If your content isn’t engaging B2B buyers, you’re likely to lose them to a competitor who is.
The 2021 Content Preferences Survey Report published by Demand Gen Report found that 62% of respondents are relying more on content than they used to—and 26% of them consume more than five pieces of content before interacting with a sales representative. Content marketing is high stakes.
To turn your content disappointments into successes, you need to understand why it’s failing to connect with your key audiences.
Make a Great Impression
In the business world, it’s common to mask our unique voices and litter our communications with business speak and industry jargon. It might—might—help you communicate your professionalism, but it won’t help you capture B2B buyers’ imaginations.
You’re not selling to ABC Corp., you’re selling to a person or a group of people. People have needs and desires, and those are the things you need to focus on to get them to perk up their ears.
ABC wants to keep its software secure. Joe, the Security Architect at ABC wants his projects to run smoothly, control his department’s spending, get out of the office at a reasonable hour and earn a promotion. Instead of talking at him about your security-related solution, you can connect with him emotionally about the challenges he’s juggling and how you can help.
Whatever audience you’re after, consider the people. Poke at their pain points and earn their trust. People like stories and relatability. Show them you understand what they’re up against and draw them in with a story they’ll connect with from a brand voice they enjoy hearing from.
No one’s asking you to spill your secret formula, but they do want to learn from you. Thought leadership can take many forms: blog posts, infographics, videos/podcasts—even entire white papers. When you share information with your target audience, they’ll come to trust you as an authority and turn to you when they need help.
And that’s important when you remember how much content they consume before ever interacting with you. Share case studies that demonstrate your solution. Share checklists that help them do their jobs better. Share industry trend information.
Break Down the Gates
Gate the secret formula, but leave enough content freely available to develop thought leadership without requiring them to jump through hoops or complete lengthy forms.
How much of your information are you willing to divulge for a access to a checklist? How about a webinar? I know the very sight of a form has been enough to stop me from accessing quite a few pieces of content I’d have read if weren’t gated. And guess what: I’ve generally found the same information from another source who gave it up faster and easier. And sometimes I find the information valuable enough to share with a team member—something I’d almost never do with a gated asset.
Sharing educational content gives you time to develop a relationship before you ask for something in return. Start building the relationship before they call so that you’ll be the one they call.
Assess Your Aging Content
Give that old E-book a look with fresh eyes. Does it draw the reader in with relevant, eye-catching visuals? Does it lure readers in with engaging storytelling? Are the stats up to date?
Not only does the content itself begin to age, but sometimes your strategies evolve and render old content less useful. Refresh the content that’s worth refreshing, and replace the pieces that don’t make the cut.
Find a Trusted Content Partner
Some organizations have the deep benches and pockets to develop every single piece of content in house. But plenty of B2B businesses lack either the bandwidth or the in-house talent to DIY an entire content library. Whether you need partners for a key initiative, a one-off campaign or as an ongoing extension of your own team, you should vet them carefully.
Your business stands apart from its competitors—hopefully in a good way. No two businesses are completely alike. The same thing goes for content marketing partners. Some agencies are great at what they do and still don’t offer what you need. Or vice versa. It’s worth investing some energy into uncovering the content marketing partner who excels at exactly what you need.
Beware of shopping by price. Your content is too valuable to farm out to the cheapest provider. Look instead for a content marketing agency that specializes in the B2B world, assigns writers with expertise in the specific topics relevant to you and your audiences and collaborates with you to communicate your brand’s voice.
Ask for referrals from other businesses and trusted colleagues. Request samples of work they’ve done in your industry, and ask plenty of questions. Meet with the agency team to see how well you mesh and communicate with one another.
As times and industries evolve, so does our content. Make sure the assets you’re sharing with prospects don’t make any of the mistakes I’ve talked about here. One thing that doesn’t change: The best content tells a story, further a relationship and engages the right people at the right time at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
If you’d like to learn more about Content4Demand’s strengths, services and capabilities, take a look at our Content Creation Services page or our Client Work. Or drop us a note to request a complimentary “get to know us” call.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.