What’s Trending: Make the List
September 7, 2020
There’s an elegant simplicity to the simple to-do list. It may not be as sophisticated as a diary, as substantial as a manual, or as lofty as a philosophical treatise. But it does one thing well: It gives you straightforward instructions on what to do and in what order.
In the era of peak content, where massive 5,000 word blogs stomp the earth, it can seem like the humble list is too slight to offer value for your reader. You can be certain, though, that when your audience needs to know what to do and how to do it, they will flock to your numbered lists.
That is, of course, if your list posts are practical, actionable, and fill a demonstrated need. Before you make your list, do the research to see what burning questions your audience needs to have answered. Then you can fire up your WordPress tab and start numbering.
To prove this point, this week’s roundup consists of four numbered lists, each with one more entry than the last (plus one bonus how-to post). All five have hundreds of social shares and a wealth of backlinks. And, of course, all of them have solid, actionable information for savvy marketers.
When you think about “influencer marketing,” you might imagine Gen Z on Instagram doing makeup tutorials. For B2B marketing, however, influence is all about finding the practitioners and industry analysts your buyers are already listening to.
Our first list, from influencer marketing expert Lee Odden, is a primer on how B2B brands can identify the right influencers, create mutually beneficial relationships, and reach a broad but relevant audience.
“In our research we found that 77% of marketers say their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts,” Lee says. “And 96% of marketers who engage influencers say their program is successful.”
The problem with most list posts about content marketing is they tend to focus on the rookie mistakes. You can only hear “B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring” or “know your audience” so many times before it gets old.
This checklist from Syed Balkhi has a few entries that won’t surprise anyone. If you need a reminder to do SEO and have goals in mind for each piece, you’ll find that advice here. But there are plenty of tips for more sophisticated marketers, too. My favorite: Don’t ignore your mobile audience. While B2B is the last bastion for desktop content consumption, plenty of folks will be looking at your whitepaper or eBook on their smartphone.
This lively list from Maddy Leslie exemplifies why you should bring personality to your B2B content. Maddy is clearly excited about killer content and doesn’t hide her enthusiasm. “Keep old (and good) content and reformat it into a video or an email chain or a Slideshare or as a chapter in an ebook. Sorry. We get excited about this stuff,” she says.
In addition to liveliness and enthusiasm, Maddy brings some solid tips on planning, creating content for the whole buyer’s journey, and measuring your results. Plus, she includes a list of tools content creators can use to make their jobs easier. A list post and a tool post? That’s double the utility, and definitely a format more marketers should consider using.
Great B2B content doesn’t happen by accident. If you’re still committing random acts of content, this list from Ann Gynn can help you create some more productive habits. It’s about more than having a documented content marketing strategy; it’s about creating processes that support the highest-quality outcomes. As Aristotle said (and Ann quotes): “Quality is not an act; it is a habit.”
The most resonant tip for me: Don’t create content in a vacuum. Especially in a remote work setup, it’s easy to draft and submit your content without getting extra sets of eyes on it. But the quality of the content will suffer without other reviewers to cover your blind spots, find awkward sentences, and even to challenge your implicit biases.
Marketing consultant Dennis Shiao even suggests you “get input from customers or readers who are part of your target audience.” It makes sense: We’re always trying to practice empathy and imagine the audience’s response to our work, so why not actually solicit their feedback before publishing?
Bonus How-To: How to Enhance LinkedIn Marketing With Video
Now that we’ve demonstrated the value of a good listicle, here’s an in-depth how-to from Louise Brogan. It’s just as actionable as the lists that precede it, and it’s full of useful suggestions on how to integrate video content across LinkedIn, from your profile page to posts on your organization’s LinkedIn Page. Louise’s tips dovetail perfectly with the new LinkedIn Pages features we’ve just rolled out.
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