There's a lot of content across the web. After all, every business across every industry is trying to attract its audience's attention so they can make an impact. Consequently, the audience is overwhelmed with all this content, which means simply creating content and shoving it down the throats of your audience won't lead you anywhere.
Fortunately, there are some simple tricks to ensure your content resonates with your audience. In a recent webinar, our host, Kathleen (Timbol) Abdeen, Director of Field and Product Marketing, was joined by Raj Sarkar, a renowned storyteller and former CMO and Advisor for 1Password, who shared his content creation and engagement insights. This blog post summarizes the key points discussed during the conversation for anyone who couldn't join us live. Whether you're a seasoned marketer or a content creator looking for fresh ideas, Raj's tips will help you create content that captivates your audience and drives meaningful results.
What makes content lovable and resonate with your audience
Most marketers need help creating content that cuts through the clutter and communicates their brand message to the target audience. According to Raj, you can do a few things to achieve this.
When creating content, it's crucial to keep your audience in mind. Avoid creating content just for the sake of it. The most valuable content prompts your audience to take concrete actions after reading it. The first consideration should be who you create the content for and its purpose. Ensure that your content provides something meaningful for your audience to take away.
In today's content-saturated world, engaging, conversational, and fun content is becoming increasingly important. Long-form content can be overwhelming, as people need more time to read lengthy pieces. Keep your content concise — generally, at most, two or three pages. Breaking it down into sections helps readers understand the topics you cover in your blog post or any other content you create.
Text-only content may only sometimes be effective. Incorporate images, videos, and other multimedia elements to make your content more engaging. These visuals enhance the reading experience, provide additional context, and appeal to different learning styles. Consider adding features encouraging social sharing, such as allowing readers to tweet favorite quotes or snippets from your blog post.
Incorporate multimedia elements to enhance the visual appeal and provide even more opportunities for social sharing. Finally, always end your content with a clear call to action (CTA), guiding your audience on what you expect them to do next. The specific CTA will depend on the purpose of your content and the stage of the customer journey you're targeting.
By incorporating these elements from the conversation, you can create content that effectively resonates with your audience, captures their attention, and drives meaningful engagement.
Addressing challenges associated with creating B2B content
Generating ideas to create great content
Generating new ideas can be valuable for any team or organization. Here's what Raj suggests to foster innovation and develop fresh ideas:
- Implement an innovation-focused event: Consider organizing an "Innovation Week," "Innovation Day," or a similar designated period where team members can take a break from their regular work and focus solely on generating new ideas. This event can be adapted to suit your team's needs and schedule, whether it's a whole week or just a day or two.
- Encourage cross-functional participation: Invite team members from various departments, not just the marketing team, to participate in the innovation event. This diversity of perspectives and expertise can lead to more well-rounded and innovative ideas. Encourage collaboration and create a supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
- Reflect on current work: Use this dedicated time to reflect on the work your team has done in the past and present. Encourage team members to think critically about their previous projects, campaigns, and strategies. What worked well? What could have been improved? This reflection can spark ideas for future initiatives and improvements.
- Brainstorm future ideas: Encourage participants to think beyond their day-to-day tasks and consider future possibilities. Provide prompts or challenges to stimulate creative thinking. This could include brainstorming ideas for new marketing campaigns, content initiatives, innovative approaches to reach the target audience, or any other area that requires fresh ideas.
- Foster a creative environment: Create a space where team members can explore unconventional and out-of-the-box ideas. Encourage them to think without constraints and embrace creativity. Provide resources such as whiteboards, sticky notes, or digital collaboration tools to facilitate brainstorming sessions.
- Document and evaluate ideas: Encourage participants to document ideas throughout the innovation event. This could include writing them down, creating visual representations, or using digital tools for collaboration and idea-sharing. After the event, review and evaluate the generated ideas. Identify the most promising ones and determine the feasibility and potential impact of implementing them.
- Follow up and implement: Once you've identified the most promising ideas, create an action plan to implement them. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, and allocate resources accordingly. Continually track progress and provide support to ensure the ideas are effectively executed.
By incorporating dedicated time for innovation and idea generation, you can tap into your team's collective creativity, explore new possibilities, and discover innovative approaches to enhance your marketing efforts and overall business success.
Humanizing your B2B content
When humanizing B2B content, it's essential to recognize the shift in B2B buyers' behaviors and preferences. Modern B2B buyers are influenced by social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok and are accustomed to personalized experiences. Here are some tips for humanizing your B2B content:
- Understand your audience: Take the time to understand your target B2B audience, including their interests and preferences. Recognize that they are humans with emotions, opinions, and individual needs. This understanding will help you tailor your content to resonate with them on a human level.
- Be relatable and authentic: Connect with your audience by creating relatable and authentic content. Use conversational language that feels more human and less formal. Share real stories, anecdotes, and experiences your audience can relate to. This helps build trust and credibility.
- Inject personality and creativity: Feel free to inject personality and creativity into your B2B content. While maintaining professionalism, find ways to make your content more engaging and memorable. Use storytelling techniques, humor, or unique perspectives to capture your audience's attention and make a lasting impression.
- Focus on the value for the reader: B2B buyers seek content that provides value and solves their challenges. Instead of solely focusing on product features or technical specifications, highlight the benefits and outcomes your solutions can bring to their businesses. Show how your product or service can make their lives easier, save time or money, or help them achieve their goals.
- Incorporate multimedia elements: Use visual and interactive elements to enhance the human experience of your B2B content. Include images, videos, infographics, and other multimedia formats to break up the text and make the content more engaging. Visual content can also convey complex information more effectively and leave a more substantial impact.
- Encourage dialogue and engagement: B2B content should not be a one-way conversation. Encourage your audience to engage with your content by asking questions, inviting comments and feedback, and actively responding to their inquiries. This creates a sense of community and fosters a human connection between your brand and your audience.
By humanizing your B2B content, you can create a more engaging and relatable experience for your audience, ultimately building stronger relationships and driving better results in your B2B marketing efforts.
Promotions and scale
Promoting and scaling content are crucial steps to maximize your reach and impact. Let's explore the key points mentioned by Raj to encourage and scale content effectively.
- Utilize SEO and backlinks: When publishing a blog post or any content, consider search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Identify relevant keywords and optimize your content accordingly. Additionally, leverage backlinks by linking to your new content from popular or high-performing existing content. This drives traffic and visibility to your new piece while benefiting from the authority of your existing content.
- Leverage newsletters: If you have a newsletter with a substantial subscriber base, use it as a powerful channel to promote your content. After publishing a new blog post or piece of content, include it in your newsletter. By sharing it with your engaged audience, you can increase traffic to your content and improve its ranking in search engine results.
- Social media promotion: Use social media platforms to amplify your content. Share snippets, quotes, or key takeaways from your content and provide links to the entire piece. Engage with your audience, respond to comments, and encourage sharing. Use relevant hashtags and consider leveraging influencers or industry partners to extend your content's reach.
- Repurpose and redistribute content: Repurposing content allows you to reach new audiences and expand its lifespan. Convert a blog post into an infographic, video, podcast episode, or slide deck. Distribute these repurposed formats across different platforms (such as YouTube, SlideShare, or podcast directories) to attract different segments of your audience.
- Collaborate with industry influencers: Identify influential individuals or thought leaders in your industry and collaborate with them to promote your content. This could involve guest blogging, hosting joint webinars or podcasts, or featuring them in your content. Their endorsement and reach can significantly expand your content's exposure.
- Monitor and optimize performance: Regularly monitor the performance of your content using analytics tools. Analyze metrics such as page views, engagement, social shares, and conversions. Identify patterns and insights to optimize future content promotion strategies. Adjust your approach based on the data and feedback received.
Remember, promoting and scaling content is not a one-time task. It requires continuous effort and adaptability. You can effectively promote your content and maximize its impact by utilizing SEO techniques, leveraging newsletters and social media, repurposing content, collaborating with influencers, and monitoring performance.
KPIs to track
Raj underscores the significance of content in marketing, emphasizing its role across the entire user journey. He cautions against creating content without a clear purpose and highlights the need for strategic intent. Depending on the funnel stage, diverse content types and corresponding KPIs should be considered. Thought leadership content effectively raises awareness, measured through engagement and website visits. Generating traffic and leads are vital, with KPIs encompassing sign-ups and pipeline conversions. Raj also emphasizes tailoring the CTA based on the buyer's journey stage and the specific content objective. Businesses prioritize metrics like visits, sign-ups, or pipeline generation when evaluating content success. The conversion phase focuses on content that drives purchases, with KPIs linked to product value proposition and conversion rates.
How marketers can drive results through content
Raj mentions that most B2B companies focus on creating thought leadership content, but he questions how many create content around controversy and inspiration to drive growth. He shares an example from his time at Google, where they published a blog post titled "365 Reasons to Consider Google Apps" just before the launch of Microsoft Office 365, generating a lot of attention and sign-ups. Raj also talks about the inspiration aspect and mentions Bed Bucket, a competitor to GitHub. They created buzz around Bed Bucket by giving away popular t-shirts and encouraging developers to talk about what they were building with the product, using a hashtag campaign called the "#bucket" campaign. These strategies inspired others to join the conversation and generated interest.
Above all, it's essential to understand your audience and what drives them. Thought leadership content can be inspirational, and you can adopt more practicality and humor in marketing. Raj talks about an incident where a developer jokingly announced they were leaving GitHub to join Bed Bucket. Bed Bucket then capitalized on the situation by creating buzz and setting up a desk with Bed Bucket swag for the developer.
Frequently asked questions about content creation.
- How important is it to create content with your audience in mind?
Creating content with your audience in mind is crucial. It ensures that your content resonates with them and provides value. By understanding your audience's preferences, needs, and interests, you can tailor your content to meet their expectations, making it more engaging and relevant.
- What should be the purpose of creating content?
The purpose of creating content should be to provide value to your audience. Avoid creating content just for the sake of it. Instead, focus on delivering actionable insights, informative guidance, entertaining stories, or solutions to their problems. The goal is to make your audience take away something meaningful from your content.
- How can I make my content more engaging and conversational?
Consider the following tips to make your content more engaging and conversational:
- Keep it concise and easy to read
- Break down the content into sections or subtopics
- Incorporate multimedia elements like images, videos, or infographics
- Encourage interaction through polls, quizzes, or comments
- Use a conversational tone and language that connects with your audience
- Add shareable elements, such as tweetable quotes or social media buttons
- What challenges do B2B content creators face?
B2B content creators often face challenges such as generating new ideas, establishing genuine connections with their ideal customer profiles, scaling content promotion, and measuring its impact. These challenges require creative thinking, strategic planning, and continuous adaptation to meet their target audience's needs effectively.
- How can I generate new ideas for my content?
Generating new ideas for content can be done through various methods, such as:
- Conducting brainstorming sessions with your team or colleagues
- Hosting innovation days or dedicated time for creative thinking
- Researching industry trends and identifying knowledge gaps
- Engaging with your audience through surveys, polls, or feedback
- Analyzing successful content from competitors or industry leaders for inspiration
- What makes content engaging for audiences?
Content can engage audiences when it:
- Offers thought leadership and provide valuable insights
- Incorporates practical advice or step-by-step guidance
- Sparks emotions, such as humor, inspiration, or controversy
- Utilizes storytelling techniques to captivate readers
- Presents information in a visually appealing and easy-to-digest format
- Provides a unique perspective or fresh take on a topic of interest
- How can I drive results and see pipeline movement through content?
To drive results and see pipeline movement through content, consider the following strategies:
- Define clear objectives and align your content with specific goals
- Implement effective SEO practices to increase visibility and organic traffic
- Promote your content through social media, newsletters, and other distribution channels
- Encourage audience engagement through comments, shares, and interactions
- Utilize effective calls to action (CTAs) to guide readers toward desired actions
- Measure and analyze content performance using metrics like conversions, click-through rates, and lead generation
- Should B2B content creators only focus on thought leadership?
While thought leadership content is essential in the B2B space, focusing solely on it may limit the reach and engagement of your content. Consider exploring other content types like practical guides, case studies, industry trends, and content that incorporates controversy or humor. Diversifying your content strategy can help you attract a wider audience and drive better results.
Raj emphasizes knowing your audience and creating entertaining and engaging content. He mentions the mantra at Google, "Know the user, know the magic, connect the two." He also highlights that content serves multiple purposes and can be created for different marketing funnel stages, including awareness, consideration, and purchase. Additionally, Raj reminds marketers that their job doesn't end with content creation but extends to utilizing and scaling the content. He emphasizes the importance of content quality and leveraging various channels to promote and distribute content effectively. Head to the on-demand video now to catch up with the complete webinar!