What channels are you currently using for your content marketing efforts?

YouTube? SEO? Facebook? LinkedIn?

There is no shortage of options, these days. While this often means more opportunity to engage with a wider audience, zeroing in on what will work well for your brand and your industry is getting increasingly difficult 🎯

But one thing is clear: some channels work better for B2B than others. Which channel would you use for your B2B brand: TikTok or LinkedIn?

That’s right. If content is king in B2B marketing, LinkedIn is the castle.

LinkedIn and B2B Content

It’s no secret that LinkedIn offers plenty of ways to leverage your content for more engagement and better reach. They even have a whole playbook on the topic:

“Weigh in on active discussions and point fellow group members to additional information of value, whether that’s content published by your company or another organisation. The key is to position yourself as a trusted and helpful peer rather than as a marketer focused on reeling in the next customer.”

While this is referring specifically to leveraging LinkedIn groups for thought leadership, the sentiment can be applied across the platform. LinkedIn is for sharing and learning valuable information.

But distribution on LinkedIn as a social media platform is one thing. You can leverage LinkedIn’s most powerful offering — insight on its users — to extend your content marketing efforts off the platform as well.

How? With LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Sales Navigator Isn’t Just For Sales

Some strategies take money, others take time. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator for content marketing is definitely the latter — but it’s worth it.

As the name implies, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is typically used by sales teams for prospecting and account-based sales efforts. The three most attractive features of Sales Nav are:

  • Advanced Filters: Narrow in on a specific audience with the ability to filter by company, interest, position and more.
  • Saved Lead Lists: Keep track of specific people of interest by saving up to 1,500 leads at once.
  • Additional InMail Messages: Receive 30 InMail messages each month to send to high value contacts (though, with that limitation, you’ll also want a way to email contacts).

So how can you use Sales Nav (a tool your sales team is likely already using) for content marketing?

Just like sales, you can use it to connect to the right people.

“Sales Navigator features a powerful set of search capabilities, improved visibility into extended networks, and personalized algorithms to help you reach the right decision maker.”

Yes, it’s built for sales professionals. But that shouldn’t preclude other teams from using LinkedIn’s extensive data and powerful search to reach their audience.

Here are three ways to use Sales Nav for content marketing:

#1 Find Niche Thought Leaders for Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is now a proven method for both B2C and B2B marketing. In fact, it was #4 in the top 10 B2B tech marketing tactics from last year as ranked by MarketingCharts.

“The growth trajectory of influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands. B2B companies are also realizing the value of collaborating with influential experts for marketing purposes.”
~ Lee Odden / Digital Marketing Institute

The most common approach for finding influencers for B2B marketing is fairly straightforward. First, use platforms like BuzzSumo to Ahrefs to identify shared content, then reach out to the authors of those posts. But this can be limiting: social shares don’t always equate with ‘industry leadership’ and tracking down authors can be difficult.

Why not start with the influencers themselves?

On LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can use advanced filters to find leaders in your niche or for your specific topic quickly.

From marketing software to sales management, you can find the people you want to follow and engage with your own content. Some of the advanced filters that will work particularly well for influencer marketing are:

  • Group membership: Do you have a favorite, industry-specific LinkedIn group? Filter your search results by those groups to turn up people who participate in those conversations.
  • Leads mentioned in the news: This is where you’ll get into true influencer territory.
  • Leads with recent LinkedIn activity: You’ll want to filter down by people who are actually active on LinkedIn; they’ll be more likely to have more followers.
  • Posted content keyword: If you’re looking for influencers for a particular blog post or guide writeup, use your keyword to see who’s talking about it.
  • Years of experience: Make sure you focus on people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Once you have a list of interesting leaders saved, take time to go through their LinkedIn activity. Bookmark their most relevant article to use in your next post as a quote.

Once you actually use a quote in a piece, export their email (or connect directly on LinkedIn with InMail) to let them know and to ask if they’d be interested in continued collaboration.

Let’s be honest: one of the hardest (or at least time consuming) elements of content marketing is the backlink building.

You have to find relevant domains and blogs, figure out the best point of contact, and make a compelling pitch for a guest post or a reason for inclusion on a resource page. Again, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs and Moz all work great for kickstarting the backlink building process.

But instead of starting on one end — finding ‘guest post opportunity’ pages first — why not start from the other? The ‘other end’ would be to first find digital marketing managers and editors and contact them directly.

With Sales Nav, you can filter down to the people who will make decisions regarding the editorial calendar and guest posts. What are the filters that will work the best?

  • Position or Job Title: Look for digital marketing managers, online editors, and in some cases directors of marketing.
  • Posted content keyword: If your initial search turns up way too many opportunities, try narrowing it down by those who have mentioned a ‘guest post’ or ‘contribution’ in their shared content on LinkedIn.

Once you have your list, you can extract their emails to make a direct pitch. Take your time, and make sure you reference an article or post they recently shared on Linkedin. Better yet, add them on LinkedIn too, so when your submission comes through you’re already on their radar.

#3 Amplify the Reach of Your Most Compelling Content

Content marketing isn’t only about the inbound engine; you can also use content to create more compelling outbound emails.

Instead of limiting LinkedIn Sales Navigator to fuel your content and then distribute elsewhere, you can also find an audience that would be most interested in your content directly on the platform.

Yes, it means sending out cold emails. But outbound marketing can go a long way if you’re sending valuable content to a target audience.

  1. Make separate lead lists. Organize individual lists based on interest, title, company size, location and industry.
  2. Map your content to your lead lists. Or create new content to match the interest and niche of your lists. Either way, the idea is to send content in your initial email that your leads will find extremely educational or helpful. For a list in California, for example, you could send an article on recent changes to self-employment tax. Or for a group of social media managers, you could send a video on updates to social media ads. Make it relevant!
  3. Send out your outbound emails. Use an email marketing platform (or cold email platform) to send out all of your emails at once. Use personalization (i.e. company name and first name) to make the email feel as personal as possible.

When you send a cold email with a highly relevant resource, you’ll be much more likely to receive a positive response right away. It won’t beat out inbound traffic, but outbound should prove to be a valuable addition to your marketing efforts.

Remember to Keep it Organic

Going this route for content marketing doesn’t mean you can start sending cold emails at abandon.

You can leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator to deepen and widen your reach, but getting the most out of the platform will still take a good amount of time (if you do it right). Here are a few ways to keep it organic.

  • Send Connection requests to promising leads. You may be limited to InMail messages to non-connections, but you can connect with people to your heart’s content. Connecting with promising people introduces multiple touch points and serves as an organic way of reaching people you’ll value a relationship with.
  • Narrow your lists as much as possible. Take the time to make your lists and searches as specific as possible so your message comes across as personal as possible. For content marketing, lists should be a few dozen to maybe a couple of hundred — not in the thousands.
  • Tailor your messages. At the very least, use variables to personalize your opening lines and subject lines. Better yet, take the time to actually go through your list one-by-one (I’ve seen the highest response rate with the latter).

Sales Nav doesn’t necessarily make content marketing easier, but it does extend what you’re able to do with what you have 📣 How do you plan to use this sales-oriented tool for marketing?

Pour your heart out