B2B Content Marketing Workbook


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The Velocity guide to B2B marketing.

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B2B Content Marketing Workbook

  1. 1. Thought Leadership for B2BLead Generation and BeyondA Velocity Guide for marketers
  2. 2. There are a hundred skills and disciplines Why? Because traditional, ‘broadcast-style’to master if you’re a B2B marketer. marketing is broken.But nothing matters more than getting This is about a new kind of B2B marketing...this part right. ©
  3. 3. This is Content Marketing.Sometimes calledThought Leadership.This is without doubt the most important thing you They’re also more important now than ever before.can do this week and next. You can screw up the With so much attention being given to the manybudgets. You can be ham-fisted with your web new ways to get your story out to the worldanalytics. You can be a social media Luddite. But if (the cult of Twitter being only the most recent),you get this part right, you will succeed so blatantly the primacy of ideas, insights and issues has neverthat even the most hard-boiled sales cynic will bow been more clear.down to you in tribute. Content Marketing is about playing to yourThe ideas presented here are not new or strengths and adding value to the salesrevolutionary or even particularly surprising. conversation from the very start. Good contentBut they are under-valued in almost every B2B marketers recognise that no company has beencompany we know. gifted the right to sell – we have to earn it. ©
  4. 4. “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” ©
  5. 5. A definition:Thought Leadership is exploitingyour unique position in your marketsto generate valuable insight and adviceon issues your customers and prospectscare most about. ©
  6. 6. Let’s explode that statement:No one has exactly yourperspective on the market Value is in the eye of the buyerThought Leadership is exploitingyour unique position in your marketsto generate valuable insight and adviceon issues your customers and prospectscare most about. You are the expertTheir priorities, not yours If the materials you bring to market don’t follow Not products this recipe, they’re not thought leadership, they’re brochures. Brochures are only valuable when the hardest part of marketing is already done. A brochure will never move a market. ©
  7. 7. Another definition:Content Marketing is turning yourinsight and advice into campaignsthat change people’s mindsand incite action. ©
  8. 8. Let’s explode that statement, too: Multi-step, planned and measured activitiesAction starts betweenthe earsContent Marketing is turning yourinsight and advice into campaignsthat change people’s mindsand incite action. A lot of marketers are good at the thought leadership part but fall down when it comes to proper content marketing. So their wonderful content sits on a virtual shelf gathering… squat.The only measure of Others run great campaigns but skimp on thesuccess that matters quality or credibility of their insight and advice. That’s the fast track to irrelevance. Content marketing starts with great content but can never end there. ©
  9. 9. Why you need to docontent marketing.We can think of nine reasons right Position your company as an expert Contribute to communities a company that understands the important issues making you a good social media citizen insteadnow, any one of which is enough of a leechto justify your next campaign: Encourage your audience to consult you to at least pick your brains Give your sales team a reason to engage so they can add value before and after Generate new leads the sales call by asking people to raise their hands and say, “I’m interested in this issue too.” Boost your search engine performance used well, good content does wonders for SEO Progress existing leads moving them along your marketing funnel until they’re sales-ready There aren’t a lot of marketing tactics that can do as much as that… Build your database by asking for a few details – the better your content, the more willing they’ll be to share Raise awareness getting yourself on the radar screens of the people who matter (including editors, analysts, investors and prospects) ©
  10. 10. “Stop shouting and make yourself useful.” ©
  11. 11. Why you’re in a uniqueposition to help andadvise your prospects.Too many tech companies are You’ve seen the whole market landscape, Confidence sells over time.intimidated by the expertise of their You know the competitors, solutions and Just standing up and announcing that you havetarget audience. But if you think substitutes; the analysts, buzzwords and fads; something valuable to say about an issue positions you as a company with confidence in its ownabout it, you’ve got a lot to offer your audience only follows a bit of this. expertise.when it comes to advising and The real experts work for you.sharing insights: In many markets, especially dynamic tech markets, This confident stance is a critical brand value. vendors are at the cutting edge. No one knows this If you don’t have it, everything you say is stuff better than your best people. undermined. If you do, you will be heard.You see more deployments. Just as salespeople have to ask for the order,Each buyer sees only his or her own situation. You have a strong point of view. marketers have to ask for people’s attention.You see many different deployments that can shed You feel strongly about this stuff. You’re passionate.light on how they can do things better. Time to tap into it. Think of it this way: no prospect can ever have more confidence in your own expertise than youYou spend all your time on your area yourself do. You set the ceiling height. Set it high.of expertise. Your company’s knowledge is your most importantEach buyer probably only spends a slice of theirs asset as a B2B marketer. It’s a crime to squander it.thinking about the issues you address. ©
  12. 12. “If you don’t believe you’re an expert, no one else will.” ©
  13. 13. The principles ofcontent marketing.Content marketing plays Pick a single, high-priority issue. Support your story with data. Content marketing is issues marketing. A strong story is compelling. A strong storyby different rules than traditional, Pick a topic that matters to your audience and stick supported by credible data is irresistible.‘broadcast-style’ marketing, to it. One issue at a time is usually best but we have Do anything you have to do to get that data.here are some of the key ones: produced some successful pieces that summarise Don’t argue your case, prove your case. several issues together. Use your customers.It’s not about you. Find some clear water. Real users of your solutions have more credibilityYour critical first step as a content marketer is to You need to find an issue that hasn’t been beaten than you do. Harness the enthusiasm of your bestput your own agenda aside and put your prospect’s to death already by competitors, analysts and customers to tell your story. But it’s still your story.agenda at the heart of your marketing. editors. If there’s only really one main issue at stake, You frame the debate and structure the argument. give it a novel spin; zoom in on a detail; zoom out Your users are witnesses.You may be desperate to talk about your vision, to put it in context – anything to keep things freshyour technology and the benefits they confer. and make people want to know more. Consider third party credibility.Suppress the urge. Your prospect couldn’t care Bringing in a recognised analyst or high-profileless. They want to talk about their problems, their Aim for an independent tone of voice. editor is a good way to add credibility and thechallenges, their opportunities and the very real If it’s really not about you, you don’t have to cram appearance of independence. But it’s not a magicthings that stand in their way. your widget into every paragraph. There will be bullet. People still know whose tune is being opportunities to allude to your offer but if you played. Don’t over-pay for authority. over-exploit them, you undermine the value of the piece. The reader knows you have an agenda but will respect you more if you can set it aside and speak as a neutral advisor. ©
  14. 14. continued.The principles ofcontent marketing.Pick a good title. Why should I believe you? Your job is to get people to ignore that sign forThe best piece of content in the world is useless long enough to hear you out. You don’t do thisif it never gets consumed. A good title is essential A lot of these principles touch on the issue by pretending you’re not a vendor or that youwhen asking for someone’s time. Forget the dry of credibility – the magic ingredient in content don’t see the neon sign on your head. You do it bydescription (that can be a subtitle); make it punchy marketing (and the second of the three critical being open, honest and balanced; by respectingand imply the benefits you’re offering. questions in our Holy Trinity of Tech Marketing your audience; by supporting each point in your paper). argument; and by keeping your sales swordShare some negatives. sheathed (try saying that three times fast).There’s no better way to increase your credibility When you embark on a content marketingas an advisor than to admit some of the downsides campaign, you’re leaving traditional marketingof your approach. This is never easy but ‘opening territory and entering the domain of the consultant,your kimono’ will surprise your audience, make advisor, analyst and journalist. Unfortunately,your positive points more believable and show you’re entering this domain with a bad reputation:how confident you are in the overall strength you’re a vendor.of your offer. It also lets you air (and neutralise)objections that will usually pop up at some point Because you’ve got something to sell,in the sales cycle. there’s a big, red, neon sign on your head that sizzles, “Caveat Emptor”. ©
  15. 15. How do youpick the right issues?If you know your market, Use Google Alerts See which of your blog posts get Get alert emails on key terms to find out who’s the most commentyou probably know the issues talking about what out there on the web. A sure sign of a hot issue.that will be the most compellingto your target prospects. But if Use Twitter Search tools Take a prospect to lunch Twilert, Twitter Search and search features built There’s really no substitute for a direct,you’re entering a new market, into Twitter tools like TweetDeck let you find out face-to-face chat.or are just running dry, here are what’s tweeting.some short-cuts: Follow the top bloggers and news feeds We often set up our clients with a dashboard They know what’s up. that brings together all of the above sources (except for the lunch one) into one place for quick, Check out the competition up-to-the-minute market tracking. Not to copy them but to better position your content. ©
  16. 16. “Credibility is the magic ingredient of content marketing.” ©
  17. 17. So where do you get all this killer content?Here are a few tried and tested ways... ©
  18. 18. Interview yourbest experts.Do it on video, in print or as a podcast. No need to We prefer interviews that edit out the questionsbe fancy about it. Just get them talking, capture it (sometimes using title cards to introduce each topic)and edit to highlight the best bits. If it helps, give but you can keep the interviewer onscreen or onthem a whiteboard. the page too. ©
  19. 19. Interview yourcustomers.Make them the hero. Prospects like to see how ‘people The brand name of the customer is always important,like me’ approach the same challenges they’re facing. but a ‘top performer’ can be even better.This can be incredibly powerful - or dull as ditch-waterif you pick someone who’s unable or unwilling to openup and speak frankly. ©
  20. 20. Interview yourcustomers’ customers.A very powerful tactic. Skip over your customers’ heads The key: get straight insight on the timely issues and getand talk directly to their customers. A great way to get plenty of frank, even brutal, quotes.prospects to sit up and listen.This can be the most effective (but least practised) arrowin the content marketing quiver. ©
  21. 21. Commissionoriginal research.New data that throws light on a hot issue will always get Remember: a few good, qualitative interviews can beattention. Spend time on the methodology to make sure as valuable as a big, quantitative survey.the results are relevant and, ideally, statistically significant. ©
  22. 22. Conducta web survey.There are lots of inexpensive (or free) survey tools that Don’t ‘lead the witness’ with questions designed to elicitmake it easy to poll your audience. Turn the results into the right answers -- people see right through that.a blog post, white paper and press release. ©
  23. 23. Run a round-tablediscussion.You’re the centre of a community of users. But don’t overwhelm your guests -- one or twoPlay the facilitator role and get people together – of your own people and six to eight other participantscapturing the proceedings with video, audio or in print is a good mix.(with lots of photos).Keep the sales people away from this unless theypromise to keep their guns holstered.Your top techies are great for this though. ©
  24. 24. Inventa new metric.New ideas usually need new metrics to track them. A new metric says, “These guys know whatInvent a new metric, show people how it works they’re doing.”and why it adds value to their business.You might just be combining existing metrics intoa new ratio, but if it helps people focus on an importantdimension, it just might catch on. ©
  25. 25. Create a guideor workbook.Kind of like this one… Help your audience do their jobs.Don’t worry about giving away trade secrets -- there’splenty you can share that’s not commercially sensitive. ©
  26. 26. A few examples from the Velocity ContentMarketing Cupboard... ©
  27. 27. White PapersThis used to be the only kind of content marketing. We still produce lots of white papers but we try to makeNow it’s getting a bit stale. them a bit more approachable. ©
  28. 28. Printed booksWith everything going virtual these days, it can be niceto drop a proper book on someone’s desk. This 52-page Guide to Shrink (employee theft) for IntelliQ helped attract new business from some major new retailers.
  29. 29. VideoLet’s face it, your audience has broadband now.Why are you still presenting only flat HTML content?This is the YouTube era. You don’t need Hollywoodproduction values. Get an HD camcorder, a goodmicrophone and (only if you’re nervous) an agencythat has done this kind of thing before. We went to Deorhi, a rural village in India to make this film for VNL, showing how mobile phones can change the lives of millions of people. Here’s a simple tour of the Weather.mobi mobile website for our dotMobi client. A great way to show marketers how the mobile web is different from the desktop web.
  30. 30. eBooksAn eBook is a white paper turned on its side and mademore visually interesting, with fewer words on each page.It’s designed to be read on-screen but can be printed This eBook for ShipServ helps bring suppliersout, too. in the maritime industry into the world of ecommerce and online marketing. These eBooks for mobiThinking.com generated a lot of traffic and downloads. ©
  31. 31. MicrositesCreating a whole website on a specific topic canbe a powerful thought leadership tool. mobiThinking is dotMobi’s online resource for mobile marketers. It’s packed with videos, best practice papers, guides, a popular blog and a showcase of mobile websites. ©
  32. 32. WebinarsA great way to present a live event for an audiencethat may not be able to travel.We like short, sharp, content-rich webinars. We turned the eBook you’re reading into a webinar, first presented with B2B Marketing Magazine in the UK (130 people showed up). Get in touch to view the archived presentation -- though you may find it a bit familiar... ©
  33. 33. PodcastsAudio can be a powerful medium – and it lets peopletake your content on the train home. For BT Global Services, we loaded an iPod Shuffle with eleven podcasts and some music, then sent it to 150 CIOs in America’s biggest companies. See our short video case study of this campaign. ©
  34. 34. The HandbookFor techies, a practical workbook that doesn’t scream‘marketing’ can open doors – especially if it really helpsthem do their jobs. This Picocell Applications Handbook shows mobile network planners how to use ip.access picocells to improve coverage and drive down costs. All very hands-on.
  35. 35. The Web ‘Lens’Your web content can be thought leadership content too.We like to create ‘Lenses’ within a website that tacklea relevant issue. For Psion Teklogix, the Lens technique let us address issues such as Return On Mobility, Natural Task Support (the company’s unique approach to ergonomics) and Ruggedness (you can drop kick these handheld computers and they just keep working). ©
  36. 36. Flash demosShort audio-visual demonstrations (with or withoutscreenshots) can be a great way to explain complexproducts in a clear, non-threatening way. Use metaphorsto make abstract ideas more real. A short flash demo for ShipServ Pages took prospects through the product, screen by screen. Another for TradeNet involved selling more abstract ideas including a before and after view of purchasing department communication flows. ©
  37. 37. Presentation slidesSharing slides works well for topics than can be easilysummarised in very few words. If your slides needthe commentary, add audio. Our own presentation on Twitter in B2B Markets got 1300 views in its first two days on Slideshare, the presentation sharing website. ©
  38. 38. ArticlesDon’t forget traditional media!An article in a well-regarded industry journal is greatpositioning, with the added authority of the magazine. Our article on Mobile Web Marketing in B2B magazine got some attention and comment. ©
  39. 39. You’ve produced a great piece of content. Here’s a quick guide to how we like to do theseNow it’s time to turn it into a campaign. two things...You can think of any content marketing campaignas having two parts:Driving people to your content – promoting it onlineand offline while spreading backlinks that bring peopleto your website to get it.Driving your content to people – putting the content,or versions of it, all over the social media sites whereyour prospects can trip over it. ©
  40. 40. Drive peopleto your content.The basics of online promotion. Put it on your website – duh. Comment about it – drop comments on relevant blog posts – be transparent and keep it relevant.Don’t forget to use your keyphrases Flag it on the home page – double duh. No one likes a spammer.every time you do any of these thingsto maximize the SEO value: Optimise it – make sure the download page Tell your Social Media groups about it – is crammed with keyphrases and meta-tags as news or discussion items on the right groups for SEO performance. on LinkedIn or Facebook. Blog about it – at least once. Feature it in your email newsletter – a natural cover story; tell people what’s in it Issue a press release – and get it on the and why they need it. distribution hubs. Make it the call-to-action of all outbound Tweet about it – you don’t have hundreds marketing – every ad, mailing and web banner of Twitter followers yet? Go get them. needs an offer. Bookmark it – social bookmarking services Put a link to it on every business email – like digg, delicious and Stumble Upon increase that footer/signature space is great for promoting backlinks and traffic. the latest paper or video. ©
  41. 41. Drive your contentto people.Online marketing used to be only Turn it into a presentation – and post it on Slideshare.about getting traffic to your site.Now it’s also about atomising your Post it on other sharing sites – the video versioncontent and spraying it around the goes into your YouTube and Vimeo channels; the document version on Scribd.web where people (and searchengine spiders) can come across it. Turn it into an article – on social sites suchLike this: as BizNik and FastPitch. Put it into new web pages – using services like Squidoo or YouBundle. Make a Wikipedia entry – don’t bother if it’s purely commercial/promotional but if there’s merit, Wikipedia works. ©
  42. 42. Now nurturethe leads.Generating downloads and views We’re big believers in lead scoring and nurturing tools that let you walk each prospect through youris not the end goal of your content marketing funnel, scoring as you go (based onmarketing campaign – they’re just behaviours like downloading a paper or openingsteps towards a sale. an email) as well as demographics (based on company, sector and job title). Running your content marketing campaigns in this kind of environment puts each campaign in context with every other marketing activity. It also lets you wrap up leads that are really sales-ready and deliver them to your grateful sales team. ©
  43. 43. Get smart. Get help.Thought leadership and content marketing is Every B2B marketing department should be built Velocitythe new face of B2B marketing – especially in around the processes that content marketing The Printworks, Dunstable Road,information-hungry technology markets. demands. Doing as much of it in-house as possible Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RR, makes sense. United KingdomIn contrast to the old ‘interruption-based’marketing model, this is based on real But in the great content marketplace, +44 (0)208 940 4099customer engagement that moves naturally you’re battling for attention not just against theinto profitable dialogue. competition but against Hollywood, Twitter and the stan@velocitypartners.co.uk latest kitten video. Your content doesn’t just need www.velocitypartners.co.ukAnd it all starts by thinking about your customers, to be good, it needs to be great.identifying their pressing issues and sharing theexpertise that already exists inside your company. We know a digital B2B agency that gets this stuff. Talk to us.The sign that you’re on the right track?Customers and prospects actually thank youfor your content marketing efforts (insteadof resenting the intrusion). ©
  44. 44. Some contentmarketing resources.Websites and blogs Other stuff BooksVelocity’s Blog – The Velocity Vimeo Channel Content Rich by Jon Wuebbena joy ride through the mean streets of B2B For some videos that worked World Wide Rave by David Meerman ScottJunta24 – The Benefit Hierarchythe content marketing and custom Linking features to benefits and vice versa All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godinpublishing site A short paper Speak, Memory by Vladimir NabokovEconsultancy – a fantastic digital marketing A B2B Social Media Checklist Nothing to do with content marketingcommunity and resource A one-page worksheet to help you ‘pimp’ but what a book… your content on the webWeb Ink Now – David Meerman Scott’s blogon online thought leadershipContent Marketing Today –Newt Barrett’s blogSeth Godin’s blog –which needs no introduction ©
  45. 45. AboutVelocity.Velocity is a consulting-led B2B marketing agency Like the idea of doing an eBook like this instead © Velocity Partners 2009specialising in technology markets. of a boring old white paper? Written by Doug Kessler Drop us a line. Designed by Stuart RothwellWe help B2B companies create compelling stories,turn these into great content and use the contentto generate sales leads.Visit us at www.velocitypartners.co.ukor contact stan@velocitypartners.co.uk ©
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