In the world of B2B, content marketing is king. It’s become that highly desirable, hard-to-perfect ‘status’ both brands and marketers hope to attain. It makes me think of standing in line at an ultra hot, super hyped up nightclub in New York City. There’s a red rope and a long line around the corner of people desperate to be seen as “hot” and “cool.” Well, in the world of B2B, most marketers today feel that same sense of urgency and desperation to make it past the red rope into the lavish, exciting world of content marketing. But crossing over is only half the battle.
Too many marketers become blinded by the excitement of content marketing, the need to act now in response to C-level directives and their grand ambitions of what they hope it will do for their business and their own professional standing. What happens, as a result, is lots of clutter and a misguided focus on quantity, quantity, quantity. All the while, they’re sacrificing the most important elements of purpose, strategy, editorial-quality, planning and metrics for success. Take a real pause, examine why and how content will amplify your brand story, then and only then, create a step-by-step roadmap to get you there – complete with editorial calendars, editorial style guides, content creation/edit/approval systems and processes, owners, timelines, proposed audience and takeaways, external launch plans and more. Because data is one of the biggest assets to B2B marketers, here are five fool-proof ways to amplify your brand story with data-driven content.
If you’ve got the data, flaunt it.
For companies in the technology and digital marketing space, there’s a lot of data staring you in the face and waiting to be tapped. Use the many stats from your client campaigns. But don’t just use it for the sake of using it. Extrapolate multiple chunks of data for periods of time to understand recurring and new trends/patterns. Treat this data the same way you would with a beautiful, thoughtful birthday gift for your family or friends. Wrap it up into a packaged trends report – aligned with your branding and editorial voice – and present it to your existing clients, prospects, press and analysts.
If you don’t have the data, ask, learn and share.
In the world of B2B, providing value to clients and prospects has less to do with overt selling and more to do with education and knowledge-sharing. What matters most to your clients and prospects? To put it simply, their customers and their happiness/engagement. This is a perfect opportunity – often untapped by B2B marketers – to use consumer-facing research to shed light on what their customers really want/need, how they are interacting with brands across multiple channels and the types of online experiences and ad formats that are most likely to convert them from casual, one-time browsers into loyal, omnichannel brand advocates. Develop survey questions that will deliver unique, validating and even surprising stats. Those stats will provide clarity to your clients and prospects, and in turn, will strengthen your own company’s credibility in the space.
When showcasing client successes, take your ego out of it.
There’s nothing like case studies to bolster a B2B company’s reputation across multiple stakeholders. They reassure existing clients in the value of their investment with your company’s solutions and expertise. They act as a sales-supporting piece of documentation in new business pitches. They tell journalists that you aren’t just blowing smoke up your sleeves – you have the numbers to prove your worth.
No one is denying the worth of case studies. But as we all know, it can be troublesome and a long process to obtain approvals from clients to share these success stories. Whether you have case studies to share, or not, their value comes from how you communicate it externally. As with any other interactions in life, no one likes an egotistical braggart who pounds his/her chest and feels the need to say and shout repeatedly how amazing they are and how their clients love them. It’s a turn off. If your value is there, let the case study story and stats do the work for you.
Know what’s happening out there and use it across multiple channels.
If you’re not constantly up-to-date with what’s happening in your industry, you’ll lose out on key communications opportunities. That means reading the news on a daily basis, knowing when breaking news hits, catching up on reports about digital sales trends and forecasts. There are so many ways to leverage what’s happening out there across multiple channels. For one, you can use it as the topic or angle for blog posts. Also, you can work with your external PR agency to pitch/secure editorial bylines in relevant publications. When I say relevant publications, I mean quality publications that your core audience of clients/prospects read on a daily basis. Another way to make it work for you is to provide rapid-response commentary to media outlets/reporters immediately after a story hits. All of these opportunities do one very simple, yet important, thing for your business – they position you as a brand/voice with real insights, best practices and opinions.
Double your intellectual property and credibility through partnered content.
More than likely, you have a designated business development and channel sales executive who’s been tasked with forming partnerships with brands, technology vendors and digital agencies. Those partnerships are there for the taking. Maximize those partnerships to develop co-branded e-books, webinars, events, infographics and so much more. As my mother always says, “It never hurts to ask.”
Ragini is a monthly contributor to The Makegood. She brings the PR, communications and content perspective to all things advertising and marketing. Her career background includes entertainment/TV PR and technology/B2B PR and communications.