Inaccurate, packed with “filler,” or completely AI-generated — bad B2B (business-to-business) content is easy to spot and even easier to find online. According to one study, it also costs over $50 billion annually due to wasted resources alone. But what makes B2B content good?
Tough question. With Google promising to prioritize “helpful content” going into 2024 and studies showing that as little as 5 percent of all content assets generate 90 percent of customer engagement, helpful, engaging B2B content is a north star B2B marketing teams must strive for.
Every seasoned B2B marketer has their own idea of what good content looks like — I know I do — but to get a broader sense of what separates good from bad, I wanted to ask around.
I spoke to leading B2B content marketers (an in-house content director, agency owners, top freelancers, and thought leaders) to find out what they think B2B brands can do to create good content in 2024.
This article includes their advice for any B2B brand looking to get real results from content marketing, plus nine must-haves for B2B content to be considered good.
1. Good B2B content puts the audience front and center
According to Morgan Short, Director of Content and Web Strategy at Vendavo, the first step to creating good B2B content is to “get relentlessly obsessed with your audience.”
Short thinks brands need to spend more time and resources understanding their audience.
To really get to know your customers, Short suggests that brands “survey them. Interview them. Learn their language. Listen intently. Identify what keeps them up at night.”
Her favorite example of a B2B brand putting this mantra into practice is the payments infrastructure provider Paddle and their content marketing project Paddle Studios.
“When you land on the Paddle Studios homepage, you’re welcomed with a Netflix-esque streaming service vibe. They actually produced an entire documentary called “We Sign Tomorrow,” detailing their acquisition of ProfitWell. [They also have] podcasts like “Protect the Hustle,” all about B2B SaaS growth strategies, and web series like “Churning Point,” diving into how SaaS companies retain their customers.”
Short celebrates Paddle Studios as a “content engine of shows, web series, podcasts, and guides that are purpose-built for their exact audience – SaaS companies.”
2. Good B2B content gets to the point quickly
According to Stephanie Trovato, a freelance B2B writer for well-known B2B companies, including Oracle, ADP, and Gartner, making good B2B content comes down to “reducing the noise.”
She advises marketers to “get to the point” and notes that “people don’t need to be wined and dined via content, just give them what they came for. Once people are in your content, give them something different.”
Among her favorite recent content examples is a sales multithreading playbook from Lavender that gives you the why, why, and how to without burying the lede. Instead of a typical “SEO-style” introduction that over-explains the topic, Lavender’s blog gets straight to the point of explaining tactical plays sales teams can use.
3. Good B2B content leans on expert insights and original perspectives
Rosanna Campbell (a freelance B2B SaaS content writer who has worked with brands like Monday.com and Beam Content) says that “Good B2B content contains an original perspective, [and is] backed up by real-world expertise and thorough research.”
She likes the “Grow and Tell” podcast by the B2B sales, onboarding, and renewals workspace provider Dock.
Campbell loves the brand’s focus on “really in-depth conversations on exactly how true sales experts do what they do, with tons of specific insights, good punchy conversations led by the Dock CEO, and no marketing puffery.”
B2B brands can follow Dock’s lead by reaching out to their customers and internal teams to find experts who might want to showcase their points of view.
4. Good B2B content builds a unique brand voice
Rachael Pilcher, a freelance B2B SaaS conversion copywriter, thinks great B2B content has a unique brand voice.
According to Pilcher, modern brands can learn from earlier content leaders like Mailchimp, whose content marketing had a unique style and focused on inspiring content relatable for small business owners.
She says, “I’d love to see more of a unique brand voice coming through in B2B company content instead of every company sounding the same.”
5. Good B2B content uses plenty of examples
Bani Kaur, a B2B SaaS writer for brands like Klaviyo and Hotjar, agrees that good B2B content talks at the level of their audience, gets to the point quickly, and advises that B2B brands use plenty of examples.
“It’s always easier to state and emphasize a point with examples, and good content does exactly that,” she says.
Kaur thinks that this blog post by Klaviyo incorporates all three best practices.
6. Good B2B content considers formatting, too
Amanda Cross, Content Marketing Manager at Nectar, wants to remind marketers to spare a thought for what their B2B content looks like on the (web) page.
She thinks it’s critical to remember that when writing content for B2B, you aren’t writing for a nameless, faceless corporation but real people. “Depending on your industry, these people may have different characteristics, but all people want organized content that’s easy to understand.”
For Cross, good B2B content is easy on the eyes.
“I’m a big believer in using lots of headers, paragraphs, and bulleted lists. I am also careful of the jargon and language/slang I use in my content. I want to make it easy for the reader to get something valuable from the article they read. If you think about your article from a reader’s perspective and adjust accordingly, you’re taking the necessary steps to create good B2B content.”
She points to a recent Nectarhr blog as an example of well-structured content.
7. Good B2B content offers something truly new
Sarah Greesonbach, founder of the B2B Writing Institute and owner of the B2B Content Studio, feels that content marketers in the B2B space need to start approaching content like a journalist would.
She says original research and thinking are “a pairing that will only continue to grow in the next few years in B2B marketing” and will help brands stand out in a sea of LLM-generated content.
“AI-developed content can’t touch it [original research] on quality and value for a B2B audience,” she says.
Greesonbach’s favorite recent example is the free email course for Bessemer Venture Partners called “Driving SaaS revenue,” created by Sarah Bellstedt and Carina Rampelt at Fenwick, with guidance from Christine Deakers, who runs editorial at Bessemer.
She lauds this content as an example of a B2B brand bringing together the best of journalism and creativity to bring something new into the world.
8. Good B2B content is the audience’s friend
Be your audience’s colleague, not their parent. For Nuni Snowden, content writer at PXP Studios, brand content needs to get on a level with the audience, not above them.
For her, good B2B content “speaks to the audience directly, but like a peer rather than a parent. Good content understands the context of the industry.”
Nuni thinks that HubSpot’s blog posts and Glassdoor’s articles do an excellent job of keeping this in mind. Both brands’ content, she says, helps their audience understand the market without falling into the “boring” trap.
9. Good B2B content has a distribution strategy
You can write, design, or film the best B2B content in the world — but if no one finds it, what’s the point?
This is why, for me, good B2B content is linked to a distribution strategy that goes beyond just pressing “publish.”
Successful B2B brands blur the lines between what happens on their social media, traditional/digital PR, and on-site/SEO content marketing efforts. I think this is a positive trend.
Whether through SEO, third-party syndication, PPC (pay-per-click), or whatever social channels your audience lives on, good B2B content has to be designed to meet customers in the places where they are most likely to be receptive to it.
A brand that does this well in the information security space is DeleteMe. To develop their B2B personal information security offering, they write privacy advice guest posts for specialist publications for groups like police officers and school districts.
Similarly, cybersecurity company Morphisec repurposes technical content aimed at different audiences across their blog, newsletter, and specialist security industry publications.
Quality B2B content matters more than ever
According to Gartner, 80 percent of B2B sales will be primarily digital by 2025. Based on how important content has been for enabling sales so far, doubling down on actually useful and relevant content will help brands win a lot of new business this year and beyond.
Something worth your readers’ time will not be a rehash of the first ten results on Google. The experts agreed that to win with content, B2B marketing teams need to run towards quality.
This means going beyond narrow content research and planning (like focusing primarily on creating content to match competitor keywords) and finding out what an audience will enjoy or find useful, interesting, and insightful.