B2B marketers can find it difficult to make time for content creation. You’re just as likely to be supporting business development activities or the latest big bid-writing exercise as you are planning the content calendar.
I’ve put together some simple tips for time-conscious B2B content creators.
These can help you create value and make the case for more resource in your content machine.
The Kanban board as storyboard
You don’t need a content whisperer to capture customer-worthy insight from across your business. If you’re using Kanban boards or other project management tools, it’s already happening.
The UK’s Government Digital Service has turned project management as content into a fine art. You can read about how GDS built its digital style guides, for example.
By explaining the journey of product development and the finer detail of your organisation’s thought processes, you can add value for the customer, build trust, and directly talk about your offering or soon-to-be-released product or service.
You don’t even need to have completed the project because even the requirements capture stage should have enough interest and provides the opportunity to show you understand your customer. (See GDS again for a good example on how they’re trying to understand ‘joined up’ digital services).
With a Kanban board and 30 minutes of your project manager’s time to explain the detail, content awaits.
Curation isn’t new, but it’s quick
Many see content curation as a shiny B2C cousin of the serious thought leadership needed in B2B marketing. But curation isn’t about arresting photography or expensive campaigns to harness user-generated content. At its simplest it can be a quick way to make use of all those high minded links your boss emails you on a weekly basis.
If you spend time rooting out articles, videos and comment online, this is time you can save your audience. Don’t be afraid to list three or four links and package it under a headline that matches your brand’s tone; ‘What we’re reading this week’, or ‘Latest insights’.
If you’re worried the lo-fi approach won’t impress your customers, try a free curation app to add value. Wakelet, for example, allows you to collect content from around the web in graceful (even beautiful!) collections. You can embed your collections on your site or blog, and seed the story with your own content or campaigns to support lead generation, although shoehorning is not advised.
Here’s an example I created in 180 seconds. I’m sure you can do better with a full 10 minutes. Twitter Moments can be used to the same ends.
There are many more quality apps out there to help you curate. An hour spent finding the right one for your brand/site will pay off handsomely when you’re next searching for grist to the content mill.
Social selling will drive content, and vice versa
It’s hard to create time to produce content if your business doesn’t value content. Part of any good content marketer’s role is to ensure content is used in the right way and achieves its objectives. For most B2B that usually means linking content directly to revenue generation.
Social selling can help.
Social selling means putting content into the hands of your salesforce, so that they understand it, use their networks to distribute it, discuss it, and ultimately build relationships with customers. A Hubspot survey from 2017 showed that only 31% of EMEA-based companies prioritise social selling.
You can start small by engaging one or two of the keenest in your sales staff to push your content. You should find that the whole team comes back for more as soon as they realise the benefits of having another lead engagement tool to call on.
If you can formalise this relationship with sales, for example using a weekly 30 minute show-and-tell on your latest content pieces, it can also help to inform future content. Your sales team can let you know what landed well, and what the customer base might be interested in next.
Even better, create a tag for leads in your CRM that were activated by content sharing and you’re well on your way to bidding for more resource.
Video is easier than you think
Video doesn’t mean committing time, or even specialist expertise. You can get a tripod and mount for either a digital camera or smart phone for less than £50, which will be more than adequate to capture good quality talking heads.
Take an hour to find the lightest and least offensive corner of the office and try setting up a simple shot. Sit just off-centre and don’t look directly at the camera. You can save intro and outro slides to preface the topic and point people to your site or lead conversion pages. These can be incorporated easily on plenty of free or cheap editing software (iMovie, QuickTime etc.).
The most important thing is insight. Can you provide value on a newsworthy topic in 3 minutes? This is an opportunity to hone the nous and presentation skills within your business, rather than indulge the vanity of senior execs. Done correctly, particularly within B2B service providers, it can mark your business out as one with real, trusted expertise.
Some good examples of talking heads from the HR/Talent sphere:
Law firm CMS have a nice take on the recruitment/employer brand video here, all done with talking head shots and nothing too tightly scripted.
And if you can find people with this natural passion, put a camera in front of them; a Skanska engineer talks about working in the shadow of George Stephenson.
Explain your product because there’s hidden value in the minutiae
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the latest high-flown technical or global policy issues when thinking about B2B content (see Brexit and blockchain). Before you dedicate the time, have you covered your own product or service first?
It’s easy to overlook aspects of what your business actually does that are ripe for content and interest your customers. Support services are a good example – many businesses have contact centres that are hubs of knowledge about customers, their behaviours, and what they want to buy.
So, is the way you work with clients stuck at the end of a brochure somewhere, or have you taken the time to productise it and really sell the benefits? And what are the top 10 questions customers ask when they’re first thinking about buying?
It can be worthwhile doing a quick content audit and comparing it to a list of products or services your business provides. The gaps can present quick content opportunities that your sales team can use directly in their business development work.
Content marketing training:
- Content Strategy & Editorial Planning Training
- Content Marketing for Web, Mobile and Social Training
Content marketing guides: