Time to read: 2 minutes. Does your content marketing create action? I’ve been using LinkedIn, Facebook and blogging to generate business-to-business (b2b) leads and sales very effectively lately. Surprisingly, the key to my content marketing success is coming from creative thinking about what I already know works and getting my target market to take action—moving them off of social media.
Contrary to what “the experts” say, knowing how to be engaging within LinkedIn groups or telling compelling stories on your blog is not the key to generating leads and sales. In fact, most content marketing plans fail because popular wisdom the practice is fatally flawed.
You’re content marketing plan had better do one thing really well: Create RESPONSE. Inbound actions must be coming toward your business. You see, telling compelling, transparent, authentic stories about your brand won’t help you make sales unless the approach is accompanied by a focus on making those remarkable stories actionable.
You’ve got to give prospects a compelling reason to ask for more content. Because when they do that they become part of your sales funnel.
As social media expert, Jay Baer says your business is not in the “publishing business” but rather in the “action business.”
The success formula is quite simple.
Step 1: Create content that solves a problem.
Step 2: Locate and/or attract qualified discussions.
Step 3: Lure prospects into taking an action that connects to your sales funnel.
Pick an itch your customer has and scratch it with blog, video or some other form of content. Solve a common problem that relates to the end goal your customer is pursuing, for instance. Whether you’re a service or product marketer, this is the best content for blogs or any B2B content marketing vehicle you publish.
In my case, I published a handful of stories and audio interviews on my site featuring a niche subject matter expert. My guest told readers/listeners how to take action on a burning problem—one that related to a specific solution I sell.
The idea is to use content to give confidence to buyers. The trick is to do it in ways that increase their ability to feel emotionally grounded and intellectually stronger—fully equipped to do what they want to do. Buy.
Next, simply locate and/or attract qualified “conversations” with prospects. You can hunt them down inside LinkedIn Groups or blog in ways that attract search engine traffic based on questions (keywords) your prospects are asking.
In my case, I spotted a discussion on a niche LinkedIn Group where I answered a question in a way that “brought to life” the specific valuable answers my guest expert was offering… but not in the usual way.
I did not link back to my content; rather, I quoted my expert’s best sound byte. He was honestly provocative because he shared a new perspective and unique remedy. It then became easy for me to invite my prospects to join me on a journey… one where they would receive more useful content if they opted-in.
Of course, this moved them toward (or away from) my solution.
Again, don’t let all the hype about storytelling torpedo your content marketing plan. In B2B marketing you’ve got to go beyond telling a good story. Start netting leads by creating content that is provocative—compelling enough to cause prospects to sign up for more content they’re craving. It can be a Webinar, ebook, downloadable tip sheet, self assessment or educational video series (like my free sales training videos) that solves a common problem or addresses a popular fear or myth.
Photo credit: Rainbirder.
Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.
Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.