Good B2B Content Marketing Hindered by Content?
I recently stumbled across this blog post by Peter O’Neill from Forrester — “…B2B Marketers Are Still Stuck in Their Product Marketing Comfort Zone.” The premise of the article is that B2B marketing agencies and marketers are having trouble living up to the expectations of true content marketing. While I take issue with Mr. O’Neill’s opening statement, “Effective content marketing is now critical to B2B marketers’ success…” (Really? Only NOW is it critical? I digress…), the idea that marketers seem reluctant to augment their traditional product marketing efforts with concerted content marketing efforts is on point. While there are many reasons that could be attributed to this hesitancy (e.g., misunderstanding the topic; fear of losing brand control; impatience; lack of resources), I believe the biggest obstacle for content marketing is content. Content means hard work and hustle, so it can be tough to get the content marketing machine in motion — especially in B2B, where stories can be complex. So what’s a marketer to do? Consider these five strategies to content generation, compliments in part to our friends at Compendium.
Create your own: While there’s nothing more daunting than a blank piece of paper, there is nothing more credible than well-developed, original papers, articles, research and opinions that enlighten customers. Creating suggestion boards for content authors is one way to overcome the idea generation hurdle.
Curate from other experts: Organizing great, relevant content produced by other experts is a simple way to share thoughtful pieces with your audience. Here is a simple piece that gives five tips for great content curation.
Share customer successes: Reasons to believe are often the most overlooked part of the B2B marketing and messaging processes. But a value proposition is empty without proof. While the use of customer testimonials and success stories might seem trite in a world chock-full of new marketing gadgets and technologies, sound evidence of your successful association with important companies is still one of the most effective ways to compel a target prospect to contact you. See SAP, Accenture, Emerson, etc.
Create FAQs: Have authors keep notebooks of questions they get asked and comments they hear in their day-to-day jobs. I guarantee they’ll hear enough to create content with answers to FAQs or tips to solve problems they hear about. Need evidence that this works? I submit this blog. (“Chris, I love the concept, but we’ll never be able to create enough good content for this to work.”)
Repurpose what you’ve created: Posting a blog entry once. Creating research only to distribute it once. Allowing a case study to languish on a website. A conference presentation heard only once. These are just a few of the symptoms of the one-use ailment that afflicts content marketing programs. Keep your content marketing strategy alive with ongoing social media posts, video versions, blog posts featuring presentations, etc. Use your imagination and you can find endless ways to keep already-posted content alive. Your best thought leadership content can be relevant for years.