Are you having trouble driving traffic to your B2B website? Does your B2B content marketing program leave everyone yawning with boredom? It’s time to shake things up and make B2B content marketing exciting!
B2B content marketing is often thought of as serious, dull, and in the weeds. However, every company has a story to tell. With today’s resources, there are so many interesting ways to describe and share that story! What’s holding companies back? And how can they break through barriers and make B2B content marketing impactful?
Marketing B2B products and services has its difficulties. As with many offerings, people like to do their research online before they reach out to your company. However, B2B products and services are often high priced and can be very technical. This results in two major challenges:
- Long decision making time – People often take longer before they reach out to businesses, because they want to be sure they are spending their thousands or millions in the right place. Even after they have spoken with a sales person, the decision-making process can take months or even more than a year! How do you, as a business, keep prospects’ interest during that lengthy decision-making period?
- Broad spectrum of decision makers – Many times, the decision to purchase and implement B2B products and services involves a broad swath of people across your customers’ companies. This means you could have to develop content that captures the attention of everyone from the CEO on down. How do you create the right content to satisfy everyone and share it on the channels where they are most comfortable consuming that content?
B2Boring Is The Standard
The B2B challenges described above frequently result in one of three issues:
- Lack of compelling storytelling – Content marketers often fall back on showing technical knowledge. They dive straight into discussing the B2B product or service offered, going too deep too fast. While this knowledge definitely needs to be shared at some point in the purchasing cycle, people first want to know other things like, “Am I in the right place?”, “Do you understand my problem?”, and “What makes you different from every other company selling the same thing?”
- Not enough information shared – B2B businesses don’t necessarily have click-to-buy offerings. This means that prospects have to speak with a sales person before purchasing. Because content marketers know driving prospects to speak with sales is their goal, they sometimes share too little information online. The hope is to drive customers to give the company a call. Yet this effort to slim down online content can result in people not having enough information to understand whether or not your business is a good fit for them.
- Lots of sharing, no conversations – B2B content marketers often have the hang of sharing the content they’ve created. But a conversation needs more than one individual to make it work. Because content marketers have to reach people on so many different levels, often content pieces are not specifically aimed at a particular persona. It becomes a “one size fits none” issue. This results in difficulty knowing who to reach out to via social media. There’s no way to know for whom the B2B content will be effective.
Not to worry! There are fixes to make B2B content marketing exciting and blow your goals out of the water!
Storytelling Makes B2B Content Marketing Exciting
Here’s what seems like a basic chain of logic, yet many forget this is true:
- Your business is made of people.
- Your customers are people.
- People like to buy from people.
Acknowledging these three facts gives you enough information to create a content marketing program that empowers you to build an emotional connection with your audience. That emotional connection is vital to making B2B content marketing exciting!
There is truth in the idea that folks buy from others they know, like, and trust. Build that trust even before prospects begin to talk with your sales people. That way, you are starting things off on the right foot, even during the research phase.
Of course, your business itself should provide the framework and goals for all content marketing efforts, as well as the central repository for all content. Your business can also have a certain amount of personality. Maybe you are a funny company? A thought leader? Service obsessed?
Behind your corporate voice, though, should be individual voices. Building a compelling business story told by genuine human beings is at the center of solidifying trust. The first place to start is with your employees.
Employees Hold Sway
Your employees are experts. They are most likely passionate about the topics of their expertise. Why not take advantage of that natural enthusiasm and highlight it?
The more you can show off your employees, the more you show:
- Your business is made up of personable human beings.
- Your business is filled with experts.
Who doesn’t want to work with an expert? This becomes especially important if a prospect is making a big investment in a product or service. They want to work with people who know what they’re doing!
B2B videos provide a great medium for highlighting employees. Some ways you can use videos to show off your employees on different social media channels include:
- Glassdoor – Add stories about your employees to attract even more experts to your business.
- LinkedIn – Show off your employees’ depth of knowledge on a particular subject to attract more customers.
- YouTube – Have an employee white board a process to explain how your business handles a particular situation.
- Facebook – Show how your employees are supporting a cause or giving back to the community.
You can also consider other options, such as:
- Create an employee advocacy program.
- Have your employees author articles for your blog or outside publications.
- Empower employees to show off their expertise on social media channels like Reddit, Quora, or Medium.
You get the idea.
Employees aren’t your only resource for making B2B content marketing more exciting, however. After all, your customers are humans too. They have great stories to tell!
Customers Build Trust
A message shared by your employees will be considered more trustworthy than a message shared by your business. That said, customers sharing your message hold even more weight. Customers have relatable stories and interesting use cases, and they have no obligation to support your business other than the fact that they like working with you. That’s a compelling combination. Wondering how to get customers involved? Read How to Include Customers in Your Content Marketing.
Customer stories can be shared in a multitude of ways. The traditional written case study is a good place to start. However, as was mentioned above, videos hold even more sway. 85% of US internet users watch online videos on a regular basis. They are eye-catching and they instantly humanize stories.
Unfortunately, it can also be costly and difficult to get customers to speak on video. Often getting a quote is easier. If you are going to share a customer quote or written story, be sure to at least get permission to use the photo of the individual being quoted. That way people can associate a face with the words, giving the quote a more personal feel.
Customers can also add to your content marketing efforts by providing reviews on sites such as G2Crowd, Capterra, FinancesOnline, and so forth. Reviews on sites like these don’t provide the same emotional connection as a specific customer story. However, they do hold weight.
Your business’ positive ratings by a third-party can be used as the core of an interesting story to be shared. Reviews can also provide prospects with detailed information they can use to decide whether or not your business is a good fit.
Which brings us to the next point…
Information Sharing Makes B2B Content Marketing Exciting
If you share useful information through your content marketing efforts, your company will be viewed as more transparent and a true resource. Sharing information builds trust, interest, and excitement!
Imagine you are going to a marketplace to purchase fruit. There are five vendors selling nearly the same array of fruit. Their prices are basically alike. Their booths are similarly attractive, clean, and neat. You decide to peruse the booths to take a closer look.
Four of the vendors look just fine. The fifth goes above and beyond the basics. She provides signage that offers engaging stories about the growers, information about the health benefits of the different fruits offered, recipes for using the fruit, a calendar of local farmer’s markets, etc. With which of those vendors would you initiate a conversation? The fifth, right?
The same chain of logic holds true on a larger scale for B2B companies. While the ultimate goal is to drive prospects to talk with sales people, prospects will be turned off by a lack of information shared via content marketing. So don’t shy away from it!
Cover a Variety of Topics
There are so many topics that make B2B content marketing exciting. For example, you can include content around:
- Questions your customer service or sales team are regularly asked.
- Lessons your business has learned over the years.
- Insider peeks around the business, behind the scenes at an event, at upcoming product releases, etc.
- Emotional stories about the impact your offerings have on the world around you.
- Office updates.
- Product or service demonstrations.
For content ideas that are more specific to your particular business, try focusing on topics related to your keywords. There are even keyword research tools to help your content brainstorming process.
Remember to cover different levels of interest and detail. You are marketing to a range of personas. What a CEO is interested in is not likely the same information that an engineer is interested in.
Moreover, be sure that each piece of content shared connects to the larger story of your company and drives prospects to take action. Content without a call to action leaves people hanging and might cause you to lose your audience. That’s the opposite of content marketing’s goal!
Cover a Variety of Formats
In addition to providing a multitude of topics, you should also consider sharing your content in a variety of content formats. Some content lends itself better to the written word, others to infographics, podcasts, or videos. You can find a variety of content format ideas here: 5 Insanely Sharable Formats to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts Right Now.
Moreover, many kinds of content can be transformed into a variety of formats with only a slight adjustment. For example, you could start with a video about a customer’s story. The audio could be pulled out and made into a podcast. The story could be summarized in a blog post. Then an infographic with a few key quotes could be developed and shared on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to draw people in.
And speaking of engaging people…
Conversations Make B2B Content Marketing Exciting
Don’t forget to make your content sharable. The share is a big part of what content marketing is all about! Some ways to make your content easier to share include:
- Add social sharing buttons to all of your content.
- Include interesting and useful graphics with your content.
- Tag people in your posts.
- Shorten links so people don’t get overwhelmed.
- Use content marketing tools like click-to-tweet to make it easy for people to share.
Beyond the act of sharing itself, talk online with people about your content. It is called SOCIAL media for a reason. So be social! The more you can reach out and engage your audience in conversation, the more likely it is that you can show them your B2B content is exciting!
For more ideas on how to use social selling for B2B, check out A Primer On B2B Social Selling With Twitter or You’ve Connected on LinkedIn – Now What?.
Build The Excitement
The bottom line is that your B2B business doesn’t have to be a robot that creates content for the sake of creating content. In fact, that destroys the whole point of content marketing, which is to drum up interest and engage your prospects.
Your business can have a personality, you can make B2B content marketing human, you can provide interesting information, and you can engage your audience in conversations. All of those points combined are what makes B2B content marketing exciting! Looking for more thoughts on the subject? Read these 5 Cool Tips to Make B2B Content Engaging.
Do you have any ideas you would add to this list to continue to make B2B content marketing exciting? If so, share them in the comments below. I’m looking forward to hearing about your success!
For a much more detailed look at all the exciting trends coming to B2B Content Marketing for 2020, check out this great infographic from Theia Marketing!