Your buyers are two-thirds of the way through the buying process before they give you a call, which means they are voraciously consuming content online—yours and your competitors. Early adopters to content marketing responded to this buyer shift by creating a lot of content. They thought if they generated a ton of white papers, videos, blogs, and more, they would gain a top rank on Google and prospects would show up and buy.
That notion is prehistoric.
Your content needs to be high quality, highly relevant, engaging, and easy to share. It needs to be the kind that is scooped up early and often throughout the research process. It needs to do more than just impart information. It needs to engender knowledge and good will.
Today, it’s imperative that you create content that promotes engagement—engagement with your ideal prospects and engagement with your current customers. Focus on telling stories and aligning content to your customer’s journey, and you will outpace your competition.
Are prospects ignoring your content? Do you know why? Is it filled with company-focused information and product-laden feature lists? Let’s face it: technology isn’t sexy or entertaining. It can be downright boring. But when you incorporate storytelling, you tap into a powerful form of communication that helps your message resonate with prospects.
A good story allows you to engage with your audience, build relationships, and make your content memorable and shareable.
Here’s how to do it:
Create storylines, not just (social media) snacks.
Are you suffering from social media overload? Do you lose track of time creating, consuming, and sharing 140-character content bits that never quite satisfy your hunger for deeper meaning? Social media channels provide us with the ability to distribute content across the web like breadcrumbs. But many times, these B2B breadcrumbs are mere morsels. Weave compelling story lines cohesively across all your channels – your website, your social media platforms, emails, offline advertising, events – anywhere you plan to show up. Your efforts should be focused on a consistent, compelling story, not individual networks.
Hire journalists for better storytelling
Companies such as Cisco, Boeing, and Eloqua have hired journalists to create unbiased and helpful content focused on the customer. Journalists think in multimedia terms, know where to find and how to create compelling stories, and have an innate ability to see things from an outsider’s perspective.
Cultivate trust, avoid self-promotion
When creating content, it’s critical to avoid bias and self-promotion. In short, get over yourself! You need to create thoughtful, educational, and trustworthy content focused on the customer. Your content needs to address the challenges your buyers face and the decisions they have to make. Arm them with the information they seek. Savvy marketers are creating buyer personas and mapping content to different decision makers and the stages they go through to make their purchase decision.
Find and fill knowledge gaps
Google is moving toward relevancy and context and away from keywords as search ranking criteria. Savvy marketers are creating educational content to fill knowledge gaps based on customer questions and problems. By making content people want to read and share, companies build links organically.
Make your content mobile-friendly.
Smart B2B marketers design corporate websites with mobile users in mind so their content can be consumed on whatever device a prospect chooses. They use responsive design rather than creating a separate site for mobile users. Bonus: Google prefers responsively designed websites that only access one URL across all devices, not requiring redirects.
Continue content marketing after the sale.
Use the methodologies and tools of content marketing to make your customer engagement communications helpful and relevant. Adapt lead-nurturing functionality to the entire customer life cycle. Create compelling stories, distribute them across all your media channels, and track their effectiveness. Keep listening, keep communicating, and stay engaged.
Don’t create more content. Create better content. Offer up stories that address the challenges of your readers and they will reward you with their attention and time.
This is an excerpt from the Yesler B2B Change Agent Handbook. Download it now to get more ideas about how you can improve your B2B marketing.