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Secrets to Effective B2B Content Marketing

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Most B2B content marketing sucks. It’s not going to grab the reader’s attention and interest so they read it from start to finish. It’s not going to motivate them to reach out and contact you – which is one reason you need to take the foot off the pedal and slow down your production of crap just because it’s on the editorial calendar.

Why does most B2B Content Marketing Suck?

The primary reason is that it’s feature focused rather than benefit focused – and let’s be honest, very few care about your company or your product because they are looking for solutions to their own problems and needs. And if you look around at most articles on B2B content marketing, you’re going to find articles all about the features offered by the company through their product/service – followed by “Act Now and Save %%%%” No solutions to the reader’s problems or needs – just pushing the “buy now because we dropped the price in the hope that we can finally sell something”

Most Expert Advice Sucks Too

The two most popular ‘solutions’ for ‘sucky content’, per the ‘experts’ is “Write something worth reading” followed by “Write something worth sharing”. Which supports my opening thesis – most B2B content marketing sucks.

How to avoid B2B content marketing that sucks

Step one is focus on your audience.  What problems are they facing?  What do they need to achieve their goals?  What can you offer them that will help – and that isn’t your product or service at 10% off if you act before midnight.   

 Step two is focus on where your audience is in their buying process.  If they’re just starting to gather information about their situation and possible options – help them confirm their self-diagnosis (“Do I need to hire a lawyer?” or “Do I need to hire a consultant?”) and then help them identify and select the right solution. For example, “10 questions to ask before hiring a law firm” or “Do you need X or Y – 5 questions that help you know your best solution”. If the content is for later in the buying process, more appropriate content could be product reviews and comparisons, case studies, testimonials.  Or even video content walking them through the product features and benefits.

Step three is properly using the appropriate media.  For those of you that remember printed magazines – the blow in cards always fell out so the reader saw it and heavy stock page inserts made the reader’s thumb stop as they flipped through the magazine. Today, video is all the rage – so you need to focus on how to use video on each channel/platform effectively. From distribution of video via your site, tweets, Facebook, to SnapChat and beyond.

Creativity in presentation is key because you need to stand out from all the distractions in your audience’s life.  And finding a way to creatively present the content that adds value vs. is just being different for the sake of being different can be an added plus.

Step four is test.  Test the design.  The copy.  The offers.  Whatever you can test – and you can test a lot – test it. Too many look at their “To Do List” and see “Write White Paper on Product A” and when they finish writing the white paper on Product A, it’s done and checked off the list.

From that point on, it’s live content until someone decides in the next couple of years to review the content so that dated content can be replaced. (Actually, it usually happens when there is a new hire and they are looking for low-hanging fruit to show the boss they made a great hiring decision.) Instead of one and done, test and then you come back to modify and improve on a much more timely manner.

Step five is get input from your audience – and, yes, that’s a different way of saying “Know your audience” which was step one in this process. You want to go back to them because their wants, needs, expectations and perceptions change – and you need to stay on top of it.   Heck, you want to be close enough to your audience that you can see changes coming.

Quality is in the eye of the beholder...

I get it. I have worked with and for companies where someone felt “…it’s August, so let’s push this product…” and when they read the promotional material, they exploded because “…you didn’t push the sale hard enough…” or “…it’s candy apple red exterior isn’t even mentioned enough…mention it 10 more times…”

You can force all the features on the reader/prospect you want – but if your goal is to capture their attention and motivate them to take the next step with you, you need to make sure they understand how you are going to solve their problems.

And if you would like me to show you how – contact me and I will be happy to produce some highly motivating, high quality lead generating, new customer producing content.  Schedule a time to talk specifics, click here.

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