The B2B Content Equation
B2B Internet marketers often struggle mightily with website content.
From an SEO perspective, content is a key component in any successful search program (more keyword opportunities, longer tail terms, freshness to encourage more frequent crawls, internal cross-linking opportunities, inbound link building materials, etc.).
The most common obstacles to content generation that B2B marketers express are time and money.
It would be too simplistic, and perhaps even inaccurate, to make the following statement:
Time + Money = Content
Even if it were as simple as combining some amount of time and money to create content, there is zero guarantee of creating Value.
Time + Money = no guarantee of Valuable Content
Content, for content’s sake, is a waste of resources. Adding loads of content, such as Glossaries and FAQ Sections, may add page weight to a site and provide opportunities for cross-linking pages and themes together. But, there is little-to-no value created for users (i.e. prospects). Poorly-planned Resource Centers and White Papers also offer little value.
What is valuable content?
By definition, it helps the user get to know your company and products better, and moves them closer to becoming a lead. Valuable content is also much more likely to resonate with those that might link to your site. The links generated (often passively) will also be of higher value in terms of relevance – anchor text, thematic relationships, semantic variety, trusted sites, etc.
The missing variable in the value equation is creativity.
Time + Money + Creativity = Valuable Content
At the risk of losing you, the reader, by using algebraic expression, you could express that time and money are variables that can range from zero to infinite as follows:
xTime + yMoney + Creativity = Valuable Content
The consistent, but intangible, variable here is Creativity.
Content types that are likely to add value to the lead generation/nurturing process, as well as adding value to SEO efforts, include:
- Blog Posts
- Interactive Tools
Each of the above can help explain who you are, what you offer, why you are better, how you solve problems, etc.
Here are some thoughts on how you can use Creativity to reduce Time and/or Money in the content creation process.
A tactic that can work nicely here is an interview-style article. Someone in the Marketing department can put together a series of questions to pose to a Product Manager, Customer Service Manager, Lead Engineer, etc. Send the questions via e-mail and this makes it easier for the recipient to respond to the questions. Edit, format, and then publish. To prevent overloading any one individual’s time contribution, find a number of different people in the company who would be willing to participate in this way.
Just as with Articles above, you can use an interview-style approach to generate content for the blog. In the case of blog posts, you might expand your outreach beyond your own company by asking industry experts to participate. Keep in mind that while recruiting guest bloggers can save tremendous amounts of time, this type of content may not serve the goal of enhancing the lead generation/nurturing process (i.e. generate as much Value.)
A differentiating point of blog posts vs. articles is that blog posts do not typically require as much length/depth as an article, so you can break out the questions and responses into a series of blog posts (saving even more time.)
In a Resources section of a Web site, or other relevant area of the site, you can use images of products in use – reporting interfaces, output generation, close-ups of product features, etc. – and create pages for each image (or, group images into pages by theme). Write a description of what you want the user to take away from the image they are viewing. Remember to name the image files using keywords, use alt tags with the images, and allow users to view the image in a separate page (i.e. provide an image URL.) These tactics are more likely to help you get your images indexed and found in search.
Creating interactive tools can be time consuming and costly. Consider having higher-education student groups take on this task as a project for their class work. Or, create a contest where the person/group who creates the winning entry receives something of value.
As with Interactive tools, you can limit the time and cost of production by recruiting students and/or creating contests. The videos do not have to be extremely creative to serve the purpose of creating Value. Product demonstrations can provide Quality Content that helps prospective customers move further down the sales cycle. You can consider breaking up product demonstrations into pieces. Breaking down the videos into smaller chunks will help retain users’ attention, and helps extend the life/use of the content.
If you are already engaged in Webinar creation, making that content as accessible as possible on your site can generate search engine traffic and leverage the Time and/or Money you have already invested.
As with Videos, it can be highly useful to break Webinar content into smaller chunks. You can create “chapters” for the Webinar and place each one on a separate Web page. Create a brief synopsis of the value the user will receive by watching each chapter and use that content as a means of generating the search engine traffic you are seeking.
Creativity is limitless. Time and money are not. Leverage the creativity within your organization, and with partners of all kinds, and you can create Valuable Content that serves both your SEO and Lead Generation goals, while making the process manageable.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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