B2B marketers trying to get their content seen and consumed face an uphill battle in 2020 as information overload competes with growing brand distrust to sabotage B2B marketing campaigns.
So, how can B2B marketers take their content efforts to the next level of reach and engagement?
Luckily for you, at TopRank Marketing we’re experts at integrating B2B influencer marketing and content, and in a recent interview, our CEO Lee Odden spoke about how B2B marketers can benefit when these two aspects of marketing intersect.
Lee spoke with Kristen Alexander, CMO at Certain, in a Masters of Events podcast that explores the many ways content and influencer marketing can benefit B2B marketers.
Lee and Kristen discussed a wide array of opportunities for content and influencer marketing to help B2B marketers connect with customers more effectively and we’ve pulled out some of the most valuable insights below:
1 – Influencer Collaboration Creates Content Buyers Trust
B2B companies have longer sales cycles and to feed the buyers need for more information, create sizable amounts of content for demand generation and lead generation. However, in this age of information overload and distrust of brand communications, much of that content is ignored.
The way marketers can connect with distracted and distrustful buyers is through those who customers actually trust. Credible experts that have the ear of the buying customer can be excellent collaboration partners. Their influence adds credibility to the brand content and their networks provide a distribution channel that current brand marketing and advertising isn’t reaching.
Influencer collaboration is a subject near and dear to our hearts, that we’ve explored in detail in several recent articles:
- Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action
- Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers
Overwhelming information choices and distrust of brand messaging make collaborating with industry experts that have the attention of audiences looking for solutions an ideal strategy. — @LeeOdden
2 – Combining Influencer Advocacy & Brand Messaging Drives B2B ROI
By intermingling brand messaging with influencer advocacy and influencer expertise, you can create the kinds of content programs that get reach, better engagement, and conversion.
By creating a content repository you can have a taxonomy of keywords associated with the different things people are saying, which becomes a source of ingredient content that you can use to re-purpose into a white paper, eBook, blog post, newsletter, or even transform it into an infographic.
You can explore a variety of content re-purposing best-practices and real-world examples with these recently article we’ve published on the subject:
- When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t
- Everything Old Is New Again: Why & How to Refresh B2B Content
- 6 Steps for Making Delicious Meals Out of Your Content Marketing Leftovers
More advanced B2B marketers run always on influencer programs where there is a focus on developing alignment, relationships and advocacy. — @LeeOdden
3 – Break Free of Boring B2B With Co-Created Content
B2B is more often associated with “boring” than it is with “exciting”. While B2B brands want to be taken seriously, they can also “break free” of boring B2B.
To break free of boring, reach out to industry influencers and ask them to give a relevant tip, asking questions very specific to the topics your customers actually care about. These tips these industry experts provide can then be packaged in an interesting, engaging and interactive aesthetic. Interactive content is more interesting for customers and it inspires contributing influencers to share, often multiple times.
As an example of how influencer content can be optimized for interesting, take a look at how interactive content for B2B marking is described in “How B2B Brands Can Break Into Interactive Content,” and how to turn around a low-performing campaign in “Ghosted: What’s a Content Marketer to Do When Your Audience Goes Silent?“.
Creating B2B content that isn’t boring requires more than a clever twist on the facts. Facts tell, but it’s stories that sell. Inspiration and motivation are what drive action out of content creation. But what stories should B2B brands tell, especially if the solution is complex? The answer is with your customers and understanding their pain, goals and preferences. — @LeeOdden
4 – Shining a Spotlight on Your Influencers Brightens Shared Content
B2B marketers can create a variety of content types that highlight the insight and information individual influencers have provided. Giving people who contributed a spotlight means they are a part of something special, giving them increased credibility and visibility. As a result, the light brands shine on influencers will be passed on as social shares to their audiences.
From episodic to interactive and experiential, there are more ways to share co-created content than ever before. We explore many of those ideas in the following articles:
- Hungry for More: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Episodic Content
- How B2B Brands Can Break Into Interactive Content
- What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content
Provide influencers and content creators with topic clusters they can use in content and social shares. — @LeeOdden
5 – Mobile-Friendly is Key When it Comes to Sharing
Because of how consumers find, consume and interact with information today, it is important to make co-created content mobile-friendly so it’s easy for people to show and share. If influencer content can’t be easily shared on mobile devices, a crucial element to campaign success will be missing.
Making content easy-to-share and personalized doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, but it does require some initial planning and strategy, as we’ve outlined in the following articles:
- B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales
- Break Free B2B Series: Tom Treanor on Perfecting B2B Marketing Personalization
Every encounter with your brand should feel like it’s part of one ongoing story. — @NiteWrites
Take Your B2B Influencer Collaboration Game To A New Level
We hope you’ve learned several new ways to appreciate the value B2B influencers and content marketing collaboration to a new level, and encourage you read the companion article to this post: “5 Things You Must Know About Using Events For B2B Marketing.”
To learn more and take your influencer marketing for B2B to the next level, check out these content and influencer marketing resources and take advantage of Lee’s upcoming speaking events where he’ll be sharing strategies, best practices and case studies featuring B2B brands of all sizes:
February 24-25, 2020 – B2BMX – Scottsdale, AZ
How to Optimize ABM Results with Influencer Marketing
March 19, 2020 – Convergence Summit – Minneapolis, MN
In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience
March 24, 2020 – Pubcon – Miami, FL
B2B Influencer Marketing Workshop
April 20-22, 2020 – Content Tech – San Diego, CA
How to Optimize Content Performance with Influence
April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence
May 27 -28, 2020 – B2B Ignite USA – Chicago, IL
In Marketing We Trust: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street