When Oli Gardner started Unbounce back in 2009, rather than take the conventional approach to getting traffic by running paid ads or starting a blog, he and his team created an online course on landing pages. He took an educate first approach to marketing and by doing this, he was able to get organic pre-qualified leads using truly white hat SEO.
What Oli did here was leverage on a method the competition wasn’t using which led him to results others weren’t getting. Simply put, he leveraged the white space.
The aim is to find new ways to reach, connect with and serve your target audience. And we admit it isn’t as easy as it sounds. The good news is, leveraging white space doesn’t necessarily require spending more on marketing, it could be as simple as channeling your current resources into more productive avenues.
4 ways to leverage white space in your content strategy:
- Explore content formats and distribution channels your competitors aren’t using.
- Find out which customer concerns you aren’t yet addressing.
- Challenge customers to see your brand differently.
- Be bold about the values your brand stands for.
Explore formats and channels your competitors aren’t using
The content format you adopt depends on your brand’s needs and customer preferences. But you also want to find a way to explore underutilized content formats in your niche. In this article by Steli Efti, CEO of Close, he mentions how Close focused on creating evergreen content, repurposed their content into several formats (many of which were failures) and doubled down on formats that worked after experimenting with several. A format used by Close that stood out for us was them translating their English posts into other languages and publishing them on popular startup blogs. Other formats you could try are:
- Ebooks (get creative like this kids coloring book by Drift)
- Email courses (for example, this mini email course by Breezy)
- Infographics (like this holiday marketing infographic by Uplers)
- Animated explainer videos (like this CMS Hub explainer video by Hubspot)
In the article, Steli shares 4 core tips on content marketing:
- You should generate a ton of raw material you can create content from.
- Have your team convert this raw material into different content formats.
- Get the right people to see your content.
- Remix and repurpose your content.
Leveraging the white space in your content strategy is not just about creating the right content, you also have to make sure the right audience sees it. In an oversaturated market, that can be tough. Instead of being another needle in the content haystack, you could explore your options for distributing your brand’s content in other places where your audience hangs out. For example, are all your competitors overlooking certain social media channels when promoting content? Why not see if you can work out a way to drive traffic from that platform? Unexplored channels could help you discover segments of your audience you didn’t know existed. If it’s a win, you’d have an edge over other competitors struggling to be heard by the same group of people in the same places.
Find out which customer concerns you aren’t yet addressing
As much as you think you’re doing content creation right, there are probably still a few questions you haven’t addressed yet. For B2B prospects who have to answer to many decision makers before a single purchase can take place, you can’t risk leaving out the details in your content. For example, if your brand has an account based marketing approach (ABM), you want to make sure your content addresses the highest points of friction for each decision maker involved in a single purchase. This also means you’ll have to go deeper with your research in order to really know the unseen questions your prospects want answers to.
Challenge customers to see your brand differently
Back when most parts of the world were on lockdown, Andonix, a SaaS company with a mission to automate the front-line workforce in labor intensive industries rolled out a new product called Safely Pass. This product helps monitor health and reduce the risk of infection among workers who didn’t have the choice to work from home. By doing this, they positioned their brand as one that cared not just about the productivity but also the safety of front-line workers. They didn’t stop at creating a product, they also curated different resources and tools on business continuity during and after the pandemic and have actively been promoting Safely Pass as a solution to some of the safety challenges their target industries have. Don’t shy away from doing things that will make your customers see your brand as not one among hundreds of options, but as a true category of one, here to serve real urgent problems. Bottom line? Don’t be afraid to differentiate your brand from the rest of the pack.
Be bold about the values your brand stands for
Sometimes product differentiation isn’t enough. One sure way to leverage the white space in your niche is to take a stand on the values driving your brand. We know, we know. Speaking up about where you stand can be hard for brands that don’t like to get involved in “sticky” social issues but your customers want to know not just your ‘what’ and ‘how’ but also your ‘why’. In fact, a report by Edelman showed that two-thirds of consumers worldwide will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue.
In other words, there is a whole lot to gain by speaking up. And sure, you might lose a few customers in the process but on the flip side, this is a chance for your best and most loyal customers to discover your brand. Plus, you also get to build deeper and more meaningful connections with these customers. Not sure when speaking up counts? These questions from Paul A. Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communications at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College for the Harvard Business Review are a great kicking off point:
- Does the issue align with company strategy?
- Can you meaningfully influence the issue?
- Will your constituencies agree with speaking out?
If you answer yes to all three questions, you need to speak up. A couple of B2B brands that come to mind when we think of belief-driven content campaigns that have meaningfully influenced social issues are:
- Airtable’s antiracism campaign
- Drift’s American Dream campaign
- Microsoft’s United for Change initiative
What’s next for your B2B brand’s content?
Now that you’ve seen that despite the stifling competition in the B2B space, it isn’t impossible to find areas in your content strategy you can leverage to stand apart. Follow these examples and guidelines to create a content strategy that will help your B2B brand connect with new customers and serve existing ones better. At Pointed, we produce high-quality B2B content that drives qualified traffic, leads and sales. If you’re ready to take your B2B brand to the next level but aren’t sure where to start, we can help. Schedule a chat today!
Mujidat is a freelance copywriter and editorial assistant for Pointed. She works with funded B2B SaaS and tech brands to map out a strategy and create content that aligns with their marketing goals and drives ROI.