sales team, it’s absolutely essential that you understand what kind of leads are most beneficial and have the best odds of converting.

The 434 Approach:

We meet with sales executives and supporting staff to learn more barriers they face from customers so we can build content to address those concerns before a lead ever shows up on a call. We also regularly sit in on sales calls so we can continue to observe and learn more about their pipeline.

Learn the industry through market research.

B2B markets are incredibly diverse and can be highly complex to understand. With seemingly endless amounts of information available, it can be challenging to find a starting point for market research. Furthermore, it can be hard to find answers to the questions you have. Don’t get discouraged if Googling and searching feels more overwhelming than helpful. Here are three basic lines of thinking you should explore through your research endeavors:

  • What need does my product/service meet?
  • Where is the industry heading? 
  • What competitors are out there? 
  • Are there any emerging trends to be aware of?

The answers to each of these questions will help you better understand the content of your service or your client’s offering and should spark plenty of content ideas.

The 434 Approach

You know what they say: the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. As a content marketing agency, we learn about hyper-specific topics in order to write accurate, engaging content on behalf of our clients. We meet with subject matter experts, perform independent data collection, and read a lot as part of our ongoing market research process.

Generate traffic by leveraging keyword research.

This is probably the most obvious on the list, especially if you’re already familiar with content marketing and SEO. Most B2B buyers spend time vetting potential candidates online, and leveraging the right keywords can help you win that prized spot on the first page of the SERP.  There are hundreds of resources available on different methods of keyword research. No matter what, the intent behind keyword research is the same: find terms that will drive traffic to your site. Easier said than done, right?

The 434 Approach

We use a variety of tools, like Google Search Console, AhRefs, SEMRush, and more to run keywords reports and compile research. With constantly changing algorithms, keyword research for us is an ongoing process. We always try to put ourselves in the mind of a searcher so we can better understand the intent behind each keyphrase we want to target.

We’re a research-forward content marketing company. 

Research impacts everything we do at 434 Marketing. We started our organization when our CEO met with business leaders to identify pain points, particularly related to marketing and advertising. Since then, we’ve continued to stay curious and kept research at the forefront of what we do.

Learn More about our Research Process