What’s Trending: From Content to Experience for B2B Marketing
June 23, 2021
When you think about “content marketing,” does your mind go straight to blog posts and eBooks? While the written word is still a big part of content strategy, it’s certainly not the only way to reach people with a narrative-driven marketing message.
B2C marketers have been offering experiences as content marketing for a while now. The Lego Movie, Red Bull’s sporting events, The Crayola Experience — they’re all pushing the boundaries of what qualifies as content, and they’re engaging and entertaining people in entirely new ways.
Granted, B2B buyers might not line up for The SaaS Experience at your local mall, but B2B marketers can still step up our content game. This week’s roundup includes some ideas for leveling up your experiential content, as well as plenty of advice to round out your blogs and content hubs.
What Marketers Were Reading and Sharing Most Last Month:
No matter how well you plan, no matter how prolific a writer you are or how big a team you have, eventually you’ll have some blank spaces in your editorial calendar. It’s not a failing on your part; it’s just a fact of life. The content machine requires constant refueling.
When those blank spaces pop up, says Kim Moutsos, resist the urge to fill them with, well, filler. Instead, she offers ways to generate new content from existing content — your own and other people’s (ethically, of course).
My favorite tip: Create an ‘evil twin’ of a popular piece of content. Says Kim, “Identify a popular how-to, best practices, or recommendations article you have run. Then write a new piece on the topic from the opposite angle (Think: What not to do, mistakes to avoid, and so on).”
One end goal of content creation is to build a collection of existing content that your audience can browse through. This content library is more than just your collected history of blog posts — it should be treated as its own strategic asset, with content created specifically to support a customer journey.
“Making content easily accessible, regardless of the stage of the buyer’s journey a prospect may fall, will be of great benefit. An essential website element is having a dedicated ‘resource center’ housing multiple pieces of content,” says Christa Tuttle.
To build up your bank of useful content, Christa suggests partnering with people in other departments to create new pieces of content, working with external sources, and repurposing old content to fit into your overall strategy.
As you fill out your editorial calendar with your new brilliant ideas, it’s important to keep your overarching content architecture in mind. “Until now, the content we created tended to revolve around keywords,” says Lyuthar Jacob. “But that won’t be enough if you want to bring more traffic into your website, and conversions, too.”
Modern SEO is more about building a structure of content that addresses a topic cluster, rather than single pieces focused on a particular keyword. “A Topic Cluster is a collection of content that provides varied information regarding a single topic,” Luthyar says, and is constructed of a comprehensive pillar page that links to shorter pieces that address aspects of the same topic. For example, a pillar page on climate change might have links to blog posts on sea levels rising, glaciers melting, and greenhouse gas emission reporting.
This structure is better at addressing a searcher’s intent than a series of one-off keyword-specific pages could be. Since modern search engines are focused on satisfying intent, topic clusters are good SEO and good for your audience.
As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” For marketers, the ability to define, quantify and measure success is absolutely indispensable. The right KPIs and metrics can help improve your performance over time - not to mention justify your budget to the executive team.
It’s easy to think that some of our more nebulous goals - like awareness or share of voice - can’t be objectively measured. That’s a mistake, says Michael Brenner: “All of these objectives are measurable. To build a pathway to success, you need to prioritize your goals, then document a plan to achieve them.”
In this post, Michael walks through the process of content marketing goal-setting. It starts with a broad definition of success, then narrows down to more granular goals that each contribute to the overarching goal.
There’s more to B2B marketing than just content, of course. Marketing experiences go far beyond blog posts or white papers, including digital events, webinars, in-person events, and more.
For Lee Odden, the future of B2B experience will be customized and targeted just as much as any other type of content. Account-based marketing (ABM) is evolving to include account-based experiences (ABX). “Imagine taking the best practices of ABM and applying them across the customer lifecycle to provide data informed marketing experiences for customers. That’s where Account Based Experiences (ABX) comes into play,” he says.
The past 15 months have been a crash course for marketers in providing new experiences without in-person meetings or conventions. Video has emerged as one of the most effective ways to grab audiences’ attention — especially live, interactive video.
For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is the place for video marketing. “Today, LinkedIn advertising content gets 15x more impressions than job postings, and the social platform is fast becoming the one of choice for B2B marketing and sales. Four out of five LinkedIn users play a role in driving business decisions, making the platform extremely effective for directly engaging the roles that sales desires,” says Kris Blackmon.
To drive home the effectiveness of video marketing, Kris quotes consultant Lou Bortone: “Video creates familiarity and trust. It is the fastest - and can be the most powerful - tool for increasing your brand’s impact and influence.”
Marketers are relentless optimizers, always looking to take the next step up. That’s equally true in the practice of marketing, and in terms of professional development. Career stagnation simply isn’t an option.
LinkedIn dug into our internal data to help guide your next career evolution. We looked at which jobs are seeing the most growth, which are most in-demand, and which skills are the most sought after in job listings. Lisa Sy presents key takeaways, and you can see the overview in the infographic below.
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