Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers are forever chasing the challenge of publishing valuable, relevant content to their blogs and websites. And for good reason. Companies with blogs gather 68% more leads than those without blogs (HubSpot).
Those who turn a standard blog into a well-produced, highly-relevant content machine may even see that number rise to a whopping 77%.
But it’s not all about the almighty blog in the B2B content world. White papers remain the most effective piece of B2B marketing collateral—according to B2B magazine—with 86% of respondents finding them moderately to highly influential in their purchasing decision.
Still, B2B Content Should Go Further
While web content remains king, the sad truth is that so much B2B content gets lost. Why? Many content owners, whether outsourced or part of an internal team, work in their own silos. They push status updates out to the networks, post the blog’s URL to email footers, profiles and bios. They even go through all the proper steps for promoting blogs on LinkedIn.
They diligently work through their checklist and cover all their assigned steps. While that’s all fine and good for businesses selling simple products or widgets, that formulaic approach is not so good for companies selling a complex product, service or technology.
The Forgotten Audiences
Although most Content Marketing plans target external audiences like prospects and partners, they fail to promote content to potential stakeholders within an organization—such as salespeople, account service reps and support teams. Those are the groups who touch prospects and customers on a daily basis and can leverage the content better than anyone else.
For example, let’s look at two examples at a CRM Software company…
- John in the sales department is explaining to a prospect why he should avoid choosing a “shortcut” CRM product from a competitor. John could spend days emailing contacts, gathering case studies, or digging for statistics. Fact is, John may never find the time to do all this. However, imagine if John read the company’s most recent white paper about the 10 Fatal Flaws of Most CRMs. He’s now equipped to quote statistics, reference case studies and pass the white paper along to his prospect. Talk about efficiency and value!
- Max, an account service rep, gets an email from a customer wondering why the new software release doesn’t include the filter function that they’ve used in the past. Max could spend an hour on the phone with this customer walking through the new release. Or, he could quickly respond with a return email, linking to a presentation or blog post outlining that the feature still exists…but has moved…and is even better.
Here’s the snag: John and Max have to: A) know that this content exists B) read it C) embrace it.
Content Evangelists vs. Content Publishers
Because B2B content owners must incorporate content into the daily lives of potential stakeholders within an organization, they must look beyond the mechanics and semantics that the typical “in-the-weeds” writer focuses on.
Savvy Content Strategists recognize that marketing new content isn’t something to be checked off after the “Publish” button has been clicked or Tweets have been sent. Instead they also play the role of “Content Evangelist” and weave themselves into a company’s culture to get the full mileage out of blog content, white papers, reports, presentations and videos.
Wearing the Content Evangelist hat includes:
- Identifying supporters within an organization. Whether outsourced or internal, a savvy Content Strategist steps out of their comfort zone to identify partners in each department who will create an awareness with peers, colleagues and fellow stakeholders. Those partners remind their peers about relevant content in the context of their day-to-day planning and convey content ideas and needs back to the Content Strategist.
- Creating a mindset, not a mandate. The larger a company gets, the more prone it is to creating “mandates” about behavior and practices. A savvy Content Strategist knows how to nurture a culture that embraces online content as part of its communication toolkit, rather than push a “because the boss told us so” mentality.
- Maintaining visibility and approachability. Rather than being seen by the company as “that content writer,” a Content Strategist who’s also an evangelist maintains relationships beyond information gathering. A good Content Strategist, whether outsourced or from within, checks in regularly with department heads, rubs elbows with stakeholders and forms relationships that keep their role and value top of mind. They intermittently attend sales team meetings, present ways that teams can leverage content, create cheat sheets and internal guides, and become part of the company’s day-to-day operations.
Who are the internal stakeholders within your organization who could re-purpose and share your most valuable online content?