Council Post: Giving Consumers More Control: How B2B Brands Can Engage Their Audiences

Council Post: Giving Consumers More Control: How B2B Brands Can Engage Their Audiences

In today’s world, there are more ways than ever before to consume content. From written articles to short- and long-form video content to podcasts, people have the flexibility to consume media in whichever way works best for them.

While B2C brands often let users choose how they’d like to engage with content (usually through options to read, listen or watch), many B2B brands are still a beat behind in making this shift. This typically stems from B2B brands thinking of their audience as companies rather than individual people with decision-making power.

Recognizing that B2B audiences are people makes it clear that they also want to consume media on their own terms and engage with more human-centric content. Therefore, B2B brands should diversify their content mix and distribution to keep from missing out on a big fraction of their potential audience.

Here’s some advice on how your B2B brand can get started.

It may sound simple, but brands need to know who their audience is and which platforms and channels they engage with to create truly valuable content. But what’s the best way to do this?

It helps to think of your customers as real people looking for a change. Maybe they want to be inspired, advance their careers or make their businesses more successful. Your opportunity as a brand is to meet them where they are with purposeful content that will help them grow and address their wants, needs or challenges.

Find the right mix of formats and channels.

Once you’ve nailed down who your audience is, the next step is to map out a content web. Picture your core messaging, themes and topics at the center of the web with different content channels and formats branching out. This can help you visualize how to bring each piece of content to life through a mix of mediums.

Do you want to showcase your company culture or provide a quick product demo? Consider making videos for content that’s easier for consumers to understand by watching rather than reading or listening. Or maybe you’re compiling a quick listicle of industry tips and think a short-written blog piece will do the trick.

In some cases, it might even make sense to translate one content idea into different formats—making the same content accessible for people to consume in different ways. Take e-books, for example. Sometimes people can’t read long-form content all in one sitting, so what if you could create an audio version that they can play in the background while they work?

According to Venngage, “49% of marketers primarily use visual content on blogs and websites, followed by social channels such as Facebook and Instagram.” Video marketing can be a game changer, but it can also be daunting for brands who haven’t ventured into video.

Luckily, you can rest assured that anyone can produce a video—even without fancy equipment or a professional setup. Start making videos that are achievable first. Don’t bow to the pressure to produce a high-effort video when a simple solution (like an internal-facing product FAQ for the customer success team) is already a quick win and will still have a big impact on your team. Adopting a “crawl-walk-run” framework can manage expectations and let brands slowly ramp up their video efforts until it feels comfortable and natural.

Lastly, make sure to incorporate video into your social media strategy. Social media is the top channel used to share marketing videos (76%) and can convey your brand’s story in ways other forms of content simply can’t.

According to one study, 70% of emotionally engaged customers spent more on brands they are loyal to. So, how do you engage your customers’ emotions with so many other companies publishing videos?

Start by looking at past videos from your company or other brands that evoke a positive emotion. After looking through these videos, figure out what generated emotion—or didn’t. For example, did you watch a company’s “about us” video that made you want to work at that company? Why was it effective?

Lastly, utilize measurement tools like viewer duration, feedback and link clicks to understand how your video content is performing. From there, you can hone in on what resonates with your audience. Remember, you want to educate but also entertain your audience. Consumers watch hours and hours of video, so you need to stick out!

The bottom line is that every brand wants to create long-lasting relationships with its customers, and brands that give their consumers a wide variety of content types and channels to choose from will come out on top.

Experimenting with innovative content types like video and podcasts doesn’t mean that your brand should abandon tried-and-true formats, but don’t be afraid to jump right into where your audience already is. After all, just getting started means you’re already off to a running start.

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