Best Practices

3 Content Engagement Tactics B2B Marketers Can Learn From Digital Publishers

They say necessity is the mother of invention and, in the publishing world at least, that proverb is certainly true.

As the value of display advertising declines, once-great media empires struggle to squeeze ever more page views out of readers so they can reach their revenue numbers and avoid further downsizing (or worse: shuttering altogether). As a former journalist who changed careers into marketing for this very reason, the ongoing downward spiral makes my heart hurt a little. At the same time, however, new content publishers like Netflix have emerged with innovative platforms that encourage viewers to binge episode after episode.

No matter which side of the publishing landscape you examine, this disruption has resulted in series of ingenious tactics and tools for getting audiences to click through to just one more piece of content…again and again and again.

While B2B marketers won’t need to adopt the same business model as those publishers anytime soon, there’s something to be said for creating engaging content experiences that not only capture but hold your audience’s attention — something that we don’t always do particularly well in B2B.

The cost of “one-and-done” content

Whether your buyer is making a B2B or B2C purchase, they’re now in the driver’s seat. Their life as a consumer is conditioning them to expect all the information they need to make their purchase whenever and wherever they need it, even when they’re at work. Withholding information during the buying cycle will drive your prospects to frustration, leaving hot prospects to die on the vine.

B2B marketing suffers from “catch-and-release” syndrome.

B2B marketing suffers from “catch-and-release” syndrome: prospects click-through from an email to a single content asset and, while they may have had an appetite for more, they leave your web property because they don’t have a relevant next step to follow (aside from “request a demo,” ugh). A huge amount of engagement is being left on the table! If your goal as a B2B marketer is to educate your prospects to prepare them for and accelerate them through the sales process, you are missing out on plenty of opportunities for engagement by leading them to a dead-end landing page that opens to a PDF, for example.

In the same way streaming services like Netflix caused the demise of companies like Blockbuster, the successful B2B marketers of the future will be those who put their buyers in the driver’s seat and allow them self-nurture at their own pace.

3 ways to keep your buyers engaged with your content

A screenshot of the National Post website that focuses on a "Trending" bar near the top of their website. It highlights certain topics such as Blue Jays, Trump and Real Estate.
1. Promote relevant topics in a prominent location

If you do it at all, most B2B marketers leave relevant content promotion to the very bottom or end of an asset. How many of your buyers actually get there? If you’re not sure, ask yourself when was the last time you made it to the bottom or end of a piece of content you looked at. Scary, right?

Media organizations know this all too well and have adjusted to their readers’ behavior by promoting relevant topics and content as close to the top as possible. Ideally, the assets are chosen by an intelligent algorithm rather than by a human, but you can do it manually too.

 

2. Create multimedia destinations featuring multiple types of content

One of the most common ways B2B companies allow buyers to filter through their resource centers is by type of content, such as whitepapers, videos, blog posts or webinars. Unfortunately, thanks to all those dead ends, they’re never given the opportunity to consume relevant content in different formats along the way.

A screenshot of a news article that features a video as the main asset. One half of the image shows the video displayed prominently and the other half shows the video shrinking to a smaller portion of the screen when the user scrolls past the initial positioning of the video.

Take a page out of the digital publishing book and combine related assets that stand a better chance at holding your audience’s attention. Embed videos into text-based content, such as blog posts or eBooks, or provide shorter, easy-to-read content that can be consumed during a webinar, for example. Your buyers are used to multitasking.

93% of buyers recommend marketers package related content together to make it easier to find.
Content Preferences Survey Report, Demand Gen Report

 

3. Push buyers to the next relevant content asset

A screenshot of an asset that with special attention drawn to a recommendation pop up on the bottom right hand corner that promotes a separate asset.This one is a no-brainer. And yet, very little B2B marketing content recommends the next logical asset that someone should consume. The premise is: If you were interested in this, then you’ll love that. As you move your buyer from piece to piece, they become better educated, more engaged, and increasingly sales ready with every content asset they consume.

Sound familiar? It should, because this is exactly how Netflix gets you to watch the entire season of your favorite show before you even realize you’ve been sitting on your couch in your pajamas staring at the screen for four hours straight. (No? Just me?)

Just 14% of B2B marketers say they are packaging together assets that have a logical progression of buyer requirements.

Why Your Website Fails Buyers Survey Report, Demand Gen Report

Keep your buyers engaged with more tactics from best-in-class digital publishers: Read the new B2B marketer’s best practice guide featuring real-world examples from leading digital publishers like ESPN, Forbes, Newsweek, Netflix, YouTube and more.

A screenshot of an eBook's title page with the title "Keep B2B Buyers Engaged with These Tactics from Best-in-Class Digital Publishers. A CTA reads "Get the Guide"

Written By
Cassandra Jowett
Cassandra Jowett is the Senior Director of Marketing at PathFactory. She is an award-winning marketing leader who specializes in helping early- and growth-stage startups scale their marketing efforts. She also runs a meetup group and Slack for B2B content marketing leaders. Before joining PathFactory, Cassandra led the content marketing teams at Influitive and TalentEgg.ca. She has a journalism degree from Ryerson University and, when she's not doing marketing stuff, she loves going backcountry camping and canoeing in the wilderness.

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  • May 26, 2017 at 9:01 am

    […] LookBookHQ: 3 Content Engagement Tactics B2B Marketers Can Learn From Digital Publishers New content publishers like Netflix have emerged with innovative platforms that encourage viewers to binge episode after episode. No matter which side of the publishing landscape you examine, this disruption has resulted in series of ingenious tactics and tools for getting audiences to click through to just one more piece of content…again and again and again. (read more) […]