IntegratedB2B https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com Scandinavia’s no. 1 international B2B marketing blog Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:39:56 +0000 da-DK hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 How to use social media in your B2B content marketing https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/03/26/how-to-use-social-media-in-your-b2b-content-marketing/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 15:03:29 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3657 A well-designed social media (SoMe) strategy is an indispensable part of your content marketing efforts. B2B social media marketing is all about engaging customers through relevant, value-adding content. For businesses adapting to rapidly changing circumstances, where customers are constantly accessing content through multiple devices at any time of the day, there are great opportunities to […]

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A well-designed social media (SoMe) strategy is an indispensable part of your content marketing efforts. B2B social media marketing is all about engaging customers through relevant, value-adding content.

For businesses adapting to rapidly changing circumstances, where customers are constantly accessing content through multiple devices at any time of the day, there are great opportunities to engage. But with these opportunities comes pressure.

Too much content?

Even the most experienced marketers can get overwhelmed with all the content they have to create, manage, and measure. And even those who have a good handle on their content marketing strategy feel the pressure of keeping up with their social media activities. That’s why, if you want to make sure your marketing efforts align on all channels, you need a SoMe strategy.

In this post, I’ll discuss:

  • Why you should have a social media strategy
  • The difference between a social media strategy and a content strategy
  • The four elements of a successfully integrated SoMe marketing strategy

Why a social media strategy?

Social media offers powerful channels through which you can share content in seconds. In fact, market leaders such as SAP make no secret of the power of social media, putting considerable efforts into growing their followers and engaging them with good content.

But B2B marketers dealing in social media need to be smart when it comes to what content needs to go where, when, and how.

Without a strategy, you might be posting on social media just for the sake of posting. In that case, you’re making it difficult to align with your company’s goals and understand your target audiences.

Good social media marketing goes beyond broadcasting news and views. It needs to be an integrated part of your content marketing strategy. In practice, that means that every ‘post’ you make will support your goals to gain connections and move them along the conversion funnel.

Adding a SoMe strategy to your content marketing strategy will:

  • Boost your brand’s reach, add scale to campaigns, and enhance conversion
  • Enhance customer engagement, brand loyalty, customer service, and customer insights
  • Increase exposure to generate traffic, leads, and sales
  • Elevate employee advocacy and deepen relationships
  • Access a huge market to test, trial, and crowd source new ideas about your products and services.
  • Improve your company’s online search engine ranking
  • Reduce marketing costs (cheaper than traditional methods)

How does SoMe marketing work with content marketing?

Let’s face it. Content marketing today relies heavily on social media. But it’s worth looking at how they differ to understand the role they play together.

Let’s take a look:

Content marketing isn’t just about content creation. It’s the entire process that enables organizations to add value for current and potential customers by distributing that created content in the most powerful way. Typically, content marketing uses different formats such as blog posts, videos, and web pages with the focus of getting people to engage with your brand.

While social media marketing is made up of similar items of content (pictures, video, copy, and storytelling), the difference is the platforms. SoMe marketing focuses activities within social networks themselves (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). So, marketers not only have to create or reimagine pieces of content to fit into the varied platform formats, but they must be strategically curated inside them, too.

While longer formats of content marketing channels are better suited to help organizations educate and entertain their target audiences, social media channels require shorter, pithy pieces of content that tantalize audiences to want to read more.

Social media channels help you generate genuine interest and trust to guide potential customers toward these longer formats by snappily showing how your product or service can help solve their problems.

Simply, you need to get to the point faster.

The four elements of an integrated SoMe marketing strategy

To get started in creating your SoMe strategy, I suggest looking at four key elements:

  1. Objectives: Your content marketing and SoMe marketing strategies need to align with your company’s overall goals. In particular, as with any marketing strategy, you need to understand clearly the sales goals for each customer segment. Whatever SoMe activities you undertake must play some role in helping your sales colleagues create relationships with prospects, faster.
  2. Audience personas: Audience personas are fictional representations of ideal customers based on real data (customer demographics, online behavior) and educated guesses about their motivations and concerns. If you’ve already developed your content marketing personas, you can add to their profiles by listing the SoMe platforms they prefer and what type of content catches their eye. Better yet, with a SoMe strategy in place, you can collect more behavior information about your customers to develop your personas even further.
  3. Product/offering value propositions: Your social media messages need to be based on specific value propositions of the products or offerings. The messages within the value propositions feed much of your social media content – and you should never be left to make up content out of thin air.

    The messages you choose should also be targeted at your personas, so you will probably need to create persona-focused value propositions, too. The key is to understand which of your company’s products or services will benefit the personas and what the most compelling messaging is for them for that product (monetary, emotional, etc.).
  4. Editorial plan: You’ll employ your newly aligned value proposition and messaging to develop an aligned SoMe editorial plan that works in parallel to your regular content calendar. Both calendars should include short and long-term strategic actions. For instance, all regularly scheduled content should include tactical social messaging, and special social media messaging should link to newly created content.

Successfully integrating content and social media marketing

While it will take some effort up front to fully align your content marketing and social media marketing strategies, it will be time well spent. Apart from giving you confidence yourself that you are increasing the probability of engaging with your key audiences, the depth of planning will demonstrate a convincing argument to colleagues.

Need help with your SoMe strategy?

cylindr specializes in helping technical and industrial B2B companies create agile, long-term content marketing strategies that truly engage customers and encourage brand ambassadors. Better yet, we can quickly create all your SoMe content too.

Find out more about our SoMe strategy services.

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The renewed importance of thought leadership in 2020 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/03/23/the-renewed-importance-of-thought-leadership-in-2020/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 13:46:08 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3673 No-one would blame you if you were to rapidly re-evaluate your marketing priorities in 2020. We are facing an unprecedented rate of change that will surely affect the way business will be done in the future. But already now, I believe a new foundation for business is being established. Let’s face it. Even at a […]

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No-one would blame you if you were to rapidly re-evaluate your marketing priorities in 2020. We are facing an unprecedented rate of change that will surely affect the way business will be done in the future.

But already now, I believe a new foundation for business is being established. Let’s face it. Even at a time when digital communications is the norm for most, many have still relied on face-to-face meetings for effective collaboration or to truly seal a relationship.

Out of necessity, however, this belief is currently challenged, and many are already adopting – and beginning to cope with – a new reality.

Doing business at a distance

While this might seem like a relatively easy change for some, there are some key factors that marketers need to address to maintain good relationships from a distance.

A strong brand is more important than ever, at a time when it is nigh on impossible for your salespeople to represent your company in person. Keeping your brand messages on-point and consistent amidst market uncertainty is key to winning the trust of your target audiences.

But the specific type of brand communications I want to highlight here is thought leadership.

Thought leadership is more than just a type of business communication; it’s an important competitive parameter. But at a time when urgency becomes top of mind for business leaders, some might say, “Who cares about thought leadership? We need to keep our revenue streams up and sell! It’s all about the short term and no-one has time for this intellectual, long-term thinking!”

Does this sound like you?

Think again. Leadership in times of uncertainty is vital. Not just the leadership we expect from our political or business leaders. We all have a part to play in helping others move forward with confidence, and this is the right time to be focusing your resources on thought leadership.

Consider the following:

  1. Do you want to help your customers achieve reassurance and confidence in the future?
  2. Will doing this benefit your business?

I’m sure that for most, the answer to both is a resounding yes!

Five reasons why thought leadership is crucial for doing business at a distance

1. Slow and steady wins the race

Nurturing your customer relationships takes time and this has not changed in light of the current situation. Equally, having a firm foothold in your industry and being viewed as the industry leader has not changed either. This is why thought leadership needs to remain top priority as an element of your content marketing strategy. To be successful, you need to earn the trust, build credibility and be consistent with how often you publish. This is not something that can happen overnight.

2. Close the gap from a distance

Content can be used to stay connected with your existing and potential customers. But not just any old content. There is so much content out there, so how will you ensure that you cut through all that noise? Targeted, relevant thought leadership pieces that showcase your know-how are a sure-fire way to remain close to the accounts that matter. Your goal is to become the trusted authority in your field and inspire others to achieve success just like yours by partnering with you.

3. Use what you’ve got

Tap into the minds of your talent. They hold a treasure trove of technical knowledge that can be used as a foundation for thought leadership pieces. Whether it be an article for a well-known, widely-read industry magazine or a white paper highlighting the intricate details of food ingredient processing (as an example), a valuable thought leadership opportunity awaits. Set up an interview and watch as the knowledge flows freely in a matter of minutes.

4. Do away with propaganda

This is such an important element of thought leadership that I can’t emphasize it enough. To be a true thought leader, you need to move away from self-promotion. Unfortunately, a lot of what marketers think is thought leadership content is actually promotional. It’s tempting to throw in lines about how great your products or solutions are, and you might ask why it’s worth investing in content that doesn’t even mention your company? The point is that by positioning yourself as an industry-leading company, your technologies or products are inherently positioned there too. Propaganda undermines your industry-level messages, so leave the promotional, benefit-based communications to sales enablement, campaigns, product websites and similar.

5. Sharing is giving

We encourage children to share when they play, right? Let’s keep doing this in our professional capacities! A central premise of thought leadership is that through sharing your knowledge, you gain credibility. You have the credibility to be seen as a leader in your field, and the expertise you share could be just the thing that could help someone with a challenge or an opportunity. They’re likely to thank you for it – and they’ll almost certainly remember you!

Dare to go the distance

It’s a difficult time for many as we navigate this new world together. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime circumstance, which can naturally send anyone spinning wildly out of control.

But instead of clutching any sales opportunity with a white-knuckled fist and relaxing your focus on thought leadership, do the opposite. As the dust settles, what will set you apart is your ongoing commitment to thought leadership – standing strong in the face of uncertainty while others abandon the long game.

Stay in the game. Now is the time to invest in thought leadership, more than ever before.

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Some good news in the midst of the bad https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/03/13/break-from-bad-news/ Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:04:18 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3639 The rapid spread of COVID-19, matched with almost unprecedented falls in stock exchanges and, of course, climate change (which is losing the battle for attention right now)…means that there are plenty of reasons to be worried about this world of ours. And in Denmark, which is now my home, things are particularly tense as the […]

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The rapid spread of COVID-19, matched with almost unprecedented falls in stock exchanges and, of course, climate change (which is losing the battle for attention right now)…means that there are plenty of reasons to be worried about this world of ours. And in Denmark, which is now my home, things are particularly tense as the country will be virtually shut down for at least the next 14 days to reduce the risk of viral spreading.

To tell you the truth, I need a break already from all the bad news. To some, that might seem too early, too ‘light’ even, but I’m going to insist on achieving more of a balance with some positive perspectives that help keep the light shining brightly at the end of the tunnel, whenever we get there.

So, I’ve listed eight positive points that came to mind – and I’d really appreciate anyone else adding to the list!

  1. On the bright side, it’s cold and wet outside in Copenhagen as usual. So, because our office is closed for now, I can skip the bike ride to work, staying warm and comfortable for more of the day.
  2. More meaningfully, history tells us major crises tend to bring humanity closer together – so, we all get a chance to become more skilled at working together to reduce potential impacts.
  3. Thanks to the closure of a variety of institutions and self-isolation, many people get to spend more time with their families, something we perhaps need to get more skilled at, too.
  4. Innovation is said to thrive in times of crisis – researchers analyzing data back to 1883 (Gorovaia and Zenios, 2013) have pointed to noticeable effects for up to three years afterward.
  5. This is an opportunity to educate the world about disease transmission, improving each of our lives by changing hygiene habits so that we can stay healthy, longer.
  6. We get a chance to practice for a more severe pandemic with a comparatively mild virus (the 1918 Spanish influenza, for example, is estimated to have killed anywhere from 17 to 100 million people, although poor living and healthcare conditions at the time may have been a major factor).
  7. The planet probably gets a welcome reduction in carbon emissions with air travel down globally, at least for a couple of months (Chinese air traffic is already recovering).
  8. We get to appreciate the amazing job healthcare professionals, infrastructure workers and first responders do, working long, hard hours and placing themselves at risk for society as a whole.

Of course, I’m also warmed by the way my colleagues at cylindr are hunkering down doing what they’re great at: content and ABM for industrial and tech companies!

We’re not together, of course, because we decided last week to work separately and do our bit for social distancing. I miss seeing their smiling faces, but I always have our daily online meetings to look forward to!

Reach out to find out how we can help you spread the message of positivity and progress to your target audiences.

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Power up your content marketing strategy with white papers https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/03/04/power-up-your-content-marketing-strategy-with-white-papers/ Wed, 04 Mar 2020 16:37:42 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3611 The mention of a ‘white paper’ is likely to send shivers down the spine of any marketing manager today. And it’s no surprise, because the work it takes to produce a good white paper should not be underestimated. But it’s worth it! Here, I’m going to look at some of the key reasons you should […]

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The mention of a ‘white paper’ is likely to send shivers down the spine of any marketing manager today. And it’s no surprise, because the work it takes to produce a good white paper should not be underestimated.

But it’s worth it! Here, I’m going to look at some of the key reasons you should start planning your white papers now!

But first, what is a white paper?

The term white paper is commonly used in the context of ‘government white paper’ or, for example, an independent report on an issue prepared by a neutral parties. But, as online publication platform provider Foleon describes so well, white papers for sales and marketing are something quite different.

A white paper is a high-quality, weighty publication that presents a well-balanced view of a topic, technology, solution or product. For example, it could present the results of a study or research conducted by your company, or it could explain a new technology and how it addresses a market need in a new way.

If you’re wondering what else the subject material could be, look no further than a recent presentation held at an industry conference. A presentation about a new technology or product strategy is ideal subject material.

Let’s put it into context.

Imagine your company produces measurement equipment for the dairy industry. In conjunction with the latest release of new milk testing equipment, which features important innovative breakthroughs that you’ve been developing for years, you have run tests to determine whether a new prediction model delivers accurate results. In a white paper, you can discuss these innovations and how they have resulted in, for example, “excellent transferability of test results”.

Why go to all the trouble?

Your white paper should represent a well-balanced view by people who are qualified, experienced experts in the field. (More about these subject matter experts later.) Of course, the claims you make in the white paper will always be more credible if they are supported with evidence, such as test results, research data or customer cases.

But even when you don’t have quantitative data, a white paper can still have huge value when based on a qualified opinion about a topic resulting from the extensive, proven know-how that your subject matter experts possess.

Let’s look at another example – this time in the food ingredients sector.

“Gentle processing” of food ingredients helps keep nutrients intact so that they retain their goodness. As this is such an important aspect for health-conscious consumers seeking healthy foods, how food ingredients are processed requires attention. A relevant white paper topic could be to discuss the advantages of membrane filtration as a means of gentle processing. You may not want to share all the details of your membrane filtration technology, including test results, but there is likely to be ample opportunity to convince readers that it is a viable option for improving quality.

Not just top of the funnel

It’s clear that when you’re dealing with this type of subject matter, producing a white paper should not be taken lightly. But there are many great reasons to take the leap.

Often, it is used as top-of-the-funnel, gated content designed to attract attention and capture a prospective customer’s data. But white papers are important tools for customer nurturing and sales enablement, too.

Without doubt, white papers are crucial to sales enablement. Technical pre-sales and sales development reps just love to be equipped with credible, expert, unique content. It creates a great reason to reconnect with customers and prospective accounts. So with a white paper tucked under their arm, they can open up in-depth discussions about the solutions and technologies your company is developing.

Don’t pump it up!

But beware. What is a white paper not? A brochure, so go easy on the overt sales messages and powering up the benefits. There is a time and place for that, so make sure you don’t get over-eager. 

At the other end of the spectrum, neither is a white paper a peer-reviewed research paper. It doesn’t have to present extensive test results if you don’t have them, and its purpose is not necessarily to stand up to in-depth scrutiny of academics.

That’s why it’s important to use the right tone of voice and type of message – something that Marketing needs to take the lead in. Imagine a brochure about the membrane filtration solution I talked about earlier. The brochure is likely to focus mainly on clear messages about the benefits of the technology, and the language will be bright and snappy with catchy headlines and clear calls to action. This is all appropriate in a brochure.

In a white paper, however, the voice should be neutral and balanced. Of course, you still want to make it attractive to read, through clear, concise language using minimum jargon and ‘insider’ terms. But keep the sales voice out of it.

High-quality publication

The structure of the white paper is vital, too. Approach your arguments in a coherent, logical order. Precisely what that order is will be determined by the topic. So one of the first things you should do when creating a white paper is agree on the flow of arguments.

You want to make your white paper attractive to read with easily digestible information, even if the content is targeted at specialists. Before you start writing, sketch out possible major headlines with supporting arguments.

Remember, a white paper is a branded, high-quality publication that is an opportunity to position your offerings and, with this, your market position. You need to consider the layout. Here, the white paper belies its name and, in some circles, the terms white paper and ebook are becoming synonymous.

Together with a reader-friendly layout with tasteful illustrations and infographics, good headlines also help the reader navigate the content. This is crucial so that you also cater for readers who skim the publication. Perhaps they won’t read the entire publication from beginning to end, but you can try to catch their eye as they skim with a good headline or graphic.

When a thought leadership article won’t suffice

The white paper should be packaged into a nicely presented individual publication that can be downloaded or printed. In essence, it has no maximum length, so you have the opportunity to present all the necessary arguments in one publication.

The latter point also explains why a white paper differs from an article for your website or blog post. These are very important content pieces, too, but the format for reading online, whether on a large or small screen naturally limits how much content you can include. The format seldom makes it easy for readers to download or print, whereas a branded, beautifully formatted white paper is perfect for exactly that.

In fact, a white paper is a key element of any thought leadership strategy. Demonstrating that you are an authority in your topic, you get the opportunity to own the space by sharing your unique, in-depth knowledge about, for example, important market issues or technological developments. Apart from anything else, it contributes to your competitive advantage in the market.

Subject matter experts making connections

In any company’s positioning, how often do we read “our people are our best assets”? Although it’s often a cliché, for most industrial and tech companies, the SMEs are actually their key differentiators. So let’s prove it!

By publishing a white paper by a named SME, you get these valuable individuals into the spotlight, adding depth and credibility to your brand proposition. At the same time, you humanize your company’s technology, allowing you to make closer interpersonal relationships.

The white paper media appeals to certain target audiences, especially other technically minded people or informed individuals involved in the purchasing decision who like to dig into the details. And remember that making the connections between your company’s experts and your target accounts is a vital element of any account-based marketing approach.

Make or break of content marketing

What’s content marketing? At its essence, it’s the practice of distributing quality content to facilitate relevant connections with key target audiences. I believe that white papers are a central – shall we say indispensable? – part of any content marketing effort. They provide the authority and evidence that so much of your other content needs.

White papers are often some of the most evergreen content you can produce. They have lasting value to your readers and your organization. In terms of payback on marketing spend, therefore, white papers deliver very good returns.

Sales-marketing-R&D alignment

One aspect of white papers that is often underestimated is the potential to align marketing, sales and the technical organization. In developing a white paper, all three should have a shared understanding of what it is and its objective.

Don’t go any further until you have that in place.

Marketing and R&D will usually work together in producing it, but sales needs to have a say in how it aligns to customer needs and how it can be used in the dialog with the customer.

And when all the hard work is done – make sure you share it with your colleagues! In a busy work day, many don’t have the time to keep up with the latest developments and thinking in certain pockets of the organization. What better way to inform them of your company’s latest innovations – and reminding them of the unique expertise that they, too, contribute towards?

Want to work out the best white paper strategy for you?

For a no-obligation discussion on how your business can use a white paper as a powerful marketing tool, contact us at cylindr.

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Why a content hub is the core of an ABM strategy https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/25/why-a-content-hub-is-the-core-of-a-game-changing-abm-strategy/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 13:17:55 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3588 As writers, we have all experienced that moment when we think to ourselves, why the heck am I writing this if no one is going to read it? And if your marketing department has been focused on content for basic demand generation, then your marketers have probably experienced that same thing. They’ve put a lot […]

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As writers, we have all experienced that moment when we think to ourselves, why the heck am I writing this if no one is going to read it? And if your marketing department has been focused on content for basic demand generation, then your marketers have probably experienced that same thing. They’ve put a lot of time and energy into creating content with the hope of turning MQLs into SQLs, but unless the right people are finding it, all of that work goes down the drain.

If only there was a way to help ensure that the right content got to the right people (and even better, at the right time). Well, guess what? There is! You have probably heard the terms ‘content hub’ and ‘ABM’ being thrown around in recent times. That’s because the two go hand-in-hand.

Content hubs can accomplish a couple of things for you, and if used correctly, can increase account penetration to generate leads from a set of pre-identified, high-value and high-potential accounts. This is the foundation of a robust ABM strategy

An ocean of content

Because companies have realized that content is king, most have jumped on the production bandwagon, creating a crowded ocean of content to swim through. This can be overwhelming for the user, even though they went looking for it in the first place. It can be intimidating to find ‘too much’ and it is a struggle to sift through all of the information to find what’s relevant.

Content hubs can help to address this issue by making content feel more accessible to the people who want it. Additionally, content hubs can let you select and categorize content that is relevant to end-users, which is great because the right content at the right time in front of the right person can be highly valuable as far as lead generation and sales acceleration go.

Plan for the future, but write for today

Content hubs are an excellent framework for creating content plans for your marketing team. In short, your efforts will be lost if your marketing team is just writing to write, with the hope of creating something that will be relevant to someone, somewhere. Even if you are hitting the mark in some spots, content holes result in a marketing strategy that is wildly out of tune.

Creating a content plan allows your team to set clear goals and avoids wasting valuable time and money by scheduling content with a clear purpose. This ensures that end-users are taken on a well-designed journey that ends with customer-driven engagement with your sales team.

Not just a hub for content

As our colleagues at Getit describe, a content hub doesn’t have to be just a content hub. If constructed well, content hubs can establish your company as a thought leader and attract the attention of the big players, like CEOs, in the process. And we all know that CEO engagement is a valuable asset when it comes to decision-making.

These days, content hubs are not just a card catalog of content. They need to be constructed from an ABM strategy point of view. By having multiple customer-facing sub-domains, with differing targeted focuses based on personas, it’s possible to increase account penetration and lead-generating opportunities using content that targets your set of pre-identified accounts. After all, there is an average of seven decision-makers involved in the B2B buying process. So, your content hub should speak in a voice that addresses individuals directly involved in the buying process and with a sensitivity to their specific pains. 

This is the strategy used by the high-powered client mentioned in the Getit case story. It played a huge role in converting 12 percent of MQLs to SQLs, bringing major influencers (C-level) to the table and helping the brand stand out among a sea of competitors.

Some seeds grow faster than others

Don’t forget that content and your content hub is the foundation that your marketing strategy is built on. Having a well-designed content plan and visible space that you can customize for target personas is going to support your marketing and sales teams in engaging with key accounts. But behind every user profile is a real person – and relationships take time to blossom.

The most successful content marketing campaign is a continuous, long-term process, and MQLs will need to be nurtured with a steady stream of relevant content as they mature to become engaged, sales-ready leads.

Consider this study, which found that out of all the leads in the sales funnel, only three percent are active buyers at any given time. And while the study suggests that seven percent intend to buy in the short term, 90 percent fall into one of the following:

  • Not yet ready to buy
  • Do not have a need
  • Just aren’t interested in what you’re offering

This not only emphasizes the need to target other people in the account who can influence a purchase decision (through other ABM activities), it also means you need to work on engaging these individuals for a long time – maybe even years.

High-quality content is your bedrock

The bottom line is if your content isn’t well-written, insightful and fresh, there is no chance it’ll resonate with users, no matter what sub-domain they click into.

Providing a steady stream of great, lead-generating content is a lot of work. Additionally, good content planning can be a challenging endeavor even for the most experienced marketers.

There are a lot of important pieces to consider, such as buyer personas, the buyer journey, an editorial calendar, content workflow, team organization and a lot more! But with some strategizing, you can take your current content production activities to new heights!

Explore with the experts

So, where to now? It’s predicted that 60 percent of companies will adopt an ABM strategy within the next year. Don’t know how to get started? Find out more about cylindr’s ABM services.

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How to improve SEO with a content audit https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/18/how-to-improve-seo-with-a-content-audit/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:58:33 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3582 A content audit is kind of like spring cleaning. Once a year (or on another regular schedule), you go through your website and get rid of pages that no longer fit you or your brand. Besides deleting pages that see few visitors, you also need to update, consolidate, keep or redirect other pages. Although there’s […]

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A content audit is kind of like spring cleaning. Once a year (or on another regular schedule), you go through your website and get rid of pages that no longer fit you or your brand. Besides deleting pages that see few visitors, you also need to update, consolidate, keep or redirect other pages. Although there’s no shying away from the fact that it’s a lot of work, a properly performed content audit can send a surprisingly large amount of organic traffic your way. Remember, it’s quality website pages offering valuable information, and not the amount of content on a site that search engines look for and reward.

Does your website need a content audit?

The size of your website and how long it’s existed in cyberspace are both factors to consider when determining how much time and money to set aside for content auditing. Another factor to consider is whether some information published on your website is no longer consistent with your brand imaging and message. Nearly every type of website can benefit from a content audit. One possible exception is a website that you just launched. In this case, you likely don’t yet have enough data on organic search traffic to know which pages are the most and least effective.

How to perform a content audit

If your website has a blog, start the content audit process by typing in its specific URL into your search engine. This gives you an important visual because it tells you how many of the blog pages Google has indexed and how many come up on page one of the search engine results page (SERP). You’ll also want to make sure you have access to your site’s analytics on Google or another tool to see how your pages are performing.

1. Decide whether to keep, update, delete or redirect a page

After you decide the order in which to audit your website pages, you’ll need to review them one at a time. Here’s a list of questions to ask to determine which action to take:

When did you publish the page? If it was less than six months ago, most search engine optimization (SEO) experts agree that you should just leave it alone. The page hasn’t been live long enough to gather enough meaningful data about its performance.

How much organic traffic does the page receive? If the page has existed for more than six months, look at how much traffic it receives, and determine what percentage of traffic comes from organic search. What constitutes a good amount of organic search traffic can vary from one company to the next, so ensure that everyone in your organization agrees on a percentage when completing this step.

Is the page important to your site? Some pages might never receive meaningful traffic, but that doesn’t mean you should delete them. Contact us and terms of service pages fall into this category. Those pages need to be there when people search for them regardless of their performance.

Do you have backlinks to the page? If a page doesn’t get meaningful traffic or isn’t essential, see if it includes one or more followed backlinks from another site to it. If not, feel free to delete the page and create a redirect to another relevant page on your site because it’s not benefiting your website. You can salvage pages that receive low amounts of meaningful traffic, but include at least one backlink by updating them or creating a redirect 301 page to another useful page.

Do you have another page with similar or duplicate content? You might run into situations where you find valuable information on two or more pages that could bring more organic search traffic if you consolidated them. Search engines reward long-form content that keeps visitors on your page longer; they don’t reward duplicated content on multiple pages.

2. Update and improve content whenever possible

Your best bet when auditing a page older than six months that receives a decent amount of organic search traffic is to keep it; however, that doesn’t mean you should do nothing to improve it.

Beef Up Short Posts: Long-form, robust content generally performs better because visitors stay longer to browse it. An infrequently viewed post could benefit from supporting graphics, video or high-quality images to attract the attention it deserves.

Update Old Information: Make sure you don’t have old dates, deadlines, events or links to broken pages.

Check the Keywords of the Page: Make sure your keywords remain relevant and high-performing. Some search terms may no longer have the volume they once had and should that be the case, you’ll want to select a new keyword.

Consider Re-Optimizing the Page: If you created a page that has valuable content but was never optimized for search engines, take the time to do it now. Alternatively, if you optimized it for a search term but it’s still not ranking as high as you’d like, consider adding more content and use of that term to the page.

Taking these steps could earn you a higher ranking on the SERP, in addition to an uptick in organic traffic. It is also a good idea to ensure that the pages you decide to redirect end up pointing to another relevant page in order to avoid Google treating it as a 404 rather than a 301.

An automated content audit is better for large websites

Let’s say that you operate a retail website with thousands of pages of product descriptions. No one in your organization has the time, much less the desire, to audit every page manually. This situation demands an automated solution such as Ahrefs or Screaming Frog. The following is a typical process you can expect to follow when using an automation tool:

  • Copy the template for the content audit into your Google drive
  • Import all website pages into the template
  • Import data from Google Analytics
  • Import data from your backlinks
  • Review the recommendation in the far right-hand column and take the appropriate action
  • Remove all links to deleted or redirected pages

While the process is far more involved than this simple step-by-step explanation, you will receive detailed instructions from the site that you retrieve your content audit automation tool from.

How does a content audit improve SEO?

While some marketers hesitate to perform their first content audit because they fear that having less content on their website will create a dramatic dip in traffic, typically the opposite happens. By eliminating weak content and optimizing other content, you provide better value for the reader. This leads to better SERP results and more organic traffic. When it comes to Google algorithms, quality always wins over quantity.

Other tips on how to improve SEO for your site

Aside from the quality of content, Google also considers how often you add new content when determining its relevance. Since you can only make so many changes to the main pages of your website, consider starting a blog if your website does not have one already. This gives you the opportunity to share useful and timely information with your readers. When Google crawls your site, it ranks the new posts as useful, while its algorithm also recognizes that you operate an active website with frequent updates. Additionally, as you review your site, make sure that you aren’t keyword stuffing and that you’re following best practices for SEO.

Although spring cleaning and content audits are similar, the latter has one big advantage the former will never have: You don’t have to wait until a certain time of year, and you can even do more than once per year, if you think it would benefit your SEO strategy.

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How a press release can be spun into content gold https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/18/how-a-press-release-can-be-spun-into-content-gold/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:19:13 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3509 When asked by a client to repurpose a press release to an article recently, I tackled the task head-on and produced not one, but two brand-spanking-new pieces of landing page content. With a bit of creativity and stakeholder input, you can take content production out of the “too hard” basket. Creating content doesn’t have to […]

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When asked by a client to repurpose a press release to an article recently, I tackled the task head-on and produced not one, but two brand-spanking-new pieces of landing page content. With a bit of creativity and stakeholder input, you can take content production out of the “too hard” basket.

Creating content doesn’t have to be hard and is essential for a successful content marketing strategy. I’m not saying my job as a senior copywriter is easy-peasy, but there is a hack you can use to create content that supports your sales and marketing efforts, and your content marketing.

Something old, something new

Recently, a client asked me if I could turn one of its already published press releases (PR) into an interesting article. While the two serve very different purposes, I was not turned off by the task at hand. In fact, Ellen Gomes from Marketo says, “Repurposing is wonderful when it’s done with intention (meaning don’t just slice and dice content for the sake of repurposing).”

Before I tell you how you can do this though, let’s take a step back and review the differences between a PR and an article.

Spot the difference

A PR is intended to grab the attention of the press and hopefully have them pick up the story and run with it (if they find it interesting enough). Its tone is not too casual, but not too dry either – bit of a Goldilocks situation here. Leave all of the little details out, only including what’s necessary to bait them.

A news article, on the other hand, is one that demonstrates the spirit or essence of your company and reels in the reader who is hopefully amongst your target audience. The intention may be to raise awareness of your company, its products and services or to attract new talent. Whatever the purpose, it should be interesting enough to hook your audience.

To support the point that the tone of a press release is not too casual and not too dry. Goldilocks is referenced
Goldilocks was fussy about the porridge. It’s the same with press releases. Not too casual, not too dry.

The how-to

So when faced with the task of turning the PR into an article, a full understanding of the purpose of each content type was very important. It prescribes the tone you use as well as the main messages to get across.

While you can actually copy and paste the PR word-for-word and change some sentences here and there, this may cause you damage in the long run. Google penalizes company websites that do this often.

Instead, my approach was to interview the main stakeholder mentioned in the PR. Together with the content owner, we went through the throes of exploring main messages, discussing project outcomes and jotting down potential quotes that could lift the article, giving it more “human-feels”.

It became evident that there were two themes that could be expressed in article form. An employer branding opportunity to attract new talent, as well as a chance to showcase innovation. What a goldmine! A PR that offered not one, but two distinct articles. Granted, they were both about the same project, but pulling out different parts to highlight in each one made them noticeably different.

Nailed it

I’m going to quote Ellen again because she pretty much nails it with this piece of advice: “Take a look at the content that you have and how it has or hasn’t resonated with its target audience, and see if you can distribute it in different ways to capture some more of the success or turn a ‘blah’ asset into a success by offering it in a more consumable format.”

What is the lesson I’m sharing here? Next time you’re thinking, “It’s too hard”, think again. New content may be sitting right under your nose. It just needs some thinking outside the box. Perhaps a little bit of imagination, too.

I urge you to give it a go. But if you truly are stretched for time, you can read more about the copywriting service we offer at cylindr – a team of native-English writers awaits you.

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ABM is nothing new – or is it? https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/18/abm-is-nothing-new-or-is-it/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:13:25 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3564 Since starting down the ABM track ourselves, we’ve presented the concept and workings of ABM to top management and sales and marketing leaders on many occasions. One comment we often hear early in our presentations, usually from salespeople, goes something like this: “In many ways, we’ve been doing ABM since forever. We just didn’t call […]

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Since starting down the ABM track ourselves, we’ve presented the concept and workings of ABM to top management and sales and marketing leaders on many occasions. One comment we often hear early in our presentations, usually from salespeople, goes something like this: “In many ways, we’ve been doing ABM since forever. We just didn’t call it ABM.” And they’re right – in many ways.

For decades, key account managers (KAMs) and enterprise-level sales teams have focused not so much on leads, but on a list of target accounts. They’ve researched their prospect or customer’s industry and needs. They have worked hard to build up and maintain close relationships with key members of the buying group in each account. And they have carefully designed their sales processes, continually looking for ways to optimize performance.

All of these elements are indeed part of an ABM approach. So what does coming up with the name ‘ABM’ (though it’s a bit of a misnomer) and making a big song and dance about the new approach add to the world? Just another buzzword?

Happily, when we get a little further into explaining about ABM, those same salespeople start to get pretty enthusiastic. That’s because we touch on a number of pain points with which even the best performers are quite familiar. For example:

  • They’re typically in touch with just one or two people out of a buying center of 10 to 15 (so their ideas and solutions won’t be communicated with the same effect as if they were doing it, and there’s a strong chance someone they haven’t talked to will disagree).
  • There’s only a limited amount of time in every day – so they’re not able to maintain prospect or customer relationships across all their accounts, and it’s hard to move multiple deals through the sales process.
  • Researching accounts and contacts take far too much time (analysts typically estimate two-thirds of a salesperson’s time), when the real gold lies in direct contact with potential buyers.
  • Maintaining continued relationships with existing customers that aren’t re-purchasing in the near future is particularly difficult – yet staying top-of-mind with them is one of the most profitable long-term strategies.

ABM addresses these and other barriers to revenue growth, by re-calibrating Marketing’s resources and priorities so that they’re aimed more accurately on enabling sales through activities that really make a difference. And yes, that makes one heck of a difference!

You can find out more about our ABM offerings here. You can also download a free e-book we put together as an introductory guide to ABM.

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cylindr’s top 10 blog posts of 2019 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/12/cylindrs-top-ten-blog-posts-of-2019/ Wed, 12 Feb 2020 14:14:07 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3497 As 2020 blows full speed ahead, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the finer things in life from 2019—like all the super helpful, astute blog posts we produced.   We published over 21 new blog posts last year—and in those, we covered a lot! Copywriting tips, a wave of Account-based Marketing (ABM) insights, industry-specific marketing trends, harnessing […]

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As 2020 blows full speed ahead, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the finer things in life from 2019—like all the super helpful, astute blog posts we produced.  

We published over 21 new blog posts last year—and in those, we covered a lot! Copywriting tips, a wave of Account-based Marketing (ABM) insights, industry-specific marketing trends, harnessing the symbiotic sales-sustainability relationship and so much more.  

Though we know you’d love to reread all of them, we also know you love how efficiently we provide you content. So, here are the top 10 posts from 2019 that you couldn’t get enough of.

Moving to account-based marketing? Don’t screw these 5 points up! 

Starting off our top ten blog posts of the year is an ABM-centric piece—an indicator the world can’t get enough ABM help! This post embodies David Ogilvy’s theory of no longer counting the people you reach, but instead, reaching the people who count. Get these five ABM pointers right to increase your chances of business success. Also available in Danish!

Strengthening sales and marketing for the next financial crisis 

Reimagine the way B2B companies work and reap the rewards! As many companies rush to transform their current sales and marketing approaches to an ABM approach, this post gives you all the insight you need to get started. Our ABM expert, Jonathan Winch, concisely describes what ABM is, how it can boost your chances in a tough marketplace, and where to get started. Don’t you want to be a step ahead? Also available in Danish!

Content is king – but only in the right place at the right time 

Regardless of the industry, many B2B companies are using content to engage their audiences. And, with a six times higher conversion rate than other methods, it’s no wonder that more and more companies are integrating content marketing into their marketing strategy. This hard-to-miss read shows you how to conquer your content kingdom and make the most of your marketing strategy using content.  

Big thought leadership ideas for big industry 

As most big industry companies have realized in 2019, in a highly competitive market with discerning buyers, thought leadership is an important tool to develop long-term brand trust and drive sales. This astute post discusses how thought leadership shows you care about industry matters, that you take ownership of the market, and that you speak the same language as your customers. In essence, it’s about gaining credibility by daring to admit intellectual vulnerability—and the results are powerful. 

Honing creative skills in a multicultural environment 

Audiences seemed inspired by this first-hand exposé of a multicultural professional development event in a German wine-country castle. Over 40 diverse professionals from almost as many countries learned new strategies and competed to deliver the best pitch for a major international client. Read this piece for insight into how you just need the right attitude when opportunity knocks on your door. 

Storytelling symbiosis and sustainable innovation 

In an era where the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are hot, how might your company use storytelling to gain a competitive edge as well as bolster sales and partnerships? This blog post has helped many companies navigate how they fit into the larger sustainable development market puzzle and it can help you too! 

Copywriting tips for politically correct content 

This popular how-to guide provides tips, red flags, and resources to ensure your content doesn’t offend others—especially in today’s globalized world that is more aware of diverse cultures and lifestyles. Do yourself and your company a favor by reading this simple guide—you may just prevent your company’s next multimillion-dollar marketing campaign from turning into a political correctness nightmare.  

What Brexit means for European B2B marketers: 7 best guesses 

Brexit was front-page news all year in 2019, but what impact will it have on European B2B marketers? B2B marketing expert Jonathan Winch considers the evidence and comes up with seven possible consequences for European marketers doing business in the UK.  

A good brief goes a long way 

Whether it be a simple blog post, press release, magazine article, or a complex ABM project spanning six months, our team (or anyone working with an agency) knows how effective a good brief can be—saving everyone (that means you, too) time, money, and headaches. This brief post about briefs boasts the necessity of a good brief, as well as its essential elements.  

How to gain credibility in CSR reporting 

More than ever, companies are turning to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports to help tell their sustainability story—but is it all just greenwashing? Our very own CSR expert, Pha Khem, walks you through a comprehensive guide of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for sustainability reporting standards so you can gain credibility and ensure your company doesn’t fall victim to only producing climate action propaganda.  

If you liked those titillating topics, wait to see what we have in store for 2020! We have already produced six thought-provoking posts so far to keep your B2B marketing skills and knowledge up-to-date and applicable. Cheers to another year of knowledge-building!  

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Improving pipeline accuracy with ABM https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/2020/02/06/improving-pipeline-accuracy-with-abm/ Thu, 06 Feb 2020 12:59:00 +0000 https://integratedb2b.cylindr.com/?p=3459 This article examines how approaching sales and marketing with account-based marketing (ABM) lifts efficiency across the board. To kick things off, we discuss a topic that is dear to the hearts (and careers) of sales leaders, CEOs and CFOs, but which Marketing is typically far removed from: the revenue pipeline. Is your pipeline keeping its […]

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This article examines how approaching sales and marketing with account-based marketing (ABM) lifts efficiency across the board. To kick things off, we discuss a topic that is dear to the hearts (and careers) of sales leaders, CEOs and CFOs, but which Marketing is typically far removed from: the revenue pipeline.

Is your pipeline keeping its promises?

Every B2B company, every sales leader and every salesperson has a pipeline of opportunities, each at some stage of the buyer’s journey – from discovery to won or lost status. Having a pipeline is the easy bit. It’s making sure this crucial list is accurate that is not as easy.

The impact of a pipeline with poor predictability can send shock waves throughout the business, affecting not only careers, but also production planning, investor relations and much, much more. Importantly, a low-accuracy pipeline breaks the CEO’s promises to the board, making it extremely difficult to determine and execute business strategies.

You can’t close deals out of thin air

“10X” B2B companies – those that outperform their competitors by a factor of 10 or more across a range of key aspects – are known for being quick to deploy new best practices and technologies that can raise the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts. The majority are either already working with ABM or are taking the first steps to obtain the benefits of this laser-focused approach. Furthermore, all 10X companies are obsessively focused on the accuracy of their pipelines.

Driving this obsession is the simple fact that you can’t close deals out of thin air. For an opportunity to enter the pipeline, there has to be a chance of closing it that is based on more than just sheer hope. Yet many B2B company pipelines are far from accurate because:

·      Deals are pushed from month to month, and from one quarter to the next

·      Inappropriate revenue props up pipeline numbers

·      Too little is known about opportunities key to pipeline health

The result is an overstated pipeline. And by “overstated”, we mean pipelines that are more than two or three times the end-of-game reality, losing the majority of expected deals. To put it simply, if you have a pipeline that consistently closes at just one-third of the projected deals, your sales team is wasting two-thirds of its precious time!

 It’s in the pipeline – but is it real?

Recently, our ABM team discovered “opportunities” that had been in the pipeline of a client for more than a year – in an industry where the typical sales cycle is just 3-4 months! That’s a sign that something is horribly wrong. And in our experience, it’s likely to be a combination of people and processes.

While the focus of this article is the difference ABM can make, let’s take a quick look at the people side, because salespeople and sales leaders are only human, after all.

Some salespeople are just overly optimistic, coming out of every new business meeting with a smile on their face and a solid feeling that they have almost landed yet another indestructible opportunity. Others are driven by a need to show they are working hard, both to their colleagues and their managers. Still others put their pipelines together based on a misguided perception of what their sales leaders want. And some may be falsifying their pipelines to cover up a lack of results. These are all people issues, but they can be addressed by process changes.

 Embrace the process change

We suggest (at least) two specific ways, used in combination, to improve pipeline accuracy. The first is to introduce the systematic, targeted discipline of ABM. The second is to acknowledge that deals are lost or won in the discovery stage of the sales cycle.

Most people are still new to the concept of ABM, a business-wide strategy that prescribes (in simple form) the following steps:

 1.     Identify the company’s ideal customer profile (ICP)

2.     Create a list of target accounts that match the ICP

3.     Identify people and roles in each of the relevant buying centers

4.     Systematically open channels to each member of the buying center

5.     Ensure each buying center member receives personalized, relevant messages that make them aware of your company and its offerings

6.     Measure, report and refine the approach to raise win rates, speed up sales cycles, increase deal size and boost profitability

ABM improves pipeline accuracy by striving to ensure that the accounts (both new business and existing customers) salespeople are working with are already determined to be a good fit for the company’s offerings and capabilities. Essentially, we’ve already identified that companies on the ABM target list are a good fit, so part of the qualification process a salesperson would normally go through has already been completed.

ABM also lifts the chances of pipeline success by speeding up the sales cycle. As every sales leader knows, the longer a deal takes to win, the higher the likelihood that something will go wrong. ABM speeds up the cycle by winning over more members of the buying group more quickly – in fact, salespeople in an ABM-enabled company will often hold back from conducting initial meetings with prospects until they are sure enough members of the buying group are familiar with and positively disposed toward their company!

Discover the difference

Of course, part of a 10X, high-performing strategy is to wait to put things into pipeline until you’ve done a qualified discovery that covers the following points:

·      Have the account and the opportunity been qualified correctly?

·      Have we properly identified the buyer’s pain point? What is the reason they want to invest? Is it a must-have, must-do from their perspective or just a nice-to-have, nice-to-do?

·      Do we understand the timeline? Are there key events that give us great confidence the deal will close within the timeline stated in the pipeline?

·      Have we presented a solid business case to the prospect – with a quantifiable ROI?

·      Do we understand how the company makes decisions of this nature?

·      Is the revenue being entered into pipeline at the appropriate time in the sales cycle?

Get the answers to questions such as these and your pipeline close rates are likely to experience enormous improvement. Having discipline like this doesn’t mean, of course, that you drop every deal for which you don’t have (or can’t get) the answers. It just means that you push those deals aside for now to focus on finding and working with more promising opportunities.

Explore ABM with cylindr

If you’re a leader whose pipeline could do with improvement in accuracy, and you’d like to create a more powerful, more reliable sales and marketing machine, it’s worth talking to cylindr’s ABM team. Together we can take a deep dive into 10X and the best practices for ABM. In just half a day, you will achieve a good understanding of what’s involved – and you can start to envision a future that, without a doubt, will boost revenue growth and forecasting accuracy.

Interested in learning about how we can help with ABM? 

Find out more about cylindr’s ABM services.

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