B2B marketers have been pushing for personalized content for a good lengthy while. Now we’re furthermore trying to humanize content — to make the case that B2B buyers are human beings who wish to connect with other humans with an emotional level.
Isn’t this remarkable that we still need to make that argument?
Yet I’m not here to write another 1000 words about humanizing content. I want all of us to take it a step more, beyond personalization, humanization, personality and empathy.
B2B content marketing needs to come from the center.
True, genuine heart will be the last frontier in content. Every brand has an Instagram with behind-the-scenes content to increase authenticity. Every brand will be striving to give at least the appearance of sincerity, personality plus transparency.
A lot of it is regarding as deep as the checkout clerk telling you to “have a nice day. ” To stand out now, B2B content material needs to hit on a more fundamental level.
Even as we talk about “human to human” or “B2Me” marketing, we still tend to think that B2B content needs to be head-driven, mainly logic and reasoning, using a thin gloss of personality and emotion on top to “humanize. ”
The truth is, naturally , that humans are innately emotional creatures who seek connection with each other. We most often decide with our hearts very first, then apply logic within retrospect.
B2B content with cardiovascular seeks to make a connection very first, then supply value, after that finally ask for a next step. It has to be in that order.
So , what does it indicate to write from the heart?
I am not passionate about, say, a software-as-a-service platform that collects customer data to get marketers. And I’m not sure I want to meet the person who is.
But I am passionate about less intrusive marketing, regarding people getting connected with solutions that meet their needs, and about a future where advertising is helpful and productive, not annoying. So I can lead with the passion, the why that drove us to create this particular solution, and then I can discuss the product’s capabilities.
Let’s face it: The particular marketing term ‘empathy’ sometimes has little to do with what the word actually means. Whilst we may strive for truly sensation someone else’s hopes and fears, it tends to be in the service of persuasion, rather than connection.
Compassion is more than simply walking a mile in someone’s shoes. It’s sincerely desiring to help them — to ease suffering, bring pleasure, and help them achieve success. Do you care if the people you’re marketing to get advertised, get to spend more time with their kids, may finally afford to buy a starter home, and so on?
If you can show that you have true compassion for the audience, beyond the solution you are offering, you’re far more prone to make a connection.
Here’s a hard one. Very few manufacturers want to seem vulnerable or fallible. Even with behind-the-scenes content, they tend to present a highly sanitized version of the business. In case you admit a fault, or even share an obstacle you had to struggle to overcome, will you lose people’s trust and confidence in your brand?
Absolutely not. You’re writing to people who experience hardships and make a few mistakes. You’ll make a better connection if you show that your brand name is made up of fallible human beings, too.
There’s nothing more authentic and transparent than a warts-and-all look at the problems your company people and the ways in which you attempt, fail and ultimately succeed.
What’s the fastest way to make a reference to a stranger? Ask them to do you a favor. Ask for help. Most salespeople are familiar with this particular phenomenon, sometimes called the “Ben Franklin Effect. ” The idea is that if someone really does you a favor, they’re demonstrably more likely to do a second 1, and to regard you more kindly than if you acquired done a favor for them.
I think the same is true along with content marketing. Thought leadership content tends to lack the idea of humility — this usually focuses on establishing information and authority, of the writer as an inerrant source of truth.
The problem is, no one really wants a know-it-all. A big dose of humility could make thought leadership content much more engaging, and much more likely to start a conversation.
Imagine a article that goes, “I’ve noticed success in my business along with x, y, and z .. But I’m still not sure how to best go about the, b, and c. Are these the best experiences? What do you do in this situation? ”
The thought leader in this instance is adding value by expressing their own experience and achievement, but also allowing others to share their expertise as well. The end result can be a conversation that benefits everyone involved – writer, audience, and brand.
Because Maya Angelou famously mentioned, people may forget what you say, but they will never forget the way you made them feel. And the best way to interact someone’s emotions is to discuss your own. We can’t accept the shallow marketing equivalents of passion, compassion, weeknesses, and humility.
We need to accept the difficult but rewarding task of bringing the whole hearts to what we are creating.
How do you create at ease with heart? Let me know in the feedback.
And take our B2B Influencer Marketing Survey to talk about your opinions.
The post Write from the Heart for More Memorable B2B Content material Marketing made an appearance first on B2B Marketing Blog — TopRank® .
Inside B2B Influence is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of influencer marketing. We connect with influential practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.
In this first episode of the second season of Inside B2B Influence, I was able to catch up with the incredibly popular, talented and beloved Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley. I’ve known Ann for well over 10 years and she’s been a great friend, client and source of inspiration to me about more meaningful content marketing.
Ann talks with me about a variety of topics ranging from the nature of influence in B2B, demand for B2B influencers during the pandemic and our mutually favorite “dogfluencer”, August – the most dashing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel you may ever meet.
Highlights of this episode of Inside B2B Influence with Ann Handley include:
Listen to episode 14 (Confluence: The B2B Content and Influence Connection) of the Inside B2B Influence podcast here:
You wrote the best selling book, Everybody Writes. Do you think everybody has influence?
Ann: That’s such an interesting question because at first pass it’s like, well of course. But then on the other hand it’s kind of an existential question, isn’t it? I really had to think about that for a second. I mean, yes, I do think that everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility, right? Yes, we all have influence, but not in all topics. Like for example, I really like sushi, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a fish influencer. Is that a thing fishfluencer? I think we all have our spheres of expertise and we are influential within those spheres of expertise. But I don’t think that people are influencers across all things.
Everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility. @annhandley
I also think that, especially in B2B, that the notion of influencers is even more narrowly defined than it is in, in B2C. Because the expertise that I have in marketing is, you know, it’s content, it’s writing. It’s very specific. I don’t think you would come to me if you were looking for somebody to talk about analytics. Like you would go to Chris Penn for that. He’s an influencer in marketing analytics. So I think, especially in B2B, that that it is absolutely true that the credibility I have as an influencer is very specific and narrow. And I think that’s true of any, any B2B influencer.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in B2B impacting all aspects of doing business including marketing. What impact has an emphasis on digital first in B2B marketing had on the demand for influencers like yourself?
Ann: I have definitely seen more of those opportunities come my way because I think, just to your point, all of the traditional B2B tactics of field marketing and in person trade shows and other moments to experience the brands face to face, all of that went away in the past 15 months or so since the pandemic. So what takes its place? That’s been what’s fueling a lot of that digital transformation happening at B2B companies.
Influencer marketing is very much part of that because, how do you build that sort of trust with your audience if you don’t have the ability to meet them in person, to sit down, to have a conversation with them? So I think influencers have become a proxy and a conduit for that.
We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus straight up transactional. @annhandley
What’s interesting and what I see straight up from an influencer standpoint, is that more of those companies seek to have those relationships with me. They’re seeking to build those relationships with me in much less of a transactional way. You and I have talked about this Lee, I remember saying to you that this is like the future of B2B influencer marketing. We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus, you know, straight up transactional – make it less of an advertising / transactional play. Like here, I’ll pay you X amount of dollars if you share my thing, you know? That’s more of a B2C model.
I think in B2B what we’re seeing, and this has been fueled by the pandemic, is that we are seeing those relationships start to happen between brands and influencers like me where they’re reaching out to me proactively and saying, “Hey, we don’t have a thing right now, but we want to work with you. Can we sort of get to know each other?”
And so I think we’re seeing an increasing impetus toward an approach that I feel, has more sustainability long-term and it’s the way that I like to work personally. So yeah, I think we’re seeing a whole lot more of that.
What are some of the content collaboration opportunities between B2B brands and influencers that you’re seeing more of in 2021?
Ann: There are yeah. I want to caveat this by saying that I’m speaking from my personal experience versus, you know, I haven’t necessarily polled B2B marketers. So you probably have a better perspective on this too and whether what I’m talking about is actually reflected in the broader B2B community.
What I see is more brands looking to have a longterm relationship. Not just, come speak at our webinar, but, can we actually think about this over like a fiscal year? What can we do together in Q1 and Q2 and Q3, so that it becomes much more of a, not quite ambassador, but at least more of a brand alignment, right? So that I’m saying, “I believe in what you do” and and you’re saying that you trust me as well.
More long-term engagements and less transactional is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program. @annhandley
I think longer-term engagement with a trust foundation to it is definitely something that I’m seeing. I’m also seeing these situations where even if it is about providing a quote for this, or for example, I’ll put something in my newsletter that’s sort of sponsored but for me, it’s not anything that you can buy. It’s something where I read the paper and I believe in it. I have a relationship with the company and so therefore I will share it with my audience. So yes, it’s sponsored, but it’s like, it’s sponsored with my whole self. I guess I’m a little bit goofy, but you know what I mean, with integrity, I should say.
That is a situation where it’ll be over several months, so it’s not just like a one and done. But can you help us promote this and here’s what’s in it for you and here’s what we want to give to you and your audience, that kind of thing. I guess to sum up, much more long-term engagements and less transactional, which I think is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program anyway. But you probably have more perspective on that than I do.
It’s been really interesting what’s happened not just in terms of content creation and the thought leadership through partnerships between executives and external influencers, but also the relationships that are being facilitated.
Ann: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think it makes total sense, right? Because in the past 15 months of the pandemic, I think that the brands who have really demonstrated that we’re all in this together, have actually had to show up in a real human genuine way and to be there for their audiences. I think that’s in part what’s driving the kind of collaboration that you’re talking about.
Brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? @annhandley
Because I do think brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? I think that cascades throughout B2B marketing as well as influencer marketing. I think that’s clearly one area where we are seeing where that comes to life,
Along with best practices there are also bad practices. I’m curious if there are any bad behaviors in terms of how people reach out or engage with you?
Ann: I think there’s been a few situations where I just, I tend not to engage basically. That’s a situation where a big agency will reach out and it’s clear that I’m one of many. Like I’m like part of a stable of influencers that they’re looking to. And they ask me to respond and fill out this Google form about the size of my audience. I’m not going to do any of that. That’s not what I want and that’s not who I am. It’s not what my brand is all about. That’s just not what I’m going to do.
It doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. @annhandley
So it doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. That’s a situation where I just wouldn’t engage. I can’t even say that it’s a bad practice but it’s de-motivating. When those come in we just sort of delete it immediately.
Or they come at it from a tactic standpoint. I get this a lot. For example, my email newsletter. I’ve talked a lot about it the past couple of years, it’s grown pretty significantly and it has really healthy, open rates. The list is just over 50,000 now. So it’s a good, robust list. I get a lot of people who say, will you share this in your newsletter? And I don’t know them. I don’t have a relationship with you. So if the onus is on me to do the legwork and figure out who you are, what your solution is all about or what your piece of content is all about, then I’m not going to do it.
Also, that’s not the role of the newsletter. If you know me, and if you’re on the list, then you know that, right? So, if you want to get something in my newsletter, then that’s not the first step. The first step is engaging me on social, get to know me. All the things that, you know, you do to start a relationship. All the best practices around that. Not. “Will you share this in your newsletter?” That’s all the stuff that just ends up being deleted immediately.
What are some ways you can imagine someone incorporating influencer content in a newsletter?
Ann: If you’re a marketer and you’re publishing your own newsletter and you want to work with influencers, trying to figure out a way to highlight them in that environment could be something simple, like highlighting some of their content or highlighting them as an individual. Or it could be something more like inviting them to be like a guest editor depending on the relationship.
I think there’s lots of opportunity there to influence the influencer as part of your brand and not just thinking that your relationship with the influencer is only in the social space. Because I think an email newsletter is just such a rich opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. The degree to which you can invite influencers into that relationship is going to solidify your relationship with the influencer as well.
Who are some of your favorite influencers, you know, that would, you know, that operate in the B2B world in some way, whether it’s marketing or tech or somewhere else?
Ann: Avinash Kaushik at Google. I don’t even know if he would consider himself an influencer, but he is. I think mostly because his brain functions so differently. I’m on his newsletter list. I love to read his perspective and his point of view, and follow him on social for the same reasons.
Chris Penn is somebody else who you know, again, has a very different approach. But if you took Chris Penn’s brain and took my brain and sort of put them together, you’d get like this whole body marketer, you know? I think I come at it very much from the art and high touch perspective and he comes at it very much from a science and analytics standpoint. I appreciate his message so much because he helps me elevate in what I do just by paying attention to what he’s doing.
I love what April Dunford talks about around positioning. I think she offers some really valuable advice and I always love seeing what she has to say and hearing her point of view on things.
You certainly. I think you, and I know it’s like your show so I probably shouldn’t, but like the work you’ve done around influencer marketing, I think you absolutely are helping to push the industry forward in terms of like how to do it right. And, and how to create programs that actually do sustain themselves long-term and deliver value for your organization.
Thanks Ann! You are a great source of inspiration to B2B marketers all over the world and a wonderful human being!
You can also watch the full video interview with Ann Handley here:
For more B2B marketing insights, you can subscribe to Ann’s amazing Total ANNARCHY newsletter here and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, don’t miss out on the MarketingPros B2B Forum coming up October 13-14 this year.
Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business marketing.
You can also download The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report featuring insights from a survey of hundreds of B2B marketers plus case studies and contributions from marketing executives at brands including Adobe, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell, SAP and many more.
The evolution of B2B marketing has required companies to extend the transformations and pivots made during the pandemic to more permanent changes in marketing driven by evolving consumer preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction. B2B marketing is evolved as a digital first practice and there’s no going back.
While most marketers understand it is simply not enough to rely on push marketing tactics and advertising, they still rely on these familiar and comfortable tactics.
Today’s business customers have more content choices in text, images, audio, video and interactive formats on more devices than ever. They expect more than just useful information from the brands they buy from.
In reaction to many of these changes in technology and an increased demand for information, many businesses have resolved to creating more content; more information to feed the insatiable appetite of the search and social web.
B2B marketers are responding to this need. Yearly research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs on Content Marketing consistently shows marketers are dedicated to using content in their marketing.
Unfortunately, simply creating more digital first content isn’t the answer. Competition is fierce for customer time and attention, raising the bar on content from simply providing information to delivering meaningful experiences. To stand out, engage and inspire action, todays businesses must engage in smarter, customer focused content marketing.
The shift from traditional digital marketing to a focus on integrated content experiences is requiring companies to rethink their approach. Making that transition requires an understanding some essential shifts:
According to a study from IBM, we’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes daily— so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.
Competition for attention has increased exponentially as brands evolve their publishing efforts and consumers are increasingly empowered to publish themselves. Blogs, social media sharing sites and networks are powered by brand and user generated content, all competing for time and attention.
Since most consumers are confronted by thousands of marketing messages every day, it’s essential that companies understand their customers and those who influence them. Using the right tools for everything from influencer discovery to topic optimization, brands can embark on a continuous effort to improve the performance of their content investment.
Data analysis and optimization tools will surface knowledge of specific customer segments and their pain points, goals and those who influence them. Armed with such insight, marketers will be better prepared to craft meaningful content marketing experiences to exceed customer expectations and pass the competition. Businesses must think beyond the mechanical and transition to a more meaningful approach to PR, search, social media and content marketing.
Disruption or Evolution?
Traditional publishing models have been significantly affected by these changes in technology and consumer information preferences. Print based publications are on the decline, newsroom resources and staff are shrinking and the roles of brand publishers and traditional media publishers are exchanging.
Driven by the Customer Journey
The diversity of information options and access through myriad devices empowers consumers with more decision making power before they ever act on an intent to purchase. The customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase weaves it’s way through channels like search, news and social media in a dynamic path that is rarely linear and increasingly numb to push messaging.
Those companies that can attract and engage consumers earlier in the journey can establish a stronger brand connection and influence sales, despite a greater diversity of content and rising competition.
Architecting a content marketing plan across the customer buying cycle will enable marketers to plan content topics meaningful to each stage: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy. Content discovery, consumption and action at each stage can then be planned to optimize the customer experience.
Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed and acted on.
Re-thinking a content marketing strategy and it’s integration with search, social media and PR requires a solid definition of content marketing:
Content marketing is the planned creation, promotion and optimization of brand stories designed to create useful and meaningful experiences that attract, engage and inspire a target group of customers from awareness to purchase to advocacy.
With that definition, marketers can build a content marketing strategy that draws from both consumer insights and brand goals to create great content that is optimized for discovery, engagement and conversion towards business goals
Next steps and key questions:
The post Optimize for B2B Customers with Digital First Content Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
I’m likely to knock on wood as I type this particular, but: It looks like we may have a (mostly) normal summertime this year in the U. Ersus. After the lockdowns, isolation, anxiousness and fear of 2020, it finally feels like things are usually opening up.
This is all perfect for everything except getting people to read your marketing content. In 2020 we had a captive audience starved regarding entertainment. Now we’ll end up being competing with everything from music festivals to movies in order to walking in the park.
The best way to break through and have the “hot brand summer? ” First, don’t use key phrases like “hot brand summer season, ” because you’ll simply make people hate you. 2nd, it’s all about customer wedding. That means connecting with people on a personal level, offering something novel and fascinating, and taking advantage of that contact to build a meaningful relationship.
No sweat, right? According to a recent survey, though, 54% of brand names have trouble connecting with customers on an emotional level. And only 22% say they excel when it comes to customer encounter!
How can B2B marketers create their content more appealing? Here are a few tips.
Uncensored. Interactive. Up close and personal. There’s absolutely nothing quite like a live flow to break free from safe and boring content. There’s grounds every social media site, through Instagram to LinkedIn, does live streams.
Granted, heading live is not without the risks. If you’re concerned about possible slip-ups or off-message chatter, you can always practice ahead of time. Live doesn’t have to mean “completely improvised and unscripted. ”
A few more tips for going reside:
“Authenticity” is one of those marketing buzzwords that makes a simple thing seem difficult. Individuals like brands that are “authentic? ” No, people prefer to know there are actual individuals of good will at work behind the brand’s messaging. That’s all authenticity means: True people saying true factors.
Let your employees end up being brand ambassadors on social media. Go behind the scenes to meet the folks who make your brand’s magic happen. Highlight employee stories, even if they are not directly related to the brand. For example , if an employee is an Eagle Scout who at this point runs their own scouting troop, that’s a heartwarming and engaging story that quietly shows off your brand beliefs.
In short, when you’re heading behind the scenes, look to celebrate your people and even your customers.
None of us would use a cellphone from the late 90s today. So why are we still so enamored of the content format that hasn’t changed in the past 30 years? That old standby, the stationary PDF, has lost lots of its power to persuade.
Our own agency has been seeing better results with interactive, animated possessions. For example , this one from customer Mitel brings our statistics and influencer contributions to life. Tools like Ceros create developing an interactive resource almost as easy as a static one.
You don’t have to create a whole immersive VR experience in order to snag people’s attention, either — just a few touches of animation, interactivity and sound can go a long way.
We all know how the blog to social media marketing pipeline works: You release a blog, link to it on your social media, and wish people click that hyperlink. If they don’t click via, it’s a lose-lose scenario. Neither your brand nor your audience is getting any kind of utility out of the content.
A good way to change the equation is through social-first content: That is, content material designed to be consumed right there in the social media feed. With regard to B2B marketers, LinkedIn may be the right destination for social-first content.
For example , consider slicing a blog post into 150-200 word segments and posting this on LinkedIn, with a hashtag to make it easy to find all the installments. Ask a question at the end of each segment that’s designed to generate discussion, then participate in that will conversation as long as it goes.
Ultimately, social-first content can help grow your brand’s social media existence and deepen relationships with your audience. And you can still gather the content and publish this as a blog later, too!
As you may have observed, TopRank Marketing is pretty deeply in love with influencer marketing . There’s one simple reason: When you do it right, it gets results. Every time. Everything from a social media post to a blog post to a 5, 500 word interactive asset is better with influencer contributions.
We co-create content with influencers for most reasons, including:
Over time, you can build-up a community of influencers to co-create content that advantages them, your brand, as well as your audience.
One key element for increasing engagement would be to … well … calculate it. If you’re still looking at overall blog traffic or bounce rates to define your content success, you need to recalibrate your metrics to include engagement signifiers like:
Ready to have a incredibly hot brand summer (sorry)? It is as simple and as complex as doing things that you haven’t done before. It’s pressing your brand away from the particular staid and static old-school B2B mindset and placing out content that people want to interact with, comment on, and share.
Need more proof? Here is how interactive content for the client Prophix led to the 642% increase in engagement .
The post 6 B2B Articles Marketing Summertime Sizzlers To improve Audience Engagement appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank® .
Stand-up comedians need to make a connection with their particular audience. It starts along with getting attention, then stoking interest, developing a rapport, and ultimately provoking a reaction.
To do it right, you need empathy, understanding of your audience, creativity… wow, and a spark that makes a person unique.
B2B marketers: Really does any of the above sound familiar? I’ve been a professional marketer plus an amateur comedian for more than a decade, and it’s amazing how much the two inform one another.
Here are just a few lessons that will B2B marketers can learn from standup.
In the early 19th century, standup comedy depended on wordplay and absurdism. For example: “Take my wife… please! ” or even “The other night We shot an elephant within my pajamas… how he had my pajamas, I’ll find out. ”
As the art form associated with standup has evolved, nevertheless , personal observations with a distinctive point of view (more on that later) have become more popular. Here is a classic bit from Ellen Degeneres as she dissects the minutiae of the girl life:
For marketers, keeping it real means becoming honest and sincere along with your audience. It could even suggest not being afraid to exhibit flaws or own up to errors. Look for ways to bring the audience behind the scenes to meet the people behind the brand.
I like the way Stacey Marx from AT& T Business brings the girl personal life into the girl content, as in this post, ” Gold Medal Suggestions: SMB Lessons from a World class Coach . ” The personal contact elevates the content and helps it be unique.
Telling a marketer to learn their audience is like telling a comedian to… well… know their audience. It’s not a radical new method; it’s part of the toolkit. Simultaneously, it’s easy to think of your own personal culture, background and believed processes as universal. That is one of the reasons comedy can be so hard to translate.
One popular example is when Jimmy Carter told a joke to break the ice at a college in Japan. He had been gratified when, after a short translation from his interpreter, the crowd erupted within laughter! It wasn’t till later that the interpreter opened up that what he stated was, “The president has told a funny story. Please laugh. ”
With regard to marketers and comedians alike, the only way to truly get in your audience’s head is to the actual research. Putting out exactly the same message for audiences based on a cultural backgrounds is a path fraught with peril.
This particular Jerry Seinfeld bit — a superbly clever American Express commercial — illustrates the point precisely:
Steve Mulaney and Mitch Hedberg are two of my favorite comedians, and for wildly different reasons. John is the learn at telling longer tales, taking a few minutes to set the particular scene, not rushing to some punchline. Here’s an example (with some strong language, end up being warned):
On the other side of the spectrum, Mitch Hedberg is the proven master of the one-liner. “I don’t have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who’d end up being mad at me with regard to saying that. ” Or, slightly longer, “One time, this person handed me a picture, he said ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was youthful. ’ Every picture features you when you were more youthful! ‘Here’s a picture of me personally when I’m older. ’ Woah, lemme see that digital camera. ”
Just as there’s space in comedy for the Mulaneys and Hedbergs, there’s room in marketing for both long-form narratives and brief, punchy taglines. Invest the same energy into each one, and you’ll resonate with a wider audience.
In the ’80s, there was a short stand-up fad of strange, extreme voices. For example…
Thankfully, it was a unsuccsefflull trend, but it does demonstrate how memorable a unique voice can be. Anyone who has heard Bobcat Goldthwait, Gilbert Gottfried, Judy Tenuta or Sam Kinison will never mistake them intended for someone else. On the flip side, the junkyard of comedy is thrown with the careers of dull comedians who were indistinguishable from each other.
In marketing, it’s easy to slide into a kind of homogeneous, safe, “professional-sounding” business speak. Don’t make waves, use — I mean, use — the right jargon, and you may avoid offending anyone. The problem is, you’re also unlikely to prevent affecting anyone, too. Make your brand voice personable, lively and unique, and you may have something no competitor can copy.
All of the above can help you as a marketer deal with, connect with, and affect your own audience. But there’s another thing that comedians do this marketers should do more often: Become funny. There’s plenty of room in B2B marketing pertaining to actual comedy, and those that do it well tend to be compensated. And hey, if Intel can do it , so can you.
Want more B2B marketing tips? Take a look at our report on the State of B2B Influencer Marketing .
Probably the most compelling scenarios for B2B marketers to build content plus community is through a combination user generated content (UGC) and strategic content collaborations. To do this, many B2B brands will initiate ongoing social media marketing content and engagement programs to stimulate dialog along with customers, community and influencers to build essential relationships.
With B2B marketing shifting to digital 1st, there is more demand regarding content than ever, but there are also resource challenges with the have to continuously create new articles. At the same time traditional social media plus content marketing can have rely on issues if the brand isn’t engaging with the community or the right influencers on a regular basis. The content marketing focused solution that solves for each of those challenges that will also help build community and influence for B2B brands can be found through involvement marketing : aka, user generated articles in the form of content collaborations along with external influencers, brand community and customers.
As brands participate in social communities, asking and answering questions, engaging customers and sharing content, numerous opportunities exist to involve the community with content creation.
Crowdsourcing content with the different audiences of a brand helps create new, meaningful content and also providing an opportunity to use the function of content collaboration in order to build relationships, community plus influence. When you make a related ask to contribute content material and then use the resulting happy to create mutual credibility plus exposure for the contributors, the experience can drive deeper wedding and organic advocacy between the influential voices your customers rely on.
Like all B2B marketing tactics, you will find pros and cons for a crowdsourced approach to content. Some of the pros consist of:
Of course there are a few cons too:
The good news is that most from the cons can be mitigated with good communications, oversight plus process.
From the practical application standpoint, here are a few good examples how content can be crowdsourced and repurposed
1 . Interviews. Asking other people queries is one of the most basic ways to crowdsource content. There are a number of methods to implement such an approach according to the desired outcome. Asking the city for suggestions of who else to interview and what queries to ask is a great way to involve people in the process. Interviewing industry thought leaders provides the brand’s audience with unique content and creates a optimistic association between the “brandividual” as well as the company.
Make sure to empathize with thought market leaders and their busy schedules. It will often be far more effective to ask one particular question of ten celebrities than ten questions of just one person. When you do that, you’ve made it easy for each person to answer and have also increased the number of potential influencers that will help promote the finished product.
2 . Social Q & A – Tweets, LinkedIn and other social networks can provide very useful platforms to present B2B focused questions and attract answers from a variety of individuals for use in your content project. Of course , your intent needs to be obvious and permission for recycle should be obtained before republishing. Those familiar with the Queen & A communities may word questions to attract replies from specific influentials who might not otherwise react to a content participation frequency via email.
3. Contests Resulting in Content – Examples of contests where consumers produce their own videos or share images abound within the social web. Community members or influencers could be invited to create videos, blog posts or other media as a way to “enter” the contest run with a B2B brand. Entries managed on the respective participant publishing channels would link to the contest home and the top 10 entries might be compiled into a highlight video clip or ebook according to the structure used.
4. Comment Feedback Loop – Probably the most meaningful ways for a neighborhood to engage with a brand is definitely through comments made upon social networks about a brand, in reaction to brand content or topics of mutual curiosity. Soliciting the community of visitors to participate in a discussion by commenting can result in content that is more engaging plus specific to what the target audience is interested in.
Brands can then recognize commenters by drawing attention to the “best of” comments within separate blog or social media marketing post, or as we do it at our agency, on this TopRank Marketing Newsletter.
5. Printing or eBook Authoring by Community – Reaching out to industry experts to share their own insights as part of a larger project can be a very effective method for crowdsourcing content. Author Michael Burns did this with “Online Marketing Heroes” of which I had been a part many years ago. He or she interviewed 25 successful marketers and the result of those interviews became a print guide.
Another popular format of crowdsourcing e-book content involves creating an outline for an ebook with portions like the premise, key points and conclusion reserved for the brand point of view and allocating specific sections for contributions intended for subject matter experts – industry influencers, customers, and important opinion leaders.
Through progressive content cooperation experiences that result in content that is simultaneously useful to customers and great visibility intended for contributors, B2B brands can develop a community of influence that helps
While there are many upsides when done well, you need to know that it’s possible to over rely on a community for content creation as well, so don’t overdo it. Also, genuine recognition motivates better work and can encourage participants to share future crowdsourced content more enthusiastically compared to something that is more transactional.
As you look at the great example of such, communities, prospects, customers and influencers that make up the ecosystem of information sources that are vital that you your brand, think about the spaces of information that exist in your business that could be filled with user and influencer created content . Looking over and above the fundamental benefit of content creation meant for marketing, even greater opportunities can be found when the content collaboration encounter helps build genuine relationships with community and market voices that your customers rely on.
The posting How B2B Marketers Can Build a Community of Influence with Content material appeared 1st on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank® .
Huge congratulations to Joe Pulizzi on the release of the completely updated and expanded edition of Content Inc. Also thanks to Joe for contributing one of the handful of guest posts we’ve ever accepted here at TopRank’s B2B Marketing Blog. Along with thousands of other marketers, I’ve learned a lot from Joe and you will too.
Read on to discover 10 ways you can drive revenue for your business through content marketing from the Godfather of Content Marketing himself:
Whether you are a marketing professional, content entrepreneur or a media executive, driving revenue from an audience is always the same. Once you build a loyal and trusting audience through your content marketing or media strategy, there are 10 different ways to generate revenue: six direct sources and four indirect sources.
Direct revenue options are generally aligned with media models. Indirect sources are considered the result of content marketing strategies. Regardless of what you “perceive” your organization to be, a smart content marketing professional should consider all 10 sources as options when building a content asset.
Direct Revenue Options
The six different methods by which companies can directly generate revenues from an audience group include advertising/sponsorship, conferences and events, premium content offerings, donations, affiliate sales, and subscriptions.
The most popular method of driving direct revenues is through advertising and sponsorship programs—companies willing to pay you for direct access to your audience.
Tested by time, traditional advertising still works very well, especially for those organizations with loyal, niche audiences.
While an advertisement generally involves interrupting a user’s experience with a product or content promotion, a sponsorship entails underwriting a piece of content, generally by one company. The benefits of sponsorships include getting leads (through a sponsored download) and/or achieving brand awareness (by sponsoring a podcast or television program).
According to CMI/MarketingProfs research, approximately 7 in 10 enterprises create and manage their own events. Some of these are small client gatherings, while others are full-scale events with exhibition halls and concurrent sessions. Revenues are mostly driven through paid event registration or sponsorships, such as parties or exhibition space.
Premium content packages come in a number of forms, including direct-for-sale content products and syndicated content opportunities.
Content syndication happens when third-party websites pay a fee to publish original created content.
Generally, donations to subsidize an organization’s publishing work best for not-for-profit and cause organizations.
Affiliate income works like this: if you click on my affiliate link and sign up for the products and services I recommend, then I earn a commission.
Subscriptions differ from premium content in that subscriptions, paid for by the consumer, promise to deliver content over a period of time (generally a year).
Indirect Revenue Options
While direct revenue options have been traditionally considered part of the media company model, indirect revenues fall under the approach known as content marketing. This means you don’t make money directly from the content, but from the effect of the content over time.
Of all the revenue drivers of this approach, loyalty is the oldest of them all, and it is still extremely important today. Organizations of all sizes originally launched print magazines to keep customer loyalty over time.
Once acquiring a customer, innovative companies leverage customer data to deliver targeted and consistent publications to, in essence, create better customers over time.
The most successful content creators leverage not one, but multiple streams of revenue. Whether you consider yourself a marketer or part of a media company, we are all publishers. Just as an investor diversifies a portfolio with multiple stocks and/or mutual funds, content creators need to diversify the revenue streams generated from their content and audience building.
Joe Pulizzi’s new book, Content Inc.: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience, and Become Radically Successful (with Little to No Money) Is Available Now.
Joe is also the founder of The Tilt, a newsletter dedicated to helping content creators find a business model.
The post 10 Ways to Drive Revenue through Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
SEO plus content marketing intersect much more ways than optimizing webpages with keywords.
Answering the question, “How does SEO and content marketing strategy interact? ” starts along with understanding customers, behaviors and preferences for information breakthrough, consumption and sharing. Being aware of what customers care about and how all those concerns and interests reveal as search keywords and social topics folds perfectly into the keyword research practiced by professional SEOs.
Keyword Glossaries and Editorial Plans can be important tools for marketers to aid in creating relevant content that is inherently optimized for customers and target audiences as well. Specific keyword optimization is suitable as well, but the end articles product becomes much easier to discover, consume and share if an understanding of customer questions is definitely translated into topics and keywords from the start. This is the core of how brands can become the best answer for what clients are looking for.
The particular role of a content strategy is to outlines content sorts, topics and the keywords they are optimized for. Content plans also show where and when the content will be re-published plus re-purposed, plus which stations of distribution will be utilized to promote the content. Search engine optimization also applies to social media content that will emphasizes popular and appropriate social topics vs . research keywords.
Planning, creating, optimizing, promoting and engaging with content on topics that customers plus target audiences care about is where SEO has evolved since Content Marketing Optimization. SEO expertise, which also consists of knowledge of how search engines get and index websites, articles management systems, the impact of how websites are coded and organized, provides a powerful ally to Content Marketers when goals and goals are in alignment.
To understand where SEO can make performance optimization opportunities regarding content marketers, it’s important to evaluate the current situation and discover the gaps that stand for opportunities for improvement via a series of audits.
Keyword Research – Clients often speak a different vocabulary when it comes to using search engines to find answers or solutions. Therefore , it’s important to identify what phrases represent the mix of reasons for using a search engine to get solutions like those provided by your company. Of course , people look for more reasons than to buy products plus services, so keyword research can provide essential insight into the particular demand for topics that will customers might have across the whole journey from awareness of a problem, to consideration of choices to choosing specific options. A Keyword Research audit will asses your website, rivals, consumers, web analytics and keyword research tools to distinguish, organize and manage your own target search keyword phrases. From the audit, you can then discover what keywords will best motivate customer actions from top associated with mind consideration to potential clients and sales.
Content Audit – Once target keyword phrases and topics have been identified, a comparison with present website content is made to figure out optimization opportunities as well as to suggest new content creation. It’s pretty tough to be found in search for topics that do not exist on your website. In competing categories, a website must be the very best resource for a topic to stand out. Content optimization takes supply of all content and electronic assets that could be a potential access point via search and recommends SEO copywriting tactics in order to showcase those pages because the best answer.
Technical SEO Audi t – If search engines have difficulty with finding, crawling and indexing your content then it may put your site at a disadvantage. Search engines are far through perfect, so the more site owners and marketers can do to help the engines do their job, the more advantage we can create just for desired visibility in search. From core web vitals and performance of individual web pages to structured data, xml sitemaps, duplicate content, cellular friendliness and many other aspects of exactly how web page content is delivered to search engine bots when they get, a technical SEO review will reveal a prioritized list of fixes that can result in both better search engine presence and a better experience for your customers.
Inbound and Internal Connecting Audit — Links help search engines plus customers alike find your content. Links from one page to another serve as a signal that can be considered by search engines as they decide the best answers to display in the search results. A Link Audit recognizes the quantity and quality associated with links from web sources pointing to your content. An evaluation with top performing websites in your industry and key phrase category can reveal several opportunities to attract more high quality links to your content. Additionally , the site architecture of your website and how pages link to each other using anchor text is important with regard to both search engines and consumer experience.
Social Media Audit – The influence associated with social media on search engine presence may be more indirect due to the use of nofollow in hyperlinks but the inclusion of social content within search results symbolizes an opportunity for brands to earn substantial real estate searching results beyond the brand domain name. Assessing a brand’s social presence, engagement plus distribution through social stations is as much an audit with SEO implications since it is for social media marketing. Understanding a brand’s social authority and content distribution can lead to a far improved approach with advantages to customers as well as to the business.
If there is a market demand through look for solutions offered by a company, after that search engine optimization options are essential regarding maximizing that opportunity. Yet SEO doesn’t work on it’s own. Articles is the reason search engines were made and it is content that represents the best optimization opportunity that impact discovery, consumption and action by customers.
Optimizing for better search visibility goes further than driving sales. People make use of search engines to find the best resources in lots of ways that benefit businesses. Designed for companies that expect to gain new business, protect their online reputation, grow social networks, bring in new employees and provide an excellent user experience with online customer care, then SEO is an important tool in the content marketing mix.
“Look, I made this! ”
Sharing things all of us create is a human compulsion that traces back to the child years. Whether you’re showing your mom a drawing therefore she can pin it up on the fridge, or linking social media followers to your newest blog post, it’s natural for individuals of all ages to proudly transmitted their creative output.
Therein lies the strength of co-creation for content amplification. “If you want your articles reach to be great, request your community to take part. ”
Let us explore this approach to content collaboration from a B2B marketing perspective.
There are numerous benefits to collaborative article marketing. TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden covered several in his writeup last year on winning at B2B influence with the magic associated with content co-creation . One of them:
These characteristics all trace back to a core fundamental advantage of co-creation: it generates better and much more resonant content. And that contributes heavily to the more easily-observable benefit we’ll focus on these days: co-created content material drives greater reach and engagement without needing to rely on paid boosting.
The influencer marketing campaign we partnered with monday. com to develop serves as a leading example. With a diverse group of influencers helping form the content and sharing this out to their respective systems, the company surpassed its objective for social reach simply by an astounding 1, 790%, generating more than 300, 000 natural impressions on social media.
Of course , content material collaborations are not as simple since pushing a button. Taking right strategic steps just before, during, and after your B2B content co-creation initiative will make a vast difference in achieve and engagement.
Make the Content Excellent
There are many tactics and techniques that can be activated to increase reach and wedding, but none are more important than simply creating awesome content material that people are genuinely motivated to share.
Rather than asking “How can co-creation partners maximize the achieve of this content? ” begin by asking “How can co-creation partners make this content amazing? ” Tap their perfect area of passion and experience so that their distinct talents are fully reflected.
Get Influencers and Co-creators Invested
If the extent of the co-creation approach is adding someone’s generic and extraneous insight on top of your completed content, solely for the purpose of shoehorning an influencer into the mix, those partners are not likely to feel the amount of ownership that inspires these to enthusiastically share and amplify.
Two specific pointers to drive greater expense from influencers:
Make It Easy (and Valuable) to Share
Consider drafting social communications on behalf of your co-creators to help make the process of amplifying as simple and effortless as possible for them. The key nuance here is to know these types of partners well enough to be able to develop social copy that fits their voice, and to middle your message on the content’s value to their audience, instead of its value to your business.
For example , if your influencer is Wile Electronic. Coyote, you’ll get better results with the framing, “I recently shared my thoughts on what is next in the future of capturing technology and desert ecology, ” compared to “I became a member of a podcast to talk about precisely why Acme brand products are good for dealing with pesky roadrunners. ” Meep meep.
Involve Influencers that will Bring Authority and Reliability by Proxy
One of the underrated motivators designed for influencers and co-creators to talk about content is what I like to contact “authority by association. ” In part this can stem in the brand itself — if you’ve built a respected plus buzzworthy reputation, people within your industry will see value in having their names attached with your content — but also from your other co-creators.
Wile E. Coyote will be more inclined to share content he is involved in if Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck furthermore contributed. (Maybe not the Road Runner. ) Or, in order to tie things back to actual life, there’s the aforementioned monday. possuindo campaign. Our roster of influencers included recognizable large names from the creative globe, as well as up-and-comers who were incredibly enthused to have their insights appear alongside the likes of Ann Handley and Minda Harts .
As a more individual example, a few years ago I had been invited to write the Minnesota Twins chapter in the Baseball Prospectus 2018 annual . And while I had been moved to promote the book in large part because it featured my writing and because Baseball Prospectus is a giant name in the realm of baseball media, I was extra-excited to distribute the word because Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson) wrote the Cubs chapter. How cool is that?!
Policy for Continued, Ongoing Promotion
Given how much work, time, and resources in many cases are poured into large-scale content projects, it always astounds me how frequently the particular promotion plan basically entails sharing out a few links when the content goes reside, and little else. Brand names leave so much reach and utility on the table when they drop victim to Invisible Content Syndrome .
Think about ways you can extend the lifecycle of your content promotion and keep co-creators engaged for weeks instead of days. A few suggestions:
Our popular friend Jay Baer has famously stated that “content is fire, and social media marketing is gasoline. ” It is a great way to describe the part that each plays in a online marketing strategy, and I think it can easily be used to co-creation as well. Choosing the right strategic partners to develop amazing content will start the fire, and taking smart procedure for encourage promotion and sharing will help those flames increase high enough to be seen through miles around.
Ready to get cooking? Learn more about how TopRank Marketing approaches influencer advertising how we can help you .
The post How to Accelerate Reach and Engagement of B2B Content Through Co-Creation appeared first upon B2B Advertising Blog – TopRank® .
According to the annual Global Digital Overview Report from We Are Social and Hootsuite, 81% of internet users search online for a product or service to buy and 74% have purchased online. Without question, digital engagement and commerce is the new normal and is as relevant for B2B companies as it has been for B2C.
During the pandemic, search engines have become even more important as B2B brands and buyers alike digital transform to virtual engagement for information discovery, consumption and interaction. As a result, many companies have invested more in search engine optimization in order to capture the fast-growing opportunities to be the best answer for customers at the moment of need – when actively searching for solutions.
Best practices for SEO abound on the web including this list from SEMrush:
Research from CSO Insights reported by MarketingCharts, 27.2% of buyers say web searches are their preferred source of information for solving business problems but 43% rely on subject matter experts (SMEs) from the industry. Trust in marketing has become a challenge and it’s no different with search marketing. A Forbes/Yext study found that only 50% of people trust what they find in search results and research from HubSpot reports that 65% don’t trust ads.
Virtually all SEO efforts emphasize the KPI of ranking on a search engine as the proxy to success but without trust in content, that’s simply not true. Even when companies make the investment to create “great content”, without signals of trust and credibility, those content and SEO investments fall short of being a mediocre user experience at best.
According to Google’s search Quality Rater Guidelines, one of the most important criteria for evaluating best answer content is the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of content, creator of the content and the website that hosts the content. More than ever, it is important for marketers that are striving to capture the fast growing opportunities coming from increased use of channels like search to go beyond simply creating great content that is SEO friendly. The new opportunity to be the best answer for customers means optimizing for findability and credibility.
According to research from the Demand Gen Content Preferences Study, 95% of B2B buyers prefer content from industry experts and influencers. Partnering with credible experts that have influence, trust and audience attention for the very same topics that marketers are creating and optimizing content for brings together very powerful elements for a successful digital customer experience. Relevant and findable information that is credible.
Creating best answer content in 2021 and beyond means an approach to content marketing that involves aligning best practices SEO and content strategy with influencer marketing and employee advocacy. Effective Content Marketing in 2021 is a team sport and in order to achieve the signals of credibility that search engines need for high rankings and the trust that buyers need when they click through, marketers are finding that collaboration with experts is the solution.
Creating best answer content that is findable in search involves the keyword research and content optimization that you would expect along with core web vitals and tech SEO, internal link optimization and the attraction of relevant links into the site/pages from other websites.
When it comes to content collaboration with experts, whether they are external industry influencers with their own blogs and columns in industry publications or internal key opinion leaders and subject matter experts that also publish, topical alignment is essential. In other words, the topics your customers are looking for should drive both content optimization for search as well as the effort to find the right experts to collaborate with.
What better way to optimize for findability and credibility than to make sure brand content is relevant for what customers are searching for and includes contributions and citations from people that are experts and influential on those very same topics? Activating influencers in SEO friendly ways can mean collaborating on keyword specific content that lives on the brand website or the influencer’s channels. It could also mean collaboration on new web entities or content that lives where the influencer publishes editorially.
Beyond content creation is content distribution because let’s face it: search engines are not the only way buyers can discover great content. Links in social shares can drive substantial visibility, engagement and even conversion when relevant industry experts share with their audiences directly.
When you’re reviewing your SEO performance think about ways to take optimization to the next level and create even better experiences for customers. Make content findable but also credible. Find ways to align your content, SEO and influencer engagement opportunities including:
When content is credible, it not only creates a better user experience for customers using search, it creates E.A.T. signals that can help improve search visibility even more to help your brand truly become the best answer for customers when they need you most.
The post Trust and the Search for Answers: How Influence Optimizes SEO Performance appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.