Put on your marketing hat for a moment and consider the following: What’s the difference between a content intelligence platform like Knotch and a bottle of shampoo?
Aside from the obvious differences, the answer is that each product is designed to appeal to a different customer. Knotch is used by enterprise brands to plan, measure, and optimize their content marketing strategy.
Shampoo is used by...well, anyone who wants to have clean hair.
Even still, you can generate brand awareness for each product using the same exact strategy: content marketing.
When Knotch uses content marketing to engage with our audience, it’s called B2B (business-to-business) content marketing because our target audience isn’t any single individual—it’s marketing teams at Fortune 500 brands.
But if you were to create content to sell your shampoo, it would be called B2C (business-to-consumer) content marketing because you’re appealing to any individual concerned with maintaining clean and healthy hair.
While B2B and B2C content marketing share many similarities, there are some key differences that come with creating B2C content. In this guide to B2C content marketing, we’re going to explain what those differences are, and teach you how to create your own B2C content marketing strategy.
Let’s get started.
What is B2C Content Marketing?
At the risk of sounding redundant, B2C content marketing is creating content that promotes your products and services and is designed to appeal to a broad segment of consumers who may be interested in purchasing said products and services.
To illustrate what this looks like, let’s provide you with an example of a skincare and makeup brand that excels at B2C content marketing.
B2C Content Marketing Example: Glossier
Glossier does B2C content marketing so well that we featured them in our guide to the best content marketing brands of 2020. The content on the Glossier blog—titled “Into The Gloss”—is targeted at women seeking beauty and skincare advice.
What you’ll notice first when landing on their homepage is that none of their articles directly promote their products. Instead, Glossier focuses on creating engaging content that their potential consumers might actually want to read. Here are a few headlines from some recent Glossier blog posts:
- Inside a Dermatologist’s Beauty Routine
- “Glow Up” Is The Reality Show You Didn’t Know You Needed
- The Makeup Artist Turned Peloton Instructor Who Spins In Red Lipstick
These headlines indicate that Into The Gloss is more of a lifestyle publication in the spirit of Refinery29 or Cosmopolitan than it is a Glossier product plug. Not only does it feature tips and recommendations, but much of the content is also fun to read and highly shareable.
By being helpful and entertaining, Into The Gloss helps Glossier form a bond with consumers. While it may not turn them into customers right away, the blog fosters brand recall and affinity, making it more likely that readers will seek out Glossier products in the future.
What the Glossier blog showcases is how a brand can drive sales through B2C content marketing that taps into their audience’s interests without being overtly sales-y.
Keep Into The Gloss in mind as we lay out how to create a winning B2C content marketing strategy.
B2B vs. B2C Content Marketing: Key Differences
While the end of goal of B2B and B2C content marketing is the same (conversions)—the approaches are very different. To understand why, it helps to look at some of the differences between B2B and B2C sales:
- Decision-makers: B2B customers need buy-in from multiple stakeholders before deciding whether or not to purchase a product or service. A B2C buyer usually makes a decision on their own or only consults friends and family.
- Motivation: A B2B buyer is thinking about what value your product or service can provide to their business. They are motivated by ROI and data that proves your product’s effectiveness. A B2C buyer, on the other hand, is thinking more about the value your product or service could provide to their life personally. Their decision may be driven by rational thought, or it could be driven by emotion.
- Location: Most businesses are located in cities and the surrounding metropolitan area. Consumers, of course, can be located anywhere in the world.
- Sales cycles: B2B sales usually come with a longer-decision making process because price points are high and you need buy-in from multiple stakeholders. B2C sales cycles are much shorter because there’s only one decision maker involved in the process, and consumer products are generally cheaper than B2B products.
- Personas: A B2B buyer persona is highly defined. B2B content marketers usually understand the job title, responsibilities, and concerns of their readers. There are typically more personas for a B2C product because there are more consumers than businesses.
These differences need to be accounted for in your B2C content marketing strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Content format: Certain types of content, like blog posts and social media posts, work well with both B2B and B2C audiences. But you wouldn’t create an ebook or whitepaper to promote your product or service to a B2C audience. You’d instead focus on more fun and engaging content that prioritizes storytelling and relatability.
- Timing: A lot of B2B content is evergreen so that it will serve as a continuous resource while also increasing the likelihood of ranking in Google. While some B2C content can be evergreen, buying habits change more frequently in the B2C sector. This means B2C content needs to be more “of the moment” in order to resonate with consumers.
- Segmentation: More personas means more content targeted at each persona. B2C content marketers need to be able to segment all of their potential customers and understand what kind of content engages them.
- Emotion: As previously mentioned, some B2C buyers are motivated by emotion. This means content that captures their attention and entertains, surprises, or delights them can create a positive association with your brand.
“The biggest difference between a B2B and B2C content marketing strategy is the buyer's reason for purchasing. With a B2C, not only are you focusing on the value you can provide to the buyer, but you should also focus on relating to your buyer on an emotional level. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product when the marketing strikes an emotion within the buyer.” — Katie Fellenz, Head of Marketing, Trust & Will.
How to Create a B2C Content Marketing Strategy
Your B2C content marketing strategy should be focused on driving leads and sales. Doing that requires creating emotionally resonant content that appeals to your target audience’s interests and motivations.
But before you can do that, you need to figure out exactly who your audience is.
Step 1: Define Your Audience
As we mentioned before, B2C products have many different potential buyers. For instance, if you were selling shampoo, you would need to account for men, women, children, the elderly etc. when creating your content. And it’d be hard to create one piece of content that appeals to all of them.
Even if you narrow down your target audience to just men between the ages of 18-40, you still need to think about different demographics, hairstyles, and interests when figuring out what kinds of content to create.
This segmentation should be your first step in creating your B2C content marketing strategy. Determine who your ideal buyers are of your product or service, then segment them into different personas to make it easier to create highly targeted content.
You can formulate your buyer personas using the following techniques:
- Customer interviews
- Sales feedback
- Market research
Once you have a few different personas, learn more about them so that you can understand what types of content would interest them. Consider where they live, how much disposable income they have, how they spend their leisure time, how they seek out information, and whatever else might be relevant from a marketing perspective.
Overall, you should know what problems your consumer has, what results they are trying to achieve, what actions they are willing to take, and how they determine success.
Once you have a solid understanding of each buyer persona, create a buyer journey for them. A buyer journey is the path your customer takes—from awareness, to consideration, to decision—after encountering your brand. If you map out what happens from a content perspective at each stage of the buyer journey, you maximize your chances of having a lead convert.
For a B2C content campaign, a buyer journey may start with a blog post, followed by an email newsletter, a free trial/subscription, and finally a sale.
Step 2: Develop a Content Calendar
Once you know who you’re creating content for, you can begin the process of compiling content ideas into a calendar. With B2B content marketing, you would do this by performing keyword research—analyzing keywords used in Google Search related to your product or service for popularity.
You can perform keyword research for B2C content marketing as well—but we’d caution not to rely too heavily on it. That’s because popular keywords are typically, broad, introductory level topics that oftentimes don’t align with what your target audience cares about.
For instance, if you are a florist, there’s not a lot of value in ranking highly for the keyword “flowers.” Why? Because it doesn’t match searcher intent. There could be any number of reasons people are Googling the term “flowers.” Chances are only a fraction of those searchers are interested in buying flowers from your business.
Therefore, if you’re going to do keyword research, focus on keywords that are pain point-based and demonstrate that the searcher is interested in making a purchase (i.e. “best flower shops in fort lauderdale”). Ideally you want to find a keyword with a lack of quality content around it. If the keyword has high search volume—even better!
Alternatively, you can create content based topics that are of-the-moment. Remember In The Gloss’s blog post on the TV show “Glow Up”? This is a good example of creating engaging content that may not have high search volume but speaks to your customers’ interests. Check what’s trending on social media, or a hot item in the news, and consider an original way your brand can become part of the conversation in a way that isn’t opportunistic (here’s an infamous example of what not to do courtesy of Cinnabon):
This combination of pain point-based keywords and timely information should form the basis of your content calendar. And remember that, regardless of the subject, your content should have some sort of tie-in to your product.
Also keep publishing cadence in mind. With B2B content marketing, you can get away with publishing only 1-2 pieces of content a week. But B2C audiences are always hungry for new content, so you should consider trying to put out at least one new piece of content every day, if not more.
From there, it’s all about creating content that delights your audience and leads to conversions.
Step 3: Grab Your Audience’s Attention
It’s hard enough to grab the attention of a B2B audience. A B2C audience is even larger, and there’s an endless amount of content on the web for them to choose from.
The best way to grab their attention from the jump is to craft a headline that directly addresses their concern or makes it irresistible for them to click. In journalism we call these types of headlines “clickbait.” But in content marketing we’re not trying to promote some listicle or photo slideshow—our goal is to encourage a user to consider our product or service by serving them with engaging and relevant content.
Keep in mind that, when considering whether or not to make a purchase, 81% of consumers will do online research beforehand. If your headline directly answers their question (i.e. “The Best Portable Speakers of 2020”), there’s a high likelihood that it will grab their attention and entice them to click through to your page.
If you need some inspiration on crafting a catchy headline, reference popular publications like Buzzfeed, Business Insider, and Refinery29. Notice how they use active voice and present tense in their headlines, and offer up tidbits of information that make it difficult not to want to learn more.
The psychology of headlines goes back to what we said about appealing to emotion. Headlines that cause a positive emotional reaction, such as surprise, curiosity, validation, comfort, or reassurance, are very appealing to consumers (of course, when it comes to news content, headlines that cause a negative emotional reaction are also fodder for clicks).
If you’re skeptical, consider some of the headlines you recently clicked on. I’d bet you clicked because they either hinted at a solution to your problem (comfort), said something you didn’t know (surprise), or confirmed something you were already feeling (reassurance).
Step 4: Make The Content About Them
One of the most common missteps I see in content marketing today is content writers creating content for their brand—not their audience. We get caught up in how a piece of content will drive results for the business.
But the truth is, the only content that drives results for the business is content that drives results for consumers. This goes back to what we said about pain point related content.
Every single piece of B2C content must address what your consumers are looking for—be it utility, entertainment, or something else. Keeping that in mind will serve you well.
So, what types of content are good for a B2C audience? Here are a few approaches we recommend:
- Blog content with a healthy mix of advice content and entertainment.
- Visual content such as infographics and videos.
- Social media contests that encourage users to interact with your brand.
- User-generated content that allows the customer to advocate for your brand in their own words (Into The Gloss does this well).
- Influencer content featuring individuals your audience already follows outside of your brand.
“The key with influencer content is to find appropriate influencers which requires a lot of research online and offline. You want to find someone with a track record of success, stellar reputation, large social media following, who can authentically live your brand values and who is not overexposed.” — Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO, Mavens & Moguls.
The common thread with all of these different types of content is that they are highly shareable and encourage engagement on a personal level with your brand. This goes directly back to making the content about your users.
If they feel the need to share your content with others, it’s because you provided them with value in some way—and they want to pass that value along to others. This is the essence of word-of-mouth marketing, which is considered among the most effective forms of marketing.
It’s important to mention that shareable content can be SEO content if it grabs the attention of the audience and provides them with value. If you’re able to weave SEO elements into a piece of content that users organically want to engage with, you’ve hit the gold standard of B2C content marketing.
Here are a few additional tips when it comes to creating user-centric B2C content:
- Be unique: Don’t say what everyone else is saying. Find a unique angle that speaks to your brand’s values. 69% of users prefer original content to repurposed content, according to Ad Age.
- Use your own voice: Consumers want to be able to relate to the brands they patronize, as this forms a deeper emotional connection. Therefore, it’s important to have a highly defined brand voice that separates your brand from competitors. Consumers should be able to recognize the content you produce by its style and verbiage.
- Tell a story: A great way to form an emotional connection is to tell a story or write narratively. Everyone loves a good story, and it will help consumers relate more closely to your brand.
Step 5: Tie-In Your Product/Solution
You’re probably wondering—how can a piece of content be about the user if you’re promoting your product or service in it?
The answer is—it’s a high wire act. For an effective example, we turn again to Glossier. They recently published an article about eye makeup style recommendations. The piece of content is entirely user focused. But Glossier also deftly weaves in eye makeup options which you can also purchase on their website.
This should be your approach when tying in any product or service to pitch to your B2C content: Make sure it still provides the user with value—and that it’s not blatantly sales-y.
“Nothing turns off readers more than a blog article that's more about shilling the company's products than genuinely solving the search intent. B2C business owners can definitely include a mention of their product line in each piece of content, but I'd recommend limiting it to one.” — Calloway Cook, President, Illuminate Labs
Step 6: Promote Your Content Strategically
No matter how good your content is, it needs to be promoted. It’s the only way users are going to find it in the first place. The name of the game with B2C content promotion is to share your content where your target audience is most likely to see it. Obviously this will differ from business to business, but here are some promotion techniques all brands should have in their arsenal:
- Email newsletter
- Social media
- Online communities
When it comes to social media promotion, the right channel for your brand will differ depending on the type of content you’re sharing. For instance, if you want to share an infographic, you’re likely to see the highest level of engagement on Pinterest. On the other hand, blog posts and videos play better on Facebook, since more people use this channel for entertainment.
We mentioned earlier that content that allows your audience to participate is highly effective in the realm of B2C content marketing. So when promoting your content, ask your audience for feedback, or give them opportunities to get involved. A good example of this is GroPro’s content hub “Inside The Line,” where users of the product submit their videos to GoPro, which then promotes them on their website. Here’s an example:
Of course, GoPro has the distinct advantage of selling a product that is already a content creation machine. But user-generated content is actually possible regardless of your product or service—it just might take a slight nudge from your brand.
Take Dove for instance, They invited non-binary individuals to submit photos for their #ShowUs campaign. With #ShowUs, Dove seeks to increase diversity and provide more authentic photos for use in the media.
Users feel more invested in your brand if they feel like they are getting recognition. This is why user-generated content has been an effective B2C content marketing technique for many brands.
Step 7: Optimize Your Website
When it comes to B2C website optimization, there are two factors to consider: conversions and design. You want to make sure you’re able to generate leads from your excellent B2C content. Therefore you must utilize lead magnets that entice users to take an action like sign up for your newsletter.
From there you can nurture them to the point where they may consider making a purchase with your brand.
On the design side of things, make sure your blog is aesthetically pleasing to look at and incorporates your brand colors. According to KISSmetrics, 85% of consumers say color is a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.
It should also have a sound UX so people can easily scroll your content and take in information. A good technique is to separate your blog into different categories or areas of focus so that users can more easily find the information they’re looking for.
You can use tools like heatmaps and session replay to find ways to optimize your website from a UX and conversion perspective. A platform like Quantum Metric can help here.
You should also keep in mind technical aspects of your website, such as page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and sitemaps, as these will all have an impact on how your website is indexed by Google.
Step 8: Measure Results and Iterate as Needed
A content marketing strategy is a living breathing thing. You’re probably not going to get it right on the first try, which is why you need to carefully track the performance of your B2C content so that you can identify weaknesses and refine your approach.
Here are some key metrics you should track to measure the success of your B2C content marketing:
- Page views
- Social mentions
- Time on page
- Bounce rate
- Product reviews
- Scroll depth
- Click-through rate
- SEO ranking
Of course, this is where Knotch can help B2C content creators. Our Content Intelligence Platform, Knotch Measurement, analyzes all of the key quantitative and qualitative metrics related to your B2C content marketing. Using Knotch, you can pinpoint user sentiment towards your content, and uncover areas of improvement.
It’s a handy tool for any B2C content creator.
Additional B2C Content Marketing Tips
There is no one way to produce excellent B2C content, which is why we reached out to some other B2C content marketers to ask them for advice on how they approach B2C content marketing.
Here’s what they had to say:
Use Purposeful Language
“It’s important to remember when writing for B2C marketing that it is not about what you can write, with the biggest and best words, but rather writing how you can say it in a language that is purposeful, enticing, and understandable for your specific audience. This could involve using more serious language if you were writing for a funeral director, or introducing more current slang for something focused on youth culture. There are endless potential streams of different types of content writing, and successfully delivering good B2C content marketing is about finding the stream that best fits with your audience.” — Daniel Foley, Director, Assertive Media
Make It Simple
“For B2C content to be effective, you have to communicate without using insider jargon or slang most customers wouldn’t care to understand. One of the best practices for B2C content writing is to simplify. If this is hard to define, there are free online tools that will help grade your content. A common best practice is to try and get your Flesch-Kincaid score over 60 (8th grade reading level).” — Kevin Pike, President, Rank Fuse Digital Media
Pick the Right Platforms
“Pick one or two platforms that are authentic to the brand you have built. Whether your brand is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, picking the appropriate platform is the best way for your brand’s personality to come through. You don’t need to be on all social media platforms, but make sure you are active on the ones where you are.” — Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO, Mavens & Moguls
B2C Content Marketing: Putting it All Together
We hope this guide to B2C content marketing can help you get started with formulating your own B2C content marketing strategy. And of course, if you need to see if your B2C content marketing efforts are working, you can sign up for a free demo of the Knotch Content Intelligence platform.