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B2B Content Marketing - Less is the New More?

Recommendations to Marketers to Create and Market Content

Is less better than more when it comes to content? Instead of bombarding prospects with "too much content" should companies carefully chose 1 or 2 pieces of important content that will educate prospects? We asked our panel of B2B marketing experts "What do you recommend to marketers that create and market content? What kind of content is most useful in each phase of the B2B marketing cycle?". Read on to get their insights - less or more?

Ardath Albee

Blog Marketing Interactions Twitter Ardath421

Ardath Albee Content Marketing Expert"Match Content to the Buying Process"

Ardath Albee's Bio

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale is now shipping!

Ardath Albee's Tip

Matching Content to the Buying Process is the Determining Factor for Content Development
When planning for content creation, B2B marketers need to take into account the information buyers need at different stages of the buying process. An additional consideration is the different needs among members of the buying committee—influencers. One or two pieces of educational content will not likely maintain a prospect’s interest across a longer term buying cycle. Couple this with the need to make anywhere from 5 to 12 impressions for an idea to stick and you can see the need for content assets mushroom.

This said, if you truly know what questions your prospects need answered to take the next steps in their buying process, your efforts can be minimized by creating the content that delivers the right information at the right time—instead of creating content for the sake of having something new to connect them with. Content has a job to do. The better you are at defining which information serves to build pipeline momentum by making your company a trusted resource for relevant information, the more efficient your content development efforts can become.

By creating an editorial calendar, B2B marketers can achieve economies of scale by focusing their content efforts on answering questions that are truly important to buyers. Take a look at this scenario for how you can achieve economies of scale with content development. I call it the Rule of 5.

  • Your company decides to host a webinar with an industry expert.
  • After the event, you have it transcribed. You add in some of your company’s expertise taking a position on the stance of the expert and turn the transcription into a white paper. Feature the white paper on your website and as an email offer.
  • You answer the questions you didn’t have time for during the webinar in a blog post.
  • You pull a two minute excerpt from the audio to create a podcast.
  • You use the executive summary as a blog post with a link to download the whitepaper.

That’s five assets from one content initiative. You may also want to consider writing individual blog posts or articles to address meaty questions that were asked during the webinar for even more touch points.  By concentrating on the same ideas—albeit from different angles—for at least 5 impressions, you’re not only creating a consistent experience for prospects, but helping the ideas to stick with them, courtesy of your company. The ideas for expanding one concept or topic into multiple content assets are many. The only limitation is creativity. The secret is in knowing just which topics are considered high priority with your prospects and at which stages of their buying process they find them most compelling.

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Maria Pergolino

Blog Modern B2B Marketing Twitter Marketo InboundMarketer

Seamus Walsh"Simple Content Creates Quality Leads!"

Maria Pergolino's Bio

Maria Pergolino is Director of Marketing at Marketo, leading their efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six. Maria has a Marketing Degree and MBA from the School of Business at Rutgers University, is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, and a speaker at numerous marketing events. She has also written for many marketing blogs, and is a frequent contributor to Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing.

Maria Pergolino's Tip

Content Marketing Strategy:  Simple Content Creates Quality Leads
Just as our marketing forefathers were taught location, location, location, it’s important we embrace the new-age mantra: simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. And as this idea carries throughout the entire lead management process, it’s important to keep in mind the following items when fleshing out a content marketing strategy:

1. 140 Characters – Traditionally, long-form tactics, like trade shows, were essential to drive revenue, allowing conversation and marketing collateral to include lots of information.  And don’t get us wrong, they still can be.  However, streaming lead generation today happens best via content-based marketing.  Especially as online and mobile marketing continue to gain momentum, it’s particularly important to utilize your space, or lack of, during content creation.

Can you get your message across in 140 characters?  If not, you should highly reconsider what you’re saying.  Less is more. If you want to encourage interaction and sharing as a lead generation tactic, you need to get your point across as quickly and effectively as possible.  Less is important because less can carry lots of weight.  This is how simplicity works.  You want to inspire curiosity with your content:  the more weight you give each word, the better off you’ll be.  Save those filler words for congratulatory toasts.        

2. Cycles are circles, they keep going – The kind of content you deliver at the beginning of the marketing cycle needs to be appropriate information.  While you’re staying in touch, lead nurturing prospects, you want to make sure you’re not bombarding anyone.  What better way to ensure this then to carefully choose only a few pieces of information.  If you share too much, too soon, nothing is going to stick.  Are you more likely to catch one baseball thrown at you or five?

But, if you start small and add on, always adding appropriate information, you’re more likely to reach a qualified sales lead.  Since the B2B marketing cycle starts when the prospect is first met, and ends when the sale is closed, you always want to be providing the right amount of information.  Some prospects may require more lead nurturing than others, and some may be ready right away.  Either way, you don’t want to convolute messages with inappropriate information.

3. If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, a video’s worth 10,000 – You write for a great blog, right?  And you write tons of resourceful, educational and interesting posts.  (Hopefully if you don’t already, you will soon)  But remember words aren’t the only way to convey messages.  Embedding videos, Podcasts and even the design of your blog are great methods of staying simple while relaying information.  The Nielsen Company recently reported a 5.2% increase of unique viewers of online video.  These tools are continuing to grow, stressing the importance of short, precise content and posts.  All of the tactics stated previously can add a visual appeal to your content to really drive the idea of less as more.

When dealing with prospects, it’s important for B2B marketers to remember you don’t have to provide all the information at once.  With tools like lead nurturing and lead scoring, it’s easier to know who make up the qualified sales leads amidst your pool of prospects.

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