Creating 10x content for the B2B sector is hard. This article introduces the concept and includes examples of some of the best pieces of B2B content marketing for each of its key themes. I have also included some actionable tips along the way to help you create better B2B content.
What is 10x Content?
There is a good chance you are already familiar with the concept of 10x content. Ever since Moz CEO Rand Fishkin introduced SEOs and content marketers to the term in his Whiteboard Friday video, “Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die,” it has become a popular concept in the industry.
Simply put: As the name implies, 10x content is content that is ten times better than anything else in the SERPs.
Fishkin has put together a list that outlines the criteria for 10x content in more detail and includes links to some of the best examples he has seen.
10x content must do at least one of the following to an incredible standard:
- Offer a great user experience on all devices
- Solve a problem or answer a question
- Provoke an emotional response
- Be interesting, trustworthy or remarkable
- Be huge in scope
- Be presented in a unique format
What about B2B?
When looking at the examples on Fishkin’s list of great 10X content, you will notice there are not many examples from the B2B sector.
And it’s not just this list. I’ve read many great posts on the topic over the last two years, but most exclusively draw examples from B2C. This could suggest that perhaps B2B marketers suffer from a lack of ambition, or perhaps the principles of 10x content are not as relevant to B2B, but I don’t believe this is true.
When you look at the principles of 10x content noted by Fishkin, all are applicable to a B2B audience. Certainly it is harder to create this content for B2B and there are definitely fewer top-tier publishers interested in the topic, but there is still room for great content to be created within B2B’s more narrow confines.
The other reason behind B2B’s perceived lack of great content is that even when it is there, it is harder to find. Inevitably, it has less reach than B2C content and that makes it difficult to track down even if someone wants to highlight it.
This is why I’ve decided to list some of the best examples of B2B content I have seen below.
I’ve split these examples up according to the 10x themes listed above and have also included some tips that we use to help raise the standard of our own B2B content.
We certainly haven’t perfected 10x content creation for B2B, but these examples and tips are helping us get closer. Hopefully they will be useful for you, too.
B2B 10x Examples and Actionable Tips
10x Content that Solves a Problem or Answers a Question
Lots of B2B brands actually do this very well already, but an example that has inspired our team is the HubSpot YouTube channel. It is full of expert tutorials and Q&As that are both useful and engaging.
In fact, the majority of the content Hubspot creates for its marketing and sales blogs is to answer questions and solve problems. It is arguably the top-performing brand when it comes to creating 10x B2B content.
As the cornerstone of SEO, keyword research is fundamental to finding out what these problems are so you can create great content to answer them. There are obvious tools for doing this, such as SEMrush and Google’s Keyword Planner, but a tip you might find useful is to search for questions on Linkedin and Quora. We have found both of these to be great sources for B2B content ideas.
10x Content that has a Great UX on All Devices
User experience is something that is often overlooked in B2B marketing. Lots of the best content B2B brands create is not accessible online, which is crazy! Great whitepapers, reports and statistics are frequently hidden in download links, which makes the content much less sharable.
General Electric has a good approach with its reports website. Everything is published in the most accessible and shareable format. It is usually a simple article, but is also often a YouTube video or an infographic. To offer great UX, you do not have to build a complicated interactive tool for every piece of content you create. Often the exact opposite is true.
The most important actionable tip to deliver great UX is to pay close attention to page load speed on all devices. Images are often the biggest cause for slow-loading pages. The good news is this is the easiest thing to fix. Make sure you run all images through a compression tool and optimise for different screen resolutions to deliver the fastest load times across all devices.
10x Content that Delivers an Emotional Response
This is something that’s difficult to get right in B2B, but is no less important.
DreamForce is a conference that is definitely 10x. Arguably, it is thousands of pieces of content rolled into one, but I think it is an interesting example to include because of the atmosphere it creates and the positivity it instills in those who attend.
Obviously there are not many businesses who can put together something on a scale to rival DreamForce, but a tip here is to find a cause you feel passionately about and align your brand to it.
As an example, one of our brands, Expert Market, creates a lot of content around the gender pay gap. This is a good topic for us because everyone that works on the brand feels strongly that it is wrong and wants to raise awareness to help close it.
Our most recent study analysed which countries and industries are closing the gender pay gap fastest in Europe. Because the person who researched and created the piece is passionate about the topic, the finished product is of a very high standard and has generated a lot of interest and discussion.
Passion and knowledge of a topic also helps with the outreach process. This is why our gender pay gap studies are frequently picked up by some of the biggest publishers in Europe and the US.
10x Content that is Interesting, Trustworthy or Remarkable
Trust and transparency are very important for all brands. There has been a real shift in B2B over the last few years that has seen many brands become more open about the exact nature of the services offered and the associated cost.
A great example of a piece of content that is interesting, trustworthy and remarkable is Trello’s roadmap. It is accessible to everyone and has also been built using the company’s own product. Brilliant content marketing!
My actionable tip here is simple: If you’re creating content about a product or service you offer, give a clear breakdown of all price information if possible. There are still many brands that don’t do this and it is much more common in B2B than B2C. This is something that’s needed to reach the minimum standard of what is needed to rank in 2017. Any product or service content that doesn’t do this will never be 10x.
10x Content that is Huge in Scope
As already mentioned, creating content that covers a huge scope is one of the biggest challenges for B2B. The example I usually point people towards is the Guardian’s analysis of 70 million comments, but a lot of B2B companies do not have access to interesting data on this scale.
Original research like this is a fantastic tool for creating B2B content, but it is more important to target the right people than to focus on the size of the study. PWC’s 2017 survey of 1,379 CEOs may not be the largest piece of research ever conducted, but because it focuses on the right people, the data is highly valuable and offers a huge scope in its own way.
Moz’s survey to determine organic ranking factors is legendary within the search space, even though it typically only involves 150 SEOs. So the tip here is to focus on targeting the right people rather than the most people when conducting research.
10x Content that is Unique in Format
Unique doesn’t mean complicated. I love this example from FROONT. The GIFs they’ve used to illustrate the basic principles of responsive web design are so simple, but extremely effective and are still the best way I have seen this topic explained.
This would be my tip here, too. Don’t overcomplicate the format for the sake of things. Recently, we’ve found that going back to basics on the visualization with a map, bar graph or even a simple data table has been more successful than when we’ve overcomplicated things with an interactive infographic that actually makes the content more difficult to understand.
Hopefully the above examples and tips help you with your own B2B content marketing efforts. At MVF, we have built the 10x concept into the values of our content team and it has changed the way we approach our work. We are not using it as an end goal, as even when we do manage to start producing 10x content on a regular basis, we will still need to constantly challenge ourselves to make it better.