5 Ways B2B Tech Brands Can Focus on Quality and Drive Better Content Performance

April 18, 2017 Jonathan Crowl

Emphasizing quality in your content strategy.

A B2B tech company’s content manager is pulling data to build a quarterly report on the health of the company’s content marketing program, which includes a branded media site. As he looks over the stats, he realizes that performance is good—but it isn’t great. Even worse, the growth of certain stats have plateaued.

Overall weekly social traffic is strong, but it isn’t trending upward the way it was a year ago, and while the content referral program has a conversion rate that is outperforming the baseline, the manager knows it could be accomplishing much more.

The branded content—and, by extension, the marketing department as a whole—is stalling out. While the team has been churning out tons of content at a regular clip, this producing is delivering diminishing returns. What can the manager do about this? The answer sits somewhere in the debate between quantity- and quality-driven content. After years of embracing a quantity-focused model, the company might have hit a ceiling that requires a shift in focus toward quality.

This worries the manager, though. If he cuts down on content production, won’t this hurt his campaign reach? And won’t less content mean worse numbers, and more disappointing quarterly reports? The answer is no: When you switch to a quality-driven model, you don’t sacrifice performance. Instead, you find ways to give those stories real legs, expanding their reach and doing more with less. Here are five examples of brands that have found success with this formula.

An Interactive Partnership

What better way to tell a story of innovation than through innovative storytelling? This explains Ceros’ decision to team up with Samsung in creating and publishing an interactive graphic on the future of retail. Consumers can click on various parts of the graphic to activate aspects of its storytelling, giving them a choose-your-own-adventure experience that is dynamic and compelling.

A lot of collaboration is required to pull something like this off. B2B tech storytellers have to work with designers and developers to create the graphic. Ceros was able to leverage some of Samsung’s digital platform to help publish and promote the graphic. And B2B marketers have to build effective CTAs at the bottom of each part of the story, redirecting to landing pages in hopes of generating leads and conversions. This piece of content would require more resources than a single blog post, but it’s a high-impact piece of content that seizes a great digital opportunity.

Social Content with Emotional Resonance

Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign was so effective, many consumers didn’t even realize that the empowering campaign was part of a brand campaign.

And the success of this campaign depended on highly orchestrated marketing activities taking place in concert with one another, especially on social media. Always enlisted the help of celebrities and social influencers to promote social content and launch a viral movement for its campaign. Engagement was organic due to the number of people who felt moved by the campaign, and/or resonated with its message.

The #LikeAGirl tag also made it easy for other users to share their own content. High social engagement was a boon to its distribution strategy, and this social success supported the performance of other campaign materials, like TV commercials and online videos.

Tapping Into Community

Cabot Creamery doesn’t just want to be a food producer. It wants to emphasize its family ties, its strong sense of community, and the role its customers play in building and maintaining this culture.

Its content reflects this. From its website to the stories it features on social media, its blog, and other outlets, Cabot Creamery is telling stories about the people behind the brand. This requires skilled storytellers and participation from the co-op’s more than 1,100 members.

Cabot Creamery

With so many different stories to share, the messaging must be consistent. Marketers must coordinate with content creators to continue uncovering new angles to tell the story. Social media managers in particular are tasked with ensuring that content fits into the #FarmLove tag that has become such a central component of the company’s digital strategy.

Embracing Live Video

Live video leverages immediacy, but it isn’t something that is impulsively done. Organizing and planning for a live video session can sap a marketing team’s resources.

That said, brands are seeing great returns from this initiative, and not just because immediate consumer feedback makes it easy to analyze the success or failure of live video. After the live-streaming session has ended, the video can be stored on platforms like Facebook, allowing the company to re-use it and generate additional engagement and exposure. Media brands like NPR and Buzzfeed have taken the lead in leveraging live video sessions, but Forbes noted that companies like Dunkin’ Donuts have found similar success by tapping into visual appeal and offering behind-the-scenes footage, which Dunkin’ did by streaming a live session from its “test kitchen” where new products and creations were being made.

Video team members must be organized and efficient to make this work, and other teams involved in the production need to be adequately briefed on how the video will be made. But most important of all is the social activity taking place before the live session begins: Your social accounts and brand advocates need to get out the word ahead of the live session to drum up the all-important live video audience.

Explaining Benefits Through Story

With B2B marketing in particular, brands face a mission to convey critical information as quickly as possible. But too often, this leads to dry data sheets and uninspiring explanations. Volvo Trucks took a different approach: through a high-quality series of videos, the company used zany situations and compelling characters to demonstrate the benefits of its line of commercial trucks to prospective B2B buyers.

One of the most popular videos features a four-year-old girl who is given a remote control that operates a real-life commercial truck:

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a fabricated scene: The girl’s remote control actually does control the truck, and the carnage that follows is all a product of her own actions.

Even ignoring the creativity of this campaign, pulling off this sort of high-quality production is very demanding on resources. Leadership has to sign off on the expenses, and then a distribution strategy needs to get this video out in front of relevant B2B brands. Whether embedding these videos into a series of automated emails, featuring it on a B2B landing page, and sharing on social media, a range of coordinated activity will be required to generate positive ROI for such an ambitious project.

Conservative approaches to your B2B marketing strategy can certainly churn out positive returns, but many brand marketers acknowledge that a bold, creative content strategy often yields a higher impact on the target audience. Quality tends to override quantity in terms of its ceiling value to brands, but it’s all dependent on having the right content strategy in place to draw a large audience at the right time.

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About the Author

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