If your business sells products or services to other businesses, you’re probably looking for ways to attract attention and interest.
Content marketing has become a staple in most business-to-business (B2B) marketing plans. Many businesses are using blog posts, infographics, white papers and webinars to attract prospects. Others are producing videos and podcasts to build audience.
However, with every business creating content to try and attract prospects and move them through their sales funnel, there is a lot of competition these days for people’s attention. As part of our content development work for B2B clients, we have discovered some repeatable concepts that stand out in attracting more attention online.
Here’s an overview of five underused content types for attracting B2B attention, traffic and engagement.
1. The Influencer List
Every industry has a select group of influencers and thought leaders who dominate online discussion and attract the very audience you are seeking. Think of these folks as the gatekeepers to your target market. Using some industrial-strength social analytics tools or even your own experience, you can select relevant topics, identify the top online contributors and then publish a list of top influencers to follow.
This type of content attracts a lot attention because it’s valuable: it helps your prospects by pointing out thought leaders in the space; it helps promote influencers who reciprocate by sharing your content in their networks; and all of this helps you and your company build visibility and engagement online. Almost without exception, these influencer lists are among the most popular posts on the sites where we have published them. Here are some sample lists with which we’ve had success:
- Digital Transformation influencers;
- Finserv influencers;
- Canadian Finance influencers;
- Fintech influencers, VC influencers, and AI influencers.
If you’re skeptical about influencer lists, see: Influencer Lists – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
2. The Influencer Compilation Article
Once you’ve identified and promoted some of the top influencers in your market space, you can reach out to individuals and get their input on a relevant topic. Distilling this information into an article is a great way to create engaging content that is chock full of value for your target audience. Since the content includes top influencers, they have an incentive to share and promote your content. You can also leverage this type of article to raise the profile of a leader within your business, whether as a contributor or in the byline. Here’s a sample of this kind of influencer compilation article: How to get started with AI in your financial institution – NOW.
The absolute master of influencer compilation article is Jim Marous of The Financial Brand. His Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2017 is a masterpiece in which he compiles contributions from over 100 influencers in the space.
In many cases, the influencers that you wish to include in your compilation article will be very busy and may not be able to respond to your request in a timely manner, or at all. Keep your ask focused and make it easy for influencers to respond. Response rates will improve dramatically if influencers know you, so build relationships with them before asking. See also: Stop Marketing AT and Build Relationship WITH Influencers.
A variation on this type of article is to review existing tweets or blog posts on a topic and compile the best of them into an article that draws out the key insights. Be sure to embed or include screenshots of the tweets and mention the influencers you include with links to their social accounts.
3. The Glossary of Terms
Every industry has its own buzzwords and tech-speak. In many industries, new and innovative technologies are emerging faster than ever and many people are struggling to keep up. Try compiling some of this new technical terminology and defining it for your readers using simplified, common language. This kind of helpful reference content displays your knowledge of an emerging space, while offering valuable assistance to clients and prospects. Here’s a couple of examples of this kind of glossary content:
- Fintech Terminology that CEOs and Business Leaders Need to Know; and
- Glossary of Reactive Software Systems.
4. The Top Reads Article
In a world of information overload, curated content can be its own thought leadership strategy. A good vehicle for sharing curated content is to feature a handful – say, three to five for the sake of this discussion – of the best reading on a topic with a short summary of each. This type of article can be a recurring post on a blog site or can be incorporated into an email newsletter. Either way, distilling valuable learnings for your target market from the abundance of content being published daily is a great strategy for getting people’s attention. Here’s an example: Raghav Sharma’s Top Reads.
5. The Event Takeaways Article
Your industry, like every industry, has important conferences or exhibitions that are on everyone’s radar. But not everyone can always attend. Whether you are attending as a speaker, exhibitor or simply a participant at an important industry event, use your involvement to highlight key takeaways or insights. Act like a reporter and seek out speakers and exhibitors who stand out for you. This kind of content can be very valuable to your target audience, especially for people who wanted to but were unable to attend. Here’s a couple of excellent examples: from Gonzobanker’s Sam Kilmer, 8 Quick Finovate 2017 Takeaways, and from SLD NXT’s Jean-Pierre Lacroix, BAI 2017: A Beacon of Insights.
Conclusion: Influencer Content Engages
There are many content formats that work well in B2B settings and should be part of your content marketing efforts, such as white papers, guides, webinars, infographics and “how to” posts, just to name a few.
However, by focusing on and engaging with existing influencers and thought leaders within your industry and developing less-used content types that highlight insights from influencers and observations about your industry, your B2B content can find its target audience more effectively.