Here are some quick numbers for you:
- There are currently six major social media platforms being used by B2B marketers: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.
- B2B marketers are using an average of six different social media platforms.
- Over half of B2B brands are using at least 12 different marketing channels for their content, with the top 3 being social media (other than blogs), articles on their websites, and eNewsletters.
- They’re measuring at least 10+ different metrics in their marketing programs.
Those last three sets of numbers come from CMI’s B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends (North America)
report, and illustrate something that’s been happening in the B2B marketing world more and more frequently:
You’re spreading yourself too thin.
It’s true. Just take a look at your latest marketing program and see how many different channels you’re using. Three different social media platforms, a corporate blog, white papers, videos, presentations on SlideShare…where does it end?
The more channels you use, the more chances you have of going off-message, and risking losing your audience. This is important since almost three-quarters of B2B Technology buyers look at a minimum of four pieces of content before they make a shortlist of vendors to vet (officially 65% of them do.) You’ve got to choose the right four pieces of content for your market, otherwise you’ll miss out on those sales. Your leads will remain leads, and never get converted.
More importantly, those four pieces of content must tell the same message, otherwise readers will be confused and not make the right connection to your brand. Consistency in your content is important, and goes beyond just the visual (same font, colors, logos, etc.) It must contain the same message. The pieces of content can be complementary, however they must contain the same unifying message in order to be effective.
So how can you ensure you’re telling the same story across all of your B2B marketing channels? Here are three ways to do it.
1. Create for your audience, not the channel
This should be the number 1 rule for all marketing programs: create for your audience. Your content must resonate with them, and inspire action, not simply “look pretty”. All of your hard work creating infographics, eBooks, or presentations will be wasted if it’s not covering subjects they want to read about. Be relevant to your audience’s research, and the rest will happen organically.
2. B2B marketing is a marathon, not a sprint
Remember, the B2B buying cycle is a long one, and you’ve got to create enough content to fill that entire cycle, guiding your audience towards the inevitable conclusion of a sale. Build trust with your audience with each step, and you’ll ensure that you’re on the shortlist of vendors when they’re ready to buy.
3. Formalize your content guidelines
Just like your internal documents follow style guides, your B2B marketing content should do the same. Go deeper than just the visual look and feel of your marketing content. Dive deep into it and think about:
- Your content’s tone and voice
- Topics you’ll write about
- Content length
- Content submission processes and procedures
- Publication frequency
How are you keeping your B2B marketing message consistent? Hit the comments and let me know.