While conversation is the mechanism that brings both about through content, it is the context that can deliver the connection - and conversion. Where content and conversation built the relationship and in some cases a community, it's the value you deliver over time that makes you stand out at the point of decision.
This is good news for B2B companies as there is still plenty of unexplored potential in many niches. It's a situation not dissimilar from the one we talked about in viral marketing. Many companies in the B2B space tend to read the same analysts, and each other - thus sounding the same, at times word for word.
With social media, and particularly blogs, your B2B will break from the pack and become a destination if you:
- are consistent and keep to a regular appointment
- remember attitude is a decision
- become the hub for a specific niche or topic
- stay on top of the news for your industry with commentary
- act as host for customers and partners
In all these situations, you'll be creating the context where conversations and connections can happen in your industry or field. How do you get started?
Go evergreen with a point of view
Create content that is universally helpful in your niche, yet do it with a distinct angle. Decide to be the person or hub that analyzes trends, or technologies, or - gasp, you'll need to do this well to pull it off - analysts. I can still remember when Sam Lawrence was blogging about common issues faced by technology companies while at his previous employer.
Go very deep and stay practical
Explore a specific topic in depth while you consistently remind the reader about practical applications of what you're learning together. This blog is an example of going deep on certain topics, and taking away a few practical tips of things to test. Whenever you can, a combination of show and tell works well to create context.
Go across and show the connections
Become the go to place where people connect the dots on what's next. If you're a naturally strong facilitator and connector, and have a passion for and knowledge of your industry, you will do very well here. Your commentary will be that of the practitioner's. You can invite partners and customers as guests.
These are just a couple of ideas. A combination works, too, as long as you don't make it too hard on your readers to figure out what to expect. Especially in the beginning, consistency helps in getting you established. If you want to sprinkle in novel elements to keep things lively, do it on a regular cadence.
Conversation can help you with links. Content can help you with search. Context can make you a destination for people to join the conversation.
Too simple? Too difficult? There seems to be a scarcity of B2B case studies out there, I'm curious to hear your take on why that might be.
[image of Piazza Grande, Modena by davidtsousa]
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