Engaging B2B content can improve search rankings, conversion rates, lead generation and even overall revenue, but it also builds relationships. When you read great content, aren’t you compelled to comment or share it? That’s the beginning of building a relationship.

Instead of direct selling to prospects, begin to build a relationship with them; forge trust; find out their needs and recommend the right solution for them---prospects buy from people they trust.

Ready to know more about building relationships with content? Here are 4 ways that B2B content helps build relationships.

  1. Guest posting: Writing blog posts on other B2B blogs in your industry is a powerful way to position your brand in front of a new audience. By getting in front of other established blog’s readers, you have the potential to build relationships with many readers. To start a conversation with those readers, do such things as invite readers to comment on your post and reply to those comments in a timely manner.Relations aren’t built without effort---you need to encourage readers to engage with you. By delivering helpful, relevant information in your guest post and invite interaction, you open the door to a relationship with that reader.

  2. Commenting: Whether it’s on a post from your B2B blog, a guest post or going out and commenting on other blogs in your industry, commenting is a small but powerful way to start conversations. Start building relationships with readers by finding outside blogs or B2B forums, and see what others are talking about and then add to the conversation by adding your own comments. By providing value to the conversation, this expands the audience you are trying to reach and starts building relationships.

  3. Social media: B2B social media puts you in touch with prospects in a more personal way---engaging on a personal level with prospects helps build relationships and builds up trust with your prospects. Using B2B social media, you have the opportunity to easily monitor and engage with others on issues in your industry. Also look to monitor social traffic for mentions of your brand, both good and bad. By becoming a resource for them and solving their problems, you can build and repair relationships with potential prospects.

  4. Links: You may have heard to be cautious when linking away from your site and it’s true---you should be cautious. However, to get link love, you have to share link love , especially when it’s providing your audience with value. There will be times when the benefits to sending links away from your site outweigh the negatives. By linking out to others, it’s a signal that you value their content. This can be an effective strategy for beginning a relationship with others in the industry and may even result in a link back to you.

Great content not only informs and sells; it also builds relationships with prospects and influencers in your industry---an example of a great B2B blog is this Marketing Profs blog.

When you leverage powerful B2B content from blogs, social networks and even content sharing through links, you start to build the right relationships that will be valuable now and in the future.

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Maria Pergolino works as Director of Marketing at Marketo, where she specializes in demand generation, inbound marketing, and campaign optimization. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six. Maria has a Marketing Degree and MBA from the School of Business at Rutgers University, is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, and a speaker at numerous marketing events. She is the author of the most success social media book created specifically for B2B Marketers, The Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media, and has also written for many marketing blogs, including frequent contributions to Marketo's popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing, found at https://blog.marketo.com. You can reach Maria at https://www.twitter.com/inboundmarketer or maria@marketo.com. For questions about marketing automation please email sales@marketo.com.