In a recent survey by BrightTALK (which surveyed 600 marketing professionals), the respondents were asked what they believed made B2B marketing content effective. The results, as shown in the graphic below, found that the top three priorities were audience relevance (58%), engaging and compelling storytelling (57%) and information that triggers a specific response (54%). These three factors are the fundamentals of any good B2B content marketing.
Firstly, relevance is paramount with any marketing communication. If your target decision-maker is the MD of a company and your content discusses the difference between plastic and metal janitors’ buckets, the likelihood is that they’ll be using your content as a coaster or bin liner within minutes. Many writers quickly forget that content has a purpose. It’s not just a piece of art; it’s a functional tool to generate leads, sales and revenue. This means that content has to be highly relevant to the decision-maker in order to not just grab their attention, but also keep it. In the MD example used above, a piece of content referring to janitor’s buckets won’t generate much attention; however an ebook about driving down business costs or increasing profits will certainly spark their interest.
The second priority identified in the survey is ‘engaging and compelling storytelling’. Having captured the reader’s attention with the relevance of the content, the storytelling is how you then maintain their interest. A long-winded piece of content based on speculation and assumption is not something that is likely to generate results. A piece of content that is short, sharp, punchy and laden with numerical proof and facts though, will certainly make a greater impact. The key objective for a larger piece of content (such as an ebook or tip sheet) is continued engagement. In order to make sure the reader continues to the end of the content and sees your call to action (CTA), it’s necessary to keep them reading (engaged). There are a few ‘tricks’ you can use to keep your decision-maker reading…
- Use an ongoing joke, theme or reference point throughout the content piece
- Where possible, end pages with ellipses rather than full stops as it leads the reader’s eye onwards
- Use phrases like ‘but we’ll discuss this later in the guide’ or ‘you’ll hear more about that later’
Triggers a response
Everything that’s been done so far has been used to attract and maintain the reader’s attention. They connected with the relevance of the content and have been so engaged that they’ve read all the way to the end. But now what? Unless your content provokes a response or action, it’s all been for nothing. So, what’s the best way to trigger a response to a piece of content? The answer is clarity. Having written a concise and interesting piece of content, don’t end it with a flimsy sign-off. Use your conclusion to summarise the issues and the solutions, then follow it up with a strong and powerful call to action. Be sure to give the reader one last good reason to act, and make sure you never fall into the trap of using ‘click here’. An example of a good call to action is…
'To find out how your business could lower its costs and increase its profits, speak to one of our experts on 012345689 or visit our Money-making Ideas page.'
And there you have it. A brief rundown of how three simple factors can turn your good B2B marketing content into great B2B marketing content. The key is always to start writing with a clear and definitive idea in your mind of what you want the decision-maker to do as a result of reading. And remember, as Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
If you’d like to see how content and inbound marketing can play a major role in your multi-channel lead generation activity…