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How to make industry awards worth entering, without actually winning

In the latest, It’s a B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live stream, Ayo Abbas, Emma Drake and I spotlight industry awards and the value of entering.

It takes a lot of time to pull together a good awards entry, and there may be entry fees or the cost of a table at the ceremony on top, which can make it pricey.

It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live stream on getting value from awards

So we talked about how worthwhile it is to enter an award, whether you can make the most even if your name, company or project doesn’t get called out on the night.

Why and when should you enter an industry award?

Emma: The first thing is timing; make sure you’ve got something really compelling, and it fits with your timing as a business.

Have a broad range of things that you’re looking at, whether it’s your product, your service, your campaign or your business. But it has to be really special, it has to really stand out.

You have to do research and have a lot of facts. There’s quite a lot of work that goes into writing that award, so make sure that time spent is worthwhile.

Ayo: Does it fit into your overall campaign objectives? You have to ask: Is this project going to help propel us where we want to go? So there has to be a reason why you’re entering.

But also, I have used award entries as a way to get our story straight. It’s a test bed, it forces you to answer those questions and get the basics. And that can be a good hook, even if you don’t win.

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Personality in B2B content and why its good

Some thoughts on showing personality in B2B content and if it’s ‘professional’

There seems to be a fear about showing personality in B2B content. Either that it doesn’t sound professional or makes people feel exposed.

Showing some personality can be using a particular turn of phrase or choosing more conversational words in your writing.

Or perhaps using an anecdote or talking about a personal experience or how something made you feel, something that shows some of your personality.

What is ‘professional’?

First of all, being professional isn’t about sounding or dressing a certain way.

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B2B content writing that stops the scroll: The art of the unexpected

Back when I was a B2B property journalist, I started a bog-standard, state-of-the-market feature by drawing comparisons with famous pieces of art.

I wrote that if the market were a painting, it would be less like Monet’s Water Lilies and more like Dali’s The Putrefied Donkey.

Writing something unexpected can be a good way of grabbing attention. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The point was to grab attention with my opening line by throwing in something unexpected yet illustrative of the point I wanted to make.

I chose words and created an image that readers flicking through the magazine wouldn’t usually read.

Whether you are writing an article or a LinkedIn post, if you are following the usual tropes with all your content, you risk being lost in the crowd.

It’s not necessarily about saying something different to everyone else; you can have a similar idea just present it in a different way.

Getting creative

I could have said the property market was challenging or leasing conditions were difficult. But that’s what everyone else would say, so I got creative.

And I returned to the art theme running, concluding how the market might be a different painting in 6 months.

Let’s look at it another way. Which quote would make you want to read the piece more:

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Grappling with personal brand: My voyage of discovery

Personal brand has become a bit of a buzzword, and I confess I wasn’t entirely clear about what it meant and its relevance. And I know I’m not alone.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

The May edition of It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live was all about personal branding: What it means, what opportunities there are in B2B and tips on building a personal brand.

Watching the replay of the Live with regular hosts Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake and guest host Eimear Strong (who stood in for me) gave me some clarity. And it made me realise that I’d been building a personal brand without realising it.

The first question of the Live does a great job of answering what personal brand is, framing it as how your reputation and values are perceived in your industry or by your target audience.

It is also about personality and authenticity, and there is huge value in that. People do business with people – Ayo had some stats on just how that manifests in engagement on platforms like LinkedIn. (You can find the video of the Live at the bottom of the post).

Standing out

And given that no two people are completely alike, personal brand is an opportunity to have a point of difference and help you stand out.

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Should you use LinkedIn Live as part of a comms strategy?

These days all major social media platforms give the option to do live video, and LinkedIn is no different. I’ve been co-hosting a monthly LinkedIn Live event with Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake since November, and it’s been a huge learning curve.

Screen shot from our LinkedIn Live showing Ayo Abbas and me side by side at the top of the screen and Emma Drake at the bottom in the middle of the screen. We are all wearing headphones
Screenshot from It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn live episode on…LinkedIn Live

So in the April episode of our It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live, we decided to talk about what we’ve learned from using the platform and whether it was good for business.

Here are some key points. Scroll down to watch the full episode, which includes audience questions.

What do you need to know about LinkedIn Live?

Me: At the moment, you need to use an external provider to do the broadcast. We use StreamYard, but LinkedIn is developing its own in-house platform to do live events, which is being beta-tested.

When using an external platform, you can customise it, add a banner, put questions on screen, add your branding and make it look quite slick.

We didn’t do everything to start with; we kept it quite simple and added new features as we’ve gone along. It’s a bit of a learning process.

We didn’t know what to expect for our first broadcast, and people started submitting questions, so we adapted the next one by adding a Q&A. We were surprised by the engagement with the actual event.

A LinkedIn Live is not just a live event, the recording stays on your LinkedIn event page, and people can go back and rewatch it. You do create something that has longevity.

Emma: The platform is glitchy, and we’ve had a few problems that we’ve had to work through. So things like you can’t go in and change certain details once you’ve set up an event. I set up one for midnight instead of midday, but we got around it.

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