You smashed your creative campaign. Wall to wall media coverage, loads of new follows, big spike in web traffic.
In B2B, few people buy the moment they see your campaign. They may need a nudge in a few weeks, their budget may be released in six months, they may need you in five years.
B2B is about nurturing these relationships so you’re there when they are ready. Rather than seeing the initial creative campaign as just raising awareness, think about how it can bring potential customers into your sphere of influence – LinkedIn, Twitter, newsletters – so you open a regular channel of communication.
Then comes the hard bit: staying in touch.
You’ve got their attention; how do you hold it?
The simple answer to keeping people engaged is to feed them content that they value.
This is where most B2B comms falls down. Many treat these channels as places to churn out low value 'consumer-grade' content. Writing is seen as an easy job for junior people who can write a clickable headline, but who have little industry insight. This sort of content quickly becomes boring to senior people.
FT research found less than 20% of thought leadership is considered high quality. Computing’s ‘What Do Tech Buyers Want?’ states “In a noisy landscape where competition for attention is intense, there seems to be a common element many marketing strategies are missing out: quality.”
If you are one of the few companies getting quality content right, you will stand out from your competitors like a lighthouse, calling prospects towards you through a sea of click-baity dross.
A strategic approach to content marketing
Strategic content plans involve targeting content over a long period, and gradually winning people round. If people see you as a constant source of relevant insight, they’ll know that you get their challenges, and remember you when they’re looking to buy.
This demands consistency of message, but variety of insight.
Our own research found senior people want deep insights into their specific business challenges, and actionable guidance into how to solve them. So, create a strong position on an issue of relevance to your customers, and dig deep to offer value.
Writing is the easy bit. The hard bit is gathering the insight that gives you something worth saying. This involves research; talking to internal and external experts, asking existing customers about their challenges, designing and analysing surveys.
Ajit Kambil, research leader for Deloitte’s CFO Thought Leadership Program, says: “To develop thought leadership….it’s critical that businesses assemble professionals who have engaged with clients or customers on the issues that concern them.”
Capture these insights in one place and use them to power a long running programme of digital content, in various formats (graphics, written, audio, videos), across various channels (social, blogs, newsletters).
Short teaser posts can use punchy insights, examples, or humour. These can link to more in depth blogs, which in turn push those who are ready to engage through to a report or whitepaper.
Finally, measure the response. Look at quality of engagement rather than numbers – what posts get a good response from the people you want to engage. Which blogs do people stay on for several minutes? Be honest. Measurement isn’t just about judging success, it’s about learning how to constantly improve.
People read good content
Ignore the myth that people won’t read anything longer than a tweet – we’ve seen the website stats from our clients, and people regularly spend five minutes or more reading long form content we create. If people aren’t reading your content, it’s either not reaching the right people or it’s not good enough quality. Both can be fixed with a good content strategy and the right people.