Not that long ago, media B2B content was clearly divided into news and advertising. The exception was when magazines would play with the ‘advertorial’ – basically an ad designed to look like a regular article.
But customers have become more cynical about advertising and hungry for information before they commit to buy (a customer consumes at least five pieces of content before purchase). So marketers have had to get creative.
As a result we’ve seen an explosion of new forms like native content marketing over the last five years.
There’s no doubt that content marketing is now firmly established as a line item on most modern marketer’s budgets sheets.
When content marketing is done well, it’s a powerful tool than can connect brands directly with audiences, re-framing a brand in a reader’s mind and initiating a conversation which may evolve, over time, to a purchase.
Content marketing can take many forms, but interestingly, one of the most effective ways to reach a premium business audience is via long-form articles which came out on top as the most shared form of content by executives in a recent study by Quartz.
Content marketing now has a new problem. Due to its growing popularity, audiences are bombarded with more industry insights and points of view than ever before. You need a way for your content marketing to stand out from the crowd.
Here are our six tips for creating quality B2B content.
1. Think audience first, not brand first
This one is so simple, but often the hardest to explain to clients. Yes, we know you sell amazing products. But readers don’t log onto social media networks and industry publications for the ads. They come to read material that makes them feel educated, inspired and informed.
Before committing pen to paper, think about the target audience for your message. Think about where they will be reading it and what takeaway you want them to get from it. Only then should you start to plan out your content, which may take the form of a strategic series rather than sporadic jabs.
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2. Employ professionals
The gig economy has driven down the cost of most services, including copy-writing. But not all writers are equal.
A good professional writer will not just write original, error-free and engaging content but have a solid grasp of the market and the audience with familiarity citing sources and statistics. They will understand media law and copyright. They should be social media savvy and consider how their content could be sold on different social platforms.
Finding someone with these qualifications will mean you need to pay them competitive rates but is your brand reputation worth any less?
The old adage applies: you get what you pay for.
3. Trust them
If you’ve hired a professional agency or freelancer to handle your content and communications, then trust their advice.
Far too often great pieces of writing end up convoluted, brand-heavy or just plain boring due to overzealous editing from brand teams. If you do have feedback or concerns, have a conversation: there may be another approach to try.
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4. Be original
In an over-saturated market fresh thinking is hard to come by. What angle can you introduce to make your article different? What headline and image can you use to stand out in the news feed? Could video, infographics or interactive tables help tell your story better?
Writing authentically in your own voice will always be more engaging than using industry jargon.
5. Be generous
No-one likes to be teased by the promise of great content only to hit a wall. Gated content is one way to build a database but the opportunity cost is huge.
Online marketing strategist and author David Meerman Scott has said that ungated content gets 20 to 50 times more downloads than gated content. Do you really need to be so stingy about it?
Give your audience a few valuable and actionable insights for free, share them on social and you may find that they may just be willing to commit down the track.
So many brands pour their budgets into content marketing – some even building their own content portals – only to wonder where all the readers are.
The truth is that the internet is increasingly a pay-to-play space.
Enforcing great SEO and building a social media presence may land you a few eyeballs but to see strong ROI for your content, a paid search and social media plan is recommended. Research shows 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives surveyed use social media to make purchasing decisions.
There’s no doubt that content marketing is a successful strategy when done well. Without it, you won’t be able to stand out in the B2B crowd. Authenticity, powerful insights and engaging storytelling ability are the key.
Observe the lessons above, keep refining as you go, and you’ll be well on your way to converting customers in no time.
Digivizer helps businesses understand and get more from their digital investment across all major social and search platforms. Digivizer’s platform helps businesses measure and understand the performance of their digital marketing programs across owned, earned and paid media, in a single view, in real-time.
Digivizer offers plans that scale to the number of users, the number of connected paid and search accounts, and the number of influencers and hashtags being tracked. The Digivizer Starter Plan is US$89 per month, with all plans offering 30 days of data across all paid, owned and earned t first sign up and the first 30 days of usage free.
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