They Believe Content Shared by Someone They Trust

Straightforward and practical B2B + social media article by AJ Agarwal in Forbes:

The Real Truth About B2B Marketing And Social Media

Marketing in B2B requires an understanding of social media. Social media marketing and selling are constants for any business looking to grow themselves further. This is no different in a B2B design. You want to make sure your time is going to be dedicated to the right social network as a B2B. Here are some of the real truths behind which social media accounts you should be maintaining for your marketing strategy.

Facebook Is More Relevant To B2B Marketing Than Most Realize

One of the truths about B2B marketing is that Facebook is a staple no matter what niche you’re in. Much of the content out there will suggest that Twitter and LinkedIn are more relevant, but studies recently done showed otherwise.

The research asked people what channel they would turn to regarding a purchase. 24% of people answered that their decision would be used from looking at Facebook first. That means one in four people sought out Facebook specifically.

Furthermore, studies show that the average decision-maker uses Facebook around 18 days per month versus the 13 days per month using LinkedIn and Twitter. When making any decision, most people are more prone to go to their most-visited channels for the information first before heading elsewhere.

If Content Is Shared By Someone They Trust — They Believe It

Making yourself relevant on social media is imperative for a B2B looking to improve their marketing strategy. If you focus on getting content up on social media websites and can get the connections to help get exposure to that piece, then you will show as a more reputable company.

It’s important for a B2B to get to bloggers on LinkedIn and professionals on Facebook to help with promoting their products and writing quality content on it. A person is more likely to believe that they should select your company over another vendor based on the credibility of the information they find on all social media channels.

Research What Your Competitors Are Doing

It’s important to find the top performing brands in your niche and analyze their methods. See what they are doing to be successful and which platforms they are using to do this.

While Facebook might be the most-used of social media, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have a need to use marketing on other social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Every social media has a different end-game that can help with improving your sales. Learning how they work specifically for your niche and how active those professionals are for your B2B decision will be imperative.

The successful vendors in your niche have already laid out a platform of success. Research it, learn it, and use it to your advantage to succeed. Look at where these vendors are going wrong and find ways to implement slight improvements to make your vendor more qualified and reputable.

Paid Advertisement On Social Media

Social media has also become a huge hit for paid advertisements. This is how many of these social media websites are able to stay running. This is an opportunity for any B2B looking to enhance their marketing strategy.

Knowing your audience is important for paid advertisement because it will maximize your conversions and bring in a better profit margin by lowering costs. You may not find it effective for your B2B marketing strategy to include paid advertisement for every social media connection. You may want to limit it to the one or two most successful for your niche that can really pull in more interest.

Keep Your Social Media Accounts Updated

In B2B marketing, social media has become a crucial part of the success. With the internet being a top source for most professionals to look into vendors, you want your internet presence to grow and flourish. Have some professionals share your work to build credibility for you and to help with gaining relevance to your own content on it.


see the original article by  AJ Agrawal, Forbes Contributor 10.3.16



Emotion Helps B2B Content

Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers

When it comes to B2B buyers, you may think that a more calculated, technical approach to content marketing should be used.

Is that true?

In this post, we’ll check out why you need emotion in your B2B marketing, what types of emotional responses to elicit, and how to make your content more emotionally appealing.

Why B2B Buyers Need Emotional Content Marketing Techniques

The truth is, if ever there was an occasion to use emotion in content marketing, it’s with B2B buyers. Why?

Because the sales process for B2B buyers takes 22% longer than it did seven years ago.

Is this because today’s buyers are more indecisive? Not at all.

In fact, 82% of B2B buyers think that everyone is pretty much selling the same item. The competition is huge.

To not put too fine a point on it, all B2B suppliers look the same. At least that is the perception of buyers. To further complicate matters, buyers know that when they make a purchase decision it will be a long-term commitment.

What’s the best way to cut through the clutter so that your brand stands out? Appeal to emotion.

This is the ultimate dilemma for many B2B marketers:

How do you make an emotional connection with buyers so that they will become and stay brand loyal, all the while providing the technical factoids that are necessary to the sales process?

The best way to do this is by providing relevant, informational content that strikes an emotional cord with your audience.

We’ll examine the same four emotions she mentioned, but also add how you can use them in your content marketing.

  1. Happiness

Think of what happens when you see a baby let out a hearty laugh. Your immediate reaction is to smile and laugh, too.

Happiness is contagious. In marketing terms, happiness makes us want to share.

So, if your marketing goal is to increase shares and followers, think (and post) happy thoughts and images.

  1. Sadness

We can hardly say that there are any “bad” emotions in marketing. Although most of us don’t want to be sad, when we see something that makes us sad, empathy often wells up in us.

Not only that, but this kind of sadness results in an increase in a chemical called oxytocin, something that motivates us to be more trusting.

Therefore, if your goal is to create a positive, humanitarian persona for your company, create case studies that showcase how your brand has improved the lives (not the company as an entity) of your clients.

Did you help provide capital for a struggling business owner who is a single parent? Have you created a program to benefit the victims of poverty? Share this with your readers.

Of course, you always want your effort to be genuine, and not a publicity stunt. Tread carefully when trying to use sadness as a marketing emotion.

  1. Fear

Why does watching a horror movie when you’re all alone seem so much scarier than when you’re with a friend? The main reason is that we are hard-wired to look to each other for emotional support.

Some studies have shown that in the absence of an actual person, audiences will look to a brand or object to alleviate their fears.

How does this work in B2B content marketing? Well, certainly you don’t want to terrify your audience. However, you can present a fear-inducing problem your audience faces and show how you can help.

For example, are your prospects worried about their product becoming irrelevant? Share that fear and then show how you’ll alleviate their stress.

  1. Anger

While anger may not be the healthiest of emotions on which to bind a strong relationship, it does have its place.

For example, you may think that a blog post that presents an extreme view would alienate some of your audience. However, one study showed that comments in a blog post that were expressed as extreme and arrogant made readers dig in their heels to fight for what they already held to be true.

The point is that a piece of content that might seem strongly expressive is not necessarily bad. It may help to firm up relationships with those that share your view, as well as get a dialogue going, even with those who disagree.

Therefore, if your goal is to increase brand loyalty, go ahead and start a pointed discussion and see where it leads.

Best Platforms On Which to Create Emotional Connections

While new social platforms are born seemingly every other day, there are a few mainstays for B2B Marketers. Here are a few of my favorites (not in order of efficacy).

  1. Twitter

Twitter remains the go-to place for information sharing. Use this platform to direct the attention of your audience towards your owned content, as well as to inspire brand confidence by sharing industry-relevant content.

  1. Facebook

Although Facebook algorithms change frequently, this platform remains a front-runner, especially for engaging with industry leaders and customers alike.

Facebook is a great place to share emotional content, especially content that elicits compassion or humor.

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most important platforms for B2B marketers, yet one of the most under-utilized.

According to Oktopost, 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn!

Want to get more leads? It starts with a stellar LinkedIn company page. If you’re not sure how to get one started, check out my recent ebook, How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.

Inside, you’ll learn all about how to use images in the right place, how to write a killer description, and you’ll get some pro tips from the big dogs.



by Wendy Marx February 6, 2016



We’ll All Do More of It in 2016

Jason DeMers compiled some useful facts about content marketing. Two interesting ones: SEM is essential for B2B and eNewsletters are still #1 for B2C.  YouTube beats Twitter and Instagram in B2C platform rankings. Check out all of them below.

35 Content Marketing Statistics You Need To Know In 2016

As we approach 2016, it’s interesting to think about how content marketing has changed this year, and where we’re headed in the coming year.

To help with this, I’ve put together this list of the most recent content marketing statistics I could find. I’ve divided them into B2B, B2C and general content marketing statistics. Most are from 2015, although I’ve thrown in a handful of older stats where newer data couldn’t be found.

Content marketing encompasses and intersects with many other digital channels: social media, blogging and email marketing to name a few. The statistics contained in this post are generally focused around content marketing as an industry and practice, rather than on stats for specific digital marketing channels (although there are a few of these as well).

B2B Content Marketing Stats

  1. 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy. (source)
  2. 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (source)
  3. The most effective B2B content marketers allocate a larger portion of their budget to content marketing: 42% of their total budget, compared to 28% for less-effective marketers. (source)
  4. B2B marketers report sales lead quality as their #1 most important metric for measuring content marketing success; even more important than sales and conversions. (source)
  5. Nearly half (48%) of the most effective B2B marketers have a documented editorial mission statement as part of their content strategy. (source)
  6. 76% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016. (source)
  7. The 5 most important marketing tactics for B2B businesses are (in order): in-person events, webinars/webcasts, case studies, white papers and videos. (source)
  8. 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy. Other popular platforms include Twitter (87%), Facebook (84%), YouTube (74%) and Google+ (62%). (source)
  9. 66% of B2B marketers rank LinkedIn as the most effective social media platform for their business. Other effective platforms were Twitter (55%), YouTube (51%), SlideShare (41%) and Facebook (30%). (source)
  10. 66% of B2B marketers report using search engine marketing (SEM), making it the most used paid marketing tactic among B2B companies. (source)
  11. 55% of B2B marketers report that search engine marketing (SEM) is their most effective paid advertising method. (source)
  12. 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation will be their most important content marketing goal in 2016. Sales will be their second priority. (source)
  13. A majority (60%) of B2B marketers report that their top challenge in 2016 will be producing engaging content. 57% say measuring content effectiveness will be their greatest challenge, and 57% say producing content consistently will be their biggest struggle. (source)

B2C Content Marketing Stats

  1. 76% of B2C marketers report using content marketing, yet only 37% say their strategy is effective. (source)
  2. 37% of B2C marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. This is up from just 27% last year. (source)
  3. B2C marketers use infographics more than any other content strategy. 62% report using infographics, and 63% from this group said they were effective. (source)
  4. Content marketing budgets have increased among B2C companies this year: On average, 32% of total marketing budgets are going towards content, compared to 25% last year. (source)
  5. Compared to 2015, 77% of B2C marketers say they will produce more content in 2016. Only 2% will produce less. (source)
  6. The most popular content marketing tactic reported by 90% of B2C businesses is social media; the next most used tactics are illustrations and photos (87%), eNewsletters (83%), videos (82%) and website articles (81%). (source)
  7. The most effective content marketing strategy for B2C businesses is eNewsletters (61% of marketers say these are effective). Other effective strategies are in-person events (67%), illustrations/photos (66%) and social media content (66%). (source)
  8. The most popular social media platform among B2C businesses is Facebook, with 94% reporting its usage. Other popular platforms are Twitter (82%), YouTube (77%) and LinkedIn (76%). (source)
  9. 66% of B2C marketers say Facebook is their most effective social platform; this is followed by YouTube (53%), Twitter (50%) and Instagram (42%). (source)
  10. The most popular paid advertising methods for B2C marketers are promoted posts and search engine marketing (SEM). 76% of businesses reported using these strategies. (source)
  11. The most effective paid advertising method for B2C marketers is search engine marketing (SEM), with 64% reporting that it’s effective. (source)
  12. The #1 content marketing goal for B2C businesses in 2016 is sales (83%), followed by customer retention and loyalty (81%) and engagement (81%). (source)
  13. 30% of B2C marketers say sales is their most important content marketing metric. (source)
  14. 50% of B2C companies say they plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2016. (source)
  15. Self-employed individuals are more likely to use blogging than large businesses (those with 1,000+ employees). (source)
  16. B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)
  17. 45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy. (source)
  18. 69% of marketers say they plan to increase their use of blogging this year. (source)
  19. The average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140-1,285 words. (source)
  20. Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (source)
  21. Just over half (51%) of business owners report that content management is “very important” or “absolutely critical” to creating a cohesive customer journey. (source)
  22. 71% of marketers report using visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy. (source)



DEC 10, 2015 Jayson DeMers for Forbes



Analytics Drives Content

I constantly recommend Google Analytics to my students and clients, whether they’re starting research for their SEO campaign or starting an email effort.  The below article from Entreprenuer.com has some great tips on using GA for social media.

5 Ways Google Analytics Finds You Relevant Topics for Your Social-Media Campaign

Social media are communications channels that many of us think about in whimsical ways. But these channels are also something marketing experts take dead seriously, for the opportunities they present to post content that is sharable, interesting — and potentially crucial for marketing a business.

All of that is great to know, of course, as long as you’re not a content writer.

The reason is those times in every content writer’s career when coming up with the constant stream of interesting topics social media requires doesn’t happen so easily. If this is an issue for you, here are a few tips that will give you the fastest, easiest way to find those new content topics that are exactly what your target audience is interested in.

Google Analytics for content topics

Google’s free reporting platform, Analytics, provides a wealth of data and information pertaining to your website and website visitors. Using this tool is as simple as creating an account, inserting the code to your website pages and letting the data come flowing through. Business owners and webmasters use this data to determine how to make their websites better, improve user experience and, more importantly, gain insights.

Here’s what to check out on, and use Google Analytics data for, to determine content topics you can include in your social media content strategy.

  1. Interest categories

Interest categories are based on users who visit your website. Google categorizes them by interest, lifestyle and product purchases. Interests may be found under the “Audience” tab in Analytics. Using this information, you can craft content based on categories such as: movies, music, business, news, travel and other categories that your website visitors or target audience may like.

  1. Keywords

Another great way to find out the interests of your target audience members, specifically related to your products or services, is to learn what key-word terms they themselves used to find your website.

When a number of people use the same keywords, these are great potential areas of audience interest for your audience that can be used to craft your content topics. Keywords or search terms may be found under “Acquisition,” and then “All Traffic,” with an assortment of keywords offered.

  1. Search feature on your website

The search feature on your website is one of the most overlooked features. But by looking at what website visitors are searching for, you can gain direct insights into what their interests are. You can find these search terms by visiting the “Behavior” tab in Google Analytics, then opening up the “Site Search” tab and reviewing “Search Terms.”

Not only can you find the search terms people are interested in, you can also gauge the importance or relevance to your target audience, based on how many visitors have searched with similar terms. You can then compile a list of content topics based on these customer search terms.

  1. Comments on blogs

Comments that visitors leave indicate a level of engagement with your content. The more comments there are, and the more different types of comments and information they’re focused on, could indicate further needs in those areas, and become great content to use to refine your social media content strategy.

For example, a long debate or discussion might relate to a specific article you could expand on in your next content piece and share socially, to drive more people back for further discussion. Comments will likely be found in the blog of your website or on your CMS.

  1. Pages visitors frequent the most

A final area in Google Analytics where you can gather indications of what types of content or topics interest your target audience and website visitors is your website pages.

Looking at Analytics, you can determine which pages or blog posts your visitors have viewed the most. You can also determine how much time they spent there. Using this information, you can then generate more content about those areas you know your audience already has an interest in. You can also look at your site’s popular content from a different angle: Find a direction that those topics haven’t addressed before, or give customers a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at your product or service.

However you find your topics or creative ideas for content, the most important thing to keep in mind revolves around your target audience. What needs or concerns are you addressing for them? What information can you share that will draw them into what you have to offer?

Now, you’ve got the great content. What do you do next?

Now that you have a long list of content topics to write about, the next step is obvious: You will want to write your own content. Once it’s drafted and posted, on your website or blog, share it on social media with a link and an image.

Make sure that that content is something enticing and important enough for customers to share and feel compelled to comment on. That is the true test to determine that you’ve found the right content topics for your social media audience.



Taming Content Chaos

3 Reasons Why B2B Digital Marketing Is Different From B2C

A great marketing strategy for any business focuses on how to create, distribute, and track buyer-centric content. But B2B digital marketers face a unique challenge that B2C does not—taming content chaos.

Let me explain.

In B2B, the buying cycle is longer, strategies and processes are more complex, and multiple decision makers influence the content lifecycle. Simply put, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and they are all significant to the pace and success of a purchase.

It’s not enough for B2B digital marketers to use one type of content to target all buyers within an organization. B2B digital marketers need to target multiple buyers within a single organization over a multi-stage sales cycle, and across channels owned by different teams. To pull this off takes diligent planning, communication, and alignment across internal stakeholders.

In addition, nearly half (43%) of B2B buyers said the number of people involved in purchase decisions has grown significantly, and that trend is rising.

As a digital marketer, how do you find a way to please everyone and still make headway within the sales funnel? By working strategically across your organization to deliver the right content to the right people, through the right channels.

Three Things B2B Digital Marketers Can Do to Get Ahead:

Simplify the buyer’s journey, right now.

The buyer’s journey becomes more complex than B2C because internal stakeholders across the company are not communicating clearly, or in agreement on which digital marketing content works best for each step of the sales cycle. This generates confusing documentation, mixed results on what material is most effective, and wastes a lot of time, energy, and resources.

Remember, propelling a lead through the sales pipeline is not a one-man job in the B2B digital marketing world. To shift into a more efficient content lifecycle, and remove frustration between teams, make things as clear and as easy as possible. Define and agree on what your buyer’s journey and sales stages look like, and then map associated content to each step as a combined team effort.

Cohesive, ongoing collaboration between all internal teams and team members provides a closed-loop strategy that’s consistent company-wide, and gets you past bumps in creating digital content for a single, more effective, buyer’s journey.

Craft buyer personas to sell to multiple stakeholders more efficiently.

Unlike B2C sales, B2B marketers have to address several personas within a single sale. Each persona has unique information needs, goals, and concerns related to the purchase, and each one often joins the decision-making process at different stages. Clear, defined buyer personas make it easier to align specific packages and features with key customer pain points and keeps the sales pipeline moving.

In order to create digital marketing content that addresses the pain points of each type of buyer at every stage of the buying cycle, you need insight from content stakeholders. Gather information from sales representatives and the customer service team, as well as customers, to craft buyer personas that map to a singular, clear buyer’s journey and clearly document what content converts so other team members can use it as a reference.

Manage and coordinate cross-channel engagement with clear timelines and streamlined distribution.

For even the savviest, most experienced B2B digital marketers, integrating and coordinating a matrix of marketing technologies can seem like a living nightmare. Between marketing automation, CRM, CMS, and social media channels, the content lifecycle is never ending.

A study by the Content Marketing Institute also found nearly half of all marketers are publishing new content weekly, which means even more planning and content clutter to organize into the appropriate digital marketing channel.

As a first step, clearly define all the digital channels you will use to distribute B2B content, including email, corporate blog, paid advertising, and specific social media channels. Integrate social with your marketing content strategy by breaking down larger content assets into bite size pieces, and map social outreach to buyer personas.

Find an online marketing tool to track what content pieces and campaigns are successful and which ones flop in order to measure effort vs results. Time content within key digital marketing channels to align with a release, email campaign, conference, or industry announcement and be sure to target key buyer personas.

While B2B digital marketing has unique challenges compared to B2C marketing, there’s a way to turn those “challenges” into a smooth, well-orchestrated buyer’s journey.




Remember the Person

B2B Content Marketing: Who Is Your Audience…Really?

When I ask a B2B content marketing manager who his or her target audience is, I’ll often hear an answer along the lines of “Our target audience? Sure, we’ve got that nailed down. We want to reach publicly traded companies in the oil and gas industry with at least 2,000 employees who …”

As Seinfeld would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that …”

But it only tells half the story. When I drill a little deeper and ask them who specifically in that organization they want to reach, very few can answer with confidence.

This is one of the biggest distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing. While your B2C personas focus on a single individual (“Women in their 30s who are re-entering the workforce after starting a family …”), B2B audience targeting is a bit more complex.

On the B2B side, we need to know the person as well as the company.

Know Your Audience: The Company

When determining the audience for your content, yes, you must absolutely know what kind of company you want to target. A few pertinent questions to address here are:

Which industry is this company in?

What is the company size in terms of employee count? In terms of annual revenue?

Where is the company located geographically? Where is its headquarters, and where are its key locations?

What else would make a company an ideal client for us? Target market? Ownership? Employee profile?

Pretty simple, right? That’s why most B2B content marketers stop right there. But there is, as we say here in Texas, “a whole ‘nother level” to consider.

Know Your Audience: The Person

As a B2B content marketer myself, I can attest that no company has ever sat down to read a blog post, watch a video, or listen to a podcast of mine.

No, we create content for people, and part of our task is to determine which people we want sitting on the other side of that email, that white paper, that video, that infographic.

Here we want to consider questions like:

In which department or division does this person work?

What is his or her job title?

What is his or her level of industry expertise?

How long has he or she been with the company?

What is the age, gender, education level, marital status, etc. of this person?

What does this person want? What does he or she value most?

What challenges does this person deal with?

When I create audience personas, I even go so far as to assign the person a name and come up with personal details like “he’s eager to be promoted to Director, but it’s still important that he be home in time to spend a few hours with his family every night.” Every detail you determine makes the picture a little clearer, which lets you be more and more focused in how you approach your content.

Where does this information come from? I always like to start by looking at existing clients. Think about your very best customers — the ones you’d gladly clone if you could — and use what you know about them to begin creating your ideal client persona.

Remember, the better you know that B2B client — the company and the person — the better prepared you’ll be to produce content that truly resonates.


Originally published 8/7/15