Research from HubSpot shows that 65% of buyers don’t trust advertisements and 55% don’t trust the companies they buy from.
Unfortunately, not many marketers are responding well to this challenge. Research from eMarketer reveals that only 23% of CMOs feel they are producing the right content and delivering it at the right time and format.
B2B marketers are challenged to attract, engage and inspire their customers even while further research shows that business buyers prefer content from industry experts and content that is interactive.
Why not give B2B customers both?
1 – Find Topics That Are In-Demand & Relevant
Identify a customer solution topic and find topics that are in demand, but also relevant to the customer. What is it that you want to be the best answer for? What do you want to be influential about, and what kind of experience do you want to create for the customer?
Identify that customer solution, topic or topics, and then pick the interactive content type story and call to action that is relevant to the particular objective that you have — whether it’s creating awareness, creating engagement, or driving sales. Then it’s time to begin the work of identifying the right influencers.
2 – Identifying the Right Influencers
Identifying influencers isn’t just a matter of going to your marketing department and saying, “Hey, who’s influential?” It’s important that you utilize software during this stage, which can crawl millions of social messages and algorithmically identify those individuals who have the combination of reach, network size, popularity, but more importantly, the topical relevance that shows an individual is indeed publishing content on the topic that you as a brand want to be the best answer for.
Just as important is resonance — the data point that measures the degree to which a topic is something that resonates with the network of a particular influencer.
3 – Incorporate Memorable & Relevant Game-Like Experiences
For Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World conference we used a themed micro-site featuring influencers relevant to the conference, and it incorporated several games and other entertaining interactive elements to make it interesting and memorable.
- Identify a topic and theme
- Identify associated keywords that go along with the topic and theme
- Utilize the topics to identify relevant influencers
4 – Publish & Promote On The Right Channels
Publishing can take place on the client website, with supporting content published on the client blog and various social channels. From a promotion standpoint special graphics can be created for influencers to drive attention to an interactive experience that people can be proud to be a part of.
Multiple channels can be used to get the word out about an interactive asset, including promotional video content.
5 – Monitor, Iterate & Measure Performance
Once you’ve published and promotion is underway it’s time to begin the monitoring, iteration, and measurement to report campaign performance. You can track influencer shares both with UTM codes and other coded URLs, and set up a dashboard to track blog posts performance data.
Here’s a related case study showing how B2B interactive content incorporated influencers to add credibility to ad experience:
6 – Create Inspiring Content Experiences
How can you create content experiences that inspire people for B2B brands like SAP, Dell, LinkedIn, and many others?
Lee shared an example, showing a promo video for an interactive micro-site that we created in concert with an event, which was co-created with a variety of B2B marketing experts who shared their advice about how to break free of boring B2B.
The digital asset had over 10,000 views in a week and 100K social impressions because of influencer shares, and resulted in multiple consulting requests.
Other inspiring content types can include quizzes, assessments, product finders, interactive content, 360 degree videos, along with interactive formats of a variety of types including games, contests, surveys, tools, and calculators, among others.
7 – Earn Trust Using Industry Experts
65 percent of consumers in a HubSpot survey said that they don’t trust advertising, and 55 percent don’t even trust the companies they buy from — a harsh reality that can be overcome by giving consumers credible, engaging content that’s relevant, useful, credible, trustworthy, and experiential.
Another study showed that 97 percent of B2B buyers place a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of the content source, and 95% place a higher emphasis on credible content from industry experts — so they are looking for this.
With more content than anyone could ever consume in a lifetime being produced on a regular basis, however, how do you make yours stand out?
It’s by creating experiences that are memorable, shareable, linkable, and that deserve to show up in search.
8 – Combine The Power of Interactive with Influencers
Working with influencers to co-create content delivers mutual value, and it takes on extra weight when that content is interactive, creating digital experiences that are more engaging and which inspire action.
Not only for the people that are consuming the content, but also for the people who’ve contributed and helped co-create the content, because it inspires them to want to make it more successful by reaching even more potential customers.
9 – Inspire Influencers to Create Enjoyable Experiences
Inspire influencers to share the digital content they helped make. However if the thing that they help make is foreign and unwelcome to their network, it will become a waste of time. Reach, relevance, and resonance are important data points to consider when identifying influencers. Don’t be entitled when you ask an influencer to contribute content — this can be a deal breaker. Instead, be patient, always communicate with them when you’re asking for quotes or tips, and create a really great experience for them, showing them that they’re special and making the co-created content easy for them to promote.
It’s extremely important to make the experience enjoyable and easy to do in terms of how that can facilitate the success of an entire program. Once you’ve published and promoted the campaign, give them feedback on how they did. You may have to not work with certain influencers anymore because of how well it went or didn’t go, and similarly there may be others that you are introduced to that you’ll want to work with in the future. Continue to nurture them and don’t let the communications go silent until you need them. That doesn’t engender a good relationship,
10 – Don’t Overlook Repurposing Opportunities For Co-Created Content
It’s relatively easy to repurpose the content that influencers helped you make, and to publish that repurpose content in the weeks or months after the initial campaign is launched. You can easily include quotes and contributed articles to industry publications, and your influencers will see this and they’re going to appreciate that you’re giving them that extra exposure.
Learn More About Inspirational B2B Content Marketing
We hope the B2B marketing tips and topics we’ve explored here, taken from Lee and Casey’s SEMrush’s 5 Hours of Content Marketing event, will help to inspire and bring success to your own efforts, whether it’s your first such program or your 1000th.
You can watch Lee’s entire SEMrush’s 5 Hours of Content Marketing event presentation here:
To learn more about B2B Influencer Marketing trends, best practices and predictions for the future, be sure to access the all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report which features insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.