It’s one thing to say you’re all in on this content marketing thing. It’s something else to actually start doing it. Which naturally leads to the question, “How does one do content marketing?”

We’re not talking high-level strategy here. We’re talking about the nuts and bolts of an actual, usable B2B content marketing plan.

These are 5 specific suggestions for ways you can start content marketing right now.

Build up an engaging story first to bring people in—sell the product later

Everyone loves a good story.

Nothing imbibed the spirit of Apple computers back in the 1980s more than their incredible TV advertisement that parodied the classic film 1984. Within a matter of seconds, they drove their brand message deep into the minds of everyone who saw that ad. It gave a clear idea of how they wanted to change the world with their products.

While they presented this advertisement to both consumers and businesses at the time, it was especially relevant to businesses because it focused more on long-term relationship building and the potential of the company as a whole.

The power of this particular B2B content-marketing tactic is exceptional when you execute it well. After releasing this ad, Apple sold 72,000 computers in 100 days—twice as many as expected, according to Forbes.

First, tell the story the best way you can. It’s easy to sell your business within the content later.

Start by offering your strongest problem-solving product first—then show how it fits into their long-term business model strategy

Today, your goal is to make a sale. However, you have to give your clients a reason to keep coming back for more added value from your company in the long run.

While your business relationship must begin with one concrete, valuable offering, don’t leave it at that. Demonstrate the potential of your business by presenting your prospective partners with a list of all the possible applications for your goods and services—including those that are still in development—so that they have more to anticipate from you as your business relationship grows in the future.

For example, our ability to craft content and mind-blowing designs has given us a global reach. But we still developed Honey, the first CRM just for MSPs, and we were excitedly telling people about it well before it was ready for general release.

As a result, people were ready when the official release hit.

Collaborate to share your content while building your online exposure

It is hard to prove yourself as an authority online when you don’t have the obvious backing of others. Which is why it’s super helpful to find people who agree that your content is valuable enough to publish on their own websites to build credibility.

Guest posts and other collaborations are key B2B content-marketing tactics. Make your collaborations more creative and engaging with educational webinars. Studies show webinars effectively generate new leads.

When you work with others in your industry to publish useful content on multiple websites with, you’ll instantly extend your own reach to a wider audience. (For example, check out #5 in this article. That’s our CEO.)

And don’t forget to use engaging images, infographics, webcasts, podcasts and videos. Adding videos to your content has helped companies achieve 49 percent faster revenue growth than their competitors who didn’t use videos.

Create a content checklist to evaluate your material

Never assume your content marketing is working without assessing it from time to time. When you assess it, wrestle with the following questions:

  • Does this content include value in and of itself so that even someone not buying your product would want to read it?
  • Does this content directly address the specific needs of a smaller, focused market of the companies most likely to work with your company?
  • Does this content create long term value for the reader?
  • Does this content demonstrate your expertise in your field and prove the added efficiency you’re offering to your business partners?

Be the company who listens

In today’s digital age, everyone has something to say but very few make the time to listen.

You can bridge that gap through webinars that directly address their questions or by replying sincerely to people with the information they want to hear. That includes addressing their real concerns in everything from online articles to social media posts.

Always respond in a personal way, giving back based on what your audience really needs to know. That non-self-centered approach will make you stand out.

If you’re looking for a solid example of this, we’ve got one. No one knows more about listening to others well than Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah built her empire around “speaking to people about their struggles and the most vulnerable times in their lives . . . to build a community.” When you find ways to show your clients that you care about their real pain points like that, that takes the B2B relationship to a whole new level.

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