#Demand14 Content Marketing Takeaways

Demand 14 B2B Content Marketing Tips

Welcome to another Demand 14 recap just for you inkheads!

Last time we shared insights from Chris Brogan and renewed our commitment to the printing freaks among you.

Today we’re digging into a very hot topic that’s near and dear to my heart—content marketing.

Several presenters discussed content marketing extensively, so I want to pass along their pearls of wisdom to help your own advertising strategy.

The Why and How of Building B2B Brands Online Presentation

I didn’t get a chance to attend this talk because I was preoccupied with getting my freak on. I’m posting the slides because most of you probably work in the B2B space either as a printing company or creative professional. Now I know a lot of smart people are calling for an end to the B2B vs B2C divide.

Point taken, we’re all dealing with people.

Still as someone with experience on both sides of the marketing aisle, I’m confident in saying the 2 spheres are indeed distinct. For example, successful B2B content tends to be more informative than entertainment oriented. There’s a certain degree of professional etiquette expected; contrast the tone of LinkedIn (the leading B2B social platform) with that of Facebook (the #1 B2C networking site). While lighthearted material exists on LinkedIn, users generally expect to see funny photos on Facebook as opposed to LinkedIn where photos can’t even be shared in groups.

The perception problem

You may run into trouble as a marketer, though, if you put on a pair of B2B blinders. Many assume that a professional tone must be dry, cold, and distant. Trouble is that this approach alienates your customers! People respond to brands that make emotional connections, which means you should focus on engaging customers directly with personal copywriting.

I believe Ann Handley instructed Demand 14 attendees to count how times the word us vs you appears on your website, print marketing materials, and other forms of marketing communications. If you find that your brand comes off sounding a bit egocentric, it’s time to refresh your copy.

The somewhat sad state of marketing and PR report

Speaking of refresh, I’m amazed to learn than less than half of respondents in the Vocus State of Marketing Survey view their business blogs as successful. In this case, success means generating leads, creating community, and increasing website traffic/social media buzz.

I hate to say this, but if your blog isn’t working for you, you’re doing it wrong.

This blog pushed our site’s traffic from 183,723 visits in 2012-2013 to 216,302 in 2013-2014 and we’re just getting started!

Blogging increases targeted website traffic

Those numbers may not sound very impressive, but that’s almost an 18% spike in targeted visitors. I know you’re interested in what we do because why else would you find this blog in a search for embossed business card design inspiration?

The Demand 14 panel mentioned that the folks who find blogging ineffective feel the same way about SEO. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me as blogging is an integral part of SEO. And blogging without a rock solid SEO strategy won’t produce results.

You see a lot of B2B brands fall into the trap of producing content for its own sake. They don’t bother to do keyword research or identify growth opportunities. They just write whatever blog ideas come to mind, do a little social sharing, and call it a wrap.

No wonder their blogs don’t further their goals!

At the same time, I think the SEO disconnect is a symptom of deeper brand identity issues. It’s tough to manage an owned media platform without a coherent mission because the purpose guides the content strategy. So if you consider your blog a wasted effort, I suggest you go back to square one. Here’s another Demand 14 slide deck by Laura Ries that will help guide you on your brand journey:

For more content marketing gems, please visit the Demand 14 recaps on the Vocus blog:

Demand Success Highlights: Day 1

Demand Success Highlights: Day 2

Do you have a business blog? Would you consider the blog successful or a burden? Let’s talk in the comments below!