5 principles for effective B2B content marketing
“Content is king” goes the cliché. This exemplifies the very problem with so much content... it’s cliché. Nothing is less differentiating than stale content repackaging well-trodden ideas.
Your audience knows it, too. If they can find the same information in any of the million other search results, what reason is there to stay? Why bother with the same-old-same-old? Meaningful content makes an impact on the reader and leaves them wanting more.
Arketi’s team of content marketing experts came together to share their collective expertise on how to build effective B2B content that stands out. Read on for five principles that came out of our conversation.
The line between sales and marketing continues to blur as companies adapt to our new buying reality. Listen in to July's Technology Executives Roundtable for a panel discussion on how to foster a healthy, collaborative CMO-CRO relationship featuring marketing and sales leaders from Deluxe, Flock Safety, EarthLink and Fiserv.
#1 Be a visionary – or, at least, have a vision
Anyone can write a piece of content and throw it online – you can find page after page of formulas for crafting the perfect blog or whitepaper. That’s why the web is cluttered with so much dull content.
Know the ‘why’ behind your content. The content vision. Who is the audience? How do you want them to perceive you? What action do you want them to take? Answer those questions in three or four sentences and let them serve as your guide. Some visions to start from…
- Brand-centric content focuses on building a voice for the brand, putting its differentiators front and center, and promoting the positive impact it has on customers’ business performance.
- Product-centric content focuses on defining the problems customers face – and how your products and solutions help them overcome those challenges.
- Advice-centric content focuses on positioning the company as a reliable advisor customers can turn to, without explicitly promoting the brand or product.
#2 Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers
It’s easy to get caught up in jargon and specifications. But buyers aren’t purely rational - even B2B buyers have feelings and emotions. Rather than play it safe, adopt a unique point-of-view that stands out, or perhaps is even a little provocative. Consider…
- Rethinking your themes - Listicles are popular because readers like brevity. But too many listicles are straightforward and unimaginative. Instead, try taking a narrative-driven approach – rather than “5 reasons cybersecurity is essential,” try “5 times companies wished they had better cybersecurity.”
- Being a pal - Humans don’t talk like machines. So write as if you’re engaging in a conversation with your customer. This builds rapport and positions your thought leaders as trusted sources.
- Getting it in writing - Your company likely has brand guidelines for designers. Why not create similar standards for your content? You could include a list of jargon to NEVER use but also develop examples of strong prose for others to build and learn from.
- Taking a stance - Do you stand behind a movement or social cause? Have a strong opinion about an industry trend? Don’t be afraid to shout it out when appropriate.
#3 Embrace your new salesperson
Forget the handshake. Content is the new first impression. 70% of B2B buyers engage with content before they reach out to a salesperson. The upside: more space to tell them what you’re all about. The downside: you likely don’t have their full attention. Bear in mind…
- Buyers are looking to solve a problem, not engage with your content or find another vendor. You may have built a better mousetrap, but it doesn’t matter if buyers don’t understand how it will help them. Make sure top-of-funnel content starts from the problem.
- What makes you different makes you beautiful - Amid a hundred other solutions on the market, there’s a reason yours is superior. Identify your main differentiators (hint: there may only be a handful) and ensure each piece of content speaks to at least one.
- Invite interaction - So, your content has done its job, and the buyer is ready to seal the deal. Don’t let them struggle to find someone to talk to. Content, especially down-funnel, should provide a clear next step to engage and start a conversation.
#4 Follow the “Rule of 7”
A great piece of content should never stand alone. Reuse, repurpose and recycle it to reach your audience – whatever their preferred channel or format. Rule of thumb: if your content can’t be converted into at least seven assets, you’re not thinking big enough. For example…
- Cornerstone - The core piece of content that serves as the foundation for multiple assets across multiple mediums. For instance, use survey research to draft a meaty, content-filled whitepaper.
- Infographic - Take the survey results and whitepaper to create an infographic summarizing the findings.
- Social Media - Break down the infographic into individual stats and soundbites for animations and interactive content on social channels.
- Blogs - Use each survey finding as the premise for separate blog posts.
- eBook - Then combine all the blog posts into a punchy eBook.
- Webinars - Harness subject matter experts from your business to host sessions discussing the survey findings.
- Videos - Now, edit the recorded webinars into a fast-paced video or two. Voila! Seven pieces of content to suit any audience preference.
#5 Keep the content rollin’
From Stranger Things to Bridgerton, bingeable content keeps audiences glued to their screens and looking forward to the next season. The same idea applies to B2B. Keep your audience hooked with…
- “You may also like” - Link every piece of content to one or two other assets. Relate the content by industry, problem or solution to make it a compelling transition from one to the next.
- Set your content free - If you lose a reader when they hit a form, you’ve also lost a lead. Make sure you only gate content that delivers real value worth giving up an email address for.
- Trust the numbers - Pay attention to how and where audiences engage. Which videos do they watch all the way through? What content do they click on next? What gets downloaded?
Look like a million bucks doing it
The internet is awash in content. But 99% of what's out there doesn’t speak to buyers’ problems, uses terminology they don’t understand or repeats advice they’ve heard before.
Be a part of the 1% that makes a difference. Those million other search results you’re competing against are no problem when you deliver something not available elsewhere.
A B2B content marketing program that adheres to these five principles… well, that’s where marketing starts to generate revenue.
Need help building content that compels, convinces and closes? Let’s talk. Reach out to Mike Neumeier at 404.451.7832 or firstname.lastname@example.org.