Judging by the amount of online noise being generated, the idea of publishing content is no longer considered to be an "edgy" proposition for many vendors. But noise isn't going to help you meet your goals.
The thing about noise is that we've all become adept at tuning it out. There's just so much of it that we've had to develop the survival skill of discernment. We've become very swift judges of what's useful and what's wasting our time. Time we have precious little of with all the social media interaction, email, meetings and job responsibilities. Our lists are long and our patience is waning.
To break through the noise and gain the attention of B2B prospects, our content must be better than good. It needs to be exceptional. And that's hard to do when you need so much of it to maintain a dialogue with your prospects until they're ready to talk to your salespeople.
Due to this shift in buying, vendors have had to become publishers or risk obscurity.
Consider how the following tips can help your company adapt more easily to publishing content that becomes sought out and a preference for your prospects.
Tip 1: Dump the Damn Style Guides!
Or at least slim them down to make them more appropriate for today's audience. Examples include:
- Spelling out the word "percent" when the "%" symbol is easier to pick out during a quick scan for relevance just makes more sense.
- Stop using trademarks, service marks and registered marks every time you mention your product, brand and services. Is it really necessary to put your company name before your product name throughout an entire article? In fact, if you have so many mentions of your product in an article that they stick out, your focus needs to shift.
- If your brand is only allowed to capitalize the first word in a headline, rethink that practice. You've got 3 seconds to get attention. Sometimes emphasizing a word or phrase can help with that.
- Use contractions. They won't bite, and reading becomes so much easier. Less effort is a good thing when trying to build engagement.
Tip 2: Quit Talking About Yourself!
- Nobody cares. Seriously, they don't. They care about themselves, not you.
- If you're sending an email with your company in the sig line, publishing a blog post or an article on your website - your company is already obvious. There's no need to mention it repeatedly like we can't see the branding it's wrapped in.
- If you think of putting "the leading provider of..." in anything, step away from the keyboard. No one believes that, yet it's surprising how many companies still think if they say it, it will matter. Well, it doesn't. It's what others say about you that matters.
- Try putting out a press release that focuses first on how your customers will benefit rather than talking about your company and products and see what happens.
Tip 3: Sharing Valuable Expertise Will Actually Make You Money
- Some companies think that sharing expertise will cost them in services. The exact opposite is true. Prospects now require proof that you bring value they don't have or they won't escalate you to their short lists.
- Exposing expertise actually shows people how difficult it can be to do what you do, encouraging them to hire you and get that task off their list. Not to mention getting the job done right the first time.
- Helping them understand the expertise it takes to do what you do allows them to understand the value they're paying for and diminishes the "haggling over price" issue.
- If your content is valuable, more people will be drawn to it, link to it and share it, thereby increasing your reach, market awareness and credibility. Sharing useless, surface stuff without any meat won't do that.
Tip 4: Become a Resource by Sharing the Spotlight
- Showcasing others who have great content reflects back on you. Plus, you don't have all the answers. Help people connect the dots.
- Your ability to look beyond yourself and recognize greatness in others draws your audience in and may just generate conversations you wouldn't otherwise have.
- Those you promote will promote you in return. Choose wisely and build a network of experts with complimentary expertise and business will follow in the form of referrals, which are truly one of the best ways into new customer relationships. Don't forget to return the favor.
Tip 5: Get Your Staff the Appropriate Tools & Tech
- The day of putting content in a queue and waiting for IT to publish it are over.
- From blogs to websites to video and just about anything else now has easy-to-use software that business people can learn to use. Today's world moves fast. Get the tools to keep up.
- Publishing must deliver business value, so make sure you also have the tools to measure what it's doing for you. From web analytics to social monitoring to SEO, marketers need to be accountable for the outcomes of what they publish. Just putting content out there doesn't cut it.
Tip 6: Only Copycat if You Can Improve Upon The Concept
- Infographics are a great example of this tip. When they first came out, they were fascinating. Then everyone jumped on the bandwagon and started producing them because they were "cool." Many I see today don't have any story to tell.
- If you see a great concept executed, use it as inspiration, not a cookie cutter. Find some unique way of showcasing your material that has you stand out, not just show up as more of the same.
- Are you a leader or a follower?
These are only a few tips, but should get you thinking about how to adapt the old world of orchestrated corporate content to the new world of authentic expression. Posturing is out, expertise is in. You've got it, so you may as well flaunt it. Just remember that it's not about your products.