Posted on December 17th, 2012
Distributing optimized content for business marketing was foundational to commerce long before the Internet. As early as 1774, Benjamin Franklin, America’s first postmaster, is said to have marketed scientific and academic books by mail order catalog. Beginning in 1928, William Grainger began marketing motors, lighting, material handling, fasteners, plumbing, tools, and safety supplies primarily through a catalog describing the features and benefits of such wares. Customers ordered by postcard. Without a doubt, Franklin and Grainger learned to use strategic keywords for business content, to inspire inquiries and orders (AKA, lead generation and sales by way of optimized content).
Back then, catalogs, posters, billboards painted on buildings, brochures, spec’ sheets, direct mail, placed articles, and trade shows were essential media objects and distribution channels of the day. No marketer alive today can lay claim to inventing B2B content marketing. B2B content strategies existed as long as there have been businesses that served other companies.
The challenge of sourcing successful B2B content is age old and transcends current publishing and distribution models. Many content sources are timeless as well. In some ways, it’s easier for the committed B2B marketer to rise above the noise today because there is so much data available to advise content creation. Here are 11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked.
1. Take Inventory & Repurpose Valuable Content Assets
Businesses create amazingly useful content snippets all the time. Technical writers crank out manuals. Trade show marketers print leave-behinds for their booth, and internal PowerPoint presentations explain products to other departments. Companies create training materials and thought-leaders share industrial perspective at monthly meetings. These and many other content assets can all be repurposed in other channels to serve B2B customers.
The savvy B2B content marketing agency leads clients to take inventory of what assets exist and opportunities to repurpose. Yep! It’s obvious that PowerPoint presentations can become SlideShare postings. Remember that those painstakingly created images and other content make excellent stock for blog posts. Monthly inside thought-leader lectures are low hanging fruit for serialized YouTube video content, and training materials transform nicely into blog posts and downloadable white papers. The list goes on and on. Repurposing content objects is a potent and venerable technique.
2. Demystify Myths & Remove Barriers
Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on. The road to more sales are paved by providing content delivering spot-on insights and valuable education.
If cost is a common objection, explain how buyers actually save money over time or why the extra quality is well worth it. If the average potential customer is plugged into bogus misinformation, debunk those myths. If you sell a luxury product during a recession, write content that supports buyers in deciding they deserve to be pampered and not to feel guilty, that they deserve it. Produce content that dissolves barriers and exposes myths.
3. Bring FAQs To Life With Vivid, Multichannel Visibility
Most websites serve up a frequently asked questions page. These Qs are pure B2B content marketing gold. Take each question one at a time and really flesh things out. We like the way our client FreshBooks does their cloud accounting software FAQs.
Each FAQ links to additional content that further clarifies the answers. This is great for both customers and search engines.
FAQs can often be mirrored as YouTube videos. Interview an engineer about WHY the FAQ’s answer is as such. Upload a .PPT to SlideShare and write a blog post about it. Going deep with FAQs is a great way to repurpose content and bring truth to the forefront, so be as creative as you want to be!
4. Why Roundups & Serialized Curation Always Work
Link roundups are amazing. Providing curated content to define an industrial niche saves readers the time of researching on their own. And in this networked age of reputation monitoring alerts, bloggers find out when you highlight their content for your readers. Highlighted bloggers take pride in being part of a “best of” roundup. They often share said roundup with their entire community.
We love the way our friends at SearchEngineLand run SearchCap: The Day In Search, [Date]. Each day editors pour through hundreds of online marketing feeds and choose the most important content of the day in their opinion.
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