Using a variety of content marketing formats as a B2B company can help to keep your content fresh and your audience engaged, but which is most effective? While it is not recommended that you only use one content format, it is up for debate as to which one truly brings in the sales.

One of the most common marketing formats for a B2B company is a blog post, whether it is hosted solely on the company’s website or on an alternative site such as LinkedIn, they’re typically highly versatile in subject matter and easy to read.

When relevant content and appropriate keywords are repeated throughout a blog post, they are successful in attracting people to your site, and retaining them. Through consistent posting, audiences are subliminally compelled to view the company as experts in their field, positioning the brand as one they can trust and look to use in the future. However, it could be said that blog posts have become commonplace in marketing to the point of being overused. It may therefore be better to use more personal direct marketing formats such as emails and newsletters that are tailored to their interests.

Arguably, webinars are seen by many as the most effective B2B marketing format due to their ability to engage customers in real-time. Head of Business Development and Marketing at Napier, Hannah Kelly, agrees that they can be “…a very effective way to get in front of the right people with the right information”. She found that, “As a form of video communication, webinars are a format many thought would disappear as the world re-opened after COVID, but we still see a strong rate of subscribers for our webinars and is something I believe B2B marketers continue to see as a valuable source of information”.

Similar to blog posts, feature articles also offer the chance to establish your brand as a dependable one by sharing compelling, often opinionated, insights through these long-form articles. When done well, this format should intrigue audiences and generate discussion about the topic.

In contrast to feature articles in terms of language and content, whitepapers are also effective marketing vehicles. They are authoritative reports that explore complex issues and propose solutions. These are typically even longer pieces, providing detailed information on a topic and are often useful for B2B marketing and research.

Yet another format option that is packed with value but designed using a combination of fonts, colour schemes and graphics, eBooks provide a versatile, colourful and welcoming approach to B2B marketing formats.

Tristan Van den Berg, Account Manager at Napier offers a solid argument for eBooks, “The eBook marketing format is highly effective and a personal favourite of mine . Not only are they very informative and aesthetically engaging, but they’re multi-purpose. You can use them as an alternative to a feature article or white paper or publish them for lead generation purposes on platforms like LinkedIn.

To extend the typical eBook format even further, products such as Turtl enable companies to bring eBooks to life by creating interactive and engaging content. Short-form videos in particular have been very successful in recent years and their presence continues to increase on platforms such as Instagram reels, LinkedIn, YouTube shorts and, of course, TikTok. Animations, checklists, quizzes and infographics are all great at making content easy to digest, largely because they are easy, fast and fun.

According to Napier’s Account Manager Nesbert Musuwo,Another B2B marketing format that is increasingly popular are podcasts. Podcasts are an effective way to engage with an audience in a conversational and interactive manner. It’s a great format to establish thought leadership, increase brand awareness, expand reach, and build a dedicated following with customers and more general listeners. Podcasts are also a fantastic way to consume content as they can be listened to on the move, while exercising, or even while simply relaxing at home.”.

Written tutorials, which involve sharing top tips with other companies while promoting a company’s own capabilities, are another popular format used by B2B marketers. These fact-based instructional articles enable the author’s company to utilise its existing research and knowledge surrounding a topic that reinforces the perception of the company’s expertise. A successful tutorial provides just enough information to illustrate the issue at hand, compelling potential customers to enquire further about your company’s services and expertise.

To keep pace with the ever-evolving world of technology and media, social media has become an increasingly significant marketing format. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are all particularly effective ways to increase audience engagement. Particularly for B2B marketing, coordinating your company’s socials consistently with useful, interesting graphics further reassures your potential leads and existing clients that you have the marketing expertise to also support media distribution on their behalf. Napier’s Digital Marketing Specialist, Natasha Websdale, said, “A lead generation campaign is a key format that is particularly good at generating qualified marketing leads. Social media such as LinkedIn are excellent platforms for promoting and distributing such content, but despite its success is still too often disregarded as an effective vehicle when it should be one of the primary formats in the marketing mix.”

Lastly, case studies are often a successful format to use for reassuring your potential clients that you are good at what you do and that you have the relevant depth of experience in that field of work. Case studies enable you to showcase how you have benefited other companies within your target audience. To make case studies even more effective, they often can now be created in a video format, which plays into contemporary consumer-driven trends.

Callie Bingley, Senior Account Manager at Napier, stated that, ultimately, the case study format is “…only as effective as the news you’re sharing”.  Napier’s Van den Berg agrees, saying that, “There are multiple formats within the B2B Marketing sector which are incredibly effective, but knowing the right one to use for your campaign is the most challenging part. Firstly, you need to establish your desired outcome and what success looks like. Once you’ve clearly defined this step, you need to ensure your content/messaging addresses your target audience’s needs. Now you must decide how to package this and distribute it to your intended audience.”

Another valid point is that, with a wide range of options today, considering what device/physical document the delivery format will be viewed with is a crucial consideration. Napier’s Bingley added that, “Anything for mobile devices is particularly useful because people can read mobile webpages for trade media or LinkedIn posts  – either as an article or organic post- on commutes or while travelling for business.”

No individual format can be a universal winner. However, there are clearly formats that are more successful when they are developed and deployed for a specific purpose and display a certain type of information. Each format has its unique benefits and unique purpose, which enables a multi-format approach to be successfully utilised by any B2B marketing company.