Sharing is caring

There is an amazing change happening in B2B marketing right now that is going to disrupt the entire industry. It’s a burgeoning specialism that your organisation is going to want know about. It’s called content marketing...have you heard of it?

Of course you have. Everyone has. It’s all anyone has been talking about for the past 18 months. I’ve written blogs about it, B2B Marketing has hosted conferences on it, it’s come up in every client meeting any marketer has had in recent memory. Like any other trend, I’d like to say it’s hit a point of saturation now where we can all claim to be experts (or gurus…*shudder*) and move on to the next thing. (Have we decided what the next thing is yet?) The only problem is that content marketing isn’t a trend. It’s not even new. Content marketing has been around since Michelin Tires started distributing the Michelin Guide, or John Deere created The Furrow. Why? Because Content Marketing is bloody brilliant.

Content marketing helps to achieve a whole host of business goals - thought leadership, customer engagement, and brand differentiation to name the most obvious. For any of those goals to be achieved, however, content marketing relies on the intended audience actually seeing the content you’re producing and, aside from the handful of die-hard fans that have a computer screen dedicated to your Twitter feed, that only happens if people are sharing it. Successful Content Marketing requires a) content and b) people sharing it.

So, as B2B marketers, how do you compel your audience to share your content?

People share things for a few different reasons. According to Jonah Berger, author and associate professor of marketing at Wharton, as outlined in his book ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On’, there are 6 reasons why people share content: the content makes them look good, it tells a story, it’s emotional, gives practical value, is being shared by others or they are triggered to talk about it. If you take any of those reasons up a level, you’ll see that the overarching connection is ‘care’.

People care that they look good. People care about stories, they “are inherently more engrossing than basic facts” says Berger. People care about helping others. People care about fitting in. The more a person cares about a piece of information, the more likely they are to pass it on – #sharingiscaring.

Now you’re no doubt asking, as B2B marketers, how do we make our audience care about our content?

That’s the wrong question.

It’s always risky to ‘make’ anyone do something they aren’t inherently disposed to do. If it goes wrong, they could end up resenting you. Your brand could become the enemy. Plus, aren’t B2B audiences too smart for any of that anyway?

The right question is, as B2B marketers, how do you produce content that your audience will care about?

And this is what I’ll be talking about at my session, coincidentally titled “Sharing is caring: people only share content they care about, so how do you make them care?” at the B2B Marketing Conference on November 5th.

Before that though, I have a question for you, as B2B marketers, will you be sharing this blog? Have you decided that it will make you look good or help your followers? Will it make you fit in with your social media audience or maybe the fast approaching B2B conference has triggered you to talk about it? Do you care about this blog? If so, share it and be sure to include the hashtag #sharingiscaring.

See you in November!