Being useful must be part of your entire company’s DNA — not just the DNA of a small, centralized team.
— Jay Baer, Youtility
Having worked for more than a decade as a technical writer, where most of my writing was almost 100% help-related, this quote from Jay resonates with me. I enjoyed helping people learn how to use the software I was writing about; explaining the benefits to those magical features the developers worked on so diligently under the guise of an instructional manual or set of release notes.
In the years since I started writing marketing materials for B2B Technology companies, I still try to infuse my writing with helpfulness. The only thing that’s changed is the document types I work on. I’m still explaining the benefits to the magical features, relating the benefits to bigger picture B2B business growth. But it’s still helpful, insightful content.
Marketing content that’s helpful to readers has a number of effects:
- It brings you closer to your audience.
- It instills confidence in your audience.
- It creates a strong bond between you and your audience.
Setting up your marketing to be helpful and really strengthen the relationship with your audience is a powerful tactic to use. How can you implement this at your B2B company?
Step 1: Crowd-source your useful knowledge
Yes, it’s all the rage right now, crowd-sourcing everything, so there’s no reason you can’t do it with your B2B marketing. What I’m talking about here is simply involving a wide variety of employees in the creation of your marketing content. Different employees in different departments have different experiences and knowledge. Mine them for their useful knowledge! Encourage sharing in your B2B company and use the information in your marketing programs.
Step 2: Re-invent what you’ve already created
Aside from the improved SEO reasons why you’d want to revisit previously published content, revising and re-inventing your content is a necessary process for any B2B company. Your audience is changing, whether it’s their needs that change, updates in technology, or the demographics of your audience that changes. The fact is, if you don’t change right along with them, you’re going to lose your audience. New content is important, but so can revising your existing content. Not sure how you can do that? Why not:
- See if there are new links you can update in a blog post?
- Add new ideas to a list post?
- Refresh the images in your e-newsletter?
- Insert new data into a landing page?
- Update sales data in an email series?
- Create a new success story by interviewing your sales staff?
Step 3: Measure what you’ve created
Let’s state the obvious here: we’re all afraid of metrics and analytics. We don’t know what we should be measuring, how we should measure it, and what to do with the data afterwards. And that’s okay. However to truly embed the notion of helpfulness in your B2B company, you’ve got to measure it. Progress is important to see, as it’s a good reinforcement of behaviour.
Jay Baer suggests measuring the categories of “metrics that matter“: consumption, advocacy & sharing, lead generation, and sales. How you do it is up to you, but you should do it regularly and efficiently.
Are you sold on the idea of your marketing being “helpful”? It seems like a simple idea, and an obvious tactic that B2B companies would use in their marketing, especially when you see the effects it can have on your bottom line. And if your entire company has embraced the idea of helpfulness, it’s easier to create insightful content that your audience craves.
Are you creating helpful marketing content for your B2B company? How is going?