The Best 3 Types Of Content To Improve Your B2B Outreach Results
Have you ever watched a movie and been left so in awe that you immediately started to look if it is based on a book?
And imagine if it is.
Finding that book is to become your biggest quest.
Looking through the book stores and online sites, trying to find this magical book!
Oh, and the joy of finally finding it!
And then having it in your hands, sniffing the covers and the pages.
Is there anything better than turning page after page, let the story take you to a land so magical, you’ll lose grip of reality.
Film adaptations of novels earn up to 53% more at the box office than original screenplays, according to Forbes. For whatever reason, moviegoers worldwide are more obsessed with books that get turned into movies more than with original cinematic creations.
Although the novel and the feature-length film are starkly different artistic mediums, conversations around the successes or failures of certain adaptations are endless.
Many resort to the conclusion that the book is always better, but is that really true?
Before you invest several hours into scouring the original texts on which your favourite movies are based, we’re giving you a bit of a warning. Sometimes you’re better off skipping hundreds of pages and just sticking with what’s on screen.
Whatever the case it’s always best to have both.
That way the story gets better and the enjoyment is double.
I, myself am a fan of books, but I do not always have the time to read as much as I would like.
So, one of my guilty pleasures is resorting to the 90min or so shorter cinematic version.
Entrepreneurial life has its ups and downs, what can I say.
Interestingly so, I often find myself thinking what would outreach look like without the content?
Would it be like a movie without the book or vice versa?
Are movies based on books more relevant than those which are not?
Would it be terrible if we skipped the posting part of the outreach process?
Are we skipping an important step that way?
Well, let’s clear up those misty clouds and help you get your outreach to perfection.
How can relevant content support the outreach process
What’s the best way to establish credibility and look like an established company, up and running to meet their clients’ needs!
It’s hardly paid-ads.
Certainly not molesting and spamming people.
It’s promoting and sharing valuable content. And establishing thought authority.
Social media is an indispensable outreach channel. Moreover, using channels such as email, Facebook and most of all LinkedIn, are excellent for expanding your reach and building exposure.
If your LinkedIn outreach strategy is well planned and executed, you can not only learn more about your target audience but also connect with them on a more personal level.
However, among the things you shouldn’t forget when writing posts are:
Make sure that your posts are always consistent both in terms of frequency and quality, as well as brand voice and tone.
This will ensure that your brand is recognizable, and it will help you build customer trust and loyalty.
It’s important to interact with your connections on LinkedIn and put yourself out there.
Putting yourself out there doesn’t mean sharing 20 social posts a day and commenting on everyone’s posts.
Don’t even think about it.
Nonetheless, you should respond to the people who comment on your posts.
The content you share on social media platforms has to be directly valuable to your audience. That’s the only way to establish thought leadership and simultaneously make your outreach meaningful and effective.
Adding value to your LinkedIn audience will bring you many benefits to count.
Let’s say you are targeting a prospect you think will be the right fit for you.
There’s a lot of potential in your relationship, but somehow, they are not ready for your solution now.
But, do not get disappointed and lose hope immediately.
Not being on the same page right now does not mean that you’ll never be.
Maybe they have another provider or maybe they think they don’t need any help right now.
That’s okay, too.
You shouldn’t bother them any longer but you should stay in touch.
And what do I mean by staying in touch?
Posting your content regularly.
This way you are not bothering them, you are just sharing what you are up to.
Posting regularly and being active on LinkedIn or other social sites cannot harm your reputation in any way.
On the contrary, being present and making sure that you share some relevant content, taking care that you have a newsletter, a blog on some useful topic will establish you as an expert in your field.
Your content is your voice.
If you don’t speak, nobody will listen.
And don’t forget to give your content a human touch.
After all, you are not just business.
You are a regular human like every other.
You have friends, family, hobbies, and interests outside the office.
Do tell people about them.
That way you connect with your audience, on a deeper, personal level.
Types of content that can support your B2B outreach
Social media posts
Social media posts are the ketchup to your fries, the cheese to your macaroni, the BBQ sauce to your burger!
They are so super easy and quick to craft, but bring the most immense value.
When it comes to sharing your content on LinkedIn or any other social platform, it’s our warmest recommendation to start exactly with these guys: the social media posts.
Whether you decide to go with a business, a personal, travel or personal development post, always try to sound as human as possible.
Businessmen are not aliens, coming from another business planet that has nothing to with this ‘ordinary’ world.
We all speak the same language and we are all connected on a cosmic level.
We all have our ups and downs.
CEOs, entrepreneurs and businessmen are not immune to life’s frailty.
The best piece of content to send to people to gain credibility and to present yourself as an expert in your field.
Blog posts, especially business blogging aims to generate more leads for their businesses and engage as many potential customers as possible. They promote specific businesses and follow industry rules.
The topics of the business blog posts will strictly be around the industry they are aligned with. Take an e-commerce business blog, for example. The blog posts will be something like, ‘How to Increase E-commerce Sales,’ ‘Top 10 Christmas Gifts You Can Buy Online,’ ‘XYZ Product Review,’ and other similar posts.
What’s really important in order to run a successful blog — is to make it sound as engaging and as informative as possible.
Your goal is not to sell something, but rather to get people interested in your brand and generate and nurture leads. To do so, you’ll have to write engaging blog posts about your business. After that, you’ll have to request the visitors to sign up for your mailing list or maybe even schedule a meeting. If a visitor signs up, you’ll end up getting a potential lead. That’s a successful transaction, for starters.
Infographics & Checklists
An infographic is a collection of imagery, charts, and minimal text that gives an easy-to-understand overview of a topic. Infographics use striking, engaging visuals to communicate information quickly and clearly. Infographics are a valuable tool for visual communication. The most visually unique, creative infographics are often the most effective, because they grab our attention and don’t let go. But it’s crucial to remember that the visuals in an infographic must do more than excite and engage. They must help us understand and remember the content of the infographic.
On the other hand, checklists convert the best quality leads out of all the lead magnet types.
This is because they are easy to create and consume, and are low-commitment. They eliminate guesswork and prospects get their value right away.
They’re high-converting because checklists can work across any business industry. They put together everything that your site’s visitor needs to know into one, actionable list.
Another reason why you should create a checklist and offer it to your audience is that you can literally turn anything into a checklist.
Another thing that makes checklists so effective is that they’re often offered as content upgrades.
As you already know, the more email opt-ins you collect, the more opportunities you have to build a strong connection with your audience. Content upgrades for checklists grow your email list by giving readers a free bonus download. This is usually directly related to the article they’re reading. The checklist is an “upgrade” because it’s a value-add to consuming the article.
Both infographics and checklists can be used as gated content that will serve for inbound lead generation on your website. But they can also support your outreach process if you decide to share them with your prospects for free. After all who wouldn’t like to receive something of free value?
Podcasts & Videos
Podcasts are primarily thought of as an audio-only experience. As a show host, you focus on good audio quality, skilful editing, killer scripts, and interesting guests in hopes that your show will become the next big thing.
However, there is more to building an audience than having the right microphone. Promoting a podcast, or any brand, really, involves reaching out to new demographics and thinking outside of the box.
Don’t disregard them just yet as they serve a great purpose in achieving the optimal results when it comes to your outreach campaign.
First of all, your video content is a great topic for social media posting.
Then, they also have an immense value and do wonders for your credibility. They are a major credibility booster and a great way to put yourself out there as a relevant person in your field of expertise.
As a matter of fact, the whole perception of how the business world sees you changes once you have your own podcast.
You are seen and perceived differently.
I’ll take my new podcast series for example. The feedback so far has been amazing. What a credibility boost. One that I truly enjoy doing.
E-books & Whitepapers
The sales process is far easier if you have strong marketing assets (e-books, white papers, reports, case studies, etc). It is easier to convince a cold prospect if you can show your expertise in the area.
I have published seven e-books and three digital assets, so I can tell you how they can work for you. You show your prospects that you understand their challenges and that you’ve made an effort to summarise your key findings into an e-book or a PDF file for their benefit.
Crafting highly targeted e-books could really help your prospecting.
Be clear about what your goal for the e-book is. If you are trying to educate people on your subject, then it should provide the response to a problem or obstacle. Usually, e-books are in the ‘how-to’ area. If you provide expert insights, based on your experience, or cover a niche target, then the e-book can be a credibility booster.
White papers are great examples of marketing collateral that exhibit your authority over a chosen niche. Mostly, they are long-form content intended to educate the target audience. A content that delves deeper into industry trends, issues, and policies and explains its causes, implications, and benefits.
Companies publish white papers to address an industry problem to propose their solution to it. That way, their product/solution has better recall value than its competitors.
Writing a white paper is a lot of work. You need good planning, stakeholder signoff, SEO strategy, value proposition, and ability to drive revenues are vital factors that you need to consider before putting pen to paper.
However, statistics have shown that white papers are one of the top 4 most effective types of marketing collateral preferred by 71% of companies.
So it might be smart to roll up your writing sleeves and start putting some of your knowledge down.
You can use e-books and white papers as gated and ungated content to support your outreach.
How quickly your prospect will move down the funnel depends on the quality of your nurturing, but also on marketing support. If you have testimonials, case studies or any other type of social proof, or if you are positioned as a guru in your field, that will make the transition as smooth as possible.
Case studies offer social proof that can be shared in the outreach sequence that will show prospects how a solution like yours has helped similar companies to theirs. The goal is to convince them that your type of solution is superior to others. And also that you know just how to help them and solve their problems.
Newsletters are a great way for your company to communicate with clients and followers, and they can generate leads and sales that will help your business grow. People want to hear and (hopefully) buy from companies they trust, and one way to build trust is by providing relevant content in the form of a newsletter. What that content is will depend on what your business offers as a service or product.
Newsletters differ from all the other types of content that you can offer.
To send this serious piece of writing, you need to first have developed a leads base.
You cannot send your newsletter to cold prospects.
This would be like sending flowers to a girl that knows nothing about you.
A bit far-fetched, innit?
Top 3 types of content that can improve your outreach results
Content is a miraculous thing that can change everything in a blink of an eye.
It can give your whole outreach sequence a completely different turn.
It can turn cold to warm leads, it can fill up your sales funnel and change the whole perception on your business.
It’s such a power tool.
Even though every piece of content I mentioned above plays its role in the whole outreach process, I want to highlight the three that I’ve found as the most relevant in boosting my sales rates.
Social media posts
When it comes to B2B posting we often think about posting from the company profiles. But what about the person behind the company? As we are entering the P2P (Person to Person) era (yes, even if you are B2B high-ticket service provider) it’s becoming all about authenticity and thought leadership. So posting from your own personal LinkedIn profile has never been trendier or more valuable.
Thought leadership posts from personal profile
Showing evidence of thought leadership through your social posts and via different platforms builds your credibility. Its primary marketing purpose is to soften prospects to connect with you, and make them want to engage and work with you. You can use just any social platform for this purpose, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. And many new platforms will undoubtedly arise. You can use any of these platforms to share some of the blogs you’ve created, but thought leadership goes deeper than that. A thought leader does not share only about their own business. They are interested in several subjects (usually their top five) and all the topics they share are around these key themes. When I was building my thought leadership plan, I chose four categories to share:
• Business posts: Obviously, I need to share business thoughts, posts, topics and curated posts to help build my credibility as an expert in the field. Some of the posts can be mine. Some can be curated from other platforms or sources.
• Family posts: I know it might feel weird to share posts about your wife, kids and parents, but try it. First, you will show that you are not all about business. Second, people will connect with you on an entirely new level. When I shared a photo playing with my son, and crafted some intriguing copy, the engagement was fantastic. Other parents in particular felt they were able to connect with me.
• Travel posts: I love to explore new places whenever I can. Why would I hide this from my followers (or new prospects who have just agreed to connect with me)? I want to paint a picture of a person, not a robot whose life revolves solely around work. If you share your personal passion, people will feel more connected to you.
• Personal development posts: If you really want to connect to your audience, you need to open up to them. As I learn new things, I share them with my community. When I decided to write a book, I posted about it and got loads of engagement.
What happens when you start posting on these four categories (or the ones you find dear and important)?
In short, miracles. Sharing your stories and your journey makes people feel that they can connect with you and trust you, and shows them that you are not a scammer or a fake. Plus, as you get comfortable with sharing aspects of yourself, there are personal benefits for you.
Company social media posting
A lot has changed in the last few years.
Authenticity has become the currency on social media and employees are no longer hiding behind corporate messages when sharing professional content. They’re voicing their opinions and stories not just on work-related matters but on their personal lives, culture and politics.
The life-changing year of 2020 has only accelerated this further as COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, fake news and many more became trending topics on LinkedIn, not just Facebook or Twitter.
Many organizations have already experienced first-hand the benefits of activating their employees’ voices for advocacy and social selling. They want to encourage real human-to-human conversations but are grappling with a social media landscape that’s more fraught with conflict than before and where professional and personal have blurred further.
In order to show credibility as a serious company, which is not only about the CEO but rather about the whole bunch (or hive in our case), you need to start posting from your company’s profile, too.
Future clients would want to know about your latest achievements in your industry, the challenges your company’s been facing and how you’ve overcome them, so they can relate.
If you are unsure where to start, then you need not look further than your own newsletters. Yes, we’re talking about content repurposing.
At BizzBee, we have a base of subscribers to whom we send our newsletter on a biweekly basis.
In this newsletter of ours, we always have different sections like a recommendation by our employee. Depending on the theme, one of our team recommends a tool, a book, a course that could help the reader do something better, faster, more efficiently. And also curated wisdom. This is a quote that one of our team is driven by. It gives a perspective on what we believe in and what we stand for.
This is one of the ways that we include our employees, giving them much-needed recognition.
Every single member of the company needs to know that they are valued and that the world needs a piece of their wisdom.
And we are left with a valuable piece of content that will not only grace our newsletter, but by adding a few lines of text we can repurpose it as a company social post. Talking about a win-win.
Blog posts are the most common assets to share or showcase during the outreach sequence, or after someone shows some interest. Your marketing team can create articles that are highly targeted and specific. This will give some value to the cold prospect, which can, in turn, make them consider responding to your campaign or can even influence their final buying decision.
These blogs can be shared via email (as news), directly as a LinkedIn message (as a relevant article you think will help your prospect) or as a post on your social media. In any case, having several posts that are highly valuable to your targets can significantly improve the response rate, and your credibility in general.
When writing a blog post, keep one thing in mind. Which obstacle are you trying to overcome? You should only tackle one obstacle per article. If you are trying to convince readers that they have a problem, don’t push them towards your solution — that feels biased. If I read an article stating a problem that I have, and it ends by trying to sell me the author’s solution it loses credibility.
What’s one of the best ways to remind a prospect that you are still out there?
Hint: It’s not sending them chocolates or jewellery. (Though it might do the trick)
It’s much cheaper than that, but so much more valuable.
It’s sending them a weekly or a monthly newspaper.
In BizzBee, we do that on a fortnightly basis.
I think that’s the perfect time span.
It’s neither too pushy, not too distant.
If you have a strong newsletter (with a lot of content that adds value), you position yourself as the go-to person on the subject. So if they ever need something, you are the first person they will call. And that can be in a few weeks or a few months.
I’ve seen a lot of newsletters where the main focus is on the company that’s issuing the newsletter. A series of promotions like ‘why you should hire us’, ‘why we are the best’ and similar content isn’t really a newsletter — it is more like a sales leaflet. And of course, prospects respond by ignoring it or unsubscribing.
Your newsletter should be about the prospects. And only about them. Your goal is not to sell them anything, but to make them curious, engaged, moving towards a point where they might show interest in the type of solution you are offering.
BizzBee’s newsletter, for example, does not try to sell any service. That’s not the purpose of a newsletter, and I took specific care of that. Our goal is to maintain credibility and expertise and showcase our personality, by sharing our own posts, curated content, and valuable and engaging contributions from our employees.
The purpose of the newsletter is not to get new clients, but to nurture the relationship with your existing prospects, so they will get in touch with you when they are ready, or when they need you.
If you want to take a better look at how we do it, and maybe even model your own accordingly, you can easily subscribe in the footer on the bottom of this page. I promise you, you won’t regret it!
Let me ask you this question.
Is content really necessary when doing outreach?
Well, let me paint you a picture.
You are approaching a total stranger on LinkedIn.
And you have 0 posts, no webpage, no newsletter, no blogs to show your expertise on the field you are saying you are an expert on, no case studies to testify to your solution, not a thing to certify to your credibility.
Would you believe this person?
Would you put your business in their hands?
I hardly think so.
But, don’t be so hard on yourself just yet.
When you are new and fresh in this game, mistakes are bound to happen.
When we started, I really underestimated the importance of quality content. It took us a few years to understand that clients who have these get far better results than those who don’t. Now we employ copywriters, so we can also help clients with their content writing and brand promotion.
A good sales strategy and quality content go hand in hand. They are always a booster for your nurturing efforts. You can survive without content too, you can still do the nurturing and get results but it would be much harder.
Content can’t work miracles, but if a prospect is considering your offer, it can achieve the extra push you need to get a positive response at each stage.
If you are still a bit unsure about regular content posting, try this little experiment then.
For a couple of months start posting from your LinkedIn profile.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be your content, it can be curated.
You can try posting personal and/or business posts.
See what this will do to the engagement rate.
Thank me later.
This article was originally published on BizzBee Blog. :)