How to Make Your B2B Content Stand Out From the Crowd

5 MarketingProfs B2B Forum Take-aways Every Marketer Can Use

How to Make Your B2B Content Stand Out From the CrowdIf you really want to make your B2B content stand out from the crowd, you can’t do the same thing as everyone else.

It won’t work.

Their company is different. Their resources (including employees) are different. Their timing is different. And most importantly, their experience is different.

Don’t interpret this to mean that you can’t succeed.

Rather your B2B content has to be different.

Why?

Because your approach has to be tailored to your organization and its needs.

Rather than copy the top players in your field, apply the lessons of a standout B2B content marketer to your business.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum is an example you should follow and tailor to your specific business needs. 

MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2015

MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2015

5 Ways to make your B2B content stand out from the crowd

Doing the same thing as everyone else is the definition of NOT standing out.

You must find out what will make your B2B content stand out from the crowd from your audience’s point of view.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum provides a useful example of how to make your B2B content stand out from the crowd.

To help you, we’ve done the analysis. Here are 5 ways to make your B2B content stand out.How to Make Your B2B Content Stand Out From the Crowd

1. Meet an unfulfilled customer need

Find a gap in your category’s existing array of information that you’re uniquely positioned to provide. The more niche your topic, the better.

Key point: This information gap must fill a need your audience has and believes is important.  

If your audience doesn’t think this information gap is necessary, don’t select it. You’re fighting an uphill battle and wasting resources trying to convince them.

Use Angie Schottmuller’s Triangle of Relevance. It’s where your organization’s goals, your target audience’s needs, and your context (what Schottmuller calls time significance) intersect.

Angie Schottmuller's Triangle of Relevance

Angie Schottmuller’s Triangle of Relevance

How did MarketingProfs set their marketing conference apart from the pack?

Take LinkedIn’s Jason Miller’s word for it. (BTW, check out Miller’s book, Welcome To The Funnel.) Miller confided that,

MarketingProfs B2B Forum is the only marketing event laser-focused on B2B. As a result I convinced my boss that my ENTIRE team had to attend it.”

Miller’s wanted his content team to learn about current B2B trends and to connect with B2B thought leaders and executives. Based on this experience, they’d have the skills to create stand out content yielding marketing qualified leads and sales. (Miller’s team member Sean Callahan blogged about MarketingProfs B2B forum!)

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Assess your category to find a unique content niche. Don’t skip this essential step. It’s at the heart of differentiating your content. At a minimum, check what the competition is doing. Need help? Check Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind.
  • Get input from outside your company. Find out what your audience’s needs are. Don’t guess. Ask them and your customer facing staff.

Download your 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist

 

2. Provide content consistent with your theme

This is traditional marketing wisdom: Deliver on your brand promise.

MarketingProfs offers strong B2B focused content. This is clearly defined in their name. As a result, the conference meets attendees’ objectives for attending.

Choose appropriate categories. MarketingProfs determines their conference tracks and sessions based on the information B2B marketers need to be competitive.

Offer relevant information in each category. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum, there’s a mix of 101, 201 and 301 level training. For example, Jeff Cohen (no relation) and I presented 10 Ways to Blast Off Your B2B Blog as part of the Teach Me How track.

Social media call-to-action to attend Heidi Cohen and Jeff Cohen's MarketingProfs Session

Social media call-to-action to attend Heidi Cohen and Jeff Cohen’s MarketingProfs Session

Here’s my action-oriented business blog handouts. Get your own copy.

Skip the filler content. While recent reports show processed meats cause cancer, your B2B filler content will kill your audience of boredom (unless you add a Stephen Colbert video.)

 

Give your audience amazing, actionable content. Assume your audience is at least as smart as you are. Don’t just outline a set of points. Explain and show your audience how they can apply your recommendations to fit their needs.

This approach has its drawbacks. B2B Forum attendees complained they had so many great options for each time slot they couldn’t decide which session to attend. My attendees complained they couldn’t write fast enough to capture all of the information!!! Online, your readers will consume your content at their pace.

Provide a way to ensure your audience gets its questions answered. No matter how well you plan your content and gather input from your front line staff, your readers will have other questions.

Make it easy to collect and answer them. It can be as easy as a “Got a question?” call-to-action. Marcus Sheridan uses this method to gather input for his podcasts.

Marcus Sheridan asks listeners to email him their questions

Marcus Sheridan asks listeners to email him their questions

MarketingProfs did this by offering office hours with the experts. Any attendee could walk up and talk to the presenters, many of whom, don’t offer one-on-one consulting.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Choose your topics with care. Make sure your B2B content not only fulfills your readers’ need but also contributes to achieving your business goals.
  • Create an editorial calendar. Have a plan to provide useful content on a regular basis. MarketingProfs conference did this on a more condensed level, namely 4 days of information.
    Annual Marketing Plan Template To Create Related B2B Content

    Annual Marketing Plan Template To Create Related B2B Content

  • Offer the best content available. Create useful information. For example, Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina writes each blog post to rank for a specific keyword term. Further, he only posts once every 2 weeks!
  • Avoid content duplication. It’s repetitive. You’ll loose readers since they’ve seen it already. Also, it hurts your search results.

Download your 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist

 

3. Provide pillar content

Yaro Starak first coined the term on Problogger back in 2006 and it still holds true.

  • A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something.
Determine the key pillar content for your business

Determine the key pillar content for your business

The 5 key types of pillar content include:

  • How to
  • Definition articles
  • Unique theory
  • Resources
  • Lists

Stellar keynote speakers are the strategically important pillar component of any conference. They attract paying attendees and sponsors.

Many marketing conferences invite speakers from a limited pool of candidates. As a result, the same people headline many conferences. It’s like hearing your favorite band play their greatest hits at every concert.

The keynotes set MarketingProfs B2B Forum apart. Their speakers are different and offer surprising insights. While I’m not a morning person, I’m always there for the keynotes.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Determine key information your audience needs. This content should relate to your specific niche and be in-depth.
  • Continue to add to your pillar content to keep it current. If it’s not up-to-date, your information is useless. Further, updating it, helps your search rankings.

Download your 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist

 

4. Enhance engagement to improve conversion

Until your prospects get to know you, they’re not going to buy from you. This is one area where conferences have an advantage over content delivered via online or offline channels. There are real people presenting and demonstrating their products.

You have to coax people to engage to build relationships. Even conference goers, whether they’re attendees, presenters or vendors, can be shy.

Go mobile. It’s where content consumption is growing. Don’t assume that your B2B audience only reads your content on a computer in an office. Think commutes and filler time. 

MarketingProfs built a great conference app. They built gamification and fun into their event app. I’ve downloaded event apps before and found them more work than old school methods.

But this app changed my mind. At an opening party, I watched Ruth Stevens download and use the app. And she was hooked.

Align activity to goals or KPIs, underscored a point made by several speakers, including me. MarketingProfs used app activity to give a prize for the most photographs with vendors. What a great way to entice people to visit each sponsor!

Create fun activities to increase interaction. MarketingProfs baked fun into the event wherever possible. This enabled attendees to build relationships and have time for the concepts they learned to get processed.

lego-heidi-cohen

Don’t laugh. American Psychological Association research proves that it works.

Play time = social time = build relationships

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Give your audience a reason and an easy way to engage with you. You have to overcome inertia. Most people do nothing.
  • Always include a call-to-action. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2016 US B2B research showed that 12% of marketers don’t ask their audience to do anything! Yikes!The Types of Offers B2B Content Marketer Make - Use at least one call-to-action
  • Create a process to convert handrasiers into prospects and buyers. Here’s where marketing automation shines for B2B marketers.

Download your 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist

 

5. Sweat the details

It’s the small details that distinguish your B2B content from your competitors. That includes non-work related information of all types and channels.

At MarketingProfs, no detail is too small to overlook.

View your audience like they’re close friends. Ann Handley treats attendees like they’re guests at her home. In her opening remarks, Handley invited attendees to come up to her to say hi.

Plan for problems. Life happens. One of the top speakers had an emergency during MarketingProfs. Another speaker filled his place. Most attendees didn’t know there was an issue.

Have at least one backup plan for your presentation. As a Mac user married to a geek, I always have a bag of dongles and related items.

Additionally, I never include videos. They consume time and can cause your computer to crash. Instead, I take a screenshot and the URL.

After 10 minutes of trying to get his presentation to work, Mark W. Schaefer spoke without slides. He nailed it!

Further, without seeing his slides, I located Mirabeau Wines’s 10+ million views video about opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. (BTW, Crestodina always mentions an article in his talks by unique keywords to help his search results.)

Ann handwrites personal thank you notes to each speaker.

Wow.

MarketingProfs also had people placed in key locations to answer questions and guide attendees. They even provided snack bags for the trip home.

Ann Handley, Heidi Cohen, Julie Pildner at Marketing Profs B2B 2015

Ann Handley, Heidi Cohen, Julie Pildner at Marketing Profs B2B 2015

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Make a list of potential problems and plan a solution for each one.
  • Do something special for your audience. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Rather it has to stand out from what your peers are doing. Not only in your field but also across the board.

Download your 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist

 

B2B Content bottom line:

To make your B2B content stand out from the crowd, determine what makes your organization different and sets you apart from your competitors and the other content your target readers get.

Then give readers the best information you can create to deliver on your promise. This will help you to build relationships and convert prospects into customers.

Plan ahead so that you’re prepared for anything that happens, good or bad.

What’s your best suggestion for making B2B content stand out from what’s available?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124247024@N07/14086869112/in/photostream/

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  • Pillar content is really the backbone of any good website – and it’s a shame that so many website owners seem to forget this! Putting in the time and money to make really great pillar content will pay dividends for the lifetime of the site.