About one out of two of the business-to-business marketers surveyed for Bizo’s “Strategic Marketing Priorities” research expected to use content marketing in their marketing plans next year. Since content marketing fuels social media, these content marketing forecasts are probably understated.
So what’s the biggest challenge for B2B marketers using content marketing?
For two-thirds of them, it’s creating sufficient fresh, original content, according to the B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Survey. Based on my experience, this lack is attributable to five main factors.
- Plain vanilla, undistinguished offering. You provide products and/or services that are difficult to differentiate from those of your peers.
- Slow-to-change product array. Many B2B marketers change products very little over time leaving marketers with little new to say about the product.
- Difficult-to-explain complex products. This is often the case for highly specialized products created by very educated staff who don’t have the time, interest and/or ability to develop content.
- Diverse market segment. Their main point of commonality is their use of your product. This happens to businesses targeting small and medium size businesses, which have little in common with each other beyond the use of your product. In this case consider how to provide targeted support around your product.
- No fresh ideas syndrome. These businesses have been doing the same thing the same way for years so there’s no fresh perspective. Think accounting or law firm. You need to provide useful content in everyday language.
7 Ideas to inspire original B2B content marketing
What can you do to invigorate your B2B company’s content marketing to make it come alive? Tell a story related to your company, brand or product. Here are seven ideas that you can adapt to your firm’s marketing.
- Recount your organization’s history. Tell us your firm’s history and how it reflects on your current business. What’s your firm’s “once upon a time” story? What did your company founders do? What inspired them?
- Tell your product’s story. How did the company founders start making your products and why? Are there special details the public doesn’t know? What’s unique about your product that sets it apart from the competition? Are there any famous people who are associated with your product? What do your employees do to produce your products? Think about how this gives your organization a human face.
- Put employees in the spotlight. What are your senior management’s personal stories? What are your employees like? Have any of your employees done something special for the community? Do they provide lessons for your customers? Has anyone in your organization done anything heroic? Think Scully landing the US Airways airplane in the Hudson River. Similarly, are any of your employees members of the military, volunteer firemen or other first responders? Remember that you’re trying to build a connection with your prospects and customers.
- Highlight customers. Put your customers in the limelight and make them feel special. What do they use your products and/or services for? Bear in mind that you can use photographs and video.
- Take a tour. What’s a day in the life of your company like? How will you portray every area? This content is also great for attracting new prospective employees.
- Showcase your local community. Does your firm support the local community? Think about the local sports teams and other activities you support or how you pitched in to help during a local crisis.
- Associate your brand with a cause. Is your brand associated with a cause or is an employee associated with a special cause? If so, what is it and why is it important?
Regardless of the challenges, you can find another way of looking at your business to provide additional information to attract and convert leads. You just need to think about related opportunities.
What other suggestions would you add for creating original content and why?
Here are some related articles.
- Are you a content marketing rock star?
- Content Marketing ABCs
- 56 Ways to extend your content marketing