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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B2B comms: How to get value out of trade shows

Trade shows are on the agenda again after the lockdown hiatus. Attending can be hugely beneficial for businesses but also a drain on time and marketing resources, so how do you maximise the value?

In March’s It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live, I chatted with comms pros Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake about how to make sure you get the most out of these big trade events.

Here are some key points; scroll to the bottom for the full video recording.

Screenshot from the It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live on trade shows (March 4, 2022)

What actions should you take before your trade show?

Ayo: The key thing for me is building some energy and excitement that you’re going to be somewhere. Before a show, start talking about it and sharing what you’re going to be doing.

Social media plays a huge part in that, and you can start connecting with potential visitors and delegates. And use it as a way to build your relationship with the organisers – find out what hashtags they’re using.

If there are press interviews and previews, make sure that you’ve got your press releases out there and all your details and ready to go.

Me: If you’re launching something at the show, think about getting the press release to journalists under embargo because once the show’s on, they’re going to be extremely busy. They’re probably not going to have time to turn around press release stories.

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How I created 9 pieces of content from a LinkedIn Live

A piece of content doesn’t have to have one life in its original format. Repurposing that content to fill different content streams – and different mediums is the smart way to build its audience.

Get creative with repurposing content. Photo by Malte Helmhold on Unsplash

Besides, creating a ‘hero’ piece of content is time-consuming, so why wouldn’t you want to get bangs for your content bucks?

Here’s an example of what I did with a LinkedIn Live. It’s A B2B Comms Thing is a monthly Live I do with a couple of fellow comms freelancers in the built environment sector.

We decide the topic and three key questions, create the artwork, set up the event using Streamyard and promote it.

The Live is 15 minutes where we answer the three questions then a Q&A with the audience. The total broadcast time is 30 minutes.

When the Live is finished, Streamyard generates a video file and a separate audio file. Our latest Live was on repurposing, and I created nine pieces of content from that initial Live, and this is what I did:

Long form blog post

Using Otter.ai, I got a transcript of the Live and created a long-form blog post from the three key questions. This took 1.5-2 hours to create and edit but writing a 1,500-word post from scratch would have taken me the best part of a day.

YouTube video

I uploaded the video to our YouTube channel. I used the same words we’d used on the LinkedIn event page for the description, just tweaked slightly.

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Marketing on a budget: ways to be more visible

How do you increase your visibility and (personal) brand awareness outside of social media without spending a lot of money?

Screen shot of me mid flow, talking to Trisha Lewis via Zoom for her Make It Real podcast. The Make it Real logo and episode title: Visibility on a budget appears in the centre of the screen between the two of us.
Me in full flow during my chat with the brilliant Trisha Lewis

Trisha Lewis is a communications and presentation coach I’ve got to know on LinkedIn. We’ve chatted in the comments on each others content and DM’s.

She asked if I would be a guest on her Make It Real podcast and talk about using different channels to build visibility.

So, things like guest blog posts and comment pieces on targeted websites and publications, being on panels at events, as well as posting on social media platforms like LinkedIn.

How I came to be a guest on her podcast reflects a point I made during our chat about the benefits of letting people hear you speak and see you on camera.

I’ve been creating videos on LinkedIn for a while, started doing LinkedIn Lives, and posted links to webinars I’ve chaired.

It gives potential podcast hosts and event organisers a chance to see what I’m like ‘in action’ and showcases my areas of expertise.

Below is a teaser for our conversation, and you can listen to the full podcast episode here on Apple Podcasts or search for Make It Real with Trisha Lewis on your preferred podcast platform.

Some of the things we cover in the episode include:

🎧 What journalists are looking for so you can pitch effectively.

🎧 Ditching the corporate tone using your authentic voice to stand out.

🎧 Using video and audio as part of a content plan

Teaser clip from my chat with Trisha Lewis on her Make It Real podcast

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How to make social media work for B2B businesses

Social media is a big part of many businesses marketing strategy, and it can be really effective if used well. But if it isn’t, it can be a huge drain on time and resources with minimal return.

Screen shot of LinkedIn Live session. Ayo Abbas, Stacey Meadwell and Emma Drake are on screen. Banner across the stop says It's a B2B comms thing - How to make social media work in '22

In the latest It’s a B2B comms thing LinkedIn Live with fellow B2B comms professionals Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake, we discussed using social media for B2B business, what’s hot, what’s not and how to use it effectively.

Here are some edited highlights, and you’ll find a link to the full discussion, which includes audience questions at the bottom of the post.

Why are you and your business on social media?

Emma: I see lots of businesses chasing social media accounts with no real idea of what they’ll share or are trying to achieve. I use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

I use LinkedIn for finding interesting people and engaging with them, connecting after or before meetings and events, and keeping in touch – it is really good for that.

Twitter I use pretty much solely for [promoting] podcast content, and I’m a bit more cheeky on there. I think we all feel we have to be a bit better behaved on LinkedIn for some reason.

But it’s completely different people engaging on there, and it’s good for generating traffic to my podcast.

I do have a Facebook page for the podcast, and their analytics are really good for directly targeting people.

Me: I only use LinkedIn for business. I have a work Twitter account as a hangover of my days as a journalist, but I don’t really use it.

I’ve fallen out of love with Twitter over the last few years. And if I’m going to be on there, I need to invest a lot of time, and I’ve just not got the time or energy.

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