Ultimate Guide to B2B Content Partnerships

Lauren Oliver


November 1, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Group of business people meeting, discussing, analyzing graphs, financial data, and planning a marketing project together. Image representing B2B content partnerships.

B2B content partnerships can be extremely useful for breathing new life into a content marketing campaign. No matter how good your content is, we all know how long it can take to build up an audience. Not to mention cracking that top spot in the SERPs. By forming successful B2B content partnerships, you can fast-track business efforts, push your brand’s content up in the rankings, and attract and convert new audiences.

That said, not all partnerships go our way. It’s important to balance industry and audience size and avoid promoting our competitors. So today, we’re covering everything you need to know about B2B content partnerships, including:

What Are B2B Content Partnerships?

Hand of touching network connecting the human dots icon in business project management. Teamwork organization networking B2B content partnerships concept

Image via iStock by ipopba

A B2B content partnership is where your company creates a mutually beneficial deal with another brand. At their core, these partnerships aim to increase growth and improve brand recognition for both parties. With distinct audiences and platforms, each brand can leverage the other’s platform in order to bring in new opportunities.

If you’re not scaling your content marketing at a rate you’d like, then turning to content partnerships can be a fantastic tactic. And considering the benefits, you’ll have a high chance of finding other reputable companies to work with. There’s no set period of how long a B2B content partnership has to last. You could simply work together on one campaign, or you could plan out six months of content exchange together. The details are completely up to you.

Related: Your Guide to B2B Content Distribution

Advantages of B2B Content Partnerships

When you select effective candidates, you’re able to build up a network of high-value content partners. Each of these will bring something slightly different to the table, helping you to access a range of audiences to draw from. Once you’ve created a range of B2B content partnerships, your business can benefit in the following ways:

Share Expertise

Suitable B2B content partnerships can help you understand your market to a greater degree. While there’s industry information available internally, data straight from another source can be even better. With your new partner, you’re able to exchange data, share expertise, and improve your content marketing strategies.

Let’s say your new partner has been following the trend of moving into video marketing. Based on their data, you could see how successful this transition has been for a company in your industry. With this insight, you’ll have a better idea of how to structure your own content marketing strategy going forward.

Equally, as you’re both working in the same industry from different perspectives, you can both work together to improve your offerings. Sharing expertise is one of the most overlooked benefits when forming a content partnership, but one you should definitely make the most of.

Connect with New Audiences

A B2B content partnership gives your company access to a whole new audience. Although in a similar industry, your partner’s customers might never have come across your brand. This is an incredible opportunity, allowing you to leverage the partner’s audience to tap into a new bank of customers.

If you’ve selected your partner well, they’ll have enough overlap with your offering that their customers will be interested in your content. This is also why it’s so important to carefully select a partner. If you gain access to a new audience that doesn’t care about what your brand offers, then there’s not really much point in forging the relationship.

When done correctly, this new audience can act as a springboard for your own content marketing. From pulling in new readers to generating more leads and clicks on your content, people will begin to flock to your pages. Remember, it’s always important to prioritize the quality of your content. You don’t want to waste the opportunity by introducing yourself to a new audience with poor content.

Improve Cost Effectiveness

B2B content partnerships can be a very cost-effective way of managing your content marketing and content distribution. For example, if you pay users for referrals, then you’re only having to pay once you get a new lead. This means the cost per lead is only the amount you’re offering. With referral programs, you can keep this payment fairly low, or only reward after three, five, or even 10 referrals.

Alternatively, if your content partnership is one-on-one with another brand, then your cost savings will be in terms of content distribution. To get your content in front of a large audience, you either need to already have a big audience or pay for that access in the form of PPC ads. With the latter option, you can end up whittling away your marketing budget, pouring thousands of dollars into campaigns.

But with a partnership with another brand, you’re able to distribute your content to them without having to pay. Due to the exchange of content, you’ll be able to get access to a new audience without having to pour too many resources into the deal.

Increase Brand Awareness

According to Content Marketing Institute, over 80% of content marketing teams cite generating brand awareness as one of their top goals. Creating brand awareness helps build familiarity with a brand, leading to more sales down the line. Anyone in the marketing field will know that building your brand’s reputation doesn’t happen overnight. Building your brand can take years of diligent work.

And when you partner with another company, you’re instantly increasing the reach of your brand. As the Pam Moore statistic goes, it normally takes between five and seven impressions before someone starts to recognize your brand. If their only opportunity to see your company is on your own site, then it might take a lot longer to reach that threshold.

But if you’ve distributed your content to several partners across the internet, there’s a much higher chance someone will run into your content. From there, you’ll begin to build up brand recognition faster than ever, helping accelerate the process significantly. Considering this is a top marketing goal, creating B2B brand partnerships that expand your reach should be one of your primary targets.

Boosts SEO

Another benefit of forming B2B content partnerships is that they can contribute to the SEO strength of your site. One way this happens is through getting quality backlinks. If they’re working on your content or promoting it on their site, they’ll give you backlinks which can help to increase your domain rating.

Over time, domain authority can become an important ranking factor, helping all of your content to rise through the ranks. Especially if you create partnerships with brands that have a good rating themselves, then you’re on to a winner here. Beyond just gathering more backlinks, the content you post on your site from partners can also help to improve expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). E-A-T relates to the content you post on your site. Although not a traceable characteristic, this is closely tied to domain ranking.

Authoritativeness and trustworthiness will come from constantly posting and carving out a solid niche for your business. Expertise, on the other hand, assures the content quality and how your team sources content on your site. If you invite other content partners onto your website to post, then they can bring their expertise to your page.

With this, Google will see that you have a range of posts from notable figures or brands in your community and perceive your site as home to expertise in your industry. While difficult to trace, this can make a big difference down the line. Especially after Google’s Helpful Content Update, positioning yourself as a reputable and expert site has never been more important.

Related: Content Syndication: Benefits and Drawbacks

How Do B2B Content Partnerships Work?

When two B2B brands come together for a content partnership, the actual manifestation of their pact can look radically different. While one partnership focuses on creating content together, another could focus on exchanging promotional materials and distributing them. Depending on the industry and the size of the businesses, content partnerships will vary. Often, there are a few different ways in which B2B content partnerships work together:

Shared Content Creation

When two B2B brands form a content partnership, the most common method of working together is through shared content. Often, two brands will have different skills and styles when it comes to content creation. Maybe your brand loves written content, while your partner prefers infographics. Whatever the story is, you’re able to come together to create and share powerful content. Working on a singular piece of content, the two content marketing departments can make something that allows you both to shine.

A great example of this is a partnership between Chase and the Wall Street Journal. These businesses came together to try and capture a younger audience. To do this, they focused on iconic neighborhoods within cities, producing audio-visual tours of popular places around each city. With Inside the Moment, this blend of storytelling pulled in younger viewers, allowing both companies to benefit from the media attention.

Creating shared content allows companies to hone their skills and make something memorable between two companies. When content partnerships are proposed, whoever is asking to make the partnership often brings an idea that can be the centerpiece of their joint campaign.

One Party Creates and the Other Shares

In many cases, your company will have a very specific message you want to get across. If you’ve selected a brand to become your partner, you’ve probably done so as they have something positive to offer you. Perhaps their audience aligns with your ideal customer persona, or maybe you simply want to take advantage of their large reach.

When your company has a specific goal in mind, you’ll often take the creative process upon yourself. Your marketing team will craft a particular campaign and then send it to your B2B content partner for them to publish. They’ll likely want to edit the final product slightly. After a round or two of edits, you’ll be able to settle on something you’re both happy with. They’ll then post your content on their site, giving you access to their audience. If this is the partnership you’ve established, they’ll likely send you content to post on your site as well. Remember, this is new content for distribution, not B2B content syndication.

One Party Takes Over

Finally, we come on to the least common approach to B2B content partnerships. In this case, a content partner creates a campaign about your brand and launches it themselves. They’ll make a piece of content that promotes your brand and your vision and then publish it across their platforms. The reason this is one of the least common methods of forming partnerships is that the message may not always be correct or entirely on-brand.

As marketing teams, we know exactly how we want to frame our public persona and what we want customers to think about us. Using marketing materials, we can craft these aspects, presenting our brand in a positive light to the public. Yet, even after multiple calls, you still might not be on exactly the same page with a content partner. But don’t worry too much, as this is sometimes the benefit of the strategy. When you let your content partner manage the entire campaign, they can often produce something that’s totally unique to them.

With their brand’s voice, style of content creation, and signature features, their audience will recognize the post as completely authentic to them. Especially if you’ve created a content partnership with a brand that you’re unfamiliar with, this can be a great way to break into their audience and gain some brand visibility. Sometimes it’s okay to let go a little and let someone else take control of your marketing efforts.

Read more: Syndicating Content: Building a Better Content Strategy

Is There More Than One Type of B2B Content Partnership?

In short, yes. As we’ve explained above, there are three main ways to manage B2B content partnerships. You’ll find the majority of content partnerships that you make will fall into one of these categories. When it comes to the types of partnerships, here are some typical examples:

  • Influencer partnership: In this type of partnership, you partner with someone with a large social following to leverage their audience.
  • Co-marketing: Co-marketing lets you select a brand that compliments yours so you create content together.
  • Distribution partner: Distribution partnerships are agreements to distribute a select number of articles on the partner’s site and vice versa.
  • Sponsorship: Sponsorships allow you to pay to be featured on a partner’s campaign or event.
  • Affiliate partnership: Affiliate marketing involves partners sending customers to your business for a percentage of the profit or a reward.

While it’s not an exhaustive list, these are some popular pairings that you’ll stumble across when looking for a content partner. Depending on the size, scope, and monthly traffic to your site, the most common format for you will change. A larger brand might only form co-marketing partnerships or sponsor large events, while a medium or smaller company could rely on influencer marketing partnerships as a core part of its content marketing strategy.

Related: Marketing Distribution Channels for Content Strategy

How To Create Successful B2B Content Partnerships

So you understand the benefits, but how do you actually form a partnership? Just like when waiting on a campaign’s results, forging a strong B2B content partnership can take time. To get started, we’ve created a list of approaches to take when finding and making new partnerships to support your content marketing campaigns:

1. Set Your Goals

Much like every other aspect of content marketing, effective partnerships start with you. If you’re unsure what you want to gain from the relationship, then you’re unable to select the best partners for you. Spend some time looking at your internal metrics and identifying what you want these content partners for.

For example, maybe you want to expand your reach. In that case, you might want to select larger partners, even if they’re not directly tied to your product offering. What about if you want to acquire more leads? In that case, you’ll be looking at brands that complement your offering, helping you to drive value on their platform. Outline your goals and refer back to them constantly.

2. Identify Potential Partners

Next, we’re on to the selection process. Before doing anything, make sure you clearly know who your competitors are. You don’t want to accidentally end up promoting them. If you’re not sure where to begin, get your content marketing analysis from CopyPress. It compares your site with your top competitors. Using this info, see what content forms they publish and where you can put your content marketing efforts to achieve results.

Then, research businesses that are similar in size to yours and in your industry. Look for points of intersection between what you can offer and what the audience wants. If they’re a meeting platform and you’re a note-taking application, then their audience could benefit from you. Finding these candidates is vital. Make a list of different candidates, trying to select which are your top potential B2B content partners.

3. Position Your Business

Before shooting your shot, you need to make sure you’re a match for the company. While they might be a match for you, this is a partnership. It’s a two-way street, and you need to respect that. If you see that their brand continually uses one content format, produce a range of similar content. If you can show that you participate in similar styles as them, they’ll be much more likely to accept your offering once you send that first email.

You want to make sure that you present the benefits of your brand to them. While you’re going to be gaining from this B2B content partnership, you need to outline what you can offer them, too. Positioning your business or brand as similar in terms of content style or audience persona will help you get this point across. Be sure to clearly explain why you want this partnership, what you love about their brand, and why you’d be a good fit.

Plan Successful B2B Content Partnerships

Creating mutually-beneficial B2B content partnerships can complement your content marketing strategy. From expanding your audience to increasing brand visibility and authority, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And in the B2B world, there are tons of reputable brands that you can work with.

If you’re ready to get started planning your content strategy, schedule a call with the team. We’ll help you find the strengths and weaknesses in your current approaches, including the content topics you should be targeting, so you can find valuable content partners and boost your business’s online presence.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

More from the author:

Read More About Agency Solutions