I spent the better part of last week in Southie (South Boston) at the MPB2B – MarketingProfs 2016 B2B Marketing Forum getting content marketing advice from the experts. I rubbed elbows with Joe Pulizzi, Michael Brenner, and Matt Heinz. Heidi Cohen asked me if I liked her session. I chatted with Andrew Gaffney. For three days, I felt a little like a content marketing rock star myself.
I also gathered some excellent tidbits that I can’t wait to share. In no particular order, I’m sharing 10 of the most awesome pieces of content marketing advice I heard at MPB2B, straight from the experts who know content marketing even better than I do.
Accepting the risk of failure is critical for innovation and creativity.
Ann Handley herself said that, and she’s so right. Not every content marketing initiative is going to be a home run. Sometimes it’s a line drive; other times, it’s a foul. Sometimes you don’t even hit the ball. Accept that you might not succeed this time, and keep swinging.
Creativity and imagination are what will set you apart in marketing.
Ann Handley again. Don’t be afraid to do something no one else is doing: maybe everyone in your industry is doing mid-funnel white papers. Take a chance on a purely educational piece, commission a survey, or even try interactive content.
Success is a moment. Mastering is long term.
Also Ann Handley. This woman speaks the truth (and has a very cute Cavalier Spaniel, Abby). When you succeed at a content marketing campaign, that’s great! But it’s just a moment. Like anything else, you have to keep doing it to master it.
Stop vomiting on every channel.
That somewhat graphic quote is from Andrew Davis, one of the keynote speakers. He’s got it right; stop pushing out content on every single social media channel. As B2B marketers, we need to focus on the channels that are working for us. I overheard someone say, “There is no reason for B2B marketers to be on Snapchat.” I agree.
You have to build a machine, an engine that continuously creates content.
That’s Michael Brenner providing a great piece of content marketing advice: produce content! If you don’t keep creating it, you’re not engaging in content marketing.
Ask your sales team to jot down notes when they’re on the phone.
Chris Moody said this in the context of finding content. Ask your sales team to write down what customers are asking. You are friends with them, no?
The strategy is to create helpful, relevant content and deliver it to the right person at the right time.
This content marketing advice is from Jason Miller, the punk rock enthusiast who peppered his presentation with references to The Clash (and is also a content marketing rock star at LinkedIn). It’s not new advice, but if your content is just selling, it’s not helpful or relevant to those top of the funnel prospects.
You can’t sell from the stage.
Tamsen Webster led a session on strategic speaking for marketers, and she’s right. Speaking is like content marketing: you have to provide relevant, helpful content from the stage, not just sell your company.
B2B marketing is finding people who want to do things, then convince them to do our thing.
I’m paraphrasing Andrew Moravick and Matthew Grant, both from Aberdeen Group, in this. Again, be relevant.
Customers don’t think of themselves on a journey.
As B2B marketers, we like to put our customers in cute little buckets: here are our top of the funnel prospects; here they are in the middle; and here they are, at the bottom and ready to buy. Matthew Grant wasn’t having any of that; we need to know what our buyers are thinking, and it’s not, “I’m on a buying journey!” His content marketing advice is to ask. Ask sales. Ask the customer directly. Hire people to ask the customers.
MPB2B was a pretty awesome conference this year. I’m hoping I can go again next year; I leave feeling so smart.
Until next year, Boston!