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Why is B2B content marketing boring?

Most content marketing is crap.

That’s the argument made by Doug Kessler in his excellent slideshare presentation, why the greatest threat to content marketing is content marketing, and I totally see where he’s coming from (although I’d word it slightly less bluntly!)

In the last 18-24 months, there’s been a seismic shift in the way companies do B2B marketing, suddenly moving towards a content-based model.

This is fantastic – in theory. Instead of hammering people with sales messages all the time, we’re starting some genuinely interesting conversations, based around unique insights generated by our company’s market expertise. Except…

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten it’s supposed to be a conversation.

Even Google is becoming wise to the deluge of generic content that is flooding the information superhighway, much of it generated by ‘content farms’ that prioritise keywords over quality. Its latest Phantom 2 update is battling to clampdown on this.

The mistake some B2B content marketers makes is thinking that the B stands for boring.

Naturally, we’re more constrained than consumer campaigns because our content is far more focussed on lead engagement than brand awareness; our job is to support the sales team and to warm leads to a point where they’re ready to have serious commercial conversation. However…

There are many ways to skin a cat – so why are we doing it the same way as everyone else?

Surprise.

Anger.

Happiness.

Fear.

Digust.

Sadness.

There’s a reason Disney Pixar picked these six human emotions as the lead characters in its latest movie, Inside Out: because they’re universal to us all.

This is something I was reminded of by Our Social Times’ Luke Brynley-Jones, who spoke very eloquently about the need to banish boring from B2B content marketing at the Digital Marketing Show Refresh this week.

B2B prospects have a challenge to solve, but they’re also motivated by exactly the same emotions that cause people to buy a Coke with their friend’s name on the label, or share the John Lewis Christmas advert on Facebook.

We may back-rationalise our decisions, but all of us are fundamentally driven by emotion.

So there’s absolutely no reason we can’t bring those universal feelings into the B2B content marketing we produce, to connect with our prospect base on a deeper, more instinctive level.

Of course, it must include detailed, relevant, well-pitched insights, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being playful or controversial in the delivery.

On the contrary – I’m sure we’d all rather read something that made us laugh, frown or raise our eyebrows, instead of our eyes glazing over.

When was the last time you read a piece of B2B content that made you do any of that?

 

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