Whisper it if you need to – B2B content is bland. According to a Sirius Decisions research, 60-70% of it even goes unused due to a variety of factors, from a lack of resources to disorganized structure. In many cases those whitepapers, ebooks, videos and blog posts don’t focus on the needs, concerns and values of the individual customer, which is why B2B content struggles to resonate with target audiences.
So then, what are B2B marketers supposed to do? What could help them make an impact with the content they create?
Influencer Marketing. The approach of engaging industry experts and influential thought leaders to deliver B2B content on your behalf.
With 55% of B2B buyers saying they research about a vendor/product on social media and 80% of B2B decision makers preferring to get details from articles instead of advertising (source: Meltwater.com), B2B marketers are realizing the need for strategic influencer marketing to add authority to their content marketing campaigns.
Why Influencer Marketing Has the Attention of B2B Marketers
The journey of a B2B buyer occurs over a long period and typically involves different touch points in the process. Content campaigns that are influential and trusted can be advantageous in terms of shorter sales cycles. By building relationships with influencers, B2B marketers can leverage resources and ideas to create varied content, ranging from ongoing engagements to periodic campaign collaborations.
The following are some benefits of B2B influencer marketing:
- Leads to the creation of more B2B content than a company can create by itself.
- Allows the content to reach more audiences courtesy of B2B influencer communities.
- Adds authenticity to the non-branded voice.
Nobody knows your company better than you and your personnel do, but you may not be able create content without bias like others outside your organization can. Due to this reason, B2B marketers should consider influencers when they’re devising their firm’s content marketing strategy. Ideally, they should work with experts to ensure that the B2B content they create and promote represents the intersection of their company’s vision and the expectations of their customers.
Several B2B companies have already realized the power of Influencers. One example is Health Catalyst, the Utah-based firm with expertise in Analytics and Data Warehousing. The B2B firm expanded its brand quickly despite being a new entrant in the industry that’s dominated by the likes of IBM and Oracle, some of which was a result of its influencer marketing efforts.
The company got well-known industry names to actively participate in its content marketing campaigns. Its knowledge center is filled with high-quality content for its clients (the majority of which are healthcare institutions). You’ll find webinars, blog posts, and other forms of content featuring insights from recognized influencers.
Getting Started With B2B Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing seems quite straightforward to get started with, but the opposite is true. In fact, it can be a challenge to apply it effectively and authentically. To ensure B2B Marketers get the most out of it, here are some rules to follow:
- Find Influencers Who Appeal To Your Target Audience
Focus on finding industry experts and thought leaders who your target buyers trust and read. Develop a list of analysts, contributors to industry publications, and keynote speakers. You can also consider your organization’s employees if they have domain expertise and are able to engage potential and current customers.
Platforms like Buzzoole are also available for B2B Marketers and they can not only bypass the hassle of identifying relevant Influencers manually, but also operate specific targeting by using Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and semantic analysis. Such automated platforms connect B2B brands with highly targeted social media Influencers and experts to initiate powerful earned media within their content strategy.
- Don’t Treat Influencer Marketing As Advertising
One mistake B2B companies make when it comes to Influencer Marketing is that they start treating it as advertising, carefully planning the content that’ll go out to audiences and be promoted. Influencers are even paid to write specific blurbs & tweets, a case where companies dictate how exactly they want the wording to be phrased.
The thing is, controlling the content co-created or created by Influencers kills authenticity, and leads to the same thing as people witness in B2B ads. Don’t make that mistake. Let the Influencers you pick create organic content. While it makes sense to talk about your business goals and company guidelines, trust them to deliver the content in whatever way they think will best resonate with B2B consumers.
- Consider Microcontent
While it’s great to work with Influencers on long-form content like ebooks and whitepapers, the most convenient way to build and maintain a regular relationship with them is collaborating on shorter content. It allows Influencers to contribute regularly and acts as a nice teaser before substantial content campaigns.
Examples of shorter content include tweets, pull quotes and comments. Leveraged correctly, it does enough to build and maintain positive engagements between larger content marketing campaigns. Long-form Influencer-generated content is great, but it can work in your favor if the name of the Influencer goes out regularly.
In the next few years, the goal of B2B content will be less about brand building and more about influencing target audiences by stepping into their shoes. Content that’s amplified by Influencers will pay dividends to B2B marketers over time that outweigh results from brand-centric content campaigns.Gianluca Perrelli
With great entrepreneurial spirit and fifteen years of experience in the digital marketing industry, Gianluca is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Buzzoole, having previously helped found digital enterprises such Kiver, later sold to Mondadori. Music lover and gin aficionado, Gianluca divides his time outside Buzzoole between sports and being a father of three. Get in touch with him on Twitter at @gyanluca.
This post is also available in: Italian