5 Ways To Boost Professional Engagement With Your Content
Professional engagement is an important part of the job for any B2B marketer but it’s not an easy task. This is a diverse group of busy individuals with a limited amount of time for consuming content and a long list of sources vying for their attention. In any competitive situation like this it’s crucial to give yourself the best chance of success. This simple five-step guideline will help you generate maximum value from your content marketing efforts.
If you’re going to engage a professional audience – whether it’s lawyers, engineers or marketers you’re after – you need to go to where they’re consuming content. With 380 million users worldwide, including five million here in Australia, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Members primarily visit this professional network to share knowledge and learn from their peers so resist the temptation to broadcast your new product release or marketing pitch. Join and contribute to discussions in relevant groups. As a rule of thumb, think about how the content you’re planning to share will improve their knowledge on a topic of interest or help them solve a problem. If it fails a simple usefulness test you’d be best not to hit publish. You’ll also find lots of like-minded professionals on Twitter, posting in the comment sections of popular industry publications and attending events.
Once you’ve made a connection, you need to tailor your content for different stages of the decision-making process. This is often referred to as content mapping.
- Awareness – These members of your target audience don’t have a relationship with your brand. You need to generate awareness of shared interests with easily consumed, ungated content including short explainer videos and infographics.
- Consideration – At this stage your audience understands they have a want or need to fulfil. You’d like to be part of the solution so deliver content that addresses pain points and helps them to be more productive. An e-book or a podcast showing your knowledge of the subject will boost your credibility.
- Preference – If you’ve executed the first two stages well, your audience will consider your brand when they’re ready to make a purchase. At this stage you want to target them with case studies showing how you’ve helped other businesses solve similar problems. There’s no proof more compelling than a third-party sharing a success story of working with your business.
- Implementation – You’ve gained commitment from your prospects and produced quality leads. This section of your target audience is now highly engaged so content like buying guides and return on investment calculators will give them that final push over the line.
You need your target audience to trust the content you post. You can simplify this process by building content pillars and segmenting your content into distinct groups. For each segment, comment on relevant industry news to establish your brand’s authority. Use brand pages on social and the ‘about us’ section of your website to provide company updates because transparency builds trust.
There’s a lot of value to be found in repurposing high performing content on a regular basis. If you’ve invested a lot of time and effort in creating a central piece of content, maybe an in-depth guide to changes in a particular industry, what other formats can you break it down into? There should be a number of blog posts you can create; if you’ve included some original research you have the raw materials for a useful infographic; interviews with industry experts could be collated into a podcast. Your target audience has a diverse range of content consumption habits so give them different ways to engage with your brand.
What you say and how you say it are the two most critical factors when engaging an audience with content. To have real impact it needs to be shareable so think about presentation. Break longer pieces down into smaller, digestible chunks and always use images that feel part of the same story. Most importantly, content should convey a genuine understanding of the goals your target audience is trying to achieve and the challenges they face in realising them. How will they benefit from consuming your content and what action would you like them to take as a result?
Effectively engaging professionals with your content is a long-term play but, if you make a genuine commitment, they’ll eventually want and expect to hear from you. Remember your brand is always competing for attention so keep the buyer’s journey in mind and deliver content based on different audience needs. You wouldn’t want somebody asking you to marry them on a first date and the same rules apply to content marketing.