Creating 10x Content for the B2B Sector

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.

Michael Horrocks By Michael Horrocks from MVF. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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.

Hubspot's YouTube channel

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.

Dreamforce conference

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!

Trello's Roadmap

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.

Michael Horrocks

Written by Michael Horrocks

Head of B2B SEO & Publishing, MVF

Michael is Head of B2B SEO and Publishing for MVF. He has six years experience in SEO and content marketing and has worked on a wide range of brands in this time.

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