Content marketing is about getting into your clients’ heads and understanding your B2B personas: knowing what they want or need to drive forward their business or career.
The more specific the better. You want your client to say: “Whoa, this is exactly what I need – I’ve been looking all over for something like this!”
“You guys really get me”
Because it’s the feeling that you truly understand their industry, role or predicament that will earn a potential client’s trust and help you create engaging B2B content.
And for that, you’ll need to start reading their minds.
I’m not talking about Mystic Meg-style funfair tricks. I’m talking about finding and reading the clues that tell you what your clients or targeted personas are thinking.
Here are 5 B2B masterclass tips to get you started
Become a LinkedIn sleuth
In the B2B world, people do their social networking on LinkedIn – and that makes it a goldmine for content marketers.
Look up your ideal clients and company decision makers. What groups have they joined? What articles have they shared? What posts do they “like”? What influencers do they follow?
Industry-specific groups allow professionals to discuss and ask questions, giving you some stellar insights into what they’re worried about, how they think and what kind of information they’re looking for.
In time, you can start answering some of these questions, too - establishing yourself as an authority and guiding people back to your awesome, tailored content.
Read the Comments
Catching up on industry news in niche publications will ease into your clients’ world, helping you to put their needs in context and get a sense of what’s happening in their field.
But here’s the thing: the journalists writing the articles probably don’t work in the field. They don’t always know precisely what the problems are.
The people reading the articles, on the other hand, do know. They’re the ones at the coalface. They’re the ones that came here looking for answers. You’ll learn a lot from how they respond, the comments they leave, and what they choose to share.
Analyse the data
Give yourself a head start by gathering stats on what’s been tried - and what worked. Entering keywords and content-driven search terms into Buzzsumo will tell you which existing posts on the subject performed the best, as well as who’s been sharing them.
Another useful trick is to search Google using the search term: [keyword] site:www.quora.com. This gives you a breakdown of popular questions people asked Quora on that subject, which could provide inspiration for your eBook, video series or blog post.
For example, searching “content marketing” within Quora turns up queries like “How is Content Marketing Related to SEO Strategy” “What Are the Best Tools to Use?” and “How Do You Measure It?” as well as less obvious niches like “How Could Content Marketing Help Me Promote My Restaurant?”
Learn the lingo
Every industry has its own terminology. If you’re going to slip into your client’s world without blowing your disguise, you’re going to have to get comfortable with how they speak.
Scour the blogs/websites of popular voices and companies in the field. Note the words and phrases that crop up – especially terms you’ve never heard before, or aren’t used to seeing in this context. Google them. Get a sense of how they’re used.
A word of warning: don’t overdo it. Peppering your content with too much jargon is off-putting and feels forced, sending subtle signals that you’re an imposter. The idea is to weave in enough to show you understand what you’re talking about, without sounding like a robot.
This is one of the most effective, yet underused, strategies of all. Get in touch and (politely) ask if they have a moment to tell you which business-critical issues and problems they’d most like to solve. Ask them how they reearch and understand their customers.
Or, as multi-millionaire entrepreneur Lara Morgan puts it: “Selling is about trying to understand what the pain is. And that means calling up and saying, my business is trying to learn how to be the best in the industry. What’s your pain?”
For more great tips to take your content marketing strategy to the next level, download The B2B Content Creation Masterclass.