With so much content online, it's getting harder to attract attention. Ideally you want to provide content that your readers find so valuable they talk about it and pass it along. If you're able to produce something entertaining, like this humorous video from Kadient or this witty interactive quiz from Marketo, great. But if not, don't worry. Just producing the type of content your prospects and customers are looking for can be enough to set you apart. Here are some ideas to get your started.
Show How You Stack Up Against the Competition
TechTarget’s Media Consumption report revealed that a majority of tech buyers want content comparing a vendor's offering to the competition as they get further along in the buying cycle. Yet few companies put out competitive comparisons for public consumption. I understand why organizations are averse to taking this step, but the problem is that your prospects are looking for this information. And if you don't offer it but your competitors do, guess who'll make the short list of potential vendors.
Do More With Case Studies
You can use case studies for more than demonstrating the value of your solution. For example, position them to overcome objections early in the buying cycle. The examples shown here illustrate how one company has done just that.
You can also use case studies to address the needs of different stakeholders in the buying process. Scott Vaughan of TechWeb polled a group of CIOs about what marketers could do better. Turns out the standard "problem-solution-results" case-study formula doesn't resonate with IT evaluators and decision makers. One element these CIOs said they'd like to see in case studies is a section on "lessons learned" while implementing the solution.
SAP produces a variation on its success stories called Business Transformation Studies, which include lessons learned and implementation best practices, as you can see in this at-a-glance view.
Add eBooks to the Mix
Called the hip, stylish cousin to the white paper by David Meerman Scott, eBooks offer a great opportunity to attract attention with eye-grabbing design and a conversational style. Think of them as a more approachable, engaging white paper flipped on their side. While more and more eBooks can be found online, few B2B companies are producing them. Yet more than one company has realized success with this approach. For example, Lumension produced an eBook that has been downloaded over 7,000 times. And Dow Jones published an eBook that resulted in more than 10,000 page views and over 1,600 downloads.
One way to provide value to prospects and customers is to help them easily find information of interest. You can do that by setting up microsites, which are standalone sites dedicated to particular topic. One example is the Fujitsu RUS/ARRA Resource Site, which provides information on the Broadband Stimulus Plan, to help organizations stay up to date on the requirements and application procedures to secure broadband-related funding. Microsoft uses its Channel 9 microsite to deliver a steady supply of videos to technical people who influence IT purchase decisions.
Keynote Systems tracked visitors' behavior on three automotive microsites and found that the more time visitors spent on a microsite, the more likely they were to make a purchase.This likelihood increased the further along a prospect was in the buying cycle. While the study wasn't focused on B2B, it's fair to assume that a microsite aimed at B2B buyers would have the same effect.
Share your suggestions for other ways that B2B organizations can deliver remarkable content.
About the author: Stephanie Tilton is a content-marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.