How LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Makes Award-Winning Content Marketing

March 31, 2016

B2B Content Marketing

Here at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions headquarters, we get a lot of cool stuff in the mail. But the package we just received sets the bar high for future coolness. It contained a crystal-clear trophy shaped like a shark’s fin, with our company name engraved on it. Accompanying the trophy was a letter that began, “Congratulations on being a 2016 Killer Content Award Winner!”

We won the Finny for our Attention is a Currency campaign. The eBook was one of my personal favorites from last year. Simply put, it rules. I say that without ego, because its success is entirely due to Brian Solis’ words and Hugh MacLeod’s pictures. It was a huge campaign for us, generating thousands of downloads and shares. But more importantly, it’s a personal work that says something worth saying. It’s intensely gratifying to have the folks at DemandGen agree the eBook is worth your attention.

So this post is a public high-five to everyone involved in making the campaign happen. More than that, though, it got me thinking about what made Attention Is a Currency so special. What lessons did we put into practice for this eBook that you can use to make your own killer content?

After some thought, I came up with these three takeaways:

1. Focus on the Most Essential Conversation

We publish a lot of “how-to” content on the blog and in our eBooks. And that’s a good thing; instructional content is guaranteed to speak to your audience’s needs. I like to think our guides help marketers take their work to the next level.

To create killer content, though, it’s important to dig a little deeper. For Attention Is a Currency, I wanted to go beyond the “how” and get at the “why.” It addresses the essential questions that inform everything marketers do: Why are we trying to get people’s attention? What’s in it for them? Where do our goals and their needs intersect?

2. Take Intelligent Risks

We took two sizable risks with Attention Is a Currency. The first is in the way the book looks. It doesn’t follow any of LinkedIn Marketing’s design guidelines. There are no photos, virtually no branding, no Sophisticated Marketer in the title. It doesn’t look like anything else you can download from us, or like any other SlideShare presentation. We had to believe our audience wanted to see something different, and would embrace its uniqueness.

The second risk was being completely, 100% sincere. This eBook has its heart on its sleeve. It’s easy to play it safe when you’re creating content, especially for B2B. Easy to hide behind corporate-speak, water down the sentiment for broader appeal, or keep an ironic distance to shield yourself from criticism. But we asked Brian to speak his mind, and we presented his thoughts without explanation or apology. Which leads directly to the third point:

3. Work with People who Inspire You

One way to describe the process of creating Attention Is a Currency would be, “we partnered with influencers to co-create content we could cross-promote.”

That’s all well and good; that’s the way influencer marketing works, at its most basic level. But for Attention Is a Currency, I picked Brian and Hugh not because they were influential (even though they are), but because they inspire me. Brian’s writing has the full Wizard of Oz combo: brains, heart, and courage. Hugh’s illustrations can make you laugh one minute and hit you in the solar plexus the next. So bringing them together wasn’t just “partnering with influencers.” hey both inspire me personally, and I knew they could do something amazing together.

I hope Attention Is a Currency’s success motivates you to create content you believe in with creative people who inspire you.

For more in-depth tips, strategy, and advice, download the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.