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A Guide To Building A B2C2B Content Strategy

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In a world of content clutter and unsuccessful hacks, the Sidekick content squad has been hard at work experimenting with every part of the content funnel and experience to uncover a new approach to making content work for their B2C2B product. In this presentation we uncover exclusive, new insights on how to build a content playbook that is a meaningful part of your business' success - all extracted from over dozens of experiments run by the Sidekick growth crew over the past year.

Published in: Marketing
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A Guide To Building A B2C2B Content Strategy

  1. Building A B2C2B Content Strategy A GUIDE TO: CAUTION: minions at work inside
  2. Hi, I’m @anum. I love telling stories, pretending I’m Beyoncé, and sipping chai tea.
  3. The business world calls my passion for storytelling content marketing.
  4. This content marketing takes a different form and strategy depending on your business type.
  5. This content marketing takes a different form and strategy depending on your business type. B2B B2C (BUSINESS- TO-BUSINESS) (BUSINESS-TO- CONSUMER)
  6. vsB2B B2C “A good B2B content strategy often boils down to simply being the most insightful source of information on the work you do.” BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS BUSINESS-TO-CONSUMER “B2C content marketing is often focused on the topics consumers care about; good B2C content marketing aims to entertain.” DEFINITIONS FROM CONTENTLY.COM/STRATEGIST
  7. But here’s the problem.
  8. But here’s the problem. I don’t work for a B2B or B2C product.
  9. But here’s the problem. I don’t work for a B2B or B2C product. WHAAAT?
  10. This is Sidekick.
  11. This is Sidekick. It tracks your emails and surfaces helpful contact information, right in your inbox.
  12. This is Sidekick. It tracks your emails and surfaces helpful contact information, right in your inbox. Our approach to growing users?
  13. This is Sidekick. It tracks your emails and surfaces helpful contact information, right in your inbox. Our approach to growing users? B2C2B.
  14. B2C2B business-to-consumer-to-business “ winning hearts and minds of the intermediate consumer, the employees of a company.” TOMASZ TUNGUZ, VC
  15. How B2C2B Works
  16. user acquisition •  self sign up •  virality •  content How B2C2B Works VISUAL ADAPTED FROM TOMTUNGUZ.COM/B2C2B/
  17. user acquisition •  self sign up •  virality •  content acquire individuals How B2C2B Works VISUAL ADAPTED FROM TOMTUNGUZ.COM/B2C2B/
  18. user acquisition •  self sign up •  virality •  content acquire individuals acquire teams How B2C2B Works VISUAL ADAPTED FROM TOMTUNGUZ.COM/B2C2B/
  19. user acquisition •  self sign up •  virality •  content acquire individuals acquire teams acquire company VISUAL ADAPTED FROM TOMTUNGUZ.COM/B2C2B/ How B2C2B Works
  20. user acquisition •  self sign up •  virality •  content acquire individuals acquire teams acquire company (what we’ll be addressing) VISUAL ADAPTED FROM TOMTUNGUZ.COM/B2C2B/ How B2C2B Works
  21. Here’s Sidekick again.
  22. Here’s Sidekick again. We’re not promoting Sidekick to businesses.
  23. Here’s Sidekick again. We’re not promoting Sidekick to businesses. We’re promoting it to individuals - for free.
  24. Here’s Sidekick again. We’re not promoting Sidekick to businesses. We’re promoting it to individuals - for free. These free users ultimately influence paying companies.
  25. The B2C2B movement is a core ingredient to the growing success of Sidekick’s freemium model – and of other players you may know.
  26. The B2C2B movement is a core ingredient to the growing success of Sidekick’s freemium model – and of other players you may know.
  27. The B2C2B movement is a core ingredient to the growing success of Sidekick’s freemium model – and of other players you may know.
  28. The B2C2B movement is a core ingredient to the growing success of Sidekick’s freemium model – and of other players you may know.
  29. But … how do we employ a B2C2B content strategy in this new framework? B2B B2C B2C2B
  30. But … how do we employ a B2C2B content strategy in this new framework? B2B B2C B2C2B (We ask Google, duh.)
  31. B2C2B Content Strategy Google Search I’m Feeling Lucky
  32. B2C2B Content Strategy Google Search I’m Feeling Lucky stupid
  33. B2C2B Content Strategy Uhhh, idk, first time someone asked. Here’s some information about B2C2B strategy overall, but no news on content specifically yet. Well, that, and I hardly know what I’m writing about. B2C2B is kind of a weird acronym too, don’t you think? Puppies! SaaS founder claims he’ll pay $50,000 to whoever names their first pet puppy “B2C2B.” I think I know something helpful. Crud, we don’t even have any ads to display for this search query yet. Here’s a totally irrelevant advertisement instead – props to whoever selected this keyword ad group.
  34. Okay, that was not helpful.
  35. Here’s how we’re (learning) to tackle a B2C2B Content Strategy for Sidekick.
  36. Here’s how we’re (learning) to tackle a B2C2B Content Strategy for Sidekick. 1. Commit to a highly experimental process. PRINCIPLES ADAPTED FROM COELEVATE.COM/GROWTH-TEAM/
  37. Here’s how we’re (learning) to tackle a B2C2B Content Strategy for Sidekick. 1. Commit to a highly experimental process. 2. Seek excellence through authentic growth. PRINCIPLES ADAPTED FROM COELEVATE.COM/GROWTH-TEAM/
  38. Here’s how we’re (learning) to tackle a B2C2B Content Strategy for Sidekick. 1. Commit to a highly experimental process. 2. Seek excellence through authentic growth. 3. Allow data to inform intelligent decisions. PRINCIPLES ADAPTED FROM COELEVATE.COM/GROWTH-TEAM/
  39. Here’s how we’re (learning) to tackle a B2C2B Content Strategy for Sidekick. 1. Commit to a highly experimental process. 2. Seek excellence through authentic growth. 3. Allow data to inform intelligent decisions. 4. Use technology to drive success at scale. PRINCIPLES ADAPTED FROM COELEVATE.COM/GROWTH-TEAM/
  40. 1 COMMIT TO A HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS.
  41. In the world of fashion, one concept drives me bonkers.
  42. In the world of fashion, one concept drives me bonkers. ONE SIZE FITS ALL
  43. One-size-fits-all is to fashion what best practices are to content:
  44. One-size-fits-all is to fashion what best practices are to content: A bunch of BS.
  45. While best practices can inspire us, every decision we make should stem from an experiment.
  46. In Summer 2014, we used this guiding principle to test the following: BUSINESS BLOG LINKEDIN PULSE GATED EBOOKS SLIDESHARE DECKS SEO WEB PAGES
  47. In Summer 2014, we used this guiding principle to test the following: BUSINESS BLOG LINKEDIN PULSE GATED EBOOKS SLIDESHARE DECKS SEO WEB PAGES (let’s use this as an example)
  48. To understand if LinkedIn Pulse can become a scalable channel for driving activated users for Sidekick.
  49. To understand if LinkedIn Pulse can become a scalable channel for driving activated users for Sidekick. Based on what we could gather, if this experiment is successful, we predict it would add 201 new activated users because - *31,000 views x 0.65% conversion rate = 201 activated users. *31,000 views = avg # of views a post from influencer program .65% = rough avg %of people who activate after reading getsidekick.com/blog
  50. Since there was little understanding of this channel, we tested with an efficient, low investment way to garner some data about ROI. Since it was only available for individual users (not brands) our experiment involved republishing previously successful content under Mark Roberge’s profile with the following tactics: 1  text-based CTA at end of post 2  intro copy linking back to sidekick blog 3  click-to-tweet links 4  landing-page style post 5  hyperlink images 6  image/button CTAs
  51. Post Strategy Views Likes Comments Social Clicks 1 Startup Struggle: Who Should Your First Sales Hire Be Poses question to spark conversations in comments. 2,297 45 50 457 19 2 A Busy Executives Guide to Actually Using Social Media Targets executive audience. 1,371 19 4 144 41 3 How We Promote Reps to Managers Target career-focused topic. 1,247 18 8 251 26 4 How To Avoid Sending “Just Checking-In” Follow Up Emails Republish to see if we can get as much traffic. 5,019 66 10 635 45 5 15 Must-Read Quotes From 3 Top Sales Books Use quotes feature and drive traffic to our gated content. 4,561 58 12 416 196 6 Help! My Sales Team Thinks Out Inbound Leads Suck Focus in on the inbound sales/marketing audience. 1,266 42 6 225 48 7 BDR Managers: Here’s A New Way To Get Promoted Heavy product call-out to drive more activation. 508 8 1 21 16 8 Is Mass Email Marketing Dead? Includes strong SlideShare. 575 1 1 34 1 9 Your Chance To Hear Malcolm Gladwell Speak Short, to-the-point. Basically created like a Landing Page. 308 6 0 0 19 10 7 Quick Quotes That Make Economics Interesting Again Completely non-sales and used quotable tweet. 265 4 0 32 23
  52. ** We also generated 17 new blog subscribers. # views across posts clickthrough rate clicks to site clicks-to-new- contacts rate new contacts activated CTR activated users 18,099 2.4% 434 24% 104 20.2% 21
  53. Currently, LinkedIn Publishing has not shown enough positive viability as a core content channel for Sidekick. With limited resources, we get better ROI on our time other channels. We may use LinkedIn to help support other goals - such as getting an offer more attention or recycling some content.
  54. Of course, we still had 4 other channels to experiment with. So what do we do? BUSINESS BLOG LINKEDIN PULSE GATED EBOOKS SLIDESHARE DECKS SEO WEB PAGES
  55. We rinse and repeat our testing flow for every channel.
  56. Avoid blindly following best practices and focus instead on uncovering what works best for your own audience. PRINCIPLE REVIEW: Commit to a highly experimental process.
  57. 2 SEEK EXCELLENCE THROUGH AUTHENTIC GROWTH.
  58. Most growth teams seek authentic growth through active usage.
  59. Most growth teams seek authentic growth through active usage. DAU: DAILY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a day.
  60. Most growth teams seek authentic growth through active usage. DAU: DAILY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a day. WAU: WEEKLY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a week.
  61. Most growth teams seek authentic growth through active usage. DAU: DAILY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a day. WAU: WEEKLY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a week. MAU: MONTHLY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a month.
  62. We measure Sidekick in WAUs.
  63. We measure Sidekick in WAUs. We use a set of criteria that shows if users are getting value from our product every week.
  64. We measure Sidekick in WAUs. We use a set of criteria that shows if users are getting value from our product every week. That core metric helps us monitor the success of our B2C2B growth.
  65. To support this authentic growth, we set on a mission to turn content into a meaningful revenue channel.
  66. Fortunately for B2B content teams, this path to revenue is clear – fuel inbound lead generation. visitors leads customers
  67. But … what if you don’t have a big sales team focused on nurturing these leads?
  68. user acquisition acquire individuals acquire teams acquire companies Let’s revisit that B2C2B funnel.
  69. user acquisition acquire individuals acquire teams acquire companies This is where content play its role in driving new users.
  70. user acquisition acquire individuals acquire teams acquire companies This is where sales turns those active users into paying customers.
  71. There is no stage where sales tries to convert content leads into free users –
  72. There is no stage where sales tries to convert content leads into free users – they focus on turning free users into paying customers.
  73. Mark Roberge calls this “adopt before you buy.” “Our sales reps aren’t calling up leads; we rely on our growth marketing channels to bring in new, free users. Our sales team then takes a targeted cohort of that free user base and explains how they can unlock even more value by upgrading to a paid tier. The people we talk to have already adopted our product, our ‘sales conversation’ is simply a matter of buying more usage.” @markroberge HUBSPOT CRO
  74. So, if content leads are not the input to revenue in a B2C2B content strategy … how do we build this meaningful revenue channel?
  75. We applied the same authentic metric behind product growth … MAU: MONTHLY ACTIVE USER
  76. We applied the same authentic metric behind product growth … to content. MAU: MONTHLY ACTIVE USER MAS: MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBSCRIBER
  77. MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBSCRIBER: noun 1  an individual subscribed to content and clicking through on that content through emails 2  definition used by Sidekick content team to monitor authentic audience growth
  78. 11,870 12,698 12,489 12,990 12,495 14,217 13,675 13,176 13,616 16,794 19,159 20,697 20,636 24,108 23,906 24,967 While we aim to rapidly grow our email list, we focus more on how many subscribers are actively engaged.
  79. Looking purely at “views” can fog our vision. Measuring active engagement allows us to assess our content’s true effectiveness.
  80. It’s far too easy to get caught up in vanity metrics – push you or your team to pursue meaningful metrics for authentic growth. PRINCIPLE REVIEW: Seek excellence through authentic growth.
  81. 3 ALLOW DATA TO INFORM INTELLIGENT DECISIONS.
  82. When experimenting with our own content process, I grew obsessed with HelpScout resources.
  83. Each resource is a thorough, ungated, web page guide.
  84. Each resource is a thorough, ungated, web page guide. This one particularly caught my attention.
  85. Each resource is a thorough, ungated, web page guide. This one particularly caught my attention. Here’s why.
  86. Customer Acquisition Google Search I’m Feeling Lucky
  87. Customer Acquisition In addressing an entrepreneur's most important early-stage question – customer acquisition – it's easy to waste a lot of money in the wrong channels, especially ... Customer acquisition management - Wikipedia Customer acquisition management is the set of methodologies and systems to manage customer prospects and inquiries generated by a variety of marketing techniques. Customer Acquisition Strategy for Startups www.helpscout.net/customer-acquisition/ https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Customer_acquisition_management
  88. Customer Acquisition Customer acquisition management - Wikipedia Customer acquisition management is the set of methodologies and systems to manage customer prospects and inquiries generated by a variety of marketing techniques. https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Customer_acquisition_management In addressing an entrepreneur's most important early-stage question – customer acquisition – it's easy to waste a lot of money in the wrong channels, especially ... Customer Acquisition Strategy for Startups www.helpscout.net/customer-acquisition/ The HelpScout guide ranks ABOVE Wikipedia.
  89. This performance inspired our own SEO strategy.
  90. We began creating comprehensive, search optimized guides. EMAIL ETIQUETTE GUIDE FOLLOW UP EMAIL GUIDE EMAIL TRACKING GUIDE (click to check them out)
  91. After launching six new site pages, we began averaging 10%+ organic traffic growth W/W.
  92. After launching six new site pages, we began averaging 10%+ organic traffic growth W/W. Better yet, as organic traffic continues compounding, it’s essentially doubling every ~6 weeks.
  93. Boom! Organic traffic is going up and to the right – time to celebrate?!
  94. Not exactly.
  95. Not exactly. Rather than moving on, we dug into the data to validate that this growth was attributed to our site pages. EMAIL ETIQUETTE GUIDE FOLLOW UP EMAIL GUIDE EMAIL TRACKING GUIDE
  96. This closer look revealed that although organic traffic was increasing …
  97. This closer look revealed that although organic traffic was increasing … it was not completely attributed to our site pages.
  98. This closer look revealed that although organic traffic was increasing … it was not completely attributed to our site pages. Instead we learned a few things.
  99. Learning 1: Updating historical blog content with related site page links helped increase organic traffic for the old blog post as well as the new site page.
  100. For example: We published a post in 2014 that started with little organic traffic.
  101. Into early 2015, it saw a few spikes in traffic.
  102. When we launched a related site page and linked the two together, organic traffic spiked again.
  103. But this time, traffic stayed up and continues to grow.
  104. Learning 2: Organic traffic from site pages is growing at a faster rate than organic traffic from blog posts.
  105. While 132 blog posts continued to build traffic, less than a dozen site pages were catching up at a far faster rate.
  106. While 132 blog posts continued to build traffic, less than a dozen site pages were catching up at a far faster rate. (so clearly our site pages are contributing meaningfully.)
  107. Learning 3: Doubling down on the same topic across all content (site pages + blog) is where maximum growth is achieved.
  108. Part of our site page brainstorming involved looking for patterns of success in historical blog content.
  109. We then threaded together all the similar- themed posts to build a comprehensive site page.
  110. So we now had a comprehensive, designed, SEO-optimized site page.
  111. And a variety of posts on the same subject. So we now had a comprehensive, designed, SEO-optimized site page.
  112. It turns out linking these posts to one another showed topic authority.
  113. In fact, the more links to related content we had across our site, the better we ranked. # LINKS TOTALIMPRESSIONS
  114. These findings further developed our strategy:
  115. These findings further developed our strategy: Beyond SEO site pages, we write about similar subjects across all content channels & link that content together to show topical expertise.
  116. These findings further developed our strategy: Beyond SEO site pages, we write about similar subjects across all content channels & link that content together to show topical expertise. Want to hear more about our unfolding SEO strategy and other learnings we’ve uncovered? Click anywhere to subscribe and receive an upcoming presentation.
  117. Surface-level insights paint only half the picture. Uncover deeper learnings to continue developing your own content strategy. PRINCIPLE REVIEW: Allow data to inform intelligent decisions.
  118. 4 USE TECHNOLOGY TO DRIVE SUCCESS AT SCALE.
  119. Meet Dan Wolchonok, Senior PM for Sidekick.
  120. Leading growth efforts for our product, Dan became obsessed with user retention.
  121. So his team launched 60 onboarding experiments to figure out a new user welcome flow that contributed to greater retention.
  122. They tested, reiterated, and tested again until something clicked.
  123. This got me thinking about current content subscription models:
  124. This got me thinking about current content subscription models: reader subscribes
  125. This got me thinking about current content subscription models: reader subscribes receives “subscription complete” email
  126. This got me thinking about current content subscription models: reader subscribes receives “subscription complete” email receives next published post
  127. … wait a minute.
  128. … wait a minute. If an optimized user onboarding flow leads to longer user retention, wouldn’t an optimized subscriber flow result in a similar impact?
  129. With excitement, I launched our own welcome email experiments.
  130. With excitement, I launched our own welcome email experiments. That one failed.
  131. But we did eventually end up with new content onboarding. (and are still actively learning how to improve …)
  132. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS
  133. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Standard step. A visitor on your website fills out a form to subscribe to your content.
  134. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Hypothesis: The higher the engagement with subscribers early on, the longer they’ll retain as monthly active subscribers. Approach: New subscribers enter 4-week workflow that sends them top performing posts.
  135. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS These workflow emails generate 2x the clickthrough rate as our normal sends – an indication that first impressions really count – and were a vital contributor of our monthly active subscriber growth shown earlier.
  136. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Once the workflow is complete, subscribers join our email list to receive new content as its released.
  137. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Of course, this onboarding flow uses technology in it’s simplest form: setting up smart drip campaigns.
  138. LOOKING < to the FUTURE:
  139. There’s a lot more technology can do to take content to the next level. LOOKING < to the FUTURE:
  140. The biggest opportunity? Personalization.
  141. The biggest opportunity? Personalization. No, not this kind. (big deal, ya got my name right). Hi ANUM,
  142. Right now subscriber lists works like so:
  143. Right now subscriber lists works like so: EMAIL SUBSCRIBER LIST GROWS
  144. Right now subscriber lists works like so: EMAIL SUBSCRIBER LIST GROWS ALL SUBSCRIBERS RECEIVE THE SAME POST.
  145. Right now subscriber lists works like so: EMAIL SUBSCRIBER LIST GROWS SOME CLICK TO READ, SOME DON’T. THAT’S IT. ALL SUBSCRIBERS RECEIVE THE SAME POST.
  146. But there’s an issue at this first step:
  147. But there’s an issue at this first step: All our subscribers have unique interests.
  148. This means they need content catered to those unique attributes.
  149. While recognizing those attributes have even more niche interests.
  150. To get there, we need to go beyond automation and segmentation:
  151. To get there, we need to go beyond automation and segmentation: We need technology that automatically collects data that can help deliver content in a massively personal flow.
  152. That path may not be invented, but we envision it playing a role in the next big thing for content.
  153. Until then, uncover what growth levers can supercharge your content process into a well- oiled machine of value. PRINCIPLE REVIEW: Use technology to drive success at scale.
  154. Our B2C2B Content Strategy is in motion, but never set-in-stone. We test, fail, learn, and grow everyday.
  155. And these four principles help keep that cycle in check: 1. Commit to a highly experimental process. 2. Seek excellence through authentic growth. 3. Allow data to inform intelligent decisions. 4. Use technology to drive success at scale. PRINCIPLES ADAPTED FROM COELEVATE.COM/GROWTH-TEAM/
  156. Holla to the growth & content hustlers who inspired different bits of this deck. Hiten Shah Ivana Flodr Brian Balfour
  157. Thank You. More Presentations: ANUMHUSSAIN.COM

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