The Messenger Is The Message: A New Era For B2B Content Marketing

The Messenger Is The Message: A New Era For B2B Content Marketing. Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, according to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report. Instead, marketers need to change the messenger. Making this simple shift in your thinking will revolutionize your content marketing strategy. Your best messengers are your customer advocates. They’re the people who can validate your messaging and deliver it successfully to your target buyers—who just happen to be their peers. Empowering your advocates and integrating them into content creation process is valuable for two important reasons: Harnessing their personal, authentic stories and perspectives will ensure your messages resonate with and are trusted by buyers Advocates make the ideation, creation and distribution stage of content marketing easier, faster and less expensive for your brand By empowering customers to become your messengers, you’ll be able to move away from the selfish content marketing tactics you’re used to, towards something more meaningful: B2C brands are already using consumer-generated content to provide social proof all of the time. Create content. Francesca Krihely, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at open source database software company MongoDB makes social sharing simple by gathering all of MongoDB’s content in their advocate community, and providing her advocates with sample messaging so they don’t have to think about what to write. Inspire and empower messengers to amplify the volume and reach of their collective voices by creating and sharing your brand stories.

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B2B content marketing as we know it is broken.

Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, according to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report.

There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Most of your customers are suffering from what Mark Schaefer (a globally-recognized marketing consultant and a speaker in our upcoming Content Marketing Mentors webinar series) calls “content shock”—meaning they are incapable of consuming the sheer volume of content being produced.
  2. When a piece of your content does manage to get your audience’s attention, most of them (91%) don’t trust it. “Too many vendors are failing buyers with overly promotional and overly technical content,” says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

Connecting with your bored, skeptical and overwhelmed readers isn’t going to happen by creating more of the same. It isn’t through tweaking your headlines, finding more provocative images, or publishing on a new channel either.

Instead, marketers need to change the messenger. Making this simple shift in your thinking will revolutionize your content marketing strategy.

Remember communications guru Marshall McLuhan’s famous 1967 theory “the medium is the message”? Fifty years ago, he wrote and lectured about how the medium through which a message is disseminated (e.g., radio, television, print, etc.) impacts the message itself. A lot has changed since then. Today, the messenger is the message.

According to a Demand Gen Report survey, 97% of B2B buyers say that user-generated content (UGC), like peer reviews, is more credible than other types of content. And B2B buyers are scouring social networks, online reviews and third-party sources (just like they do in their lives as consumers) for content that will help them make sound purchasing decisions.

That means the most powerful marketing tool you have isn’t something you can create on your own; it needs to come from an independent messenger. (And if it comes from an independent channel you don’t own, even better.)

Your best messengers are your customer advocates. Advocates are your biggest fans who are predisposed to talking about your brand. They’re the people who can validate your messaging and deliver it successfully to your target buyers—who just happen to be their peers.

You may be thinking: “Meh. I’m already creating eye-catching case studies and white papers that include well-crafted customer success stories.” But that’s not enough to move the needle.

Empowering your…

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