How to Actually Research Your Audience for B2B Content Marketing

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We’re all tired of ICPs and personas. Yep, everyone tells you that if you want to research your B2B Content Marketing audience, you should prepare those avatars of your customers and figure out stuff like their age or leisure activities.

The problem is, all this data doesn’t make sense unless it’s contextual for your brand.

In this article, we’ll explain our process of conducting audience research for B2B Content Marketing and how you can use it to get insights about your audience that drive true business growth.

Why the Common Advice Sucks

When you search for tutorials on conducting audience research, you usually get info similar to this:

And hey, there’s nothing wrong with building a persona (or a few of them) if you’re working on your marketing strategy. But here’s the catch:

Most companies don’t draw clear, specific conclusions from the data they learn through personas/avatars/ICPs. This causes marketing – and content specifically – to lack the depth and context needed to create resonant messaging.

Let’s take a look at the screenshot above once again. Seeing all three personas, can you tell not only what to say to each persona but also – how to say it?

Yes, you might guess, using empirical evidence and goodwill. But effective marketing likes a stronger foundation than this.

That’s where context comes in.

The Importance of Context in Content

We learned the concept of contextual marketing in the book “The Context Marketing Revolution” by Matthew Sweezey.

While the whole book is filled to the brim with insights, one of them stands out the most:

[…] private individuals—not brands, not businesses or traditional media outlets—became the largest producers of media in the world.

This notion is crucial when you think about your B2B content marketing. We live in the age of noise. More companies than ever create high-quality content – and even more companies create “meh” content with AI’s help.

Content alone stopped being “King.”

Contextual content is the name of the game. Content that meets your customers where they are, when they need it, how they want it consumed.

At StoryAngled, we believe uncalled-for content leads to a loss of trust (or at least cringe). Instead, B2B companies should aim to create contextual experiences with their content.

And for that, we need to go beyond the traditional way of formulating personas or avatars.

How to Perform Audience Research for B2B Content Marketing

First, stop guessing things about your audience. It’s the 2020s, we live in the age of AI and digital footprints that your audience leaves around as well.

So, you need to find them. Here are a couple of ways to do it:

Ask Reddit

Reddit, often referred to as “the front page of the internet,” is a valuable resource for your market research and shaping a product-led content marketing strategy.

With millions of active users in topic-specific forums called ‘subreddits,’ you can tap into real-time consumer conversations and sentiments. By observing these discussions, you can gain insights into your target audience’s common challenges, needs, and interests.

These insights inform your content marketing strategy, enabling you to create content that resonates with and addresses their problems.

Additionally, Reddit allows direct engagement with customers, offering you a unique platform to answer their questions, clarify misconceptions, and gather feedback on your products.

An example of a Reddit community with audience insights useful for B2B companies.

This engagement fosters stronger relationships and provides a deeper understanding of your market’s true needs. Leveraging Reddit for market research can guide your content marketing strategy in a direction that aligns with your audience’s demands, increasing the likelihood of your product finding its rightful market.

Here’s a list of our go-to Reddit communities for market research:

  • r/startups
  • r/digital_marketing
  • r/SaaS
  • r/smallbusiness
  • r/socialmedia
  • r/B2B_sales

Analyze YouTube and Podcasts

Using platforms like YouTube and podcasts for audience research can greatly enhance your product-led content marketing strategy.

These platforms are valuable sources of user-generated content that offer insights into customer preferences, habits, concerns, and aspirations.

YouTube, being the second largest search engine globally, provides valuable knowledge on how users engage with products similar to yours, including reviews and the features they value.

An example of YouTube search result page for a B2B product.
Try typing in “your_product” + review. You’ll be surprised.

Similarly, podcasts offer a unique way to understand your audience’s interests and challenges. Industry-specific podcasts often feature experts discussing current trends and solutions, while comments and live chats provide insights into audience sentiments.

Bloomberg Intelligence Weekend podcast episodes list with topics a B2B audience might care about.
Bloomberg’s podcast is a great source of hot topics your audience might care about.

By conducting audience research on these platforms, you can refine your product positioning, content creation, and distribution strategies to meet your target audience’s needs better.

Ask your audience directly

Conducting surveys can provide direct feedback from your target audience about their preferences, pain points, and expectations.

This can be accomplished through emails or online survey platforms, and the results can be used to tailor your content more effectively.

Another way to get insights from your audience is by using social media platforms like LinkedIn or 𝕏 (formerly Twitter).

You can reach out to your target audience members and ask for their thoughts on a particular idea or direction you want to take with your content. Remember to keep your message brief and specific to increase your chances of a valuable response.

A very smart way to get insights on B2B audience's favorite influencers.
A very smart way to get insights on your audience’s favorite influencers. Nice one, Semrush

Once the research is done, time to incorporate it into the content. To facilitate it, we created our own framework called Data-Context-Insight.

B2B Content Marketing Audience Research Framework

The DCI framework solves the issue we mentioned at the start of this post – not knowing what to do with the data.

It consists of three elements:

  1. Data: The actual information about your customer, e.g. Our consumer is a 40-50-year-old Founder
  2. Context: Why did you choose this data instead of something else, e.g. We haven’t picked younger founders because NCBS states 40-60-year-olds are the most entrepreneurial
  3. Insight: What it actually means for your business. Here, you include info about the preferred formats, platforms, etc.

Using it, you’ll be able to understand why you include each piece of information in your B2B content strategy.

Final thoughts

To sum up, B2B content marketing goes beyond content creation alone. The key lies in crafting contextual content that truly resonates with your audience by addressing their specific needs, interests, and challenges in a timely manner and in the most suitable format.

Leverage platforms like Reddit, YouTube, Podcasts, and engage directly with your audience through surveys and feedback to gain a deeper understanding of their preferences. Then, utilize the Data-Context-Insight (DCI) framework to apply these insights to your content strategy.

Remember, the ultimate objective is to establish a meaningful connection with your audience through relevant and valuable content. By truly understanding your audience, their needs, and their preferences, you can tailor your content to meet these demands.

At StoryAngled, we specialize in helping businesses achieve this goal, ensuring their B2B content marketing strategy is driven by data, guided by insights, and focused on context, ultimately resulting in increased trust, engagement, and ROI.

Pick a date from our calendar below to book a free B2B Content Strategy session.

Picture of Kuba Czubajewski

Kuba Czubajewski

CEO and Content Marketing Strategist @ StoryAngled. He helped multiple SaaS companies from various niches generate organic leads with SEO and content. In his free time, he works on his own YouTube channel about the science of creativity. Huge fan of product-led content, cats, and baking.

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