There’s no doubt “killer content” is a hot topic in B2B marketing. The concept of content has gotten so popular that Chief Content Officer is the latest position to get a placard hung on the door of the C-level suite. The concept is quite simple – provide great content that turns prospects into customers. The execution, however, is quite difficult, particularly developing the type of content that drives B2B business, which isn’t always easy to explain.
Quite frankly, many B2B companies also struggle with creating content because they aren’t story tellers at heart – they’re engineers, chemists, manufacturers, software developers – basically anything but marketers. They also believe in their product so strongly that they struggle with creating content that is educational and engaging and not a thinly veiled sales pitch – which is one of the fastest ways to make sure a prospect runs away from your content at lightning speed.
So, how do you create content that sizzles? Here are six recommendations:
1. Create a calendar of story ideas.
Be sure to develop your topics around important dates and current events that relate to the stories you want to tell. Also, nothing inspires action like a deadline – so commit to a schedule and let everyone who is responsible for helping create content know when its due. If you take the approach of “we’ll publish content as we have time” you’ll soon find that nobody “has” time, and your platforms will be as abandoned as a beach the week after Spring Break.
2. Think like a consultant.
So what do you create content about? My best piece of advice is to think like an independent consultant. What would you tell a good friend about your industry if they were trying to break into the field? What are your recommendations to overcoming some of your customers’ most common challenges? Have you recently read an article about your industry that you disagreed with, or think the author missed an important point? Asking yourself or your team these types of questions will help spur the type of content people you’re trying to reach will want to learn about.
3. Focus on your formats.
We continue to be extremely bullish on blogs– but our clients are also having great success with video. A picture tells 1,000 words, but video tells 10,000 more. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it’s difficult to get a concept across with the written word. In many situations, videos can be a tremendous help and their visual format makes them more likely to be forwarded to co-workers or “liked” on your social platforms. Infographicsand Pinterest are other great ways to provide information in a visual format that is fun and easy to share.
4. Make your key messages memorable.
Your messaging should be easily understood by those unfamiliar with your brand or market. No product or service should sound so complicated and convoluted that if you explained it to a complete stranger they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about. For example, in a distant galaxy far, far away, I was helping a company launch a product that could read any format of memory card. Instead of describing it as a “multi-format memory card reader that works with SD, Memory Stick, blah, blah, blah” we recommended describing it as “the Swiss-Army Knife of memory card readers.” This instantly conveys that the device was small, portable and had all the functionality you need.
5. Divide and conquer.
Nobody wants to leave anything out, so it’s natural to want to write long blog articles or social media posts. In those situations, consider breaking your content into multiple posts, such as Part 1: Creating Killer Content and Part 2: Killer Content Distribution. If the topic is expansive enough, try turning it into a series of articles. With a series you get the added bonus of being able to pencil in the next chapter throughout the calendar of story ideas you’re developing.
6. Use keyword tools as a guide, not gospel.
This can be a tricky concept, as I don’t want to misconstrue the importance of optimizing your content for search. But it’s also important that you don’t let SEO tools be the cord that wags the mouse. Simply put, write for your reader, not Google, Yahoo or Bing. Don’t stuff your content with key terms so frequently that it’s impossible to read. Just as important, don’t use terms that aren’t appropriate or accurate simply because they have better search volume.
These are just a few recommendations for creating content that will get your business noticed and position you and your company as an expert. If you would like to continue the conversation on how to create great content, please reach out to me. And if you think I’ve missed the mark, leave a comment and we can talk about it.