The internet and social media have changed how organizations interact with prospects and customers. Prospects rely on blogs, social channels and their own research to determine potential companies with which to do business, and rely less on trade shows and traditional sales channels to make those connections. They are no longer making purchase decisions based on product alone but what value a provider can deliver to them.
It is important for B2B companies to create content to showcase industry expertise and ways to solve their customers’ biggest challenges. But it’s not only creating content, but making sure it is engaging and keeps audiences wanting more. That will sell the product.
Creating B2B Content That Works
Here are steps B2B companies can take to begin building an effective content-driven thought leadership program.
- Understand your customers’ business.
- You may already know your customer from a sales perspective, but find out what’s keeping them up at night and what will help them solve their problems.
- Determine what they read, where they spend time online and get a feel for their interests and what they value.
- Make a list of challenges facing your customers and then determine those where you have a point of view to help solve their problem. Stay in the buyer’s mindset and answer the question: what’s in it for the prospect?
- Once your list is complete, begin to develop a content calendar and fill it in with those topics. The calendar will continue to evolve over time and you will continue to add to it.
- Identify your internal experts – who are the people inside the organization that you want to position as experts – who can discuss the content topics and can author the pieces. These may be company leaders or subject matter experts (SMEs).
- After you have done your homework, you can begin the content creation process. Develop pieces that are geared to solving the problems of your prospects and customers and position you as a thought leader. There are a couple of different tracks for content:
- The first are evergreen pieces on topics that can be used any time and can be sent to clients facing a particular challenge. This type of piece provides the company’s point of view on how to solve a particular problem, highlight company best practices or provide advice or tips.
- The second type are pieces that address a short-term challenge or provide a unique point of view and tied to industry hot-button issues, regulation or legislation changes, or current news or events. They may be in the form of an industry outlook, market commentary, or opinion piece. This content is strictly about positioning the company as a thought leader and showcases your industry expertise.
- Include visual elements to enhance written content or be used as a stand-alone piece.
- Tell your story in a compelling way using video and graphics.
- Create infographics if have interesting data or statistics.
- Tell your story using a variety of content by creating Multi-media releases (MMRs).
- Leverage your content in many different places.
- Post on a blog, link to your social media channels, use them as the basis for a speaking abstract or bylined article.
- Send them to sales people and others in the organization and ask them to share in their networks.
- Post them in industry forums or LinkedIn Groups where your organization is participating.
- Measure the success of the program.
- Determine the factors for success – generating leads, increasing website traffic, etc.
- Determine which pieces resonate best with your prospects and customers as well as the delivery channels that have the most success.
- Tweak your program based on these findings.
Implementing a B2B content strategy may take a little time but it will enable you to build a thought leadership program that gets results.
If you’re looking to make an impact in the B2B industry, Tunheim will help.
Connect with us to get started.