We talk all the time about creating great content. It provides so many benefits from trust building to search engine optimization benefits. Another aspect we discuss is creating content that gets shared, which can be more of an uphill battle. Consumer based businesses, or B2C business tend to have an easier time creating this type of content because lets face it, you've got a much larger interest base. Business-to-business (B2B) focused companies are trying to reach a much smaller audience, many times focused on a topic that garners little interest outside of the people looking for them. Additionally, many B2B companies try to hold a lot close to the vest, so they are not always creating the most compelling content...and if they think someone will stumble upon their capabilities page and will share it just because, they are crazy. THAT'S NOT SHAREABLE!!
Here's Why B2B Companies Fail at Creating Shareable Content
Honestly it boils down to one thing. They forget that the people that buy their products or services are actually humans. While they sell to another business, the people that put in the time researching and actually making the decisions are not an entity, they are people.
To overcome this obstacle the content creators need to step aside for a second and think about their topics and what they are trying to accomplish. Completing the sale shouldn't be the first objective when you create a piece of new content. If your goal is to have your content shared, your first objective is to make your content useful, interesting, helpful, humorous, valuable and so on. Not only that, but your content must be useful, interesting, etc, to more than just that one person reading it...they must also have the feeling that others might find this as great as I did before they decide to share it.
Easier said than done, right?
Of course. If it were easy I wouldn't be writing this article.
So What Can You Do?
- Stop writing content about YOUR products, YOUR services, YOUR business. If you are all about selling, people won't share. Nobody wants to read a bunch of product data, let alone share it. Instead write about market data, educate, provide answers to a common solution, or think about providing some sort of value.
- Step outside the B2B mindset and think about getting humans to share. An example...a company that paves large parking lots for businesses might want to create an article or checklist about how to reduce annual maintenance cost of your blacktop driveway. Your writing something you are knowledgeable about, providing value to a much larger group of people, and you are creating a piece of content that someone might want to send to their friends. Sure, these driveway owners aren't your ideal audience, but your goal here is to get shares. Additionally, you'll be helping SEO and also keep in mind that many consumers that see this also have jobs and work at businesses that just may need a paved parking lot.
- Change your tone a little bit. When you are speaking or writing to another business you may tend to be a bit more formal. Write to a consumer so they can relate to you and actually enjoy reading it. If they enjoy what they're reading, they will be more likely to share.
- Involve other people in your business. You'll get a different take on things, a different tone, and a different message.
- Actually create content. Don't just assume that people won't share my stuff just because. Content is important, so start creating value for yourself and for readers by creating valuable content.
That's all. It isn't magic...but it certainly isn't easy either. Everything you do won't be a home run, so don't give up easily. Probably the hardest part is sticking with it, but whether you are B2B or B2C, be sure that a content marketing strategy is involved in the mix somehow and one of your short term objectives is to have your content shared and linked to from other websites. Need help with a B2B content marketing strategy? We'd love to chat with you!