I love food, I love cooking it, eating it, thinking about it and I especially love going out to eat – someone else cooks it and does the washing up! One of the things that is really great about the way eating out has evolved, is that there is so much choice. If you want a burger, you can go to McBurgers or a van by the side of the road, you can step up a level and go to one of the growing range of “posh” burger restaurants, or you can even find a fabulously overpriced (but delicious) burger on the menu at a Michelin starred restaurant. You can gobble down a burrito for £5 whilst walking down the street, or spend £100 on a five course meal that is visually stunning and tastes incredible. You can have a snack or a feast or something in the middle.
So what does this have to do with B2B content marketing?
What you want to eat can depend on how hungry you are, who you are with, how much time you have available and a myriad of other factors. In the same way the content that you decide to consume online is determined by similar factors. Do you need fast information? Something that entertains whist teaching you something new? An in depth report or research piece? Something vaguely linked to your business needs? Do you want it to be long, short, bitesize, digestible…?
Thinking about it this way gives a different perspective on the world of content. If you start to think about your content in terms of how, why and when your audience consume it. You can see the importance of having lots of different types of content to suit peoples moods and needs:
- Research pieces, reports, quarterly bulletins – The five course meal at a posh restaurant with a nice bottle of wine and all the extras. It takes people, time and effort to produce this sort of content and the readers will have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. It’s important to take the time to ensure it's highly valuable to them and that they walk away thinking about the next time. It’s unlikely that you’ll eat this sort of meal that often. It’s the same with in-depth content, it needs to be so useful/memorable that you wouldn’t think of going anywhere else, or you will need to find ways to keep reminding your audience that you exist…
- Longer blog posts – A sit down lunch with a friend or business acquaintance, you don’t have time to go for three courses but you want to be impressed. These need to be substantial and interesting. Your readers are taking a chunk of time out of their busy day to engage with your post, so make it worth their while.
- Comments and Insights – The 5 minute desktop lunch when you are busy, the mid-morning snack, quick bite on the way to a meeting or street food that smells too irresistible to walk past. For me this is the sweet spot, snackable, easily digestible posts that take a couple of minutes to read, but give the reader a useful fact or insight that they can take away. You can add your insights on what’s going on in your niche or how the news could affect your customers or be the first to comment on significant events or changes. These shorter posts can also be very powerful for testing new topics to see what engages your audience. If a topic resonates, you can confidently take the time to write a longer piece. Like snack food, these posts need to be timely and easily digestible.
- Company News – The generic fast food of the content world. It’s what you look at if there is nothing better on offer. Company news is generally of most interest to people that work in the company, the job candidate preparing for an interview, or the person that writes it. Prospective clients might like you more if your team is doing a charity bike ride. But it’s unlikely to be a major factor in winning new business or driving engagement.
Try thinking about your content mix in terms of different ways to eat: I eat lots of snacks and quick meals. I relish the opportunity for a proper sit down lunch but am often too busy. I’d love to eat a five course meal every day but don’t have the time or resources and I have very little interest in bland generic fast food! Make sure you have a mix of content to suit every hungry diner, and you are well on the way.