7 Successful B2B Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From

7 Successful B2B Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From

Si Quan Ong
Content marketer @ Ahrefs. I've been in digital marketing for the past 6 years and have spoken at some of the industry’s largest conferences in Asia (TIECon and Digital Marketing Skill Share.) I also summarise books on my personal blog.
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    There is no one right way of doing content marketing.

    Depending on their goals, resources, target audience, and so on, different companies do content marketing differently. 

    In this post, we’ll share seven inspiring B2B content marketing examples, why they’ve done well, and how you can replicate their success.

    Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps businesses sell online.

    Shopify's free tools

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 9,000

    Estimated organic traffic: 1,700,000

    Number of keywords the tools rank for: 121,000

    Key statistics for Shopify's free tools page, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What it does well

    When it comes to content marketing, Shopify has gone the whole hog. It’s invested in almost every type of content marketing: blogs, podcasts, free courses, free guides, and more.

    The different types of content marketing Shopify has invested in

    But I want to drill down into one aspect of its content marketing: free tools. Shopify offers over 20 free tools:

    A sample of the free tools offered by Shopify

    These tools have two things in common. First, they solve problems for budding entrepreneurs. For example, you’ll need a business name for your new company. Shopify solves that by offering a free tool to do that:

    Shopify's business name generator tool

    Ahrefs also have a free business name generator to help solve this problem.

    Second, these queries have thousands of monthly searches on Google. For example, the term “business name generator” gets 81,000 monthly searches in the U.S.:

    Search volume for "business name generator", via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    That’s why its tools page—and each individual tool—is getting hundreds of thousands of search visits:

    Key statistics for Shopify's business name generator tool

    How to replicate its success

    Tools are content too. Consider creating a free tool if you have the ability or resources. This is especially applicable if you’re a software company.

    However, don’t just create any free tool. Create those your potential customers are searching for. 

    Here’s how to find them. You can:

    1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.
    2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry (e.g., if you have a real estate website, these might be mortgage, rent, and down payment).
    3. Go to the Matching terms report.
    4. In the Include filter, add words like calculator, tool, tools, and, checker.
    5. Choose Any word and click Apply.
    The Matching terms report with tool-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    Look through the list to see if there are any relevant tools you can create.

    Make sure you review the top-ranking results to see if you can “beat” them. Ask yourself:

    • What’s good about them?
    • How could they be improved?

    When you’ve created your free tool, know that you’ll likely have to acquire links to rank. There are many ways to do this, but the best starting point for tools is to use the Skyscraper Technique. 

    Read this post or watch the video below to learn more:

    Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset that allows you to research your competitors, study what your customers are searching for, optimize your website, and more.

    Ahrefs blog

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 33,400

    Estimated organic traffic: 645,000

    Number of keywords the blog ranks for: 107,000

    Key statistics for Ahrefs blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What we do well

    Our content strategy is simple. We target topics that have:

    1. Search traffic potential – Topics that our potential customers are searching for on Google.
    2. Business potential – Topics where we can pitch our product.
    3. Ranking potential – Topics where we can rank in the top three with our current resources.
    The best keyword strategies prioritize keywords with traffic, business, and ranking potential

    Doing this consistently allows us to rank high for keywords that are relevant to our customers and pitch our product as the best solution to those problems. 

    This no-frills SEO content strategy has helped grow our annual recurring revenue (ARR) consistently over the years.

    How to replicate our success

    Use the same process in example #1 to find keywords with search traffic potential:

    1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
    2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry
    3. Go to the Matching terms report
    4. Filter for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP)
    Matching terms report with Traffic potential filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    Eyeball the list and note down all relevant keywords. 

    From there, you’ll want to assign a “business potential” score to each keyword. Here’s the cheat sheet we use at Ahrefs:

    Business potential chart

    You’ll also want to give each keyword a “ranking potential” score. We can check each keyword’s ranking difficulty by scrolling to the SERP overview section and analyzing the metrics shown for the current top-ranking pages.

    SERP Overview for "how to grind coffee beans", via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    What should you look out for? There are many factors involved in assessing ranking difficulty. But broadly speaking, you’ll want to pay attention to:

    • Quantity and quality of backlinks – Links are a Google ranking factor. So the more high-quality backlinks the current top-ranking pages have, the harder it’ll be to compete. Check the Domains column to see how many websites are linking to each top-ranking page. To understand link quality, click on the number in the Backlinks column and review each page’s backlink profile
    • Website authority – You can use a proxy metric like Domain Rating (DR) to gauge a site’s authority. If the DR scores of the top-ranking pages are all higher than yours, you may want to prioritize other keywords.
    • Search intentSearch intent is the why behind the query. You’ll want to make sure you’re able to fulfill the search intent for the keywords you want to target.
    • Content quality – Can you beat the top-ranking pages on content quality? This is subjective. But if the #1 ranking page reviewed 47 air purifiers for its blog post, can you do the same or more?

    To go in-depth about how to assess ranking difficulty, I highly recommend reading our keyword difficulty guide.

    After reviewing the keywords for the four attributes, give them a “ranking potential” score:

    How to score a keyword's ranking potential

    Learn more: How to Create an SEO Content Strategy (Follow the Ahrefs’ Framework)

    Slidebean is a pitch deck design platform for startups and small businesses.

    Slidebean's YouTube channel

    Key stats

    Number of YouTube subscribers: 401,000

    Total views: 27,325,552

    What it does well

    I reached out to Slidebean’s CEO, Caya, to find out more. From what he told me, the platform’s approach is twofold.

    First, it started with a recurring video series known as Startups 101. For this series, it mainly targeted startup-related keywords on YouTube.

    Slidebean's playlist for Startups 101

    However, it exhausted its list of topics in about a year. This was when it decided to move up the marketing funnel into TOFU-related topics.

    Since we had found a “YouTube formula,” we decided to apply it to other kinds of content, and one of them was this idea of exploring failed companies. The first one was WeWork, which was just the right bridge between a startup-focused company and a widely known brand. At this stage, the series was called “Startup Forensics.”

    However, there were only so many tech startups to explore, so we quickly opened that up to “Company Forensics” to broaden our horizons. 

    Jose Cayasso
    Jose Cayasso, CEO Slidebean
    Slidebean's Company Forensics series

    Slidebean’s goal was to get as many eyeballs as possible. Thanks to the mere exposure effect, people would think of Slidebean in the future if they were ever looking for pitch deck software. 

    How to replicate its success

    Predicting what kind of videos will take off on YouTube is difficult. You could launch a well-produced, expensive, and entertaining video to crickets. 

    That’s why Caya started his YouTube journey by initially targeting topics his target audience was searching for. Only when he built an audience did he move to other types of content. 

    Here’s how to find topics people are searching for on YouTube:

    1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
    2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry
    3. Select YouTube in the search engine dropdown
    4. Go to the Matching terms report
    Matching terms report for YouTube, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    Go through the list to find relevant keywords for your YouTube channel. 

    Then, watch this video to learn how to create videos that will rank on YouTube:

    Founded in 2014 by Laura Roeder, MeetEdgar is a social media automation tool.

    MeetEdgar's homepage

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 7,300

    Number of backlinks: 40,300

    Key stats for MeetEdgar, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What it does well

    Appearing on podcasts helped MeetEdgar grow into a thriving business. From 2014 to 2017, founder Laura Roeder appeared on an estimated 100 podcasts.

    A podcast interview where Laura Roeder, the founder of MeetEdgar, was the guest

    According to Jen Carvey, a former employee, this strategy helped MeetEdgar reach 1.25 million website visitors, 100,000 email subscribers, and $329,000+ monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

    How to replicate its success

    There are more than 850,000 active podcasts today. Plenty of them will need guests. So if you can find podcasts with your target audience, you can appear on them. Not only will you generate brand awareness, but you can also get links back to your site.

    The easiest way to find podcasts to appear on is to simply search for “best [niche] podcasts”:

    SERPs for "best investing podcasts"

    Keep in mind that many of them will be popular podcasts that can be challenging to pitch for. So if you’re starting out, try this method:

    1. Find a prolific podcast guest in your industry (e.g., Laura Roeder)
    2. Enter their website into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer (set it to Exact URL)
    3. Go to the Backlinks report
    4. Filter for results with “episode” in the Referring page title
    Backlinks report for MeetEdgar, filtered for Laura Roeder, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    Once you’ve gathered a list of potential podcasts, find the emails of the hosts and reach out to see if they’re willing to interview you. 

    Learn more: How to Use Podcasts for Link Building 

    First Round Capital is a seed-stage venture capital (VC) firm.

    First Round's The Review

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 9,900

    Estimated total visits: 368,900

    Estimated organic traffic: 43,500

    Newsletter subscribers: 127,000

    Key stats for First Round Review, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What it does well

    At the time, most VC firms were either blogging about market trends or opinion pieces from their partners. First Round decided to position itself differently and focused on writing stories about the operator side (i.e., startups).

    With a portfolio of startups it had already invested in, First Round was in a unique position to interview and tell never-seen-before stories.

    This was perfect for attracting its target audience too. New or potential founders aren’t interested in market trends; they want content that solves real problems—product development, hiring, marketing, and so on.

    How to replicate its success

    Camille Ricketts, the ex-editor of First Round Review, started by asking: 

    “What is the number one thing that all of these early-stage founders want?”

    Her answer? To be able to go to coffee with somebody who has done the thing they’re trying to do. That was how The Review was born: a magazine-style blog of “coffee meetups at scale.”

    Before you create any content, make sure you know exactly who you’re targeting and what problems they’re facing. If you haven’t created your buyer personas yet, follow this guide on how to do it.

    Learn more: Why You Shouldn’t Try to Be the First Round Review: 3 Content Lessons From Camille Ricketts

    Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting provider.

    Kinsta's blog

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 15,900

    Estimated organic traffic: 1,600,000

    Number of keywords the blog ranks for: 330,000

    Key stats for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What it does well

    Like us, Kinsta follows a keyword-driven content strategy. However, what makes its approach unique is what SEO Glen Allsopp calls “error message marketing.”

    Here’s the gist of how it works:

    1. You’ll inadvertently face issues when doing something technical or using a technical tool.
    2. You’ll probably Google how to solve it.
    3. Kinsta specifically targets those keywords.

    This way, Kinsta builds brand awareness among its target audience—developers, webmasters, site owners, etc.—people who basically fix such technical issues regularly.

    Top pages for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    How to replicate its success

    If there are tools regularly used by people in your niche, determine what problems their users have and target those topics.

    For example, let’s say you’re a U.K.-based company that targets boiler engineers. Here’s how to find these topics:

    1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
    2. Enter the names of tools/products your niche uses (e.g., Intergas, Vaillant, Vokera, Worcester Bosch)
    3. Go to the Matching terms report
    4. In the Include filter, add words like fault, error, code
    5. Choose Any word and click Apply
    Matching terms report with error-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    Eyeball the list and find those topics that are relevant to your site. 

    YouGov is a market research and data analytics firm. It provides a few services, including custom data and research, audience profiling, segmentation, and brand tracking.

    YouGov's blog

    Key stats

    Number of referring domains: 29,900

    Estimated organic traffic: 497,000

    Number of keywords the tools rank for: 175,000

    Key stats for YouGov's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    What it does well

    YouGov makes money by providing custom data and research. Therefore, its marketing strategy aims to achieve two main objectives:

    1. Build brand awareness among companies who may need its services
    2. Show that it has high-quality data

    YouGov achieves this by publishing content using data on “hot topics.” These articles then get linked to by trusted news organizations like the Guardian, L.A. Times, and The New York Times that are looking for data to support their conclusions:

    Links to YouGov, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    How to replicate its success

    The key idea is to use data to create interesting articles or answer interesting questions in your niche. 

    If you’re part of the industry, chances are you already know what those questions are. For example, in the SEO industry, many people wonder about how long it’ll take to rank on Google. However, the answers were always based on conjecture and not data. 

    So we attempted to study this objectively with data. The result? 4,000 backlinks from 2,200 unique websites.

    Stats for our blog post on how long it takes to rank on Google, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    If you’re out of ideas, you can try to recreate popular but outdated studies. Here’s how to find them:

    1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
    2. Enter a search term like [industry] + “study,” [industry] + “survey,” [industry] + “research,” or [industry] + “data”
    3. Set the filter to an In title search
    4. Set the Published filter to an older date range (e.g., 2010–2015)
    5. Sort the results by referring domains
    Finding outdated but popular studies, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

    Once you’re done with the study, you’ll need to reach out and introduce it to people who may be interested. Follow our blogger outreach guide to learn how to do it. 

    Learn more: Blogger Outreach: How to Do It At Scale (Without Feeling Like a Jerk)

    Final thoughts

    As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. Depending on your goals, there are a variety of strategies you can use for maximum effectiveness.

    If you’re just getting started with content marketing, I recommend reading this comprehensive guide.

    Did I miss out on any amazing B2B content marketing examples? Let me know on Twitter.

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