The way it used to work was a B2B salesperson knocked on doors and built relationships over time. Eventually he built trust and prospects began to believe what he told them. That sales model is gone along with the two martini lunch. Today it’s much more effective and much cheaper to generate leads and nurture them via quality content delivered online
How? Content! Useful, relevant, interesting, easy to consume, quality content that’s gently persuasive.
Over the past ten years B2B buyers have learned to research online. They don’t want to see or talk to a salesperson until they’re near a buy decision. That means Marketing must create demand, nurture leads and keep them engaged until they’re ready for Sales.
So how do you develop quality web content that’s relevant and useful to all the different types of prospects who influence a complex B2B buy decision? You need lots of quality content to address different people’s needs and different selling situations.
Three Basic Ways to Develop Content
Create it. Repurpose it. Or curate it
Without fresh content, people stop reading, stop listening, and stop caring. Creating quality content consistently is difficult. Original blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, presentations, etc. take skill, time and money. So how do you keep up?
Work smarter, not harder – repurpose your content
There are several ways quality content can be repurposed or updated from one format to another to add value. Here are four ways you can repurpose content to leverage work you’ve already done.
- Turn a speech or presentation into blog posts. Almost everyone has PowerPoint presentations they can repurpose. Don’t forget to link to your original video or slide deck.
- Break up a lengthy white paper into a series of blog posts. Write separate posts with examples from different industries. Take a complex idea and break it up into a series of simple, quick posts.
- Update existing blog posts to include new innovations and examples. A blog post that’s a couple of years old can be made fresh again with a few edits.
- Repurpose offline content to use online. For example, take presentations produced by Sales, edit them to tone down the ‘salesy’ content, and post them online using BrainShark or SlideShare.
Content curation is not just for museums
I’ve been doing “Content Curation” for years. Ever since the internet and email have been widely available, I’ve been sharing bits of information I found interesting, thought-provoking, or just plain entertaining; and I shared with colleagues, friends, clients and prospects. My forwarded content curations are highly personalized. I’ll send a tidbit of information to a single individual, or a small handful of people. The information is relevant and meaningful to them, so they’ve learned to look for them…and I’ve learned that this is a great way to keep top of mind with clients and prospects without being pushy.
Curated content can also be an important ingredient in content marketing campaigns designed to inform and gently persuade regarding products, services and solutions.
There’s an old adage – “If you take from one information source, that’s plagiarizing. If you take from twenty, that’s researching.” There’s a spectrum of content curation ranging from direct quotes all the way to completely re-thought, re-contextualized, re-written material. All are equally valid…as you approach and reach the “direct quote” end of the spectrum, you should attribute the source including author and publication.
So, How Do You Curate Content?
Step 1: Identify your topics of interest
- What topics might be of interest to your target market? What industries are they in? What types of technology do they manufacture or use in their businesses? Are there political or regulatory issues that affect them?
- Is there a specific niche in which you’d like to position yourself as a thought leader?
Step 2: Select your search and aggregation tools
There are many search and aggregation tools available. Which one you choose is up to you. They should help you find the nuggets of gold hidden in the vast mountains of online information. Pay particular attention to the search terms you use. The more ‘advanced’, selective and sophisticated your search terms, the fewer results you’ll get, but those results will be more valuable and relevant in producing quality web content.
Step 3: Gather
Once your tools are set up, the information will be delivered to you daily. It’s up to you to skim and scan, trash and save, read and contextualize for quality content relevant to your audience.
Step 4: Organize
You can get as detailed as you want about this. Obviously, the larger the amount of information, the more you’re going to need to categorize. At a minimum, organize curated content by target audience.
There’s no point in doing all the above unless you deliver the appropriate quality content to your various constituents. What’s important here is to assess the content, and assess the audience; then select the appropriate vehicle and frequency for content delivery.
So What Have We Learned?
- Fresh, relevant quality content is essential to B2B marketing success.
- There’s more than one way to produce quality web content.
- By creating, repurposing and curating, we can develop the quantity of quality content we need without blowing our budgets.
Bob Leonard is the Managing Consultant at acSellerant. Over a 20 year period, prior to launching acSellerant, Bob held individual contributor and management positions in Corporate Marketing, Field Marketing, Sales and Sales Support at EMC, GTE, Interleaf (document management), and Digital Equipment Corp. acSellerant is a content and social media marketing agency focused on the B2B market place. Follow Bob on Twitter @acSellerant.