The results are in for our survey of B2B PR practices. The key takeaway: Social media is taking a big bite out of traditional PR methods.
The informal survey, which was conducted online in March 2013, showed that social media is far and away the favored news distribution tactic with the press release lagging far behind.
94% of those surveyed said they use social media to promote announcements vs. 71% who report using press releases. Seventy five percent said they post a release on a company website while 68% send a release directly to reporters.
45% said they would use social media if they could use just one promotional vehicle vs. 24% who said they would issue a press release.
49 % report using an online distribution service like PR Web, while 40% report using one of the traditional services like PR Newswire, Business Wire or Marketwire
45% said LinkedIn was the most helpful social media tactic; 35% favored Twitter, 13% Facebook and 2% Google+.
While the respondents are not necessarily representative of the PR practice universe, they are typical of a rising generation of social media-savvy PR practitioners and open a door into the future direction of B2B public relations: It is more and more becoming a socially-driven world. This can have large implications for B2B company PR practices. Going direct to customers and prospects via social media can be one of the most effective ways to get the word out. The survey also has potential implications for traditional PR distribution services with lower cost distribution services overtaking the traditional channels.
However, don’t assume you should completely abandon established PR practices. What the survey reinforces is that news announcements can be amplified through multiple free channels including social media, free PR distribution sites, company websites and reaching out directly to reporters. It also suggests that the days of simply sending a press release over a wire service are over. In our experience, a traditional wire service such as PR Newswire, Business Wire or Marketwire, can amplify a message particularly if you are a publicly traded company and need to get in front of analysts and investors. The online distribution service PR Web provides its own version of this via its financial service package. However, if you are not a publicly-traded company you may do just fine using free press release distribution services along with social media, your website and your own media outreach. We urge you to test it yourself.
What have you found to be most effective in terms of promoting your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. But first, check out our infographic with the survey results!
You can never tell when you might learn something new.
Dining recently at Mt. Snow, Vermont’s summit lodge after a fun morning of skiing, I was given a lesson in persuasion from an audacious 8-year-old named Sara. I overheard Sara and her older sister Lisa devising a way to convince their ski instructor to let them go on their favorite ski trail. Her idea was simple yet brilliant: Eagerly ask the instructor if he would take them. Guess what? It worked. After approaching the instructor, he went back and asked who’d like to try their trail of choice. Can you guess who screamed the loudest that she did? Sara confidently looked at her sister and said, “I told you. All you have to do is ask.”
The art of the ask is a topic on which folks have written countless books and “how to” articles. One of those basic truths, it easily gets lost or confused in our tendency (as adults) to overthink. Even PR professionals, the supposed “communication experts”, can easily get things mixed up and actually forget “the ask.”
PR, no matter the type, has many facets because it caters to multiple masters. The client is obviously the top dog, the last person a PR pro has to please. With that being said, you’re not a “Yes man,” doing whatever the client wants, but you offer discerning advice. Just like any professional consultant, you suggest the right tactics to meet a client’s goals.
Don’t think of that as a given. When making recommendations, you have toask for your client’s agreement. If you don’t, there’s no give-and-take dynamic. And in doing so, you need to employ tact by understanding your client’s style and the best way to make the ask. Do you try to have it come out as client’s idea? Should you do it aggressively or in a more casual manner? It all depends on the personality of your client. Ultimately though, part of your success depends on how well you master the ask.
Where PR gets sticky is when you have a bunch of other folks to ask–including reporters, event coordinators, journalists, employees, associations and probably others as well. You want all of them to be on your side so together you can achieve the client’s goals. In this instance you should also be aware of the style and wants/needs of those you work with.
Last but not least, remember to ask for what you need to run your PR campaign. It could make the difference between a shining success or dismal failure.
Have you asked for something to make your campaign more effective? Please share your story!
There’s something ironic happening in the world of B2B PR. Sometimes it seems that just about everyone is hopping on the bandwagon of creating engaging, individualistic content. Other times, it’s as if there were tons of folks lining up to hand their content generation over to mass automation technology.
Here’s the latest point in favor of the techies, pulled from a post by Scott Redick in Forbes predicting the rise of automation:
“News writing will increasing become the domain of automated software programs…PR firms will hire technical experts to manipulate code on content farms, search algorithms and copywriting bots.”
The end result: public relations professionals will function as “truth engineers,” to use Redick’s terminology, spinning the truth to suit their client’s wishes.
Some cynics may believe that’s what PR professionals do now, albeit with words, instead of code. Yet there’s a major discrepancy between putting your best foot forward – something most B2B PR professionals strive for – and explicit deceit. This form of complete distortion has no place in any PR pro’s toolkit.
In the meantime, let’s return to technology and content.
Content can definitely be machine-manipulated to dupe search engines. In addition, content automation companies like Automated Insightsexcel at writing data-driven stories, though they reportedly have people touch up the work when necessary. Considering the caliber of some human-written (so old fashioned!) press releases, I’d imagine a machine could produce better work than some of those lengthy, terminology-intense mounds of jibberish.
With that being said, there’s much more to content marketing than simply writing articles. Content, in order to be distinguished among the deafening roar, should have a bit of idiosyncrasy–a smattering of whimsy or artistry. As Joe Pulizzi says,
“Epic content is all about stories that inform or entertain, that compel people to action and truly makes a difference in people’s lives. It positions the company as a trusted leader. It makes the buying process easier.”
Beyond riveting content, B2B content marketing must be structured around a strategy. If it isn’t, it’s simply copy, not marketing with goals and deliverables.
It’s great when technology serves our goals and makes processes more convenient or better. However, the “marketing” in content marketing–and in many cases the “content” aspect too– depends on the qualitative judgments of real people. A machine might be spectacular at processing data but it can’t make the subtle distinctions (not to mention witty rhetoric) that we can.
A classic Winston cigarette ad had a grammatically incorrect word, using “like” instead of “as.” It went: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” A logic-driven machine would make the sentence grammatically correct and by doing this, lose the rhythm of the phrase.
By the way, I wrote this post on my own — entirely without the aid of a computer, a machine, or a droid from Star Wars.
I’d love to hear how you are using technology to enhance your content marketing. Please tell us about it in the comments!
Everyone in marketing tries to do it. What most folks don’t realize, is that very few do it well.
What are we referring to? Content marketing, of course. Otherwise known as branded content, brand journalism, or business story-telling, among other monikers.
It’s apparent a phrase is popular when it spawns its own lexicon. Or when mega brands like Coca-Cola embrace it. The soft drink empire recently revamped its website in homage to content marketing.
You can tell “content marketing” has entered the list of marketing terms when you find any number of conferences devoted to the topic. Take the example of the all-day content-marketing event given by the Content Marketing Institute in cooperation with Target Marketing and Publishing Executive. The event, titled Content Marketing World NYC, brought in a plethora of content marketers (and those seeking to become content marketers). It was also chaired by two content marketing industry elites: Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. The two co-authored one of the foremost books on the topic, along with other accomplishments.
You may be wondering to yourself, “OK, so what’s so great about content marketing?”
Advertising, it seems, has lost much of its effectiveness. We live in a world where the average person is bombarded by some 3,000 brand impressions a day. According to research firm Altimeter Group, advertising needs to function together with other media, including company–created content and user-generated content. Content marketing in its most fundamental definition, is content a brand owns or publishes without any media buys, according to Altimeter.
That of course is the baseline. In order to be truly effective, content marketing, as Pulizzi and Rose stressed at the Content Marketing World event, must tell a story that allows people to engage with a brand. Moreover, it can’t be a one-time wonder but should be a long-term commitment, or as Rose phrased it, “Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.”
In fact, a marathon is the perfect analogy. Besides being a time-consuming process, it also requires some heavy lifting. It’s no surprise that a survey by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs discovered that only roughly a third of over 1,400 B2B marketers surveyed said they believed their content marketing campaigns effective.
Here are 3 key elements from Robert Rose to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing:
Tell a story. A story is a natural way to grab people’s attention. It draws you in and captures your emotions as well as your mind. What’s more interesting – a list of facts or a story that weaves the same elements into an engaging narrative?
Implement a strategy. Like any effective program, content marketing must be supported by a solid strategy. A company should understand its audience, business needs and what will appeal to its various market segments. According to Rose, the reason why most content marketing doesn’t succeed is that many companies dive right in without a strategy. Once you have a strategy in place you need a replicable process to produce your content.
Use channels to tell your story. No longer can you tell your story exclusively on your website. As Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang observe in the Altimeter report on The Converged Media Imperative: “Brands are challenged to intercept this elusive customer and cut through the media clutter, regardless of whatever channel or medium consumers are engaged with.”
What are you doing to accelerate your Content Marketing? I look forward to hearing from you.
Credit Jamie DePeau, the company’s CMO, who joined the team around a year ago from TIAA-CREF. She clearly brought a strategic marketing focus with her. Although Lincoln had already begun heading in a new direction before DePeau grabbed the reigns, DePeau introduced the integrated marketing mindset to PR, advertising, and social media.
Earlier, Lincoln Financial had done research indicating that the more control people have over certain aspects of their lives, including their finances, the better they feel about their life’s direction.
Lincoln Financial, in cooperation with its agency, gyro, used findings from that research to develop a “Chief Life Officer” campaign. It aimed to empower consumers by appealing to their optimism and ability to take charge of their lives. In past times, Lincoln, which offers its products through intermediaries like employers, advisers, and agents, had targeted the middlemen instead of the end user: the consumer.
“On launch day, our new campaign promoted everyone to CEO of his or her own life. A position we refer to as the “Chief Life Officer,” said DePeau. “It recognizes the fact that our lives are in many ways like a business. We’re in charge of making major decisions, managing our finances and keeping morale positive. The primary message is that you’re the boss of your life, and Lincoln Financial is here to help you take charge.”
After the launch, DePeau initiated additional research. To Lincoln Financial’s surprise, consumers, especially women, were more optimistic about their ability to influence their future than Lincoln had expected. In fact, the MOOD of America Survey showed that about 75% of women said they were optimistic about the future compared to 66% of men.
Based upon these findings, Lincoln Financial created an integrated campaign of PR, advertising, social media, as well as educational content, all geared towards Lincoln Financial and women.
“We tend to believe that because we’re speaking to the business or consumer community, our advertising doesn’t have to be emotionally driven,” said DePeau. “You must incorporate the emotional component, plus help educate the consumer, instead of merely talking to them.
“While others in the category tended to use fear in their advertising, we believed the time was right to try a different, more optimistic approach.”
Integrating public relations, social media, and advertising, the campaign featured a video of women of all ages showing how they take charge of their lives. It also provided educational content to help women do just that. The PR was driven from the research results. The Chief Life Officer ads carried on the “take charge, optimistic theme,” which was restated through social media.
And how has the integrated campaign turned out?
After having been released for four months, brand awareness is up, according to DePeau, and among the consumers aware of the campaign, all key attributes that influence consideration and purchase behavior have increased by double digits.
5 tips from Jamie DePeau on creating a successful integrated marketing campaign:
1. Research-centric approach: “The entire time we researched our target audience and watched our competitors to make sure we completely understood American’s attitudes after 2008 and expectations for their financial services partner, plus how to significantlydifferentiate a financial services brand from it’s competition.”
2. Emotion first: Appeal to people’s emotions as well as logic. Finance is an extremely emotional and personal issue. “We weren’t afraid to initially approach it with emotion and then provide tools and education after the emotional appeal.”
3. Integrated campaign: PR and internal brand communications are just as crucial as advertising.
4. Media partnerships: Initiated focused, vertically cohesive media partnerships that lengthened reach while experimenting with new media channels.
5. Inside out: “Internal branding started first and our November 2010 launch was focused on employees. We wanted to get employees across the country engaging with the new campaign and turning into brand ambassadors for Lincoln.”
PS - Do you want to grow your marketing database? I’ve recently partnered with lead generation expert Jeff Ogden to offer an exciting new program to help you do this. Check out this brief video below to learn more.
Trumbull, CT, October 2, 2012 – Jeff Ogden, noted demand generation expert, and award-winning B2B PR maven Wendy Marx have teamed up to create B2B Marketing Sales Leads, a unique 90- day consultancy guaranteed to drive marketing ROI through an integrated demand generation program.
B2B Marketing Sales Leads is a two-part program. The first part focuses on driving traffic to a landing page through a hub-and-spoke approach using multichannel content created by B2B content marketing experts. The second part of the program is a sales qualification process. Leads are nurtured through an email campaign and scored for readiness to buy. You receive warm, qualified leads for conversion.
Ogden, creator of Find New Customers, was named one of the 50 most influential people in lead management in 2011 by The Sales Lead Management Association. In addition, Ogden’s blog, Fearless Competitor. was named the #1 B2B Blog of 2012 by BuyerZone. Marx, founder of Marx Communications, an award-winning PR and marketing communications agency, is an expert blogger on B2B PR and marketing best practices forFast Company and was named to the Nifty Fifty Top Women of Twitter in 2011.
B2B Marketing Sales Leads is a guaranteed step-by-step approach that ties marketing to sales leads. Structured around a single-issue call to action, it guarantees generation of sales leads within 30 days. It can transform your business into a lead machine through a coordinated campaign that combines social media, press releases, email marketing, websites, pay-per-click ads, blog posts and other contributed content.
B2B Marketing Sales Leads is integrated with all major marketing automation programs such as Marketo, Eloqua, and Act-On Software. It can also be integrated with Salesforce.com for companies that are not currently using marketing automation.
“I’m tired of boring websites, crappy content, and mind-numbing ‘me, me, me’ product information, and I bet you are too,” said Ogden. “Unfortunately, prospective buyers are bored too, which is why salespeople lack enough qualified leads to make quota. B2B Marketing Sales Leads helps small- to mid-sized businesses implement and deploy world-class lead generation programs.”
“Doing random acts of marketing – a bunch of strung-together marketing tactics without a plan or focus – is a recipe for disaster,” said Marx. “It wastes money and time, and it fails to generate the sales opportunities your people really need. Our Hub and Spoke approach is highly focused, helping you identify that one key pain to address, that one market segment to target, and that one call to action that delivers an effective solution.”
Find New Customers was founded by Jeff Ogden in 2009 to address the growing needs of salespeople to change the ways they attract, engage and win new customers. Since then, it has helped companies such as Keyedin, Protegrity and others to develop and implement world-class demand generation programs. Find New Customers has also done professional content development for Marketo, Genius.com, Aplicor and Silverpop. Ogden is the creator and host of Marketing Made Simple TV. To learn more, visithttp://findnewcustomers.com and sign up there for free weekly marketing tips.
About Marx Communications
Marx Communications is made up of B2B PR specialists that help companies craft the right message, cutting through the multichannel clutter so it can be heard clearly by a receptive audience. Founder Wendy Marx, winner of two regional Gold Mercury awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), helps companies and executives grow their thought leadership as they grow their sales. Over her career, she has helped numerous B2B startups to become well-known industry brands, including marketing gurus Peppers & Rogers Group and TheStreet.com’s equity research shop. Her firm’s clients are regularly interviewed by CNBC, Barron’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other major media worldwide. To learn more, visithttp://www.marxcommunications.com
The balance of power in B2B PR has changed. The media, though still influential, no longer controls everything. Since the B2B public relations field is constantly changing and adapting, we will be posting on B2B PR best practices and the transforming face of the industry.
The initial post on this topic is an interview with Brian Kardon, CMO of Lattice Engines. Kardon joined this company in June following an extremely successful 4-year stint at Eloqua. During this time, he was instrumental in helping grow the company from $20 million to $70 million in annual revenue. Before working at Eloqua, Brian was the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Forrester Research. He performed the same, phenomenal feat there: he helped to more than triple their revenue in 5 years.
WENDY MARX: What’s your primary goal in regards to public relations?
BRIAN KARDON: Each market contains a unique ecosystem of influencers. The PR programs I’ve managed sort the influencers into separate tiers. We design a communication program for each tier that is specific to that group–-frequency of communication, method (face-to-face, email, video conference, etc.), and messages. Contrary to popular belief, all influencers are not made equal. Therefore, one must treat them differently. The elite tier might receive a monthly call from the CEO or myself, along with regular, face-to-face meeting. The next tier might get quarterly, videochat briefings and a monthly email.
It’s absolutely crucial to continue engaging with influencers, whether you need help at the moment or not. I’ve watched a multitude of PR pros pitch ideas to folks who they hadn’t “warmed up” for a period of time beforehand.
In the past, influencers were a quite concentrated group. Nowadays, just about anyone can become an influencer. All they need is a well-read industry blog, newsletter, conference, or consultancy. In the tech field, the utter dominance of Forrester, IDC, and Gartner has been worn down by new powerhouses like Altimeter and Constellation.
Do you view B2B public relations as a lead generation tool?
I never use PR to generate leads, at least not intentionally. I utilize public relations to grow awareness, alter perceptions, and build the top of the funnel. I come from an extremely metrics-driven background–at Forrester, Eloqua, and now Lattice Engines. We measure PR in numerous of ways, but rarely from a lead generation perspective.
Can you mention a few methods you use for PR measurement?
Are there any ways we DON’T measure PR? I review web traffic, amount of inbound links, ratio of new to repeat visitors, branded searches, followers, fans, tweets, retweets, comments on posts, likes… and more. In my experience, the most important aspect is being consistent with what you measure. Using identical metrics over an extended period of time in a consistent way, you gain insight into patterns and trends that indicate what works and what doesn’t.
You should be using measurement to learn, not to point fingers. I’ve honestly learned more from mistakes than from success. The entire PR team must embrace the idea of continuous learning.
In addition, it’s vital to return to overall PR goals. This will vary with each company and campaign. Sometimes the goal might be to raise awareness, other times it could be changing perceptions in a certain way. It’s important to be able to link measurements to the goal at hand.
In your mind, what is the largest change and opportunity today in B2B public relations?
It’s tough to think of another profession that has changed this much in the last decade! A brand is what Google says it is. Press releases are fashioned for organic search purposes. PR is a real-time business. Newsjacking is commonly used as a method of boosting attention. News cycles are often measured in minutes and hours — not days. There’s a completely new technology-based backbone to PR–to communicate, monitor, measure and find opportunities. Posts in blogs effectively function as “link bait” for those linked to the posts. B2B PR pros must all be “in the know” and technically astute in order to survive.
Many of these changes have positive implications. There has never been a better opportunity to interact with influencers than now. You don’t have to get someone to a meeting or on the phone to engage. A tweet, leaving a comment on a blog, a DM, posting or sharing photos and videos are now all ways to start conversations. It’s definitely a two-way street. The most successful folks in PR know how to assist the media and influencers in making a connection or composing a story. They give key, timely info to the proper person in order to build lasting, long-term relationships.
How do you combine your PR efforts with marketing and/or social media?
Collaboration amongst the entire marketing team is crucial to success.
I advise against viewing the agency as a vendor. Instead, they are very much a team member and should be treated as such.
Campaigns need to be spread throughout as many channels as possible. A bright idea can be successful via social, email and live channels. Also, don’t forget about that infographic, video and interview. Connect with influencers using exclusives in ways that personalize the campaign for their specific audience. Tear down the walls separating the compartments of your marketing organization.
What have you learned at Eloqua that you can apply to Lattice Engines?
I learned several truly important lessons:
Our agencies were partners at Eloqua. Especially Jess3 (data visualization) and Shift (PR). They helped us conceptualize ideas and construct the marketing framework for them. You have to coax the best work out of your partners. Encourage them. Try something new. Take some chances. Back up your agencies even when complications arise. Really get to know them as people.
Go out of your way for your influencers. Make sure you give them credit. Compliment them. Never make negative comments about your company or products. Always be honest and willing to assist.
You should have a steller team that can work in real-time and eat digital media for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not easy to find such a team. Once you have one, do whatever you can to help them grow and learn.
Always be open to trying something new. The field is constantly shifting — you don’t want to miss out on any new opportunities. Were you an early adopter of Pinterest? Are you utilizing social sign-on for registration? Is your LinkedIn and Facebook presence optimized?
Can you give an example of effectively feeding an influencer?
There is no better way to develop a relationship than to actually work with an influencer. At Eloqua, our VP of Content Marketing, Joe Chernov, found 20 key influencers for our Social Media ProBook. We asked each for contributions. In return, we gave each contributor his/her own personalized avatar illustration that the contributor could use as a profile picture. This was an amazing, collaborative learning experience, plus it was tons of fun. The contributors not only gave us some exciting content, but also were quite generous by tweeting and blogging about the project. This coverage was worth almost as much as the content they contributed!
Which B2B marketing technique allows you to become better known, enhances credibility, thought leadership and finally boosts sales?
If your answer was “public relations,” give yourself a pat on the back!
For a long time now, PR has been sometimes viewed as a revenue-earning step-child since it’s tough to categorize. Of course one can always total press clippings, but how does that ultimately drive sales? It’s tough because there doesn’t seem to be a direct correspondence. How about the person who saw an article praising your product/service, and several months later decided to use it? Or what about all the folks with no recollection how they heard about you but somehow know about your product or service?
Okay then, should we just give up trying to tie public relations to sales?
Well, not if you’d like to get extra work from your PR campaign by also using it as a lead generation device.
Consider your press release to be an invitation for a potential client to take an action that brings this person closer to buying. For instance, you can include a call to action in your release that brings the prospect to your landing page. From there, the prospect is able to download “free” content after giving you some contact information. Congratulations, you’ve now started a dialog! Now without further ado, here are….
5 approaches to PR you can use in your B2B marketing efforts to bring in sales:
1. Refuse to Use Generic Press Releases
Although Press releases are a fundamental part of public relations, you still need more than just any old press release – you need a specific strategy.
Your release should complement your marketing efforts. It would be completely ineffective to write a generic press release intended only for distribution. You need to think: What am I trying to achieve with this release? What action do I want the reader to take after he/she sees the release?
2. Take Advantage of Multimedia
Get the most B2B marketing value possible in regards to click-throughs and lead generation. Colorful, engaging (and maybe even interactive) multimedia content like slide shows and videos enhance the effectiveness of your call to action. You can experiment to find out which type of dynamic content would best reach your target market.
3. Provide Readers With Extra Content
Don’t view the release as a one-time shot. Utilize it along with additional content for your target market. Ensure your release leads to other pages, blog posts, articles, videos, or anything else you can think of. All of the above can similarly link to your press release. As an added benefit, this will also help your company get ranked higher in the search engines.
The purpose for this sophisticated “web of content” is to connect with your potential clients and bring them into your sales funnel. The sales process has become a quite complicated and multi-layered process, and as Reevoo Insight has discovered, customers can come in at a variety of touch points and change from one channel to the a different one before the final conversion.
4. Get Social
If you have yet to incorporate social media into your B2B marketing strategy – time to get started! Social media is becoming increasingly omnipresent. It can be used together with pretty much all of your initial marketing strategies, press releases included.
Make it a piece of cake for anyone to share your release by including some social sharing buttons. Finally, remember to include a short synopsis of your release so it can be easily spread by fans without much effort.
5. Shoot for Specifics
Don’t sit back and relax after one press release. Continue to test your releases and change them depending on your target market and the response you receive. Certain calls to action might produce different effects on a given segment of your audience. This also applies to content. For instance, you might decide to emphasize one point in a release geared to executives and a different one when targeting agencies.
Throw everything together and you have a public relations program that will significantly boost the ROI of your B2B marketing campaign.
Now how are you increasing the value of your press releases? Have you been using any of the above techniques already? Are there other ones you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Here are 5 other mistakes B2B content marketers often make. Read on if you want some pointers on how to avoid these bloopers!
1. Curating content in areas you don’t care about.
If you’re in marketing, why curate content in music or some other unrelated field? You’re certainly not establishing your expertise.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most outlandish Tweeter or the most prolific blogger: an important way to grow your thought leadership can be through adding your perspective to someone else’s content. Readers will appreciate having an expert comment on other articles, helping them determine the value of popular ideas. Businesspeople will appreciate your thoughtfulness and expertise. They will remember that they learned from you and that you didn’t waste their time.
2. Forgetting to use backlinks.
Content marketing is all about engagement. What makes the web so perfect for that is that you can — and should — include links to related content in your posts. That way you’ll be able to alert relevant content marketers about your content. They in turn will start linking to your posts and before you know it you will have a conversation going within your content.
3. Link Back to Your Own Site
This part is crucial. Not only do you have to attract your potential clients with a message, but you also need to give them a medium they can use to respond. Your best content should call potential clients to action, but you also have to provide a way for them to act! Link back to your site, which will provide readers with more content as well as ways to respond (also be sure to have accessible contact information, query forms, etc.). Remember that social media is a cycle:you broadcast your original content to a larger audience with the aim of inspiring them to return to the source – your website!
4. Forgetting to promote your content.
Don’t think your job ends with writing and incorporating the right keywords in your site. You want to promote your content in social media and all your marketing materials. Include a catchy headline and link to it in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or whatever your social media channel of choices are. Include a link to your blog in your email signature, on your business card and in your marketing collateral.
Time and clarity are of the essence in the realm of social media. Focus on the key benefit in your content, and cite that with a link that will take readers to a more elaborate release and a call to action. Make sure you are targeting the right audience for your message, and even tailor several different releases for different outlets. You want to appear competent and informative to as many different groups as possible, so tailor your message to match their needs.
5. Neglecting to build a social network.
Whether its through blog subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook friend, or LinkedIn Connections, cultivating a community is almost as important as cultivating your message in B2B Public Relations. And even on the web, the principles of maintaining relationships stay the same – it takes time to make meaningful connections. In addition to updating your own content frequently, be sure to respond to commenters, read and respond to what those in your network are up to, and send messages to them when appropriate. They will remember that you cared and demonstrated interest in their objectives, which sometimes is more important than being the top expert in your field or the most visible on social media.
And here’s a bonus idea!
6. Stay Open to New Ideas
Don’t fear tech updates or new social media platforms. Nothing stays the same forever! Just look at how radio and television have been affected by the digital age. Stay fresh, and keep thinking of how new developments can help promote your message.
Like any form of marketing, B2B content marketing succeeds or fails based on how well it’s implemented. If B2B content marketing is done well, it can lead you to vastly increased numbers of pageviews, leads and, ultimately, sales. Done poorly though it’s just a waste of time and energy that will only hurt your bottom line.
If you want some pointers on effective content marketing, read on for some mistakes I often see businesses make!
This is a two-part post. I will post 5 more mistakes next week.
Here are the first 5 Common Mistakes In B2B Content Marketing:
1) Lacking a grand strategy.
Content marketing is just one tool in your overall Internet marketing toolbox. It’s all too easy for a well-meaning manager to read articles about how two-thirds of businesses are blogging and immediately jump onboard without considering his larger strategy. A blog is good for communicating with customers, it’s true, but it’s also effective for leveraging keywords, boosting SEO, and integrating link-building strategies.
You should have a plan in place for why you’re engaging in content marketing, and how it advances all of your marketing goals. Not having a plan will leave it unfocused and ineffective.
2) Focusing on the company rather than the customers.
It’s easy to get into an “it’s all about me” mindset when engaging in B2B content marketing. You undoubtedly love talking about your products, and that’s fine, but you can’t focus solely on yourself. Content marketing is fundamentally about providing value to the people viewing the content. By all means, if you have a cool production process, make a “how we work” video showing your work behind the scenes. Doing it nonstop, however, just makes it a tedious sales pitch.
The key is moderation. Strike a balance between self-promotion and putting out content people will genuinely find useful or interesting.
3) Getting obnoxious with keywords.
Keyword strategies in online marketing is a fine balancing act. On one hand, you want those keywords to help drive search users to your site, but you can’t forget that successful content marketing requires making content that people want to view. Keywords should be integrated into your text as naturally as possible, and without making it feel like the only purpose for the content is to serve as a vehicle for spamming those keywords over and over.
Just ask yourself: “Is this something I would want to read?” If not, it probably needs some work.
4) Forgetting internal links.
Internal links within your content to other parts of your site are a great way to boost the effectiveness of your content marketing. This actually serves multiple purposes, which is why it’s such a valuable technique:
An array of internal links tend to encourage search engine spiders to spend more time on your site. (A sitemap helps with this as well.)
It encourages visitors to view more of your content. Fundamentally, the longer they look at your site, the more likely they are to convert into leads.
It establishes you as an authority in your field, boosting your credibility.
5) Not updating constantly.
For content marketing to work, you have to stick with it. In many ways, having a blog with a handful of posts that hasn’t been updated in six months is worse than having no blog at all. It makes it appear that you won’t finish what you start, or that you’re lackadaisical in your approach to marketing.
A constant flow of new content encourages people to return while also ensuring that Google considers your website “active,” increasing search spider indexing.
So, what major B2B content marketing mistakes have you seen, and how could they be avoided? Let us know!
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