Are you interested in becoming a B2B content marketing expert but aren’t quite sure where to start? Does just the thought of creating a blog post or sharing your content on Twitter leave you in a cold sweat?
It’s time to conquer your fears and show the world the amazing content you’ve created. Tackle these five B2B content marketing concerns and bring your creativity into the light of day!
1. Fear of the Word “Expert”
Let’s start by talking about the mindset. I’ve seen a lot of debate about whether or not people should call themselves “experts.” My take on it is that yes, most people are experts in something. You might as well own it.
Note that being an expert doesn’t mean that you know everything about a subject. No one knows EVERYTHING about anything. Having expertise in a subject means:
- You have a solid base of knowledge about the topic.
- Having a range of real-life experience in that same area.
- Being able to articulately add to the conversation when that subject comes up, sharing your thoughts and opinions.
- Knowing where to look when you don’t know the answer to a question about your area of expertise.
- Always learning and constantly discovering new ways to solve problems in your area of expertise.
If you hit those five milestones – boom! – you’re an expert.
Before you start creating your content, decide in which area(s) you’d like to be known as an expert. Are you an amazing social media marketer? Great at HR? A wise engineer? An experienced entrepreneur?
While you can select a few areas to focus on (for example, I concentrate on marketing, customer service, and women in tech), don’t go too crazy. Building a solid library of content in your area of expertise involves some work on your part. You don’t want to exhaust your creative juices or confuse your audience about what you stand for.
2. Lack of Inspiration
You’ve decided you want to be known as an expert. But oops! You have no content to market. This is a definite problem.
Looking at a blank screen is not inspiring. In fact, sometimes it can be downright intimidating.
Have you lost all those ideas you had when you first started considering dipping your toe into B2B content marketing? Let’s rectify that by focusing on the following areas:
- Questions you regularly answer – Do your customers ask you certain questions over and over again? Or maybe your colleagues do? Answer them in your content and you’ll be everyone’s hero and go-to resource.
- Work situations you’ve handled – Did you handle a thorny issue in the office? If you came across an issue, there’s an excellent chance that someone else did too. Use your content creation process to share how you solved the problem.
- Interesting conversations – Did you and a colleague discuss a topic that is relevant to your area of expertise? Did you debate an issue and gain insights in the process? Share both points of view and let your audience decide which is right.
- Courses you’ve taken – As an expert, you are always learning. Recommend some of your favorite courses and provide a short summary of what they’re about. Don’t give away all the material, though! You want to provide your audience with value, not steal someone else’s thunder.
- Events you’ve attended – Here’s another way to show that you are continually expanding your knowledge base. Share some of the tips you learned at the events you attended and recommend the best events to your audience.
- Media, articles, and books you’ve read – If you are an expert, you’re always reading up on the latest theories, discoveries, and innovations in your area. Let others know what you discover!
- Social media updates from others – It helps you and it helps your connections when you share the wisdom that others have shared with you.
Looking for additional inspiration? Try these 52 Ideas for Sharable Content Creation and you’ll have fodder for the whole year!
Be sure to keep an ongoing list of inspiration. Write down ideas as they come to you or you’ll never remember them when you need them most.
3. Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time To Do It
The one negative of B2B content marketing is that content creation takes time. However, the advantages are well worth the effort you will put into creating your cornerstone pieces. Even better, your best pieces can be reused and reformatted to give you more content, helping you to streamline the process.
Here are some ideas to help you make the content creation process more effective:
- Make time – If you are constantly being interrupted while you are in the process of developing content, it will take you WAY longer to achieve your goals. Set aside several hours of quiet time where your focus will be on content creation. Lock yourself in a room, put on noise canceling headphones, go out onto the back porch – whatever it takes to isolate yourself enough to be laser focused on your content creation process.
- Make space – Sometimes the pressure to develop a piece can actually block you from the creation process. Create a relaxing space where you can let the ideas flow. If it helps, light candles, try aromatherapy, play some quiet music – whatever allows you to slow down and let your mind do its best work.
- Make lists – Write summaries of articles you’ve written in the past around a particular topic and link back to the source. Create “best of” lists (for instance, best blogs for social media tools, best customer service folks on Twitter, best speakers on the topic of the Internet of Things, etc.). If you mention influencers in your “best of” lists, be sure to let them know they were included in your article!
- Create once; use again – Recreate content in different formats. For instance, take a blog post and make it into an infographic, slides, and a short video.
- Curate content – Take advantage of the fact that there are lots of smart, creative folks out there making wonderful content. Share their content and – for bonus points – give them credit for creating valuable material.
Looking for ways to make your B2B content marketing process even more efficient? Try these Four Super Cool Yet Affordable Tools That Make Content Marketing More Effective.
Pretty soon, you’ll find that your B2B content marketing efforts are paying off. Even better, you didn’t have to kill yourself to make it happen.
4. Spreading Your Content Marketing Efforts Too Thin
There are tons of social channels available and the number continually grows. Don’t feel like you have to show up strong on every channel out there. It’s more important that you do a good job on the channels you choose.
In order to have a really solid B2B content marketing presence:
- Focus on one or two channels to begin with – >Understand which channels your customers use. That’s where you want to start out.
- Use a new message with the same content – Different channels require different voices, but not always different content. For example, you may want to publish a short piece on LinkedIn that links back to your corporate blog, where the longer piece resides. Then you might advertise that same corporate blog post on Twitter, just using the title of the piece and appropriate hashtags. Finally, you might take the video version of the blog post and show it on Facebook, letting people know that the full blog post is available on your corporate site.
- Use tools – Nobody can do it all manually, especially if you’re handling B2B content marketing in a smaller company. That’s when monitoring and automation tools come in handy. Automate the posts you are creating to drive people back to your website. Then use monitoring tools to follow the conversations that happen around your focus topics. Enter the conversations when it is appropriate and share links to your material when you feel it will add value.
Hungry for more specifics on tools that will make your B2B content marketing efforts easier? Check out this awesome list of Social Media Tools for Business Buyers.
5. Not Having a Strong Call to Action
People won’t intuitively know where you want them to go or what you want them to do. A strong call to action (CTA) will give them direction.
- Provide website links – If you share content via a medium that is not your website (for example, publishing on LinkedIn), offer links back to your website. Your LinkedIn post might have a summary of your article; your website should have the meat of the matter.
- Ask for help – When you are on Twitter, you can ask people to reTweet your material or share it with their audience. That will increase your reach and expose your links to a group of relevant people you might not otherwise have hit.
- Ask people to follow you – If you published on Medium, ask people to follow you if they liked your article. In your bio, include a link back to your website, so they can also follow you there if they are interested.
Ready for more information on creating compelling CTAs for specific mediums? Try reading about How to Create Effective Calls to Action for Video, Using Calls to Action in Your Infographics, and Tips for Creating Effective SlideShare CTAs.
B2B Content Marketing And Beyond
Generally, when you are running B2B content marketing programs, your ultimate goal is to drive your audience to your website. Once folks are there, you can lead them to invest in your products or solutions. So don’t forget to make sure that your website is in great shape and offers a variety of ways for people to contact you once they want to invest in your offerings. For example, make your “request a demo” forms obvious, provide a phone number, and include cobrowsing for easy, personalized guidance.
When you follow these steps, you’ll see that B2B content marketing isn’t scary at all. If you have any other B2B content marketing fears you’ve conquered, feel free to share them in the comments below or Tweet me up at @HollyChessman.