26 minute read

Why B2C Marketers Are Thriving And What B2B Marketers Can Learn From Them

On May 14th, 2021, Philip Jackson, co-founder of Future Commerce, a retail media research company, laid out his content frustrations in a newsletter. “There is a dread that only a content creator knows: the cycle never ends,” he explained. “As you ship a new report, or a new essay, the next one is right behind it...It’s r e l e n t l e s s. (Send help.).”

“Content creation may be one of the hardest jobs that people believe to be easy”

Web Smith of 2PM

Content marketers have a hard job. And spoiler: it’s not getting easier.

Feeds are noisier. Days of work get buried in search results and ephemeral algorithms. And the pace? As Jackson pointed out, it never lets up. 

It’s enough to make a marketer on Monday morning question their career. 

It doesn’t have to feel this way, though. While the shifting media landscape has made some parts harder, it’s also opened doors for savvy B2C and B2B marketers.  

In this article:

The evolving media landscape 

These days, we're all consuming more content and from more people. There's an implicit expectation that we can trust them all, too. And so is the lay of the modern media landscape — more voices, channels, and expectations. That comes, though, at a cost... trust.

From Walter Cronkite to anyone with a (micro)phone 

It wasn’t too long ago families gathered around kitchen tables or TV trays and tuned into the Walter Cronkites of the media world. But in just a decade or so, we’ve gone from a few, centralized and authoritative voices to near-infinite distributed voices. 

This is partly due to the rise of the creator economy. The wicked-condensed version of “how we got here”: we went from the industrial economy (a century ago) to the consumer economy (the 1950s) to the knowledge economy (when the internet showed up), and have now moved into the creator economy. 

Why? The cost of creating content has come down while the ability to monetize content has gone up. 

Mix a webcam, Twitch account, and Patreon backing, and voila, a savvy creator is set. Or, film a likable SaaS executive (say, Dave Gerhardt) balancing two coffees one busy Boston morning, post it on LinkedIn, and whoa, 300k views. The coffees cost more than the advertising budget there. 

Point is, everyone can create content these days. As a result, we’re tuning into hundreds — sometimes thousands — of voices now compared to just a few.

From a few cable channels to hundreds of media platforms 

We’re able to listen to those hundreds or thousands of voices easily, too, thanks to how many channels there are. 

“The internet has decentralized the media,” Influencer Marketing Hub wrote in their State of the Creator Economy report. “We have found many different types of content we love, and it is no longer all owned by the traditional big media companies. Indeed, much of it is written, photographed, filmed, or otherwise created by ordinary people like ourselves.” 

There's a glut of places to put that content, too. For a pop quiz (sorry to spring that on you), count the amount of channels you've been on today. I bet it's at least six.

Just look at video channels alone. Eric Freytag of Logitech wrote in a VentureBeat piece that, in the US, “people under 25 are spending more time watching Twitch and YouTube Live than all forms of TV.” He goes on to write that we no longer live in a world where a few TV shows are consumed by billions. Rather, millions of shows across hundreds of channels and platforms cater to infinite interests.

From “just microwave and serve” content to local and organic

We can access more content and we expect more from it, too.

A few tastemakers used to broadcast mass-market messages to everyone. And, for better or worse, it was what it was.

Today, we want our content like Burger King: our way and fast.

  • We don’t want to type a query into Google and receive some bland, generic advice for *waves hands* all those other people making coffee. We want to know how many tablespoons of Ecuadorian coffee to throw in a Chemex when we’re at Boston’s elevation. 
  • We don’t want to hop on Instagram or TikTok and see what some random star posted. We want content carefully curated to suit both our longitudinal interests (Drake) as well as our fleeting obsessions (absurd Zillow listings) — in the same feed. 

These higher expectations from content are a direct result of the sheer amount of data companies have. Personalization can now be, well, personal.

So while voices, channels, and expectations have all gone up, one thing hasn't: trust.

From inherent trust to “why should I listen to you?”

For over 20 years, Edelman, a global communications firm, has run a special survey and report on trust. They call it their annual “Trust Barometer.

Edelman Trust Barometer timeline

Recently, the picture has been pretty dismal. According to Edelman’s 2021 survey, trust in the government, NGOs, and media all declined. Likewise for trust in religious leaders, journalists, and CEOs.

It doesn’t get better.

Over half of the respondents in Edleman’s survey agreed government, business leaders, and journalists are “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”  

Likewise, Pew reports American trust in the government is near historic lows: 69% of Americans believe the government withholds important information it could safely release, and 61% say the news media intentionally ignore stories that are important to the public.

But here’s something interesting. A glimmer of hope, if you will.

While large institutions have lost some of their trust-luster — or “tluster” as we don’t call it — businesses haven’t. In 2021, Edelman reported businesses became the only trusted institution — the only institution survey respondents saw capable of being both ethical and competent.  

Smart brands know this is an opportunity. Specifically, for improving revenue, loyalty, and lifetime value...IF they safeguard consumer trust.

Why customers are more likely to buy from trusted brands

Learning across industries: what DTC is getting right in today’s media landscape

To build trust with humans, you need to be a human yourself. People build trust with one another more than with a brand.

E-commerce, which basically was just "commerce" in 2020, gets this well. These companies use influencers, employee brands, and experts in their campaigns.

Influencers garner more trust than brand names and are 2x as relatable

An influencer is someone who has a following in a distinct niche and the power to affect purchase decisions through their relationship with that following. 

According to an influencer marketing benchmark report, the influencer industry is projected to exceed $13 billion in 2021. 

There are good reasons for this. 

72% of marketers believe the quality of customers from influencer campaigns is better than other marketing campaigns. And Edelman reports 63% of 18-34-year-olds trust what an influencer says about a brand much more than what a brand says about themselves in advertising.

Stats for influencer assisted conversions

And so many DTC and ecommerce brands are turning to various types of influencers to sway consumers. 

A great example of this is Kristen Jones, Director of Marketing for The Groomsmen suit, who sent a free tux to Gunnar Michels (280K TikTok followers) for his wedding. Gunnar highlighted the tux in his wedding video, which was liked by over 92,000 people.

Gunnar Michels Wedding Video on TikTok

In fact, these partnerships are so effective, they’re becoming standard. Even larger commerce players like Home Depot, West Elm, and Ace Hardware are getting in on the strategy.

Jeff Gooding, VP of Marketing at Ace Hardware, told Digiday influencers are “speaking the same language [as the audience we hope to reach] that the brand doesn’t speak” and the value of their latest influencer campaign is “far beyond what we’ve spent on it.” 

Personal brands (including employees) have broader social media reaches 

College sports have recently started hiring branding coaches. They’ve seen top athletes’ platforms can far exceed the platform of teams they play on. For example, Bronny James, a budding basketball athlete, has 5.8 million followers whereas Sierra Canyon (his high school) has only 100,000. 

This, again, is a testament to what DTC has known for a while — it’s easier (and better!) to connect with an individual than a brand. 

That’s something you see in influencer campaigns, of course, but it’s also something you see when brands encourage their employees to build strong brands, too. 

PostBeyond found employees, on average, have 10x more followers than the brand’s social channels. And when an employee shares a piece of branded content? It’ll reach 561% more folks on personal accounts than branded accounts. 

For a good example of this, check out OLIPOP, a healthier soda alternative sold in 4,000+ stores and online

The brand has just over 620 followers on Twitter with most tweets averaging 15 or so likes. Meanwhile, their director of customer experience, Eli Weiss, has nearly 3,000 followers. And his threads regularly attract hundreds of likes and impressions.

Olipop brand account vs employee branding

This “employee-forward” approach has worked for more established brands, too. During the pandemic, Lucky brand began experimenting with more employee-focused content. They created Lucky Together, an online hub of content from the Lucky Staff, and it quickly became one of their top ten most-visited pages.

Lucky Brand content featuring employee brands

Lucky Brand’s senior director of brand marketing and creative services, Deanna Bedoya, told Glossy their employee content is more successful on social media, too. Brand posts see engagement (likes, views, comments) around 2-3%. Employee campaigns, on the other hand, see 5% — that’s 2-3x what their regular, and more expensive, campaigns deliver.

Experts build both trust and authority by proxy  

What else helps DTC brands lead with personalized messages and authority? Working with experts.

Instead of hiring writers to cobble together information from Google, or churning out fluffy thought-leadership posts, DTC brands who build deep domain expertise go straight to the experts — whether they’re “influencers” or not.

Levels Health does this particularly well on their blog.

“Fair,” you may be thinking, “but what do these DTC strategic and tactical moves have to do with B2B content marketing?” 

As Dave Gerhardt pointed out, DTC isn’t just for consumer brands. Direct-to-consumer means reaching customers directly. And using many of the same tactics as above, that’s something any B2B company can do through any medium — text, audio, video — at their disposal. 

Three mistakes fueling B2B’s lagging approach to content 

Many B2B companies haven't taken advantage of this new landscape. That means they're not connecting with customers how they could.

I see three reasons for this:

  • Assuming consumer trust is given vs. earned
  • Over-emphasizing brand and under-emphasizing people
  • Relying on organic search as the only defensible moat

Assuming trust is given vs. earned 

While consumers trust businesses, they doesn't mean they have unwavering support.

At its core, trust is relational. You must build and sustain it. Trust is also contextual to what's going on around us. As things have felt, well, fragile in our society, overall trust can weaken.

Pew research indicates this is especially true for younger generations. “Young adults are much more pessimistic than older adults about some trust issues,” Pew reported. “For example, young adults are about half as hopeful as their elders when they are asked how confident they are in the American people to respect the rights of those who are not like them.” 

It’s not enough for brands to say, “we’re trustworthy!” or “look at our values!” A Ford Trends survey found that 77% of surveyed US adults agree with the statement, “In recent years, it has become harder to trust what companies say and do.” 

In the same vein, it's not enough for brands to post content and assume that's enough to get eyeballs on it. In a distracted age, consumers need a compelling reason to click.

Over-emphasizing brand, under-emphasizing people

Most B2B companies still centralize publishing and content under a company name. 

This doesn’t match how people consume content. 

Peep Laja, founder of CXL, points out all top TikTok accounts are personalities (not brands). Tesla does $0 in advertising — Elon Musk has over 55 million Twitter followers. People watch Gordon Ramsey, not Food Network, and so on.

Pe:p Laja tweet on building personal brands

As DTC, ecommerce, and media brands are showing, people-to-people engagement is more effective than brand-to-people engagement. Sean Halbmaier, director of advanced advertising for the PGA TOUR notes, “There are certainly use cases for brands to have accounts (ads, customer service, etc.), but FAR too many brands try to get cute with organic social and frankly it just doesn't work and is a waste of time.”

Relying on organic search as the only defensible moat

Building your content strategy around search can work. Folks like HubSpot have built a ~$30b company, in part, on it (full disclosure: I work there). The issue isn't using organic, it's over-indexing on it when your customers are in so many places.

For example, a common (albeit simplified) content production plan looks like this:

  • Identify target keywords
  • Hire a writer to tackle those keywords
  • Publish the keyword-optimized post on your blog
  • Mention it on Twitter and LinkedIn once or twice
  • Repeat 

Again, this isn't a bad place to start — it just doesn't add up to be greater than the sum of its parts. Marketers use SEO tools for outlines, writers fall back on Google research, and both parties want to rank on Page 1 at all costs.

The result? Content that's written for a machine, not a marketer.

Tweet by Richard Hussey about the state of B2B content

This all-too-standard approach also creates what content agency Animalz calls copycat content. This is where top articles for competitive keywords share headers, examples, and even titles. “In chasing search traffic, companies are sleep-walking into intellectual plagiarism,” Animalz writes. “They’re fixating on their keyword research tools and SEO briefs at the expense of originality and personality. They’re curating other people’s work, instead of creating their own.”

Animalz content risk reward curve

Many marketers pursue this route because it’s low-risk (not to mention they’re pressed for time and juggling 100 responsibilities)...but that also means it’s low-reward. And it’s another reason much B2B content feels similar and stale. 

Three mindset shifts and four tactical approaches for forward-thinking B2B companies

How can forward-thinking B2B content marketers bridge the gap? 

It starts with making a few mindset shifts:

  1. Put conversations — not SEO tools — at the heart of content strategy
  2. Treat their networks as proprietary moats
  3. Think more like media companies than traditional publishing companies

Here’s what each of those means, plus tactical tips for getting ahead of the curve. 

Mindset shift #1: Put conversations — not SEO tools — at the heart of your content strategy

Brendan Hufford, founder of SEO for the Rest of Us, has made his name in the SEO world. So, you might think he’d recommend starting with SEO tools for content strategy. That’s not the case. 

“SEO tools are the ACTUAL worst,” he said. “They lack nuance, long-tail / high intent keywords AND typically have data that's a few months behind. This means our best content won't be surfaced if we start with the SEO tools.” 

So, what’s a better place to start? 

Conversations with experts, influencers, and your team. Have conversations with folks (webinars, podcasts, audio, etc) and you’ll be amazed how much great content comes out that your audience wants to learn from.

Here’s how.

How to build authority around original expert conversations 

Remember, you may have stellar writers pulling together a lot of your content, but they’re not the source of original content. They’re the conduit. 

“I find that for most B2B organizations, it’s not the writer that always has the insights the audience needs,” says Emma Siemasko, content marketer and founder of Stories By Us. Rather, “going to the source to best understand the information creates more original content that resonates.” 

Sean Blanda, Director of Content at Crossbeam, calls this the journalistic approach. He says he will “find people who are experts and know what they’re talking about, distill all the insights and analysis they have in their brains, and translate and communicate it to their audience.” 

A few tips for incorporating more expert content: 

  • Figure out what your audience is curious about. Brendan Hufford (reminder: he’s the founder of SEO for the Rest of Us), recommends holding regular meetings with your marketing teams, as well as support, success, and sales teams. Ask them, “what has come up, unprompted, at least 3 times in the last few months.” Brendan notes, “When people are asking the team these questions, I promise people are also Googling it. That'll give you a much better direction for content creation than any SEO tools will.”

  • Build an editorial cabinet. Alex Birkett, co-founder of Omniscient Digital (and formerly at CXL), advises, “keep a rolodex of true subject matter experts - not just influencers with lots of Twitter followers, but people with authentic, deep expertise.” Then, when you’re pulling together a piece of content, reach out to those experts with specific questions. CXL’s marketing webinars (and articles) are a good example of this in practice.

Roster of experts with personal experience

  • Approach it like sales. “Look for warm intros and soft targets — existing customers or sales opportunities, former colleagues of your executives, investor intros, or influencers who obviously aren’t shy about self promotion,” Tom Bangay, Director of Content at Juro, advises. He points out gathering insights is a numbers game, and the more people you ask, the better chance you have. (Juro’s content has been fronted by the general counsels of Stripe, Deliveroo, and others, so this is working well for them!) 

  • Have a structured process. Siemasko’s approach to identifying expert insights involves a kickoff call to narrow a topic, a deep dive interview on the set topic, outline, draft, and then final asset. (This, by the way, is similar to the proven process Camille Ricketts developed at First Round Review and has taken to Notion — see below.)

Notion tools and craft expert content

Keep in mind, these tips work for producing a wide variety of content — articles, podcasts, webinars, etc. And, once you produce one type of piece, you’ll have numerous opportunities to re-package those insights in other formats. 

How to build trust through influencers (yes, that’s an option for B2B)

A complementary option is to build content around influencers. After all, these are a form of “experts” to your audience — especially in the B2B world!

Tweet by Marijana Kostelac about B2B influencers

A key benefit of doing this is gaining authority by proxy. “Every B2B content strategy should feature input from experts or influencers in the industry because it shows they trust your brand enough to have their name associated with it,” Hayley Maquire, a copywriter and journalist, advises.  

Chris Zacher, content marketer at Integrrowth elaborates, “If your expert is a notable or accomplished person in their particular industry, that’s even better. Having an influencer on your project is kind of like shorthand for credibility. Your prospect might not know anything about your company, but if they’re familiar with your influencer partner, it lends some authority to the content.”

So, how do you do it?

For starters, steal some influencer advice from DTC marketers like Lillie Sun and Kendall Dickieson who’ve run tens of campaigns with notable figures: 

  • Decide on brand awareness or conversions. Partner with mega (over 1 million followers) or macro-influencers (40,000 to 1 million followers) for brand awareness. Micro (less than 40,000 followers) and nano (less than 1,000 followers) influencers are better for driving conversions. 
  • Always assess fit. Keep in mind that a large following does not automatically equal revenue for your brand. Choose influencers carefully. Make sure both the influencer and their audience are a fit for your brand and product. 
  • Make it native to the distribution channel. Every channel is different. Don’t treat influencer marketing the same for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Bethan Vincent, a Marketing Consultant who specializes in supporting B2B tech companies, encourages content marketers to learn from ecommerce industry tips like the ones above. “...you need to take inspiration from B2C influencer programmes and firstly develop a clear idea of who the leaders are in the space you want to target,” she says. (Note: handy tools like SparkToro can help with this.)

From there, develop a clear outreach program, build mutually beneficial relationships, and make sure you’re pulling from an assigned portion of your marketing budget. “Treat it like any other channel,” Vincent says, “with clear goals, clear targets, clear budgets and a robust method for measuring ROI.”

Not only does this help you build brand authority, but it’ll also help you skirt around expensive, long-term alternatives to building domain expertise. 

Shana Haynie, Director of Demand Generation at Hearst Bay Area explains, “using insights from well-known domain experts allows brands to piggy-back off of the thought leadership of these influencers without having to invest in expensive, long-term original research projects or other time-consuming content projects.” Brands get the benefit of “extending their brand reach without extending their marketing budget.” Win-win. 

Mindset shift #2: Treat your network as a proprietary and defensible moat 

As you have and publish more conversations with experts and influencers, you’ll begin building domain expertise. This expertise, and the network fueling it, is a strategic moat that’s much more defensible than organic search. 

Think of it this way. A network is a reliable web of relationships. Assuming both parties receive value, that web only strengthens and expands over time. Compare this to your relationship with Google. In 2019 alone, Google updated its search algorithm an average of 9 times per day. Which is more dependable — your network or the algorithm? 

How to amplify the network that’s already on your payroll — all-star employees 

If you’re working in a successful company, your people are really good at their jobs. Why not showcase that? Get them in conversation, and you’ll identify unique perspectives and insights that don’t exist anywhere yet.

This is a key benefit of employee branding. 

“Employee branding is the positioning of employees as brand ambassadors. It goes beyond employee advocacy,” Michael Fulwiler explains, “...It’s about empowering your employees to build their personal brands on social media by sharing their thoughts, opinions, and learnings.”

Think of it as the internal version of both fostering and partnering with experts and influencers. 

“Imagine reaching 23 million people in a few months,” Ophelie Janus, Senior Communications Manager at Siemens posted, as a testament to highlighting employee brands. “...You need to empower employees, give social training and tools to become ambassadors. Then the magic happens.”

In fact, magic happens on three different levels:

  • Employee benefits: Personal brands are portable and valuable, meaning employees can take them to each job. When you help employees build their brand, you help them build their perceived value. 
  • Brand benefits: Externally, you receive better word-of-mouth marketing, reach, and authority for products. Internally, encouraging employee brands can increase retention, fuel recruiting, and promote leadership skills. 
  • Customer benefits: More likely to discover/learn from/think more of your company.

A few tips for encouraging employee brands:

  • Get leadership buy-in. Advocate for employee brands to your CEO. Ensure the whole company, from the top-down, is on board. 
  • Identify interested employees. The goal is to encourage — not demand activity from — employees who have an active interest in building their personal brands. 
  • Share posts internally. Encourage more employee posts by posting existing ones on internal networks or communication channels. 
  • Support employees from brand accounts. In her thread, Amanda Goetz recommends promoting employee social posts from brand accounts. She says, “Help them gain visibility when they talk about the brand or anything related to your industry!”
  • Host internal workshops. Give employees space to develop their expertise internally, through lunch and learns or other workshops.
  • Encourage speaking and events. Equip employees (with travel budgets, connections, etc) to speak at events or in webinars. Make sure employees know you’re thrilled when they participate in these. 
  • Provide training. Help employees make the most of their learnings, presentations, interviews, and other potential assets with a bit of media training. 

Remember, their success is your success when it comes to marketing. As employees foster followings and influence, you do, too. Bethan Vincent calls this success through association. She notes, “Your prospects and clients will subconsciously associate your brand with the influencer’s credibility and reach, which ultimately helps position you as a leader too.” 

Drift is a great example of this. Senior Director of Product Management, Maggie Crowley, has nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter. VP of Strategy, Adam Schoenfield, has over 11,000 followers. Both regularly surface their podcast appearances, talks, interviews, and other content on social media.

Drift employee branding with Maggie Crowley

Not only is this good marketing for the employees, but it’s also great, authentic marketing for Drift, too. It’s also a strong brand differentiator. When Casey Renner, partner at OpenView, pointed out Drift employees have their own mini-brands, Drift’s CEO David Cancel said that’s not by accident. Drift is in a MarTech landscape with 7,000 other companies and “every sales rep is going to tell you that their thing is faster, it’s easier to use, it’s better” he says. So, Drift differentiates with their brand, and they do that effectively does by putting people, from all levels of the company, in the spotlight.

Mindset shift #3: Think more like a modern media company than an old-school publishing company

At HubSpot, I’ve witnessed the shift from “publish like a publication” to “think like a media company” firsthand. HubSpot pioneered and continues to lead content marketing, and they recently acquired The Hustle. Why? Because they see where content creation and consumption is going — and it’s not toward traditional publishing. “Instead of the traditional model of having a software company embedded inside of a media company,” they announced, “we predict that the next generation of tech companies will have the opposite — a media company embedded inside a software company.” 

In a landscape with more voices, channels, and choices than ever, this shift makes sense. 

Keiran Flanagan, SVP of Marketing at HubSpot, further explained to angel investor Lenny Rachitsky, “The thing brands need to realize is they're not only competing with direct competitors. They're competing with every tweet, post, podcast that is vying for some of their audience's precious time.”

Which is why Salesforce has an enormous podcast network, why Wistia invests heavily in video, and why even smaller B2B companies, such as ProfitWell, are creating and producing content like media outlets, too.

ProfitWell Recur media site

In fact (and this is telling), even publishing companies are operating more like media companies these days.

Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast recently spoke with Cindy Spiegel. Spiegel is the CEO of the independent publishing house, Spiegel & Grow, responsible for launching Just Mercy, Orange Is the New Black, The Kite Runner, and other wildly influential titles.

When Spiegel thought about what it takes to succeed as a publishing company today, she realized it doesn’t look like it used to. When she started in publishing, the emphasis was physical books. “Now, it’s not just the technology, it’s that you can tell stories in different ways,” she explains. “You can tell a different story on a podcast than you can in a book — and maybe it’s just a strand of the story...but it allows you to compliment the message of the story and amplify it in new ways.”

So Spiegel & Co focuses on just 15 or so books a year and then spends the rest of their resources amplifying those books — and the various stories in them — through a variety of media formats. To do that, they’ve formed partnerships with amplifiers (e.g. studios, influencers, and creators).

Note that Spiegel & Co are still publishing and distributing incredible stories...they’re just doing it more effectively by adopting a media mindset — by leaning into the way we all consume content in a modern media landscape.

B2B content marketers could learn a lot from this.

How to create and distribute content like the media companies and brands you admire

Wistia is a recognized leader in the marketing software space. Over half a million businesses in 50 countries depend on their products to power marketing. And, like HubSpot, they’ve long predicted that the next wave of successful content marketing will look like a media company.

“At Wistia, we've embraced marketing like a media company by building a network of video series and podcasts,” says Meisha Bochicchio, Content Marketing Manager at Wistia. “We use this content to attract and engage audiences with our niche, which has resulted in an increase in branded search volume and lead pipeline over time.”

Wistia original content series

On the creation side, creating content like a media company looks like:

  • Knowing your niche. “What matters most is understanding your audience, what makes them tick, and what inspires or motivates them, and then creating content that speaks to them directly,” says Meisha. 
  • Creating for defined personas. For this approach to work, you can’t simply operate like your favorite media company. You have to tailor your approach to your niche and, specifically, your company’s target personas. “You have a basket of channels and approaches and techniques,” Sean Blanda (Director of Content at Crossbeam) explains. “You have to pick the right recipe for your market, and there’s no hammer that hits every nail.” 
  • Thinking beyond SEO. If you’re adopting a media approach, you’ll need metrics beyond SEO ranking.  “If you talk with a lot of content marketers,” Blanda says, “they’re obsessed with a single channel, usually SEO...that’s not how a media company thinks.” Rather, media companies think about providing maximum value for maximum engagement. “That’s a different way of operating than ‘How can I please the Google God algorithm,’” Blanda notes.
  • Creating binge-worthy content. It’s not about more content, it’s about more binge-worthy content. This means content that’s inherently valuable and worth a considerable amount of your audience’s time. Check out Slidebean’s YouTube channel (branded as “Slidebean media”) as an example.  

Slidebean YouTube content

  • Improving your content home base. “People will typically spend way more time with content on your site than with your content on social media,” Meisha explained. “At Wistia, users spend an average of 64% longer watching videos when they’re viewed on Wistia.com vs. our YouTube Channel.” This is why Wistia focuses on driving viewers to their site, where the brand isn’t competing with the latest cat videos. Make sure that if you’re taking a similar approach to pull your audience in, they have an optimized and comfortable place to land. 

On the distribution side, it involves:

  • Atomizing content. According to a survey by Skyword, 91% of content marketers agree that expanding creation capabilities is important to their organization’s long-term marketing success. Atomizing content — taking a valuable asset and re-packaging it in a variety of ways — is an effective and cost-effective way to do this. (See this post for a deep dive on why.) 
  • Releasing in concentric circles. Wistia calls this the movie release cadence. Essentially, “when you’re thinking about where to distribute your content, you should start with the audience that will pay the most and have the highest amount of interest — and then work in concentric circles out to the people who didn’t bother to watch it earlier. If you have a big hit, people will run to the theaters to see it. If not, that’s okay too.” 
  • Leaning on your network. Those experts, influencers, and employees who helped create your original, binge-worthy content? They’re invaluable to distribution, too. Equip them to share the value you create via training (for employees) or ready-made media snippets (for influencers and experts). 

Lastly, to do content like a media company well, you’ll need to partner with creators on both the creation and distribution side of your content marketing. Successful media productions are never a one-person show (which, by the way, is part of the reason we started Procket). 

Building a powerful B2B marketing flywheel 

In the quote I shared at the beginning of this article, Philip Jackson emphasized one word when he described content creation. 

That word was relentless

I’ve been inside big, B2B SaaS companies and seen remarkable content marketers buried under the avalanche of content demands and burned out from the hamster wheel of creation. In fact, I’ve experienced some of those pains myself. 

That’s why I believe in everything I just described. I’ve seen savvy folks and companies get out from under the avalanche and off the hamster wheel. And they do it through the most unlikely tactic — conversations with other humans.  

See, when you build authority and trust around experts, influencers, and employees, you grow your network. As you grow your network, you tap into new opportunities for partnerships and conversations. This further fuels your network and its effects — trust, loyalty, and conversions. 

Essentially, you build a flywheel. With a few good pushes, this starts spinning and keeps on spinning.

The result is content that’s relentlessly effective with customers  — not relentless on your stress levels.  

Chat with us to learn more about building this kind of B2B content flywheel and how Procket can help you do it.

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