Early in my career, I was given some stellar advice: “Writing is incomplete if it isn’t read.”
It’s something I’ve internalized and kept at the forefront of my mind. I’ve developed a bit of a process as a result that I’d like to share with you. Just like E.E. Cummings’s red wheelbarrow, so much depends on whether or not your content is available and easily consumable in places where your buyers congregate.
So let’s cut to the chase then: here are my four guidelines on getting people to listen to you in the maddening roar of the B2B marketing landscape.
Go where people are paying attention
People are busy, which is why they want to aggregate their news in one source. They don’t have time to visit a dozen outlets each day, and they probably won’t be swinging by your blog that often. Why? Because people are congregating in the village square, and your blog is more like a distant outpost.
Too often, marketers will use social media to promote content – then fail to ever follow up. Do this and you’re going to lose your leads.
Be sure to keep driving the momentum forward by asking for feedback, or creating a special hashtag that lets users discuss the greater context of your content.
Just because Facebook has over a billion users doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best place for your brand. Face it, in this ever-connected world, your audience is active on any number of social platforms. Do you really need to be on Snapchat, or do you just want to be there?
It doesn’t pay to spread yourself thin, to simply have a token presence on every network available. Instead, focus on social platforms that allow your brand’s personality and style to shine through. This ensures that your content is more likely to be found by readers and viewers who will engage without much prompting.
Have a strategy
How obvious, right? Except your average marketer still isn’t doing it. They’re churning out content based on nothing but their own loose ideas of an audience. In the competitive jungle we call marketing, that’s a vine swing straight into a pit of failure.
Serious marketers capture abundant data—and there’s no excuse for not doing it with all the advanced tools on the market—and sculpt their content accordingly. They identify the right topics and conversations. They segment by persona. They hone in precisely as a missile and make an impact.
It’s something of a cliché now to talk about authenticity and the importance of building trust. Well, it’s a cliché because it’s true: Trust is the top factor when it comes to getting heard. If your mind is only on revenue, stop—that’s 25 miles down the road. Your first priority should be making sure your content persuades buyers to view you in a different light than every other business on the web.
You see it every day. Someone recommends doing business with a person, and the first question is, “Do you actually know this person? How well?”
People know there are plenty of hustlers and second-rate vendors out there, so they want to connect with someone they can trust. This is why the all-too-standard tactic of offering a gated ebook or white paper in exchange for data just doesn’t work anymore. Without establishing trust, leads won’t see the value.
Next time you want to be heard, let others shout themselves hoarse. With an intelligent foundation, you’ll be the marketing version of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Talk softly and carry a big stick” — creating content that gets listened to because of the value and strength it brings to the table.