3 rules to inform your content marketing strategy
Many B2B companies are still adapting to the new opportunities of content marketing, and too many are still playing by the old rules. This involves with massively wordy, downloadable eBooks and content designed for the Desktop Era. Content marketing has changed along with the larger trends in technology and with shifting consumer preferences for how people access information and engage with content online, and your B2B content marketing strategies need to change along with it!
Here are some new rules of content marketing that any B2B firm can benefit from:
Make it "mobile first."
Mobile devices now represent a majority of internet usage, and many people are using smartphones as their primary device for accessing the Internet. But mobile devices aren’t just for teenagers or millennials, and they’re not just for consumers – more and more B2B buyers are using mobile devices to conduct research about new products, and even to make purchase decisions.
According to a March 2015 study from Google and Millward Brown Digital, 42% of B2B buyers use mobile devices while doing their research doing the B2B purchasing process, and there has been 91% growth during the past two years in use of mobile devices during the B2B buying process, including 3x growth in mobile queries for B2B sales. B2B purchase rates have increased 22% in the past two years, and 49% of B2B product researchers are using their mobile devices to do product research while at work. What does this all mean? Basically: if your content marketing is still set up for the age of desktops, you're missing out on big opportunities. Your website and any content or communications that you present to your prospects needs to be mobile-friendly.
Make it human.
B2B buyers are people, too! They want to see real human stories that help connect with authentic human emotions and that assuage their worries and establish trust. Use emotionally impactful case studies - how did your solution relieve stress and create big wins? Use real people's stories - get video testimonials from your customers talking about how your solution helped make their life better. Did you know that online video is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B content marketing? According to the Google and Millward Brown study, 70% of B2B buyers and researchers are now watching online videos throughout their path to purchase, which represents a 52% increase during the past 2 years. 48% of B2B researchers watch 30 or more minutes of online B2B-related videos during their research, and 20% watch 60 minutes or more. Online videos might be one of the best ways to educate your buyers and put a human face on your company – before your prospects ever talk to one of your sales people.
Make it creative!
B2B content marketing is often too technical and "business-like." But just as mobile devices are opening up huge new opportunities to communicate and connect with people, we are still discovering new possibilities for how B2B content can be conceptualized and delivered more creatively. Don't be afraid to try some creative new ways to deliver the message. It’s OK to use humor, personality, and even a bit of irreverence to stand out. After all, the Internet is more cluttered than ever before with bland, forgettable content – why not try some new things and be ready to make a splash? For example, awhile ago, I wrote an article for Entrepreneur called “6 Things ‘Better Call Saul’ Can Teach You About Finding Customers,” based on the hit TV show spinoff from “Breaking Bad.” It’s OK to find creative ways to tie your message into broader trends and even pop culture stories, as long as you add value for your readers and build credibility along the way.
Even though the B2B content marketing world is more crowded and competitive and click-baity than ever, I really do believe we are on the cusp of some exciting times and innovative possibilities. Companies that find ways to use their content marketing to tell authentic human stories will be the winners.