Technical and creative content creation is a core service for Motion Marketing and our clients. It’s a service that contributes to all areas of the marketing mix from SEO and website page copy to social media and PR. As we continue to get to know the team behind Motion, we discuss with Angela Greaves, Motion’s Content Writer, all things content marketing to find out the secret to great B2B content and why it is so important.
What’s the secret to great B2B content?
The real secret to ensuring that you have great content is to have a thorough understanding of the product or service you are promoting and how it can help the target audience(s), so you can create content that resonates with your target market. That needs to be coupled with a clear content strategy, based on whether you are looking to generate awareness of your brand, trying to convince potential customers to buy your products, or aiming to increase revenue.
Very often businesses understand the need for content marketing and understand intuitively that it is an important part of the marketing strategy, but the challenge is often down to time and resources to do this in-house. Starting with a few social media posts or the occasional blog is one thing, but for content marketing to be successful, you need to come up with a detailed plan for creating relevant content for your different audiences and engaging them at the right time, via the right channel.
There is a whole range of content that can be created for different stages of the sales cycle, from thought-leadership blogs and videos, social media posts, quick reference infographics, case studies that will help convince and clinch the deal, informational blogs and newsletters for existing customers to keep them up to date and cross-sell products and services. You also need to decide on the best format for delivering the information via video, animation, podcasts, as well as graphics and the written word.
Why is content marketing so important?
Content marketing is probably one of the most popular techniques in marketing. In 2021, 82% of marketers reported actively using content marketing, which was up from 70% during 2020. The pandemic has had an impact, with face-to-face sales and marketing events being put on hold, more companies have to resort to communicating online.
In order to ensure that your company is seen online, and your website ranks above the competition in organic searches, you need to continuously keep updating your content to ensure that it is relevant and ranked by Google. But, it is not just the website where content is important. You need to reach out to your audience via other channels, such as social media (LinkedIn) with organic and sponsored posts and advertising to specific target segments with tailored messaging. The main aim of content marketing is to demonstrate to your audience that you are credible experts and your content should be informative and engaging.
But given the popularity of content marketing and the amount of information we each consume each day, getting your message across to your audience has never been more challenging. Cutting through the amount of online content has been likened to trying to get the attention of someone on the other side of a crowded bar or nightclub. To get noticed, you need to ensure that your message is compelling and differentiates you from the competition.
What is the biggest content marketing mistake you see B2B companies making?
In a technical world, it can often be a temptation to talk about the features of a product and how a product works. This might all be well and understood by a technical audience, but it is important to highlight the benefits that the product might bring to different people involved in different stages of the purchasing process for your product or service.
Buying in B2B is usually complex, so you need to ensure that content is targeted at the different buyers and influencers along the way. When considering the features and differentiators of your products, it is still useful to put yourself in the shoes of each person and ask “What’s in it for me?”. In my experience, this has always been helpful, and still something that can be easily forgotten.
There is also a myth that “emotion”, which is often used in consumer marketing, is not applicable in B2B…but an understanding of both the personal and business motives in any sale is key to creating the right content. For the time-strapped IT manager, for example, you might want to focus on the reliability of your products and time it might save them in doing other tasks, as well as financial implications for the financial director, or strategic advantage for the managing director.
When it comes to content, do you think quality or quantity is more important?
The straight answer is “both”. To be heard and get your message across in a world where we are bombarded with information, both the quality and the amount of content are crucial. Quality is imperative. “Quality” means correctly focused and targeted content that is aligned with your brand and your audience. Quality is about resonating with the right message. But to break through the ongoing noise, it is also important to ensure that your message is seen regularly so that when a prospect is finally in the position to decide to go ahead, they have heard you and have the right information in their hands to make the purchase. You need to be able to catch people at the right time, delivering different types of content throughout the purchasing journey – from thought leadership right through to nuts and bolts technical information.
What’s your favourite type of content to write?
What I enjoy most is getting under the hood to understand a company in-depth, learning about its products and solutions and the target market, and then distilling this information and delivering clear copy which works alongside impactful infographics and images. I’m an advocate of “plain English” and straightforward wording. This is especially important in the technical world. Technical jargon might be necessary to explain concepts and features to a technical audience, but that doesn’t mean it should not be clear and concise and may need to be explained differently in blogs and articles aimed at other purchasers.
LinkedIn advertising, for example, is another area I enjoy, where you have to condense your message right down even further and tie it in with the right imagery so that you can grab people’s attention in only a few seconds. One of my favourite pieces of copy (although not B2B) which illustrates precisely that is: “You shop, we drop.” Multiple layers of understanding and emotion in only four words! The wording perfectly illustrates the benefits of online shopping. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl2TfmFW9K0
Why technology marketing?
It started with my fascination for space when I was a kid. I wanted to be the first British woman astronaut or, failing that, work at NASA. I abandoned my very ambitious goals as I grew older and had to decide between science and arts at school and ended up studying languages. I’ve always been interested in the practical application of technology, and what it can do for us. Later, after studying computing, I realised I prefer to leave the intricate details to the technical people but enjoy interpreting what technology can do for a wider audience.
You can catch up on more of our ‘meet the team’ blog series by finding out more about our Lead Creative Consultant here. Or, if you would like to discuss your content marketing projects and ideas, please reach out to Angela and the team.