Welcome to the Information Age! Well, it’s been here since the '50s, but the past five years have felt like someone hit the accelerator on access to data and information and new ways to process it. A study done by the University of California, San Diego found that the average person per day delivers 74 gigabytes of information. Put another way - that's 9 DVDs or 15.5 hours’ worth of information. Yikes! No wonder we’re tired.

As a B2B marketing communications professional, this either excites you or fills you with dread. Maybe a mix of both? You’re dealing with multi-faceted decision-making processes featuring multiple parties, longer sales cycles and complex products and services that don’t necessarily fall neatly into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s an uphill battle to earn the attention, engagement and action of customers.

What’s our secret weapon? Powerful storytelling. How do we get there? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Step Up Your Audience Game 🎯 Know the people you’re trying to reach like you know the characters on your favorite binge-worthy show. Dive deep, clearly define their wants, needs and place on the sales funnel. Tools like AnswerThePublic and Qualtrics can take the guesswork out of developing their personas. Conducting audience surveys once a year at minimum will also ensure the content you create is compelling, extremely targeted and worth every penny.
  2. Set the Scene 🌟 In other words, help your audience answer the question “why now?” What forces are impacting your industry right now? Is there any forthcoming legislation that is going to shake up your field? This is critical info for informing the medium AND the message (shout out to Neil Postman). Another element of scene-setting is timing. We already know how busy and overstimulated our audience is – timing content around a specific trade show or industry event can help hit your audience when they will already be paying attention. Caveat: there will also be more content coming at them in that timeframe, so make sure you are extremely targeted.
  3. Embrace Your Inner Nerd 🤓 You don't need a lab coat, just a curious mind. Schedule time with the product expert or R&D lead at your company and become a sponge. Asking open-ended questions like “describe the process that led to the discovery of this technology” or “what excites you most about the product?” or “what was the specific problem that this product or service was designed to solve?” will give you the context you need to set up your story. Bonus: if you’ve done your research on “scene setting” then you’ll probably have some useful context to bring to the questions you ask.
  4. Unleash the SEO Magic 🧙‍♂️ Ever heard of Semrush? It is the Dumbledore to your Harry Potter. This and similar SEO tools will enable you to know the keywords and search terms that'll guide your content and spellbind your audience. Uncover the questions they’re already asking AND speak their language when you answer them.
  5. Make Your Audience the Hero 🦸 This may be hard to hear, but no more navel-gazing corporate jargon or self-promotion, okay? This is pretty common in B2B communications. Make your customer the hero of the story you’re telling, not you. How is your product or service enabling them to solve the problem of their customers further down the funnel?
  6. Get Real and Relatable ✅ How do you overcome the complexity of explaining B2B offerings? Show real-world stories that your audience can find themselves within and shine a light on case studies because 54% of B2B buyers read them before making purchasing decisions (Source: Demand Gen Report).
  7. Don’t Forget Visuals 📸 Words are powerful, but visuals may be the key to cutting through the clutter (remember how distracted and over-stimulated we are with information?). Get creative – maybe your story is better told with an interactive animation or infographic vs. traditional case study. Feed brains with visual candy that's processed faster and holds attention better than text (Source: Nielsen Norman Group - "Eyetracking Study of Web Readers").

In a world bursting with info, crafting B2B content might seem daunting, but it can also be a lot of fun… translating something technical into simple storytelling puzzle pieces, and fitting them together in a way that has real impact with key audiences. Got a new product to flaunt? Not sure how to share big company news? These 7 steps will help you create content that inspires engagement. Forget the “Age of Information". Let's call it the "Age of Epic Content" instead!

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