Content

Assuming the position

When content fails to make assumptions, it fails to divide an audience. Here’s why that’s bad.

Only fools and prospects

Why just about everything in marketing compels you to treat your audience like they’re idiots.

What’s an infographic?

Everybody’s doing infographics, but few people talk about the format: What it can and cannot do.

The knowledge bubble

How tech marketers have everything to do with the tech bubble. And why more homework is all we have to stop the pop

The editorial calendar for content marketing: a round-up

As B2B marketers get serious about content marketing, they’re starting to bring together the people, processes and technologies needed to run a continuous content-generating machine. An editorial calendar is central to this new discipline and the core of a marketing plan. To call it best practice is like calling breathing a best practice technique for [...]

How to use Prezi for B2B content marketing

Prezi is the cloud-based presentation software that’s like Powerpoint on LSD. Its ‘zoomable user interface’ (ZUI?) with swoopy transitions and infinite drill-downs make it a sexy alternative to boring old slides. Here’s how and why you should put it in your B2B content marketing toolkit…

Sexy new FODM 2012 mailer. Oooh….

The Future of Digital Marketing event (FODM) is a highlight of the digital marketing calendar and one of Econsultancy’s longest-standing events. So we were thrilled when Laura Wall asked us to do the main print promotional piece for the 2012 event.  We gave it to Luke Donaghey to design –– he did last year’s bright, [...]

The problem/solution structure in B2B content marketing

When it comes to structuring a B2B marketing argument, it’s hard to beat the good old ‘Problem/Solution’ structure. It’s stood the test of time for some very good reasons: It gets the target audience nodding in agreement – if they recognise the problem you’re describing, they’re much more likely to lean forward and give you [...]

Is B2B content marketing jumping the shark?

‘Jumping the shark’ is one of my favourite expressions. Wikipedia tells us it means “the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The phrase is also used to refer to a particular scene, episode or aspect of a show in which the writers [...]

The problem of content quality

For readers, there is no quality content problem. For publishers, there is a quality content problem.

Starting with an earthquake and building to a climax

Sam Goldwyn, legendary Hollywood film producer (famous for malapropisms, paradoxes and errors of speech) once said: “We want a story that starts out with an earthquake and works its way up to a climax”. I’m not sure we quite achieved that at Velocity’s first live Marketing Masters one-hour-long interview with John Watton from Expedia.

Social Success: a new content site for Salesforce.com

We’re inordinately proud to announce the launch of a new microsite by Salesforce UK that Velocity helped with. The site is called Social Success and it’s all about helping businesses harness the power of social media. Our job was to find the considerable pockets of expertise within Salesforce (the place is crawling with very, very [...]

Why you should give away the very thing you sell

As content marketing gains momentum, we find that we’re not having to work quite as hard explaining the principles to prospective clients. But one objection does keep popping up that we thought would have died off by now: “Why should we give content away that tells people exactly how to do what we do? Won’t [...]

Five things I’ve learned in B2B marketing

Well, I’m moving on to work for Thomson Reuters (the siren call of being able to walk to work proved to be too strong to resist), and I thought I’d get all reflective and try to sum up some of the (many) things I’ve learned at Velocity.

Cross-Promoting B2B Content: Project Open Kimono Part 4

It’s time to talk about cross-promoting content as we approach week three of Project Open Kimono, the real-life, almost-real-time, warts-bunions-and-all case study of our B2B Marketing Manifesto campaign.  The idea is simple: in every piece of content you produce, tell the reader (or listener or viewer) about the most relevant other pieces of content you’ve [...]

How to structure a B2B argument

B2B marketing always comes down to building an argument; telling a story that leads to an inescapable conclusion: ‘You need to buy this, now.’ If your argument isn’t solid, the creativity of Björk and the budget of Nike will not move your business.

We explain ourselves – in infographics

As you’ll know if you got our newsletter we’re big fans of infographics over here. We got inspired by all of these and decided to have a go ourselves. This is our first, hand-made infographic explaining the Velocity process. It was a lot of fun, so maybe we’ll do some more soon. It was certainly a [...]

‘Margin Killers’ eBook reaches 600 downloads

We didn’t mention this? We’ve been working with IBS, the wholesale distribution software experts, to produce a content series on the five big success drivers in wholesale distribution. To kick the whole thing off we wrote and designed an eBook called The Six Margin Killers of Wholesale Distribution. If you want to know what I’m [...]

Read this or the world will end

So Gesu was wondering aloud the other day whether negative or positive headlines are more effective. By negative and positive we mean, respectively, the ones that say things like: ‘Ten things you’re doing wrong in your life’ or ‘How to be even more lovely than you are already’. They both boil down to the same thing: fear.

EPiServer uses market momentum to go public

We just learned that our client EPiserver is preparing to go public on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The company offers the best Micorosft .Net CMS on the planet and has delivered some really impressive numbers over the last few years.

2010 Content Marketing Trends and Predictions

Drumroll please… Introducing The 2010 Content Marketing Trends and Predictions eBook from ClickPredictions — a crowdsourced effort by “39 of the world’s top B2B marketers, e-mail marketers and social media gurus” (including, erm, me). Ambal Balakrishnan, the tireless ClickDocuments founder, asked each of us a straightforward question, “What are key marketing trends and predictions for 2010?”

You say tomato… copywriting for international audiences

We have a lot of international clients. Most of them are European or American, but occasionally they’re based further afield. This generates an interesting issue: how do you accommodate international English speakers in your copy?

Should free B2B content hide behind a form?

The debate rages on: is it better to ask people to fill out a form to download your content (chasing shy people away) or maximise downloads and go without a form (losing the list-building benefits)? A recent post by Kim Cornwall Malseed on MarCom Ink argues that reg forms are ‘killing B2B software marketing’ and [...]

The Velocity B2B Marketing Tube Map

We’ve always loved Harry Beck’s legendary design for the London Underground Tube Map, so thought we’d do our own version mapping out the B2B marketing landscape. Kind of makes sense if you give it some time. The junctions were the trickiest bits…

Quick Case: when content goes social

It’s been about four months since we published the B2B Content Marketing Workbook and we thought we’d report back on how the campaign has worked so far. It was the first time we’ve used social media as a vector for our content marketing and so makes a nice case study.

The Content Marketing Workbook

It’s here. The book of the webinar of the movie: The Velocity B2B Content Marketing Workbook. Over 45 breezy pages of good, solid advice about thought leadership and content marketing for B2B marketers like you. Come and get it!

The Content Marketing Workbook

It’s here. The book of the webinar of the movie: The Velocity B2B Content Marketing Workbook. Over 45 breezy pages of good, solid advice about thought leadership and content marketing for B2B marketers like you. Come and get it!

Watch the Velocity web seminar on Content Marketing

Stan just presented our web seminar with B2B Marketing magazine, called “Content Marketing: Thought Leadership in a Web 2.0 World”. Seemed to go really well. Over 130 people attended and the feedback was excellent. The seminar is based on our imminent Content Marketing Workbook, which you’ll be able to download from this site very, very soon…

Why we steal from our clients.

In the marketing world, agencies are supposed to be the ‘creative’ ones and clients are supposed to be the dullards who are grateful for a fresh source of ideas. In our experience, that’s just not how it works…

How strong is your B2B positioning?

Positioning is one of the essentials of B2B marketing but we don’t see a lot of companies getting it right. It’s a simple idea: as a marketer, you should explicitly manage the place your brand holds in the minds of your target audience so that it’s clearly differentiated from the competition. We use this triple-test to develop strong positioning statements for our clients…

How strong is your B2B positioning?

Positioning is one of the essentials of B2B marketing but we don’t see a lot of companies getting it right. It’s a simple idea: as a marketer, you should explicitly manage the place your brand holds in the minds of your target audience so that it’s clearly differentiated from the competition. We use this triple-test to develop strong positioning statements for our clients…

The Disruptive Idea: that’s what it’s all about

Disruptive ideas are not the only way to build a successful business. Sometimes just doing lots of little things better than the other guys is enough. But a disruptive idea is probably the single most powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal. And most marketers spend far too little time generating them.

Digital Velocity in eight tweets: accelerate your online engagement

B2B marketing has become almost synonymous with digital marketing. If you’re not getting your story out on the web, you’re probably not getting your story out at all. Now, as social media beds down and Twitter takes off, we thought it would be a good time to summarise all the things we do to help our clients engage with their audiences online.

7 tips for writing number-based headlines

Recent research from Spurious has proven that every piece of thought leadership content in the world now has to have a number in the headline or it just won’t get read.  We never let a bandwagon go unjumped-upon, so here’s the Velocity handy guide to writing headlines with numbers in them: 1) Make sure you [...]

Microsoft gets it right

We’ve given Microsoft some bad reviews here — especially for the “I’m a PC” ad campaign, so it feels only fair to give them some credit when they get it right.

New mobile marketing eBook for small businesses

Velocity Partners, the B2B agency specialising in technology marketing, announced the publication of a new eBook available on mobiThinking.com. The free eBook is called, “Marketing your small business on the mobile Web: the guide to low-cost, high-impact mobile marketing” and is available to all mobile marketers on the mobiThinking.com website. “The major brands are getting [...]

17 Strategies to Killer Ads

I stumbled across a great blog today that attempted to categorise advertising strategies. Based on an analysis of The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry, it’s a really useful list of advertising approaches that underscores that it’s the quality of the original idea and the associated strategic thinking that really make great campaigns.

Who needs editors?

Google has dis-intermediated the content business. You don’t have to hire a PR agency to kiss the arses of the editors any more. You just have to generate content that people really want to read and then make sure it’s findable by doing all those optimisation tricks and tactics of the digirati: SEO, PPC, social [...]

Digital PR: Shut up and listen

A good interview on ScobleizerTV with Joshua Reynolds who oversees Hill and Knowlton’s global technology practice. Traditional PR firms get a lot of stick lately about being slow to pick up on digital, but this guy seems pretty switched on.

Slugwatch: the power of content marketing

We were just having a really thought-provoking conversation about content marketing with Andrew Findlater and Hooman Bassirian from Reed Business and they told us about Slugwatch, a service for UK farmers from Bayer Crop Science. It does what it says on the tin: helps farmers monitor slug infestations by mapping slug activity.  It’s the polar [...]

Drop-down positioning at the Royal Opera House

Check out this very funny drop-down menu from a Royal Opera House web form. Did the ROH construct this delightful list of titles to avoid annoying its Earls, Dukes, Barons, Sultans and Rabbis (they must HATE having to choose Mr) or is this just a clever bit of subliminal positioning?

Five Basic Social Theories of Online PR

Roger , our web wonderwall, posted a terrific article on the essentials of Online PR.  The central metaphor: the web is a party — work the room instead of stumbling around like a socially inept gate-crasher.  Highly recommended.

Opt-Out: Digital Marketing’s punch in the stomach

Marketing used to be all about the upside. You fired off a message; some people responded; others didn’t. Net gain. In the digital world, there’s a downside that’s as painful as any upside: the dreaded Opt-Out. Here are some ideas for dealing with it…

Velocity December Newsletter: Tech-speak, feature-talk or benefit babble?

We see this one all the time. A tech company that’s great at describing its technology but not so great at making the story compelling to prospects. Or a company that waves a big, bold benefit flag – that nobody pays any attention to.When we see marketing problems like these, we reach for one of [...]

Customer Value Propositions in B2B Markets

Andrew Findlater from Reed Business Information recently turned us on to an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review (back in 2006 but still daisy-fresh):

Its called Customer Value Propositions in Business Markets and it makes a compelling case for what the authors call “Resonating Focus”…

New eBook: Best & Worst of the Mobile Web

mobiThinking.com, the resource for mobile marketers, and Velocity Partners, the B2B marketing agency, today announced the launch of a new eBook: The Best & Worst of the Mobile Web.

Credit Crunch B2B Marketing: Demand Generation, Lead Nurturing and Online PR

The CEO is stalking the corridors, blood dripping from his Budget Axe — and he’s on his way to the marketing department. How will you defend your marketing plan? At Velocity, we’re deeply into two powerful new weapons that are not only incredibly effective, they’re virtually Crunch-Proof™…

Evel Knievel, corporate positioning & corporate message development

Engineers take the leap from tech features to Big Business Benefits like Evel Knievel approached the Snake River Canyon: they fall down. Our Hierarchy of Benefits gives you a better way to do corporate positioning and corporate message development. It provides a practical solution: the Bridge (or, for the Tarzan in all of us: the Vine).

Your new content may not be as relevant as your old

All the best B2B tech marketers are mini-publishing houses — they never stop cranking out thought-provoking content on the issues their target market cares most about. But even the best thought leaders often follow a simplistic content promotion strategy that completely ignores the idea of a sales cycle. Basically, they pump out some new content, promote it, and repeat. What they’re doing is burying the best under the newest…

A really good newsletter

We know we ‘big up’ Pär Almqvist, the Marketing Dude at VNL, quite a bit. But we thought you’d like to see what we consider a really, really good eNewsletter that Pär briefed in and designed (we wrote it for him).

Microsoft’s baffling “I’m a PC” campaign

Apple got a lot of attention with its “PC vs Mac” commericals. They were simple, funny, well-scripted and seemed to capture the essence of what Mac people love about their Macs. Clearly, they got under Microsoft’s skin, because the crack Seattle Rapid Response team has leapt into action (what, three years later?) with an expensive riposte: the “I’m a PC” campaign. The result is wrong in so many ways, I can’t summarise them all in a blog post.

Branding as body language

A friend of ours who also happens to be a God of Branding sent us an article he wrote ten years ago but could have been written yesterday. He’s Axel Chaldecott, co-founder of HHCL, now the top creative on the global HSBC account at JWT. The article’s central metaphor is that a company’s visual identity is its body language…

I beg you: don’t bore the bejesus out of me

Marketing is communication. B2B marketing is bad communication.
That’s how your audience thinks about everything you put out.
Their expectations couldn’t be lower. They’ve waded through thousands of case studies and brochures and web pages from people just like you and IT’S NOT FUN.

B2B Web Marketing Tools Around Town

Being a nice chap, I thought I’d share a few of our secret web marketing tools with you. These are the apps and widgets that we use day in, day out to help our clients do wonderful things in SEO, PPC, and web content marketing in general….

Wordle Does Velocity

James Pearce and his mobiForge blog turned us on to Wordle, the online toy that turns any text into a word cloud.

We pointed it at the Velocity blog and this came out:

Buff Your Pitch Up. Google Suggest & B2B Content Marketing

Often we marketers are our own worst enemy when it comes to marketing ‘ideas’. In my time I’ve had the pleasure of conceiving some truly dreadful ‘opinion’ pieces in the name of trying to grab people’s attention. The fault usually lies in believing our own hype. Here’s some Google-inspired ideas on how to avoid falling into the trap…

The C word: the importance of confidence in B2B marketing

A great website. Lots of white papers and thought leadership content. Case studies and customer testimonials. Great campaigns and creative. Awards, editorial coverage and analyst attention. They’re all important to every B2B marketer. But there’s a factor that cuts across all of these and is probably more important than any of them: confidence.

Quick Start Pimp Your Content Guide to SEO

I’ve been doing a stack of content optimisation for client web sites lately, so I thought I’d share some of my ‘how to’ notes with the interweb…. Read on for a super-simple guide to pimping your content to search engines.

Marketers everywhere – get a little mobiThinking

…check out mobiThinking.com, which was launched today to help the world’s marketing community to better understand the opportunities and challenges presented by mobile marketing. (Note: it’s web marketing Jim, but not as you know it.)

New Velocity B2B Marketing Newsletter Available!

The latest edition of our semi-regular newsletter update is now available. It’s packed with goodness inside, including our star new white pager, Marketing, Meet Sales, which offers eleven ways to make your marketing activity really drive new sales…

The Velocity B2B Social Media & Web Engagement Mind Map

This Mind Map gives you everything you need to do web / social media engagement by yourself. It’s easy. Just pin it on your wall and – once you’ve published a great piece of content to your site – follow the map clockwise and post it to the relevant destinations…

B2B lead generation with thought leadership content: ditch the web-to-lead forms and win

For B2B web sites, the content that really matters in terms of positioning and prospecting isn’t your ‘markitecture’ pages – your product and services descriptions, corporate histories and such…. it’s your ‘thought leadership’ pages – the places where you express opinions and ideas rather than features and benefits. Here’s why…

Your First (Free) Baby Steps in B2B Web Marketing

Your web site is not your field of dreams. Build it and most likely they will not come. Nope, once it’s built your goal is to make it work as a sales sweat house – and this takes real effort and a bunch of web marketing smarts…

Why ‘Web-to-Lead’ Forms Suck for B2B Lead Generation

I just returned from a great week away in the Lower Hebrides – the small cluster of islands to the west of Glasgow. The single malts were stunning, the weather bracing and the walks heartening. I’m missing it already. None of this, of course, has anything to do with B2B lead generation, but I did have one holiday experience that made me realise how wide of the mark we are when it comes to using ‘web-to-lead-forms.’

How Steve Jobs (and Dick Hardt) wows the crowds

Our friend and client John Watton, Marketing Director of ShipServ, recently shared with us a Business Week article that dissects and analyses Steve Jobs’s latest keynote at Macworld (the one where he launched the MacBook Air). This ‘ten point framework’ will make your PPT’s hum…

Empathy and foreplay in B2B Marketing

I don’t know how else to put this: nobody gives a shit about you. Your software or service or widget may be the center of your world but the people you’re selling to have better things to think about. Once you accept this simple fact, your marketing will get a lot better – because you’ll realise that your first and toughest job is to stop people in their tracks and offer you a small flake of their most precious, scarcest resource: their attention.

7 ways to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in B2B marketing

Every marketing communication has two parts:

• The Signal – your message; the thing you want people to take away
• The Noise – everything else; the things that distract, delay and get in the way of the signal

Most B2B marketing – especially in technology businesses – is so full of noise, the static drowns out the music.

Building a B2B case: 8 tips from criminal lawyers

We B2B marketers are in the business of building cases. We’re advocates. So I did some research into how lawyers do what they do, focusing in on the summation to the jury, where the whole case comes together into one clear argument…