B2B Content Marketing: Who does it?
Laura Ramos, from the US company Forrester, came in 2014 in a study to the conclusion that about 80 percent of companies in content marketing are too focused on themselves and the products and thereby ignoring the target group orientation. A phenomenon that is still often to be observed today. One possible reason could be the still strong technical character of online marketing.
The technical side of online marketing is (not only) from the SEO point of view inevitable. But she is more obligatory than freestyle. The most important bar for success in content marketing is the individual user and the target group as a whole. An important question in this context is therefore: Who designs, writes and designs the content?
Although distributors, product designers and SEOs with a technical background focus on communication in content marketing, they sometimes neglect the informative and creative content of content. Here journalists and (trained) copywriters have advantages because they learn to write according to the target group and to attract attention. They focus content on convincing and have a feel for the desires, feelings and goals of the users.
Companies that adopt high journalistic quality standards, rely on copywriters, journalists and experienced editors and invest in the detailed conception of content can gain a head start with their content marketing.
However, anyone who rates and controls content marketing solely on the basis of key figures such as CTR, ranking and cost per lead runs the risk of losing sight of the essentials: the company’s success. Therefore, the earnings per lead should be included in the evaluations. However, these are rarely simple and reliable predictable. The qualitative assessment of content marketing strategies should therefore have their firm place in strategy discussions alongside the qualitative, number-based analysis.
In any case, if you want to create quality content, try thinking like your customers and seeing your business through their eyes. Audience relevance is one of the most important factors for successful content marketing. A good way to get to know customers – and those who could become them – is Personas.
Personas as a starting point for the content conception
From the psychology is known that perception and thinking are characterized by all kinds of heuristics and distortions. For example, we are too happy to deduce ourselves from others, consider the knowledge that is currently available – mostly subconsciously – to be most relevant, and assume that our counterpart has the same level of knowledge as us. Such mental abbreviations, rules of thumb and automatic schemes often lead to distorted perception and wrong conclusions. This also happens when creating content. For example, we believe that we do not need to explain certain things, assume that every user immediately understands the relevance of our product, or has a misunderstanding of customers’ problems.
You can counteract this with deliberate reflection of your target group. An excellent way for such a reflection is describing personas. Do your customers really think the way you think? How homo- or heterogeneous is your target group? Could there be decision-makers in your target group who have a completely different level of knowledge than you?
Ask yourself what details and information your audience is really interested in and design different prototypes of (potential) customers – including names, ages, hobbies, education, and position. This approach almost automatically leads to new perspectives on your products and your business.
A handful of personas – for example, described on large index cards in the form of a newsletter – are an excellent basis for target group-oriented B2B content marketing. Ideally, sales and marketing work together in the creation. Managers can also contribute to good personas because they may have visions and new target audiences more in focus than the rest of the team.
Keep it short and simple!
The KISS formula is widely used in different variants. And yet, it can not be mentioned often enough and should flash regularly on the screen of some content marketers. It is not a panacea because it may be important for experts on the decision-making side, for example, to know all the details of a product. But even there, a well-stocked list with bullet points is usually sufficient – instead of a two-minute speech in an image or product film.
A much quoted sentence is: “Good texts are not created by the right words, but by the omission of the wrong.” This is true – despite a number of words required by SEO view – also on content marketing. This sentence is probably even more valid here, because nothing (over) demands attention as much as the flood of information on the Internet. Shortness, conciseness and relevance are crucial for good content marketing.
Popular and proven formats for B2B content marketing
Landing pages, newsletters, blogs and social media post are well-known and widely used formats for content marketing. But there is more. Here are a few suggestions:
Available in mass but often neglected. Have you ever experienced trainees selling cars in a dealership? No? Why should criminally uninformative, inferior texts describe products on the internet? Product descriptions replace the sales pitch. Because on the Internet there is no seller who comes around the corner. Even chats and hotlines provide only limited help, since they are not staffed around the clock. High quality text, good and many pictures as well as videos for products in need of explanation are the right way.
Best Practices and Case Studies:
Shows what you can, highlights the customer value, describes the solution and introduces the customer. Praise for your work in case studies is good – but only if it comes as an original sound from the customer.
Image / corporate film:
Moving images attract more attention than any other format. Corporate films are therefore a good idea – but only if there is a good script with story and real concept. Beautiful pictures alone do not work – not even in combination with a great soundtrack and good editing.
A reportage or documentary written by a real journalist can be of interest in many ways. However, advertising claims are out of place here – even hidden ones.
Studies and surveys often also attract the interest of professionals and executives at high hierarchical levels. Some papers contain trade secrets and competitive advantages and should of course not be published. Others, on the other hand, create value for prospective customers and customers with their publication and can emphasize the company’s professional approach. After all, not every company conducts (basic) research.
Webinars and live streaming:
They are popular and cheaper to implement than live events. Intense advertising is also out of place here. It’s more about foremostness and about the awakening of interest. It is good if the information is sufficient for the customer to develop a vision for his company and realize that he can only implement it with your product.
They can be created with little effort. The most important source for the questions and answers are the sales department and field service.
Clarity and validity are the benchmarks here. The graphics are only a means to an end and not the goal itself.
Slides and lectures – for example, as a recording of webinars – are good ways to prepare quality information appealing. Inspiration and a publishing platform are provided by SlideShare.
Content Marketing: good is better
High quality content is expensive and time consuming. But professional and content quality certainly pays better than low spending on inferior content. Target group relevance, novelty value, journalistic quality and good storytelling are essential quality features in content marketing. For companies, there is also the challenge of being able to produce the content quickly, in sufficient quantities and at a reasonable cost. A long-term strategy, good planning and detailed conception are helpful.