From sceptic to supporter: The case for B2B content marketing

Not everyone sees the value of B2B content and content marketing, so how do you convince the sceptics and get employees on board to help boost the visibility of your posts?

This was the topic of the August episode of the B2B Comms Breakdown live webinar, which I co-hosted with Ayo Abbas. You can catch up with the video replay (scroll to the bottom) or read on for an edited transcript.

We started the discussion with the case for creating B2B content…

What is worthwhile about content marketing?

Ayo: One of the biggest things about content marketing is that it is a way of positioning yourself as a thought leader, getting your views and projects out there and getting known for what you want to be known for.

It’s about building a brand rather than letting others build it for you. It’s how people get to know, like and trust you and keeps you front of mind. So when I want to buy, I think of you.

The LinkedIn B2B Institute put out some research that showed 95% of the market isn’t in a state to buy. That means only 5% of your target market is actually ready to buy.

So, how do you keep them warm? That’s where content marketing is a valuable tool to help you do that.

Stacey: I see content as a conversation, as a narrative with your existing and potential clients. It’s about nurturing that relationship and keeping that channel open.

There’s a practical element, too. Adding content to your website is good for SEO; that content is sitting there, and people can find it.

It’s all part of your brand building, but it’s not just about the hard wins, the business sales and people wanting to work with you.

That is part of it, but it can lead to speaking opportunities, networking opportunities, and opens the door offline just as much as online.

How do you convince the B2B content sceptics?

Ayo: The worst is if you have somebody who doesn’t want to be on social media, doesn’t want to create content and forcing them to post because it comes across like it’s forced.

You want someone who wants to be there, wants to engage and is open to having a conversation and putting themselves out there.

Find the ones in your organisation who are keen; they might not be right at the top. Then, as a marketeer, it’s my job to work with them and give them what they need so they can really fly.

Make sure you track it, use the metrics to report back and share their wins with other people.

That’s how you win those sceptics over when you show this does work.

‘Oh, look, they’re having a conversation here’. ‘Oh, look, they’ve been invited to speak’. Keep up that drumbeat.

Also, find those quick wins. Can you do a quick corporate training with the person who’s doing really well, showing the others how they’re using it?

Stacey: Metrics are important. There are standard views, clicks and all of that, but it’s all those other metrics, the speaking opportunities and how it’s elevated someone’s position.

Thinking about senior members of the team and persuading them to get involved in comment pieces and thought leader articles, you can position them as a subject expert – play to the ego a little bit.

You can do that very effectively through content, but it is very much a slow burn; that is the battle you have in persuading people, as there aren’t any quick wins.

You can’t immediately look at a piece of content and say: ‘From that, we got this many sales’; it’s something that you have to build gradually over time.

But we’ve all got a bit of ego, we all want to know what’s in it for us, and that’s what you’ve got to demonstrate for the individuals and the team.

How do you boost content visibility through employee advocacy?

Ayo: Can you explain employee advocacy first?

Stacey: If you’re publishing content, getting your employees involved in sharing that content and commenting. Engagement with content boosts content visibility, particularly on LinkedIn.

Ayo: We’re starting to talk more about human marketing; we’re more likely to buy because you believe a person, you get a referral or recommendation than you are from a company organisation.

There are some stats from LinkedIn that posts on your personal profile posts are amplified three times as much as your company page posts.

So, how can you get the best of both worlds as an organisation? I understand the risks of pushing personalities and individuals because they could be poached, right?

But how do you get the right interplay between your company [LinkedIn] page and those personalities and use them in a way that works?

What role does your company page play? It might be that your people always comment on that company post but then do their own variation or add their own flavour to the post.

You can have a strategy where your central team is producing the content but gives people flexibility on how they use it.

Stacey: That’s a very good point about giving people agency, particularly with LinkedIn.

If people are adding meaningful comments, adding to the conversation or getting a conversation going, it helps showcase their knowledge and expertise and how they fit into the bigger company equation, then there’s a benefit you can demonstrate to them.

If you’ve got blog posts or thought leader articles on your website, if you want to encourage people to share that, again, they can share that on their social media channels but add their own spin on it.

It’s about giving people a reason to do it; what is their goal in this? How do they benefit? And what do they get out of it?

Ayo: There are tools that you can use to help you as well. For example, you could have a Trello board where you have different variations on posts that those posting can access and use.

Also, if you want people to be involved, make it part of their objectives and show that it is valuable to your business. Make sure there is time allocated so staff don’t have to do it in the evening or a Sunday night.

Stacey: There are other benefits to individuals in getting involved in a platform like LinkedIn besides boosting the company posts, which might help ‘sell’ the idea to staff.

Spending time on the platform and getting involved in conversations [around posts] elsewhere around the industry is good for their visibility; it can boost their connections and help build a network.

You can also learn a lot by looking at what others are up to.

Watch the replay below or on LinkedIn (give me a follow):

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