Last week, we shared our first seven lessons on how to tell a great story … the secret sauce that will make your B2B content more engaging and effective.
This week, we share seven more lessons, from finding your passion to delivering on your promises. Enjoy.
Lesson 8: Find your passion
Whether we’re talking about an individual, a product, or a company … brand matters. Stop producing the same old stuff everyone else is producing. If you can make your content stand out, your buyers will associate you with that particular brand of content and will search for it before they look for your competitors.
Be sure to stay on brand, wherever you are—home pages, social media platforms, landing pages, mobile apps, display ads, and beyond.
Lesson 9: Eliminate the “good enough” … deliver greatness
When it comes to good content marketing, quality is what sets your brand apart from all the rest. Yes, volume is needed to feed the beast. Consumption is constant and not every single communication is going to deliver a home run, but your goal should be to create it as if it will.
Too often, especially in times of economic strife, companies will opt for “less than,” often at the expense of true value and a consistent credible core. Don’t believe the hype. Today’s consumers are smart and savvy—they can spot a fake on first impression. I guarantee you, failing to deliver anything but the best value for their time will always come back to haunt you later.
The key is to determine what your target audience requires now and what your ideal audience deserves in the future—then build to your desired state. Stay true to your core message and mission, be unique, engaging, create a catalyst for action—and demand will follow.
Lesson 10: When you believe it, others will follow
Now, I’m not suggesting that you tell tall tales out of school. But I am saying that a good story matters. Connect, engage and deliver. Take the time to understand what your potential customers are looking for and then deliver it in a way that genuinely surprises and entertains.
Always strive to:
- Be passionate. If you don’t care about this stuff, why should anyone else?
- Be prolific. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint
- Create immersive experiences that people will go out of their way to enjoy
Note this key truth: B2B or B2C, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings. We share things that make our world better. Your job is to create content that creates an experience that people connect with and want to share.
Notice that I said share. If you think the term “gone viral” doesn’t apply to B2B, take a look at these examples from Volvo Trucks. When you rack up more YouTube views than Lady Gaga, you know you’ve got impressive content.
Lesson 11: Respect the chemistry
Communicate the exact same way every month and, over time, your results will taper off. Eventually, the competition will catch up.
Don’t change your narrative arc, but be flexible and measure. Monitor audience reactions—pay attention to what your customers are telling you. Don’t be afraid to make minor changes to yield major returns. If you trust the customer journey you’ve mapped out and stay focused on your beginning and end points, you’ll have the flexibility to do some testing and use creative marketing techniques to funnel your prospects in the right direction, rather than trying to create new, knee-jerk scenarios on the fly.
Lesson 12: Your empire relies on distribution
Your content, no matter how superior, is only as good as the audience it reaches. Achieving your true potential requires accessibility.
Creating quality B2B content is difficult enough without the added complexity of effective distribution. So, make it easy for employees, industry bloggers and clients to share your work with their online networks. If you’re doing your job, they’ll help maximize your distribution and brand awareness with each piece of quality content you produce.
The good news is, today marketers have a vast number of distribution/social media channels at their disposal. And if people like the content you’re distributing, they’ll share with their friends, and their friends will come to you wanting more. Work to get your content into their social feeds and tap into their influencer networks. Leverage multiple channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, email or paid promotions. If your content is relevant, your audience will do the heavy lifting and share it with their networks, expanding your reach for you.
Lesson 13: Embrace Sales. You need them
The fact is, Marketing’s collaboration with Sales is essential to success. Together, we must acknowledge and respect the value of a relationship-selling business and integrate our combined efforts with audience behaviors.
Marketing and Sales need one another to succeed. Don’t ignore Sales; they’re a great resource for content ideas that will deliver results. No one is closer to the customer than they are. They’re talking to prospects every day—they know what matters to their buyers and they understand why deals are won and lost. Listen to their content needs and tap them for insights into the questions buyers are asking.
Bottom line: Sales + Marketing = Success. Without the right team chemistry and the right blend of ingredients, all focused on supporting the end product, the execution will always fall short.
And last, but not least …
Lesson 14: Deliver on your promises
This is probably one of the most important lessons to follow. It’s incumbent on us as marketers to ensure that our audience gets what we promise them. Without their trust, we have nothing.
I promise you, they DON’T want:
- “Me too” blog posts
- Three-sentence ideas pumped up into 30-page eBooks
- Talking head video interviews that could be titled “White Noise”
- Microsites full of the obvious disguised as the profound
You know what they DO want? Strong content brands built on promises upheld. Brands famous for producing intelligent, useful and entertaining content that is consistently worth consuming. They want to hear from brands that:
- Never condescend or oversimplify
- Provide utility—the essence of content marketing
- Project confidence, with clear, easy-to-read content that’s delivered with a bit of attitude and energy
- Always leave the reader feeling glad they invested the time
Content marketing isn’t easy. It requires time, incredible discipline and commitment. But if you build your narrative on the principles we’ve discussed and follow the lessons outlined here, you WILL begin to create the kind of following that demands what you have to offer.
Jeff Cleary | Managing Director
Jeff, a University of Massachusetts grad, worked for others for many years. In 1990, Jeff teamed up with Mike Osborn to form Catalyst. Smart move. In his role as managing director, he continually strives to meet and exceed client expectations as well as his employees’, always ensuring a positive, productive workplace.