B2B advertising has a content problem: there is more of it all the time… and the people we actually want reading it have got started tuning it all out. We can’t exactly cease the content deluge (look, we are even contributing to it right now! ), so instead we have got to figure out:
Why are decision manufacturers tuning out content?
Decision manufacturers can really appreciate good thought leadership content (64% said it was a better foundation for assessing a potential merchant than marketing materials or product sheets), but…. only when it isn’t boring.
And, frankly, uninteresting is usually exactly what it is: 71% of decision makers said less than half of the B2B articles they consumed provided any valuable insight, and only 15% mentioned they would rank any of the content they consumed in 2021 as “excellent” or “very good. ”
Decision makers aren’t tuning out content simply because they don’t care about it or even because their attention covers have been eradicated by the web. They’re tuning us out there because, when they DO cease to give us a shot, they will don’t think we’re providing them with anything they want. Which leads in order to question #2:
How can we make B2B content that actually connects?
Decision makers currently told us what they want: insight. Our readers are looking for believed leadership that provides real guidance on how to navigate situations these people find themselves in right now.
Don’t worry: that will answer should be irritating. After all, isn’t that what you’re already doing? Your own audience would find all kinds of great insights in your content… if they would just READ THROUGH IT!
The thing that’s stopping them through doing that must not be exactly what you’re saying, therefore , yet HOW you’re saying it. It doesn’t matter if you have the most earth-shattering, game-changing scoop in the good your industry… if you talk about it exactly like everyone else talks about their listicles or market awards. We’re all guilty of doing it, and it’s high time we stopped.
Next time you produce several B2B thought leadership content material, keep these five suggestions in mind to ensure you’re introducing your insights in a way that actually speaks to the audience you’re trying to grab hold of. You will be surprised what a difference it will make — when it comes to how fun it is to create and to read.
1 — Get Real
If there’s one particular hallmark of bad B2B thought leadership, it’s that it sounds like it wasn’t made from inside the industry. In fact , this usually reads like it had been made by an alien poorly attempting to conceal themselves as both a human… and THEN an industry professional. That’s possibly why, despite buyers consuming more content than ever, 79% report that the content they read is irrelevant for their actual needs.
The irony here is there are no reason to speak that way! Your thought leadership probably is certainly coming from a market expert, and it probably is speaking to something they worry about. So talk like it is ! Inform your audience what you’ve got to express and why they should care as plainly as possible.
2 — Allow it to be About Them
Our teammate Josh has composed extensively about the need for empathy in B2B content marketing , plus it’s something I think regarding every time I sit down to publish a piece. What does your audience want out of this? Why is this worth their time? So what can it help them do, solve, understand, etc .?
The kind of B2B decision makers reading your content are, above all else, professionals with a work to do. Whatever content they’re consuming, they’re looking for how it’s going to help all of them do their job better. That’s where to begin.
How will the insight you’re writing about impact your audience’s work? What should they do with this information starting right now? Your market is already going to be “translating” your content into how it matters to them; do that work for them.
[bctt tweet=”“The kind of B2B decision makers reading your content are, above all else, professionals with a job to do. Whatever content they’re consuming, they’re looking for how it’s going to help them do their job better.” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
3 — Dare to Express an Opinion
The college essay cop-out is so well-known it’s a meme: “In conclusion, America is really a land of contrasts. ” If it doesn’t fly in college, why do we think it flies in B2B content marketing? And yet, exactly how often have you read posts that come down to hand wringing or giving an market “much to consider? ”
Thought leadership isn’t journalism. It doesn’t have to become impartial, and it’s not coming from an outside observer. In fact , that’s its power. Your audience wants to know what you— a human being writing at a computer —thinks about a scenario or development. That’s why they clicked on your byline. Whether they agree or disagree with what you conclude about all the evidence you’ve gathered, at least they’ll remember sufficient to have an opinion! Honesty often interests; college term documents, not so much.
four — Leave Them with Something totally new
Great thought leadership works because it does not stand alone. It’s contextual, it’s engaged with the industry plus moment in which it was created, and, above all, it’s actionable .
When your audience finds your content, it should help them reframe a relevant recent event or phenomenon in a way these people haven’t considered. When they are done, they shouldn’t just want to click on the next article or hit the “contact us” button; they should want to maintain thinking about what they just learned.
In addition to writing on their terms and with their own motivations in mind, try to place all of your thought leadership content material as something new. Even if it isn’t really a particularly new insight or even data-point, make it a new way to THINK about that insight or even data-point. If you can give your own audience something to bring back from your content with them, they will remember where they first got it.
[bctt tweet=”“Great thought leadership works because it doesn’t stand alone. It’s contextual, it’s engaged with the industry and moment in which it was written, and, above all, it’s actionable.” — Harry Mackin” username=”toprank”]
five — Have some fun with it
I think this is eventually where the B2B content problem started. Somewhere along the way, all of us started thinking of “B2B Professional Thought Leadership” as such severe business that we forgot it basically amounts to talking about something we’re legitimately interested in.
In our initiatives to “do justice” towards the seriousness of the process, we all lost the personal passion plus voice that actually made believed leadership worth reading in the first place. You already care about your articles — that’s why you started writing it, and that’s why you’re reading about how to make it much better. Show how much you care in the content itself. Talk like yourself, be truthful, and have some fun! This won’t just improve how much you like making your content; it can make it resonate with your audience much better, too.
If you need a little help rediscovering your voice to help make your articles resonate with your audience, TopRank Marketing would love to help.