Above the noise: 3 tips for better performing B2B digital content
Digital content, including webinars, virtual events, online training courses, podcasts and explainer videos, has seen a huge upsurge in popularity this year. But while this accelerated shift to digital has created brilliant opportunities for business communities to stay in touch and up to date - and has given B2B marketers an opportunity to connect with remote and displaced audiences - we now find ourselves perilously close to digital content overload.
So, with inboxes full to bursting, more invitations to digital events than it’s possible to shake a stick at, and social media offering users a continual stream of targeted online content, how can B2B businesses improve their chances of reaching (and engaging!) their target audience?
Here are three quick tips to help you give your digital content a better chance of being heard above the noise:
Tip 1: slow down
If pressure is mounting to get brand or product messages out there, it can be tempting to jump straight into the tactics of your next digital campaign. My advice would be to take a moment’s pause. In times of change, the best content-driven B2B campaigns begin with a small step back; to revisit objectives, reassess the relevance of messaging and ensure customer needs are at the core of your activity.
A sound content strategy will give you a better chance of success than poorly planned proliferation - and will help to ensure that the content you’ve taken valuable time to create doesn’t just become one more disregarded social post or spam email. So, if you’re being pushed forward too quickly, be brave enough to push back. At the very least, take the time to answer these four basic (and probably familiar) questions:
- What is the business objective of this content?
- Who exactly do we want to reach?
- What are their motivations and pain points?
- How will our content address their needs?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you have the tools you need to start creating relevant and engaging digital content.
Tip 2: make it easy
One big problem with a lot of digital B2B content is that it’s harder than it needs to be to access. And with such huge volumes of content available right now, it’s vital that you don’t deter engagement with too many clicks, complicated landing pages, or needlessly long forms to fill in. Yes, you want to be able to track views and test performance, but you need to balance that with making your content as convenient for your audience to get to as possible.
So keep the actions which must be taken to reach your content to a minimum: one click, three fields to fill in (if you must have a gate), and options to download or view online. Making it easy for your audience to view your content also makes it more likely that they will share your content - and you can facilitate this too, with buttons, widgets and pre-written social posts built in to your landing pages.
The other question worth asking here is, ‘should my digital content and webinars be available live or on-demand?’, and my answer is probably: both.Recent research has shown that live viewers are significantly more likely to view an entire online event than those who view on-demand - on average, on-demand viewers only stay for around 50% of an event. However, hosting the content for viewing ‘on-demand’ afterwards will help you to extract its maximum value - just be sure to schedule reminders for these viewers.
Tip 3: provide practical help
A lot of B2B content is written by experts for experts. Unfortunately, that can sometimes lead to a lot of theorising and intellectual bluster that leaves tired, time-poor audiences asking, ‘so what?’ The best performing B2B content is usually the content that answers pertinent questions or solves common problems, and gives those who read it real and practical advice to take away. Yes, there are developments in your audience’s industry, but what does it mean to them? How will it change their working day? And, most importantly, what practical tools and advice can you provide to make it easier for them to adapt to change or maximise on an opportunity?
These are the sorts of questions we asked ourselves when we decided to start our own ‘Content Excellence’ series of guides. With digital now at the core of most B2B marketing strategies, we have had lots of clients ask for our advice on writing for digital - so we decided to provide practical help with our latest guide on Writing Copy for Digital Ads. It’s packed full of straightforward advice and practical tips on everything from how many characters you can use in a Google search ad through to why version testing is so important - so if you’re trying to improve your digital content, it might be worth starting there.
The B2B Marketing Leaders report 2020
We recently sent a survey based on the four pillars of execution to 100 marketing leaders. The results of this survey were used in this report to demonstrate where marketers are at in their journey to digital marketing maturity. Check out all the findings here.