I got my hands on the ITSMA Social Media Survey last week and the findings are consistent with day-to-day experience.
It’s good news if you’re looking for evidence of social media’s growing influence on B2B buyers – that particular debate’s over; the fat lady’s gone home for cakes.
But don’t get carried away. Marketing teams are not yet communicating effectively with buyers on social media. Content might be king, but confusion definitely reigns.
B2B Content Marketing Challenges
Social media is always hungry. And it’s not getting enough of it’s staple diet of content thanks to the traditional B2B content wreckers: time, resources and expertise.
They might be the B2B content marketer’s ancestral enemies, but we need to stop using them as an excuse for every content retreat. We can’t avoid them. But we can take them on.
The fight-back starts in-house. You can only create a commercial, strategic and sustainable content marketing programme in your own back yard, with your own experts and your own tools.
Yet too many marketers start outside for ideas; trawling the debates for big issues and trying to work them back into the organisation. The plan will look great. But it will fail a three pronged attack from our triple nemesis. So what makes it go so wrong?
Outsourcing your job to boffins. It’s easy to get frustrated when your people can’t link your big issues to what they do. But they’re widget experts. You’re the positioning wizard.
Playing catch up on second hand ideas. The ideas you pull from other sources might be powerful, interesting and engaging. But they’re not the product of your expertise. You must keep content original.
Assuming your company’s duller than the rest. Marketers often think the grass is greener on the other side. But every business has great thinkers and ideas. Find them. Articulate them. Turn them into content.
Thinking titles and abstracts are half the battle. Many B2B content marketing programmes look great in theory. But it’s difficult to turn titles and abstracts into great pieces unless you’ve real content or resources to underpin the headlines.
Not selling what you’re talking about. People probably are concerned about the geese population of the Yukon. But unless your business is saving them – or killing them – then stick to what you do for a living.
Buying what you’re talking about. It can make sense to have an external expert help you with your thinking. But if you always rely on outsiders then your budget will soon disappear with your credibility.
Forgetting that buyers have many content needs. B2B buyers aren’t entirely obsessed with big industry issues. Depending on where they are on your buying cycle they also care about price, structure, size, delivery etc.
Your content must be relevant, compelling, interesting and commercial. It must position your company the way the outside world can understand. You can’t do it the other way.