Weave Your Customers’ Interests into Your B2B Content
Business marketing doesn't have to be all work and no play. We explain the benefits of using consumer interests in B2B content marketing.
I’m worried there’s something of a misconception in B2B content marketing circles that all content must be produced with a strict business-only focus. It’s as if the inclusion of something that might be considered “fun” would be cheating.
I’m here to tell those who are unsure that it’s OK, you really can talk about fun stuff in B2B content. In fact, your audience will probably thank you for it. Business marketing is not school (with the possible exception of a Business Marketing School) and your readers are not pupils. They are your audience and if you want them to read more of your stuff, engaging their interests is a way to start to make that happen.
Business people have many interests outside of their work and they don’t completely ignore them between 9 and 5. For some, there may be nothing more interesting than a merger of their in-work and out-of-work interests. In addition, people who work in the same field often have a more similar set of interests than a random group. So there are likely to be a few topics that hold great interest to a large section of your audience, while the rest might be grateful for a change to the business-as-usual subject matter. Plus, you may even pull in new readers who are interested in the subject but unaware of your business.
Does content become somehow less able to convert, communicate or persuade once you add a consumer interest angle? Of course not. Some additional irrelevant visitors may be attracted because you’ve covered their favourite subject, but you already know better than to measure your content on vanity metrics like traffic alone, right?
So how do you begin? Firstly, there are many tools for understanding the interests of your audience. Google Analytics’ Audience Interests and Moz’s FollowerWonk are two great places to start. Next, the most likely source of subject matter is your customers.
Let’s say you sell office chairs and one of your customers is a video game publisher. Your regular content is probably about choosing the right chair, new products, lumbar support, innovations in chair adjustability and the effective positioning of levers that trick the user into thinking they’re about to adjust the seat height but instead eject themselves suddenly backwards, spilling their coffee.
If you then wrote a feature about the work that video game publisher did while sitting in those chairs, you’d still be talking about the product but you would add a new layer of interest that could entice readers who also like video games. In addition, the video game angle would provide a new targeting option for promoting this content - purchasers who also show an interest in video games in their social media behaviour and user data. A single subject and piece of content may not move the needle much, but should it be written into a strategy, it would add up considerably.
Several companies are well down the line with this approach and are seeing the results. Despite the fact that Intel’s customers are businesses, their marketing strategy has a huge consumer component, so it’s no surprise their content is an extension of this. IQ is their magazine and focuses heavily on consumer-oriented tech stories.
Microsoft’s Stories content talks solely about the business of Microsoft but through a consumer-oriented approach and receives an average share count of greater than 3000 per article. That’s shares, not likes. Their content is being marketed by the readers themselves because MS are tapping into shared interests.
While it’s not necessary to “do an Intel” and aim everything at consumer interests, adding some to content can make it more resonant and memorable, with higher engagement levels, more sharing and more clicks.
Nathan Jones is a Digital Marketing professional working for the full service digital marketing agency The Big Group. If you enjoyed this blog, there are many others you can read on our website.