Episode 22: How To Improve Your B2B Content

The B2B landscape is flush with more usable content than you may think!

Businesses need to be controversial (to an extent), experiment with different types of content and front up to the current challenges faced in boardrooms today. It’s time to take on the challenge. Better B2B content is waiting for you.


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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

In this episode, we’re talking about how you can make better B2B content.

Hi, I’m Colin Jacobs, Managing Director at immediate future and I’m here to talk about B2B content in this week’s Series Social Live. We want to help you make better B2B content.

The B2B landscape is an interesting one, as you probably are aware, we do a lot of work for the likes of Fujitsu. In fact, what you’re seeing in the background there is one of the episodes of Fujitsu Forum TV live – a live streaming proposition that was created for them after about three or four years’ worth of thinking. Reason I’ve got that playing in the background is to give you a reference as to how cool some content can look if you give it a little bit of thought, and the reason I say this is the B2B landscape is actually flush with more information and more usable content than perhaps a lot of businesses realise, and it’s a bit of a common challenge.

In fact, if you think about your own organisation now and you think about the white papers you’ve got, you think about some of the insight-based reports that you’ve maybe generated, you think about the talent that you’ve got throughout your business, and all that intellectual property and know-how of how to make a difference in your sector that’s all there, just desperate to be accessed. Unfortunately, marketing teams are not always supported or empowered to actually go and do all of that stuff. Instead, they’re encouraged to go and do demand generation. But I want you to pause on that thought for a moment because ultimately, I’m going to show you how doing stuff like this can generate to an attributed pipeline.

Now, this all looks pretty flashy and swanky, doesn’t it? This was some of the Steadicam content that we captured on live activated, and cameras from Fujitsu Forum 2019. The Steadicam is actually going around what’s called the co-creation zone here, and the chap I was interviewing at the time is the brilliant Joe Box, who leads the co-creation program. Why is all that important? Well, a lot of what Joe’s talking about is all based from the businesses’ experience. A lot of what is being shared is findings from reports, and findings from the white papers that have been distributed around the business, and also feedback from clients. But what we found was the technology space is open to brilliant video content. It’s open to pithy content, it’s open to debate, it’s open to learning something about a proposition or a challenge that resonates with an organisation. So, part of the co-creation story we’re currently talking in this video is to help boardrooms, and particularly Chief Executive Officers, understand how even working with their nearest and dearest of enemies could potentially benefit their business.

Now, as a topic, as a concept, that in itself is going to stop a CEO in his or her tracks and make them think, ‘do I really want to be working with my nearest and dearest?’ But here’s the thing – that curiosity, that oh that drives pause, that drives discovery, that drives interest, it drives viewership. Now, here’s the thing. Everything we’re debating has all been cultivated from what is spoken about every day within, I was going to say within the halls of Fujitsu towers, but with everyone home working, I guess, spoken about on zoom calls today, perhaps. The point being, you will have far more knowledge than you probably realise about your businesses. The propositions, the services you have, and I’m sure you will all create pretty good content, and I’m sure you’re excelling in some areas, but maybe struggling elsewhere. And one of the areas you absolutely do not need to be struggling is in social media, but you’ve got to get the content right.

I mentioned demand generation earlier. Didn’t I? A lot of people, they’ll go and get that white paper on the report, and they’ll kind of lift out some of the important elements from it, turn it into pretty bland, salesy like content and put it into social. There’s no discussion, there’s no narrative, there’s no debate. They’re not pulling out the controversy and showing both sides of the story, what the pros and cons to maybe the controversial topic is. The minute I say controversial, controversy, or use anything controversial, a lot of brands go “Oh, we’ve got to shy away from that.” The biggest compliment I can pay to the people at Fujitsu is that they empowered us to actually go and test something.

Now, I am not talking about your business doing something controversial to the detriment of the organisation. I’m talking about your organisation and its wonderful people fronting up to the common challenges, and the common problems that are faced by your customers – the nuanced happenings that occur within business that your product or service helps to solve. Now, here’s the thing, if you put out a load of content focusing on the propositional service that talks about all of the USP’s, we shut down. We’re bored of seeing content like that. But if you talk about how a fundamental challenge, a resonating challenge, is taken away from leadership, particularly boardrooms, you get dwell time, you get interest. And that’s where video can come in.

Now, video is not the be-all and end-all, this is one example that kind of follows on from a serious social live I did a few weeks ago, where we were doing some myth-busting. We spoke about long-form content and how some people believe it doesn’t perform well on social. With this interview, if memory serves, that was about an 11-minute segment that was broadcast live. We’ve then cut that up into various short-form edits that’s gone out into social, obviously after the event, but the point being, people gave up 11 minutes to watch this. They gave up 11 minutes because they learned something. And what they learned was solutions that were going to help their business. So, we look at the controversial elements, the points of resonance, and then we create engaging, attractive, non-controversial content around it.

My job when I’m hosting and presenting for Fujitsu, is to kind of moderate, to introduce the topic, always play devil’s advocate if you like, when we’re talking. Whether it’s co-creation here, multi-cloud security – which is prevalent to discussions these days. I remember a stat from two years ago Fujitsu Forum TV Live, that then, the cost to security was $610 billion dollars per annum. It’s only gone up and up and up. Now, some people can use those statistics to scaremonger, and that’s absolutely right to be cautious of doing that, but if you use that statistic to anchor a solution that you’re then pushing, you’re going to get attention.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well, I want you to give me a test. I want you to give me an honest run. I want to help you all make better content for your B2B brands. So, I want you to find a white paper, I want you to find a report and I want you to do what you would normally do in going and pulling out the three or five key messages that you think would lift or jump from them. And then I want you to ask yourself are they newsworthy? I was going to swear, will people give a **** about it? Apologies. Or are they meaningless statistics? Are we lifting the right information or are we lifting stuff that’s just suitable for the business, comfortable to the business because we’ve always done things a certain way? We can sometimes get caught in a rut about doing the same.

I want you to consider are those topics controversial enough, are they impactful enough, are they newsworthy enough, and most importantly, are they helping to solve a problem that your customers are facing right now? And if the answer is no to all of that, frankly you shouldn’t be creating any content, let alone, do video live content. However, if the information you’re lifting is answering a key challenge that boardrooms are wrangling with right now, then you’ve got a tenet, a message to build a campaign around.

Now, your duty is to think about the most impactful way that you can pull that alive, and this is going to take time and it’s going to take some money, but if you invest and if you do as I’m saying, you ultimately will drive more interest with your sales team. But, tip, you need to get your sales team on the journey with you. Salespeople are integral to the success of technology companies and what we’re advocating here is not doing activities in place of their key roles. This is to enhance their roles to give them more opportunities, coming in more leads for them to then go and convert.

Some of my learnings from over five years ago when we first started working with Fujitsu, I did not do a good enough job in helping the sales teams understand we were there to help them, to work with them, to give them greater opportunities. It took me too long to realise that they perhaps felt a little threatened by our involvement and were maybe looking to take work away from them. The minute I got the salespeople on board, two things happened. One: all the resistance to campaigns went away and there was a bit of advocating for it. But two: most importantly, we were getting a lot of critical information, those frequently asked questions coming in from customers, your salespeople are on the front line. They’re having the calls with people out in industry, they know the problems and headaches that are being faced right now. Then as marketers, it’s our job to go and craft content around it.

Now, I promise you, when you start looking at this, you’re likely to find that some of your reports and white papers may be a little dated. You may not be talking about the right stuff, but you’ve learned something, that’s good isn’t it? So now go and craft the bedrock content, as we call it the report, the long-form, and content around those FAQs that you’re hearing back, shaping it around the problems and challenges that boardrooms are facing with, and then go and turn it into inspiring content, and consider doing talking head interviews, and consider creating a whole library of content and exploiting Facebook’s instant experience – the microsite like ad treatment within the Facebook platform. Lots of B2B still say to me, “Facebook isn’t for us, it’s a consumer platform” – go and check out my myth-busting film from a few weeks ago. Couldn’t be further from the truth. And in fact, if you go onto the IF website, I’m pretty sure our CTO report is still up there showing you. Oh boy they’re over, they’re not all over Facebook, they’re all over all of the social channels, behaviours have changed, they will see your con

There’s a reason we’re still doing live interviews many years on after first doing it for Fujitsu, and there’s a reason why we’re actually going to be doing it again this year for the digital-only event.

Take me up on the challenge, go and give it a go – better B2B content is waiting there for your brand.

Speak to you soon.

If you’re after more know-how to break the social boring, subscribe now and check out the show notes for links to our website and social profiles.

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