Pertaining to B2B business, the pandemic was a magnifying glass pointing out the cracks in systems. We discovered just how fast digital transformation can be whenever our livelihoods are on the line. We found that worldwide supply chains aren’t since resilient as we thought. All of us found that remote work is far more viable an alternative than we’d been resulted in believe.
None of these realizations were brand new — we were just able to see them clearly for the first time.
The same will also apply to B2B buyer behavior. When we talk about how the pandemic transformed B2B sales and marketing and advertising, what we mean is that we can finally see what we have missed before.
As we repair what’s broken and seek to evolve to the next degree, we have a chance to put the purchaser at the center of our attempts. Here are some of the biggest difficulties ahead, and how we can meet them.
You don’t get through collective stress like we’ve all skilled for the past two years without a couple of scars. People are still adjusting, processing, struggling, even grieving. At the same time, businesses have needs that your solution can satisfy, problems you can solve. Yet how can brands help without having seeming insensitive?
Content marketing and advertising is our most powerful device for communicating human-to-human, offering actual value. Now is not the time for bland corporate-speak, either — showcase your people in your content, together with others in your industry who have earned respect and trust.
Be helpful and kind in your content. Be a caring companion to your audience. After all, marketing experts are the keepers of data — we know these people and exactly what they’re struggling with. We’re inside a unique position to create uplifting content.
[bctt tweet=”“Be a caring companion to your audience. After all, marketers are the keepers of data — we know these people and what they’re struggling with. We’re in a unique position to create uplifting content.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
Lately, businesses have come towards the groundbreaking realization that people treatment deeply about social issues. This is a discovery on k?rester with the earth-shattering epiphany that will B2B buyers are human beings who need emotional appeal in addition to facts.
This epiphany offers led to serious discussions about “purpose. ” What does your brand stand for besides aktionär profit? What issues are top of mind and how is the brand helping deal with them? How can we allow people know that we discuss their values?
Content is key for a brand that’s planning to lead with purpose. It’s the medium to tell the particular brand’s purpose story, obviously. But we can go deeper: Content can be a way to enhance other voices and assist tell their stories.
A brandname can post a Martin Luther King, Jr. day message, complete with one of their safer quotes. But a content marketer can post a blog post from a leading voice in the Black community. A brand can say these people stand with Ukraine. A content marketer can bring asylum voices directly to a sympathetic audience. That’s leading with purpose, not purpose as an afterthought.
I’ve written before about humanizing B2B marketing — specifically about how easy it is to overthink everything. What’s the line between relatable and unprofessional? Will all of us lose trust in our competency if our content is too lighthearted? How do we relate to our entire audience without having alienating a segment?
Here’s the thing: You can’t humanize a brandname.
I say again: You CAN’T humanize a BRAND.
[caption id="attachment_30862" align="alignnone" width="300"] The exclusion that proves the guideline.[/caption]
Brands are not human beings. People are. Content marketing can feature people on behalf of the brand, rather than attempting to talk for the brand.
Bring your executives into your content. Bring employees, influencers, external experts. Bring — I’m begging you — your customers and prospects in as well.
If you need to truly humanize, let the human beings come out from behind the brand. Content marketers can lead the way.
I have talked read more about building relationships in a decade of being a marketer than I did in a decade to be single. But in the world post-pandemic (and our current world of ongoing but milder pandemic), relationship-building is an even more crucial part of success regarding B2B business. Repeat customers, referrals and brand advocacy are all a more reliable supply of revenue than even the many targeted advertising.
Content marketing and advertising can help build these relationships. The first three points We made are all about putting the groundwork for a partnership. Content can offer helpful advice, details about the state of the industry, guidelines — in other words, what your audience needs to succeed in their particular professional and even personal life.
The quickest way to create a relationship? Give your potential customer that crucial bit of advice to make them look brilliant in front of their boss. Give your existing customers acknowledgement and highlight the amazing success your brand assisted them achieve. The more a person lift up and enjoy your buyers, the more they are likely to do the same for the brand.
[bctt tweet=”“Content can offer helpful advice, information about the state of the industry, best practices — in other words, what your audience needs to succeed in their professional and even personal lives.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
It’s been a rough few years. Human beings have experienced individual plus collective trauma, and we are still processing and rebuilding. That’s true both of the marketers creating content and the people consuming it.
The way in which forward is to use content with regard to what it’s really good with: Telling stories, amplifying human being voices, and providing worth. That’s not to say content must be doing all of the above instead of driving a business outcome — I’m saying that helpful, individual content is the way to generate a business outcome.
We have the privilege, as content marketing experts, to create something that serves both the brand and the audience, and might even be fun for us to create. It’s a unique opportunity and one we should all embrace.
Check out our Content Advertising service page for more motivation.
The particular post Fast-Forward: 4 Business Problems Resolved by B2B Content Advertising appeared very first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank® .
Q: How many lead gen marketers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Please fill out the form below and we will email you the punchline.
The great gate debate continues to rage throughout the B2B marketing world. What once was a landscape full of sparse landing pages with lead gen forms has become an ocean of content. But still, there’s little consensus about how to get the most value out of what we marketers create.
Does ungating content devalue it? Does gating content make it inaccessible to the audience you’re most trying to reach? We all agree that getting people’s contact information is a value exchange. The debate is whether we offer the value first, or we demand that the reader do so.
Of course, there is no one answer to these questions. No two B2B audiences are the same, so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. But it’s true that audience expectations as a whole are changing, and we need to change with them.
Here are some of our gating best practices.
The biggest question about gating is the simplest one: Is this content intended to raise awareness, boost thought leadership, or grow your audience? Then gating is a bad choice. Top-of-funnel content should, generally speaking, be as widely accessible as possible.
However, if your goals are mid-to-bottom funnel, then gating might make sense (more on that later). This means content for folks who are actively seeking a solution or evaluating vendors. These folks are in the market for useful content that helps make that purchase decision, and gating that content makes sense.
When you dig a little deeper, though, it’s not just about gated vs. ungated. It’s about how much content you gate, which content in the campaign should go behind that lead gen form, and how you bring the right audience to the content. With that in mind…
[bctt tweet=”“It’s not just about gated vs. ungated. It’s about how much content you gate, which content in the campaign should go behind that lead gen form, and how you bring the right audience to the content.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
Let’s say your organization just sponsored some hefty original research. You know there’s a ton of intrinsic value in that research for your audience. The old-school practice would be to put all of it behind a gate, with just a few stats to whet people’s appetites.
There’s so much free content available now, though, that you have to offer more value before you ask for that contact information. For example, our client Prophix made a long-scroll, content-heavy power page to support their original research: The 2020 CFO Benchmark Report. With influencer content, plenty of stats and some truly gorgeous charts and graphs, the page is a destination unto itself. But for those ready for a next step, the page also directs folks to download the whole report as a PDF, or to contact Prophix for a demo.
Then there’s Content Marketing Institute, which puts out an exhaustive report on B2B marketing benchmarks every year. This past year, they published in conjunction with MarketingProfs and offered the entire report completely ungated, in easily embeddable and shareable format. These folks know that a thought leadership piece like this is worth more the more people see it. CMI’s annual report has made their name synonymous with content marketing, and that’s worth more than the leads they might capture from a gated report.
In case you haven’t noticed, influencer marketing is one of our agency specialties. We love to work together with B2B influencers to create awesome content. We want to make it as easy as possible for influencers to share the great stuff we make together — which means ditching the gate if at all possible.
B2B thought leaders are going to be more enthusiastic about linking their audience straight to content, rather than to a landing page with a form to fill.
I can’t think of a more compelling example than our client Demandbase’s recent Smarter GTM™ comic. This is a substantial, visually stunning, influencer-packed piece. And there’s not a gate in sight. Demandbase’s goal for this piece was to raise awareness of their new offering and establish thought leadership. So it made perfect sense to keep it ungated, even though it’s a ton of great content.
[bctt tweet=”“B2B thought leaders are going to be more enthusiastic about linking their audience straight to content, rather than to a landing page with a form to fill.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
If we’re giving away the good stuff up front, what should we be gating? Look for ways to add additional utility to the content. Prophix did a great job at this with their Digital Transformation in Finance page. They created three mini-assets that spoke to specific audience segments, then embedded CTAs to each one in its relevant section. This way, Prophix is maximizing views to the report page, while also offering a lead-capturing next step for those who want it.
You don’t have to go the lengths that Prophix did to add value, of course. It can be as simple as offering a PDF download of a web-based asset, for portability and printability. Or you could offer a calculator, checklist, or other useful tool.
None of this is to say that you should never gate content, of course. If you have a bombshell industry report with insights that will knock people’s socks off, you may be able to make the value proposition. But most marketers will see better results in top-of-funnel content if it’s freely available.
My advice: Give away the good stuff and treat gated content like a dessert, not a main course. Audience expectations have changed, and in the all-out war for people’s attention, a gate can be a fatal flaw for your content.
Check out Lane Ellis’ post for more advice on B2B marketing in 2022.
The post To Gate or Not to Gate? Changing Trends in B2B Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
The “Wild West” associated with content marketing stuck close to longer than we may have imagined, but COVID-19 very much so brought it to a close. These days, 82% of marketers use content marketing, over 40% of marketers say content is a very important part of their technique, and 70% plan to actively continue investing in it in the long term.
If articles marketing is such big company now, however , why does so much of it still feel clearly lawless? Nowhere is that a lot more true than when it comes to in fact getting either client or internal approval for your articles. You go to all the work of creating your stuff, send it towards the people in charge, and then… you’re at their mercy. And often, your content disappears then and there.
There’s a better way to work content material approval, and it’s about process building. Securing articles approval is a part of your own workflow like everything else, and like everything else, it’s more effective when you have a plan.
Follow these five steps to create your own plan for content approval, and you’ll end up spending a lot less time bitterly running down approval and a lot more time actually planning for your own team’s next big sprinkle.
The last few times your articles got trapped in pending purgatory, was it really because your approver got picky about back-and-forth edits? Sometimes, sure, but usually the issue is simpler… and, unfortunately, closer to house.
Chances are, in fact , you don’t know where the bottlenecks are that will hold up your content approval process. THAT is the biggest problem.
You’re not alone, possibly. According to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 42% of content material marketers stated that content production flow has been one of their biggest challenges for the upcoming year. In the mean time, a DIFFERENT survey by the CMI found that only 42% of content marketing teams have a formal content work flow in place.
Once you don’t know what you need to see a piece of content from conception to publication, a lot of your content never reaches the authorization phase at all. Instead, it gets wrapped up in “where were we on with that piece, again? ” territory… until everyone forgets about it. Then, if it WILL see the light of time, everyone’s forgotten what it was for… and you’re to square one.
There’s a straightforward solution: a content work flow . Make a tight, simple game plan designed for publishing and follow it to get every single part of content you create . At every turn, you should know:
A: In which a piece is in the process
B: Who’s in charge of the next step
C: When they plan on completing the next thing
D: Who also they will send their finished work to
The more you can standardize plus streamline your content creation procedure, the more consistently a clear, relevant piece of content reaches a good approver who knows what they are looking at at. Making that will moment happen is the solitary best way to improve your authorization rate.
[bctt tweet=”“Create a tight, simple game plan for publishing and follow it for every single piece of content you create.” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
Ok, so you’ve got your workflow established. Great, that’s the easy part. Now you actually have to commit to making use of it… every. single. time. That means two things: you need to keep it simple, and you have to continue to keep it moving.
85% of CEOs fault internal complexity for their failure to grow plus deliver sustainable performance, and it’s the mindkiller of many a content workflow, as well. As a general rule, you should be able to write out your content workflow — with all the names, positions, content information, and description of the role of each participant at every part of the process — for each part of content you produce.
Next, you have to avoid the dreaded “content by committee. ” Keep as few people plugged into the process as possible. Have these people work closely collectively to understand each other’s procedures and get to know their functions.
Assign cement deadlines for each of these tips, whether the person in charge of viewing them through is inner or external. Assign task management manager to keep track of these deadlines and ensure everyone is on pace. Remind your client or approver of these deadlines, why they matter, and exactly why they need to keep up with them.
[bctt tweet=”“Write out your content workflow — with the names, positions, content info, and description of the role of each participant at every step in the process — for each piece of content you produce.” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
Failure to obtain content approval usually comes more from communication breakdown than the usual problem with the content itself. Somewhere, the wires get crossed — either the client doesn’t explain what they’re searching for or the creators misunderstand intention and take the wrong add — and then when the approver’s handed the document, these people don’t know what they’re searching at… or how it helps them.
This particular failure may not rest with all the content, but it does rest with the process. According to a recent Accenture survey, only 19% of marketing leaders sensed they had clear objectives when creating new content. According to an additional study, 43% of B2B marketers only “sometimes” define their content marketing KPIs!
If your own content marketers don’t know what they want to do with their content material, how are the people responsible for approving it even supposed to know what to approve it for? Instead, they receive nebulous content that’s disconnected from their business, their objectives, and their ideas about how exactly to propel their brand… and they’re not interested in reading it, much less granting it!
It’s not enough for your team to find out why they’re producing their content (though, you know, they will should); your clients need to find out, too. What do they want this article to accomplish? Why is that the objective? How will this piece achieve that? If you want content acceptance, you have to show your approver why they should care about your articles. To do that, you need to show them exactly why your content marketing matters in order to them.
[bctt tweet=”“If you want content approval, you have to show your approver why they should care about your content. To do that, you need to show them exactly why your content marketing matters to them.” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
In fact , goals are important just for buy-in across the board, not just with your client. There are all kinds of stakeholders in any piece of content material — from collaborators to contributors to subject matter experts to field sellers . They all should be invested in your content, because it stands to benefit all of them. But , as you’re probably all-too-aware… that isn’t always exactly how it goes.
If the only people who worry about your content are the team members making it, you have a big problem. If your client’s team or your own approver doesn’t understand why they should care about your content, why might they?
Now imagine if, instead, everyone cared about your content. The particular sales and marketing groups are excited for the brand new narrative that informs their own strategies. The clients plus approvers are excited to see how the content will move their own agendas forward. Your content producers are excited because they have got enthusiastic buy-in and they seem like what they’re doing issues.
This kind of excitement isn’t as hard to accomplish as you may think: you just need to obtain everyone involved. Ask all stakeholders what exactly they want from the content at every stage in the process. Figure out what would make them excited to speed the content through to approval, and then supply it! Whenever your content finally hits the approver’s desk, they shouldn’t just know what it is — they should be excited to see it take place.
[bctt tweet=”“If the only people who care about your content are the team members making it, you have a big problem. If your client’s team or your approver doesn’t understand why they should care about your content, why would they?” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
Whenever you’ve got your goals locked-in and your whole team can be enthusiastic about making them happen, you have laid all the groundwork for that most impactful step of all: re-envisioning and optimizing the approval procedure itself .
Now that you have goals and KPIs established, you have something cement to check your content against. Instead of approval being a nebulous process combining harrassing, editing, revising, critiquing along with a little begging, you’ve given your approver definite goalposts to think about when reviewing .
When your approver collaborated throughout the process, this particular new approach to approval will become even more effective. Your approver already knows exactly what you’re going for with this content, so they’re free to critique how effectively they think you will pull it off.
Best of all, informed approval paves the way in which for truly meaningful feedback . Without a clear knowledge of goals, feedback becomes nebulous, undirected, and often circular — just like the approval process itself. With goals in place, however , all feedback can focus on how you can better achieve exactly what you’re trying to do, which can make any edits far easier each to communicate and to carry out.
For more tips on how to bring your content marketing process out of the Wild West plus into the age of business, maintain the experts at the TopRank Marketing blog .
The write-up 5 Helpful Ways B2B Marketers Can perform Content Approval appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank® .