Working in B2B marketing can be tough. We’re often selling complicated (or boring) stuff to people at work. The challenge for B2B marketers: adding value to someone’s day instead of interrupting them or slipping more snooze-worthy content their way.
We always have one eye out for inspiration. Here are four B2B brands that are producing great content, and the lessons we’ve learned from following them.
We love WordPress hosting company (and our client) WP Engine. Their online magazine for developers, Torque, is worth a read.
They know their audience (developers who favor WordPress) and all of their content is helpful, interesting and completely targeted to what their readers want to know. Conceptually, Torque supports the brand perfectly, but there’s no hard sell. Just great, engaging content.
We’re big fans of brand storytelling that feels like an actual story — not like marketing. GE hits the nail on the head with its Txchnologist magazine. It shares new research (not just from GE), innovative ideas and predictions for what’s coming next in life-changing tech. Focusing on the story and the ideas, not the “marketing,” makes this magazine read like a magazine, not like a brochure.
David Baker, ReCourses
This is another example of content that’s only interesting to a very specific target audience … which is the whole point of content marketing. Baker’s blog is chock full of good ideas for anyone running an agency, and the emails he sends are what Rep Cap chief Mary Ellen Slayter calls “the plainest, best emails in the world.” They’re the kind of emails that are low on design and very high on ideas that make you stop what you’re doing and rethink everything. They’re emails you want to immediately forward to someone else. That’s a good bar for anyone who wants to send great emails.
Here’s an excerpt from one of his emails this year that we loved:
The world is overrun with content. We need less content and more insight, and here’s the difference:
- When I read content, I move on and forget it. When I read insight, I can’t leave without agreeing or disagreeing. It forces a divide in the audience. They know what you believe and they think you’re misguided or insightful. There’s no middle ground. When I forward insight to someone, I’ll accompany it with a note about how good it is or how bad it is. When I forward content … oh, wait, I don’t!
- About one-half of your agency people can write content but only about one-fourth (or less) can write insight. Insightful authors have a broader experience, they make value judgments, and they aren’t afraid of offending someone for the right reasons.
- When I hit “send” for content, I’m worried about typos. When I hit “send” for insight, I’m worried about how it will be received. If I’m not nervous about the reception for what I’m writing, then it’s not insight. It’s helpful content instead.
- Wikipedia is content. The WSJ or NYT is insight.
Groove makes help-desk software, but that’s not really what their blog is about; it’s about how to run a better business, and they give a peek behind the curtain at how they’re building a better business too. Their posts are authentic, straightforward and incredibly helpful to anyone trying to improve their work. We always find ourselves reading their posts to the end and sharing them immediately.
What B2B brands have you learned from? I’d love to hear your favorites (tell me on Twitter!).
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Reputation Capital Media Services is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, marketing agency that helps B2B companies and their marketing agencies produce high-quality digital content, including blog posts, email newsletters, white papers and multimedia. Our editors and writers are experts in their fields, which include HR technology, employee benefits, and financial services and accounting. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how great content can help you attract and retain your customers.