B2B content is often kind of—dare I say—boring.
Of course, any content produced by businesses, for businesses is bound to be more factual and professional and “safe for work.” There are limits to what B2B marketers can say without compromising their professional image, and that’s understandable. But in the world of content marketing, it seems like too many B2B marketers are playing it safe.
Some of the most creative and high-impact content marketing efforts are coming from the B2C world—maybe that’s because talking to consumers often gives companies more of a chance to be “fun” instead of just factual. But no matter what we sell, the evolving demands of the content marketing world are opening up new possibilities to tell stories in more creative and engaging ways. B2B marketers can learn a lot from the B2C content marketing world.
Here are three lessons that B2B content marketers can learn from B2C content.
Look for ways to get out of the traditional B2B content marketing box of white papers and blog posts. Most B2B content marketing is focused on the written word—but not everyone prefers to get their information in writing. Instead of penning another white paper, consider creating colorful infographics that convey your statistics and survey results in a more visually-interesting way. Has your business ever thought about a podcast? Podcasts give you the chance to create your own online radio show where you can share stories with your clients and prospects in a personal and educational way. Check out this article in Slate about how the podcast format, after 10 years since it was invented, is experiencing a “renaissance” with more people tuning in to this medium than ever before.
Most B2B content marketing is focused on educating the prospect and sharing thought leadership with the market—and that’s fine! But what if you could take things to the next level and create B2B content that was not only informative, but also funny, exciting, suspenseful or otherwise entertaining? The B2C content marketing world is doing a great job of this. It’s getting to the point where some B2C content marketing is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from “regular” non-marketing content.
For example, Chipotle recently made an original 4-part comedy series about factory-farmed beef called “Farmed and Dangerous.” This was a compelling and effective way for Chipotle to communicate its brand values of using sustainable agriculture and humanely raised meat, while also making something to keep the audience entertained.
What could your business do that might be similar to this strategy? How could you be informative AND funny? How could you convey your company’s brand values or competitive advantages while still making a fun, thought-provoking comment about the larger industry? The answer might not be the same for every company or every industry, but I’m sure B2B companies can do more to make creative, entertaining content. Why not borrow a page from the B2C playbook? What’s stopping you?
B2B content needs to be delivered to audiences in a way that is relevant to people’s preferences. Today, that increasingly means “mobile devices.” This is one area where B2B marketing is still catching up—many B2B marketers have assumed (wrongly) that B2B buyers don’t use mobile devices to the same extent that consumers do. But the truth is, B2B buyers engage with content and make purchasing decisions in similar ways to their lives as consumers.
For example, according to research from Panvista Mobile, 59 percent of B2B purchase decision makers and influencers use smartphones to gather information about B2B products and services, and 65 percent of executives are “comfortable making a business purchase from a mobile device.” Make your B2B content mobile-friendly. This can be as simple as making your white papers more concise. According to the 2013 Pardot State of Demand Generation Report, 70 percent of B2B buyers prefer to see white papers, case studies and eBooks that are less than five pages in length.
B2B buyers are “people” too. The same time crunch and short attention span and need to “get to the point” that we experience in our daily lives as consumers are also part of life for your B2B buyers. This makes it more important than ever to make sure our B2B content marketing efforts are a relevant fit for the needs of B2B audiences. There are a lot of lessons that B2B marketers can learn from the consumer marketing world—be entertaining, be creative, and deliver the content in a way that is most relevant and engaging to the audience.
What other lessons can B2B content marketers learn from B2C content?