Brand marketers, PR professionals and journalists know that their roles as content creators, news sources and media gatekeepers are evolving within the crowded online space.
Business communicators face the added challenge of capturing attention and earning trust with their B2B information, which can be laden with complex details.
Here are three tips to catapult your B2B native content and news past the noise:
1. Present evidence with empathy.
News fatigue and skepticism are on the rise among audiences. According to the 2019 G&S Sense & Sustainability Study, 59% of Americans are either unsure of corporate efforts to share news about improving the environment and society or believe that companies are doing a poor job communicating it.
What’s the remedy? B2B content is often brimming with facts and figures. Show the evidence, but let people—not data, products or technology—be your storytellers.
Feature star employees as subject matter experts and everyday heroes whose hard work lifts your company to success. Rely on customer testimonials to tout positive experiences with your business.
DuPont Water Solutions (DWS) knows its audience of prospective customers—including engineers, operators and original equipment managers—who look to their peer group for validation. To encourage community engagement, DWS built a robust Customer Narrative Program to share customers’ success stories—one of which resulted in a long-form video, social teaser, written story with added context, and other vehicle outputs.
Without expressing emotion, your business news can become flat and forgettable. It takes both business credibility and shared understanding to foster trust with customers, investors, suppliers and other stakeholders.
2. Use natural language.
B2B’s emphasis on trade media drove its heavy reliance on tech-speak and jargon. However, business communicators today must be fluent in both industry parlance and natural language, as they engage audiences along the entire supply chain—from the earliest stages of manufacturing all the way to end customers and consumers.
Big changes in search engine technology have also propelled the rise of business communication that is more conversational. Early SEO copywriters would rely on planting obscure technical keywords to boost their B2B site’s page ranks. Imagine the David-and-Goliath challenge facing a logistics warehousing company competing for web visibility against footwear retailer Designer Shoe Warehouse.
Today, results from “semantic searches” are more accurate because they are based on the context of a query, or the meaning intended by the searcher. If you were leading the content strategy for that hypothetical logistics business, redefined protocols would now allow you to optimize your site by using plainer language such as “warehouse” and “inventory.”
The bonus? You also would be optimizing your site for the big trend toward voice-enabled searches.
3. Up your YouTube game.
In increasing numbers, YouTube channels are being used to serve up B2B content. But why waste the power of YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine behind Google, with stale, behind-the-scenes footage of your manufacturing plant or a boring sales demonstration from your healthtech start-up venture? Break through the vast choices of video by offering a fresh look at your company, its people, mission and ideas.
For example, global agribusiness leader Syngenta uses its YouTube channel to amplify multiple initiatives, among them a diversity and inclusion campaign about the growing presence of women in the agricultural industry. In an integrated media strategy, Syngenta uses YouTube to share video vignettes of women profiled in episodes of “FarmHer,” a TV series that the company has sponsored for four seasons on rural lifestyle network RFD.
When considering YouTube’s capacity to convene viewers, try different video genres. Produce mini-documentaries to share your corporate culture or history of innovations. Attract subscribers by offering a series of upbeat, explainer videos with lively graphics that break down technical details in a way that informs and entertains. Don’t forget: Podcasts originating on other platforms can also be distributed via YouTube for enhanced SEO.
Yes, the media ecosystem has become more complex, and audiences have grown more discerning. However, these factors are shifting the advantage toward B2B communicators, businesses and brands.
With these three tips, business communicators can use their purposeful storytelling to connect meaningfully with decision-makers who matter to their organization’s growth.
Mary C. Buhay is senior vice president of marketing with G&S Business Communications.