35 Expert Tips To Make B2B Content More Manageable

b2b-content-expertsContent. Many B2B marketers hear the word and wonder how they are going to create increasing amounts of it with their limited bandwidth.

Trust me, I understand this issue on a personal level. I write large volumes of material every week, from corporate and personal blog posts to website content to social media posts and more. That’s why I was psyched to hear what my fellow experts had to say in the way of tips and tricks at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum in Boston last week.

Below are their words of wisdom. Take these 35 ideas and incorporate them into your content plans!

On the Planning Stage

1. Develop a content and engagement plan – ‪@DavidBThomas‬
2. Editorial calendars are worth their weight in gold – ‪@kesslermichelle‬
3. Look at the titles of those who consume your content – it will reveal who your audience should be – ‪@jchernov‬
4. Organizations need a content strategy, a social media presence, and an understanding of how to connect both to business objectives – ‪@AmyVernon‬
5. Understand what your content marketing objectives are and what you think the ultimate outcome will be – ‪@JoePulizzi‬
6. Figure out what motivates your customers; once you know your customers’ “why,” you’ll achieve success – ‪@webby2001‬

On Developing Content Ideas

7. Sales, customer service, product management, and marketing all need to talk to one another in order to create a strong content strategy – ‪@ShellyKramer‬
8. To achieve ‪social media success, you must break down silos within your company – share info & resources – ‪@AmyVernon‬
9. Blog post brainstorm: Get together everyone who talks to customers and make a list of the questions they hear – @TheSalesLion‬
10. Encourage user-generated content – ‪@NickWestergaard‬
11. Start with a piece that’s resonating and check the comments; you’ll likely find great, new, related story ideas – ‪@kesslermichelle‬
12. Do research on Quora or Twitter to understand the questions your audience is asking – ‪@jchernov‬
13. Remember to ask: only 34% of marketers have asked their customers what they want – ‪@NickWestergaard‬
14. Answer your clients’ questions and provide value, even if it’s not directly about your products – ‪@DavidBThomas‬
15. Everyone has a story worth telling – ‪@larrysmith‬

On Developing Your Posts

16. Simplicity is key; constraints fuel creativity ‪- ‪@larrysmith‬
17. If you don’t use mobile friendly links and responsive websites, you’ll lose half your audience – ‪@TheTimHayden‬
18. 55% are more likely to buy from you if you provide solid business advice on your site – ‪‪@ShellyKramer‬
19. Until your competition and bad fits start paying your bills, don’t let them dictate how and what you teach – ‪@TheSalesLion‬
20. Don’t forget to link to authoritative sites – ‪@AmyVernon‬

On Using the Same Content for Multiple Purposes

21. Do an “ego trap” series: have different well-known folks write guest posts on their views on the same topic – ‪@jchernov‬
22. Do a content audit on pieces you already have (collateral, emails, etc.); figure out what you can repur pose – ‪@JoePulizzi‬
23. Think of yourself as a content chop shop: repackage your content into blog posts, videos, ebooks, and more – ‪@NickWestergaard‬

On Utilizing Influencers

24. Co-creation of content with influencers can be a powerful way to amplify content – ‪@leeodden
25. Identify influencers and slowly build a relationship with them before asking them for anything – ‪@kevinrcain‬

On Measuring and Tracking Success

26. Understand the difference between vanity metrics (e.g., likes, followers) and metrics executives care about (e.g., traffic, leads, sales) – ‪@jeffreylcohen
27. Figure our what you want your customers do once they’ve read your content – ‪@MarketingProfs‬
28. Don’t just create consumable content; create actionable content – ‪@TheTimHayden‬
29. Content marketing is an art that, when done well, not only provides value, but also produces sales – ‪@samfiorella‬
30. Make sure your metrics are reported in a way that makes sense both to you and to management – ‪@DavidBThomas‬
31. Try measuring what others in your company are already measuring and making your reports look the same – ‪@jeffreylcohen

On Next Steps

32. Keep in mind that in the very near future, people will be viewing your website via wearable technology – ‪@TheTimHayden‬
33. A topic that was relevant six months ago may not be relevant now; always listen and adjust your strategy – ‪@samfiorella‬
34. Keep the internal content culture going by sending out monthly newsletters and trainings several times a year – ‪@TheSalesLion‬
35. Continue to earn your authority by sharing content – yours and others’ – ‪@AmyVernon‬

What are your expert B2B content tips? Share them in the comments below.

Photo: Flickr

10 Tweetable Twitter Tips for B2B Marketers

Many B2B companies start their social media adoption with Twitter because it seems to be the easiest platform to jump right in without a plan. Let’s start twittering, the boss says. And the junior marketer complies.

With that in mind, this post offers 10 helpful tips for B2B marketers who are running the company Twitter account. If you are just starting out, these are good things to know. If you are an old hand at Twitter, there might be something here that is a good reminder. And just to keep things interesting, each one of these tips will be tweetable. Just copy and paste into your favorite Twitter client and update. Sharing these tips could be a good way to add some value your Twitter followers.

1. Use industry keywords in your Twitter bio. #twittertips #smb2b

2. Create unique landing pages to track clicks for Twitter bio links instead of displaying short URLs. #twittertips #smb2b

3. Find and follow industry leaders through directories, lists and other users. #twittertips #smb2b

4. Follow general news sources, trade publications and associations for the latest information to share. #twittertips #smb2b

5. Share third-party content from people, blogs and news sources that provides value to your followers. #twittertips #smb2b

6. Post links to company blog posts more than once. Test and track different tweets. #twittertips #smb2b

7. Pay attention to the time of day your audience is most engaged by tracking clicks and retweets. #twittertips #smb2b

8. Tweet offers and links to your landing pages to generate leads. It’s okay. You are a business. #twittertips #smb2b

9. Don’t overuse hashtags, especially ones that are abused with spam or never used. #twittertips #smb2b

10. Periodically encourage followers to subscribe to company email newsletter. #twittertips #smb2b

What are some of your best Twitter tips? Share them below.

75 of the Best B2B Facebook Marketing Tips

Many B2B marketers approach Facebook with the knowledge of how to maintain a personal profile, but still shake their heads at how to get results from a business Page for their B2B company. There are two basic things you need to know about managing a Facebook Page for a B2B company. The first is that you must post compelling content that people who like the Page will engage with. This is especially true since Facebook introduced the EdgeRank algorithm, which only shows popular content in the newsfeed. The second thing to know is that you need to include calls to action, both on the Page and ones that drive traffic back to your company website.

Next week I will be presenting a session, along with Deirdre Walsh and Susan Solomon, about Facebook Marketing for B2B Companies at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum. In the process of preparing for the presentation, I found and reviewed lots of recent articles that provide tips that can help B2B marketers manage Facebook Pages. Here is a link to the complete list of Facebook resources, but I have selected and organized the best tips from each article. A link to the source of each tip is included if you want to read more. If you have any additional tips to share, please leave them in the comments below.

Liking the Page

1. Ask your staff, customers, vendors, and partners — who already know you and like you — to “Like” your Facebook page first. (source)

Facebook Content

2. Share lots of photos, and ask your fans to share photos. Facebook’s Photos remain the most viral feature of its platform. (source)

3. Write for the newsfeed, not for your wall. (source)

4. Don’t worry about writing too little. (source)

5. Be strategic and pay attention to signal vs. noise. (source)

6. Write posts that encourage sharing across the network. (source)

7. Boost your comments by asking questions, but stay away from simple Yes/No answers. (source)

8. Mix it up a little between videos, photos, questions and information (source)

9. Use the 80-20 rule to determine how much other people’s content to post versus your own. (source)

10. Use @ tagging strategically. (source)

11. Target by location or language. (source)

12. Tailor your content to mobile users. (source)

13. Diversify your team’s voices. (source)

14. Open the door to user content — but not the floodgates. (source)

15. Keep posts 80 characters long or shorter. (source)

16. Don’t Be Afraid to Show You’re Human. (source)

17. Have a Unique Voice. (source)

18. Diversify Your Content. (source)

19. Post original and relevant content. (source)

20. Post industry articles and blog posts fresh from your newsreader. (source)

21. Share exclusive, behind the scenes information. (source)

22. Write simply and plainly. (source)

23. Think mainstream for content. (source)

Analyze and Optimize Content

24. Use Edgerank to find your best & worst days. (source)

25. Monitor which posts attract the most Likes and comments (eyeball), and use Insights – Facebook’s own analytics tool – for data. (source)

26. Track the Performance of Your Posts. (source)

Calls to Action

27. Treat your Facebook “Like” button or link to your Facebook Page like any call to action – make it easy to spot. (source)

28. Encourage others to share your calls to action, so they show up in their newsfeed. (source)

Tabs and Landing Pages

29. Make creative use of Tabs. (source)

30. Choose a “landing tab” wisely. (source)

31. Have calls to action on your landing tab. (source)

32. The landing page should be relevant to the ad driving visitors there. (source)

33. Offer incentives. (source)

34. Keep it up to date. (source)

35. Provide interesting content. (source)

How and When to Post

36. Watch Your Post Frequency and Timing. (source)

37. There is a short window of opportunity to gain traction with an update. (source)

38. Be careful with automated posting services like NetworkedBlogs or syncing updates through your Twitter feed. (source)

39. Establish a regular schedule for your brand’s Facebook updates. (source)

40. Post towards the end of the week (source)

41. Weekends are more Facebook sharing friendly. (source)

Audience

42. Know your audience well, and when you make a mistake, quickly own up, do right by your audience and fix the problem. (source)

43. Don’t forget to send an update to fans. (source)

44. Allow your fans to tag photos on your Page. (source)

45. Put Your Fans in Charge Every Now and Then. (source)

Interaction off the Facebook Page

46. Integrate Facebook outside of your Fan Page, on your website, in as many places as you can. Create more compelling opportunities for people to buy your product based on their friends’ Likes. (source)

47. Find synergy with other organizations and entities, and then work together to promote each other’s Facebook pages so that everyone benefits. (source)

Optimize Your Facebook Page for Search

48. Link to your Facebook page from your website home page, using your brand in the anchor or alt‐text. (source)

49. Use your brand name in your posts. (source)

50. Get links to your Facebook Page by driving social engagement and “likes.” (source)

51. Use Facebook Shares and Likes to improve rankings of any page on your website. (source)

52. Interlink your directory pages with parallel Facebook pages. (source)

53. Integrate your website broadly with Facebook Social Plugins and Facebook Connect. (source)

Facebook Advertising

54. Restrict ads to people that don’t Like your Page. (source)

55. Invest in sponsored stories – they work. (source)

Resources

56. Find the resources to respond to your fans questions and inquiries. (source)

57. Accept you won’t work a 9-5. (source)

Miscellaneous

58. Assess the business value of your Page. (source)

59. Hold real-world events. (source)

60. Make use of “Add to My Page’s Favorites.” (source)

61. If you have a physical location, use Place Pages and Deals to drive traffic through your doors. (source)

62. Respond to comments. (source)

63. Polls delivered directly to users’ news feeds are not only effective in their reach but also in their ability to drive engagement. (source)

Facebook Mistakes

64. Broadcasting Content. (source)

65. Not Investing Adequate Time. (source)

66. Being Boring or Predictable. (source)

67. Failing to Learn About Facebook Mechanics and Tools. (source)

68. Violating Facebook’s Terms. (source)

69. Assuming People Go To Your Fan Page Versus Seeing Your Posts In Their News Feed. (source)

70. Expecting Welcome Tabs To Get You Lots Of Fans. (source)

71. Overestimating Apps and Tabs. (source)

72. No Budget For Ads To Acquire Fans. (source)

73. Posting In A Self Centered Way, Not Trying To Get Likes And Comments. (source)

74. Not Optimizing For Impressions And Feedback Rate. (source)

75. Over-Selling and Hard-Selling Without Conversing Or Arousing Desire First. (source)

12 Tips to Produce Compelling B2B Video

B2B marketers need to add video to their arsenal of skills in today’s online world. Video can sometimes tell a story quicker and easier than a written post, can humanize a company and can turn marketers into brand journalists. And a keyword-titled video seems to be more likely to show up in higher search results than a written post. There are plenty of B2B companies making high production videos to share online, but this is more about getting started and producing videos alone or with minimal help.

Here are some basic tips to get you started on the path to becoming a Hollywood director.

1. Keep it Simple
Online video is more compelling if the idea is simple. People are distracted when watching video, so you can’t try to put too much into a video. Try to convey one or two ideas at the most. If you do a longer interview with someone, produce several shorter videos out of the footage, each about one thing.

2. Compose Like a Photographer
Video is a visual medium and your video will be me more compelling if it is shot well. Photographers often compose shots using the rule of thirds, which means the most important item in the shot is not centered. Pay attention to television and movie shot composition and imitate what you like.

3. Use a Tripod
Avoid shaky, hand-held video. The easiest way is to use a tripod. Simple full-sized tripods give you more flexibility in shooting, but table top tripods are more portable. Either way, securing the camera will help tremendously. If you are shooting with a smartphone, there are inexpensive mounts available to attach to a tripod.

4. Find a Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Shoot video in well-lit areas. Harsh shadows or uneven lighting can be distracting, especially if you are shooting an interview. Always think about the viewer, and can they see the subject matter in the shot.

5. Listen for the Quiet
Many common environments that you might consider shooting in are noisy. Try to find quiet areas off the tradeshow floor and the manufacturing area. While it is fine to shoot there to provide context to a video, do not try to shoot lengthy interviews where the most important thing is to hear the person. People will watch poorly shot video if the sound is good, but they will not suffer through bad sound.

6. Use Stills
Shoot still pictures to augment the video. Ken Burns made the style of movement on still images so common in his Civil War documentaries that Apple calls it the Ken Burns effect in its video editing program. They are a good way to set the scene or help with transitions.

7. Make It Branded
Create simple title slides that include your company logo. A black screen with words that includes your company name is not enough. Customers and prospects need to visually connect this video to your company, and opening with the company logo is the best way to do that.

8. Keep it Short
Unless you are using video to tell an involved story that must build out over several sections or creating a how to which requires many steps, keep the video under 5 minutes.

9. Cut it Together
Editing is key to improving the quality of your video. Don’t get wild and cut between multiple shots frequently, but use editing to tighten conversations and remove extra footage. Use simple transitions in your editing rather than fancy spins and wipes.

10. Music Makes the World Go Round
Simple music during title cards adds a level of professionalism to the video. Continue the music at a lower beneath the entire video to add a bit of aural texture. It really makes a subtle difference.

11. What’s the Call to Action?
The end of a video should end with a company URL or a landing page. What action should people take after watching the video? Many video platforms include the ability to embed links in the video. Take advantage of that with your calls to action.

12. Post and Share
After editing the video, post it on a variety of social channels, including YouTube and Facebook. Embed the video on your company blog and drive traffic back to it with updates on Twitter and LinkedIn. Add a screenshot to an email newsletter for extra viewers. Depending on the content, others may want to embed the video on their sites, so make sure that’s possible. It is with all common video platforms.

Bonus: Think Mobile
Make sure the video makes sense on a mobile device, as more than 23 million Americans watch mobile video. This means more medium shots and close-ups than long shots, as well as clear audio.

What tips would you add for making compelling B2B video?

Photo credit: Maxymedia