What Readers Want During COVID-19: B2B Edition

I couldn’t believe the response to my last post about coming up with content ideas in the B2C space during COVID-19. Thank you to all who read and commented — I truly hope it was helpful.

One piece of feedback we received was an ask to see some B2B content ideas, which, frankly, is an excellent subject. At first I was stumped about how to determine this, but then I decided that a different tool could do the trick.

Exploding Topics, the new tool by Brian Dean (Backlinko) and Josh Howarth, explores topics that are surging in popularity but haven’t hit their peak.

This time around, rather than focusing on specific keywords, I focused on overall trends so we can identify which categories might be of interest to your target businesses and their audiences. Then, you can examine whether these trends make sense for your niche and draw inspiration from them for your content.

All things remote

This trend obviously applies to B2C as well, but it’s an important consideration for B2B. Nearly everything has been either canceled, paused, or moved into the world of the virtual. For many companies and industries, this is uncharted territory, and they need guidance.

There is another category I could have included here that focuses on website and app development, programming, and the open source tools that help people build those types of assets as they lean more into digital.

If you’re not one of these B2B providers, there are still ways to gain inspiration from this data. Consider if your brand can provide:

  • The logistics of how to set up remote platforms
  • Best practices on how to make anything remote more successful and engaging
  • Comparison guides for different tools and solutions
  • The platform for people to lend the help and support they’re hoping to (like in the case of virtual tip jars)
  • Communication tips and solutions to help people stay productively connected

Shipping and delivery

Consumers are interested in having things shipped directly to them, but not everyone has the infrastructure to deal with shipping to begin with, let alone an increased order volume with the (understandable) safety limitations now in place.

Consumers and businesses alike are curious about how to make the shipping and delivery process more effective.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Guides for small businesses who’ve never had to ship product before
  • Tips on how companies can message shipping updates and delays to consumers
  • Advice on how to improve the delivery component of a business
  • UX or language tips for updating delivery messaging in apps or on websites

Transactions and payment

As we’re all staying six feet away from each other, we’re also trying not to hand off credit cards (let alone cash). Companies used to brick-and-mortar business models are also needing to adapt to fully digital payment systems.

Not all of these searches apply to business (like Venmo), but they do point to a concern everyone’s having: How do we pay for things now?

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Answers about privacy or security questions people have regarding digital payments
  • A detailed list of all the payment options available
  • Advice on how to optimize storefronts and purchasing processes
  • Explanations of how payment processes can impact sales, and how to optimize them

Design tools

This section speaks to an overall trend I touched on before: Professionals now build their own assets if they can’t afford to hire web developers, designers, etc. More and more people are trying to figure out how to keep their businesses going when they can’t keep on as much staff or hire as many contractors.

Perhaps you can identify what your target audience might be struggling with and suggest free or inexpensive online tools to help.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A list of tools that can assist your target audience in communicating, organizing, creating, etc.
  • Design advice to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible
  • Resources in how to complete tasks on a smaller team
  • Recommendations for what should be prioritized when money is tight

Ethical trends

This is perhaps the most fascinating trend I saw arise. The four brands below have something in common: they all have to do with either sustainability or a transparent, mission-driven approach.

My theory is now that people don’t have as much disposable income, they’re becoming more mindful in their shopping choices, selecting items they believe match their own values.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A greater level of analysis on this potential trend
  • Research into how the consumer perspective has shifted during COVID-19
  • Advice on how to potentially shift marketing, branding, and advertising messaging
  • Tips on how your target audience can better understand their marketing during this tumultuous time

And finally (*sigh of relief*), marketing

Yes, as I was doing my research, my instinct that marketing would remain crucial during this time was confirmed.

That doesn’t mean you won’t lose business. We’ve had clients pull back because even though they’d like to keep marketing, keeping the company afloat by fulfilling their product orders and services and paying their employees will always (and very understandably) come first by a long shot.

But for businesses that can still afford marketing, they’ll likely need it, and they’re looking for the tools and insight they need to thrive.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Marketing 101 tips for smaller businesses
  • Specific how-to guides for different aspects of inbound or outbound marketing
  • Tool recommendations to help people get marketing tasks done quickly and cheaply
  • Advice on the kind of marketing that’s most successful during an economic downturn

Conclusion

Remember: This is only for inspiration. What matters most is what your target audience needs and wants. Put yourself in their shoes to be able to best address their challenges and concerns.

But hopefully some of these concepts spark some ideas for how your B2B brand can provide value to your target audiences. Companies around the world are looking for guidance and support now more than ever, and if you’re in a position to provide it to them, your content can go a long way in building trust.

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