Content is King in B2B

By John Watton, Chief Marketing Officer at ShipServ

I really enjoyed presenting at B2B Marketing Magazine’s recent conference in London. It was a tough assignment, as I was on just before the two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. to honor Armistice Day. There’s nothing like standing between an audience and a nation’s respect for those who gave their lives in armed conflict. So timing was critical to say the least. No over-runs this time. (And, on a separate note, I have to say a mournful moment of reflection is hardly the crescendo a presenter is looking to end on).

Anyway, I was presenting on the theme “Campaigns are dead. Long live content.” What really struck me after the presentation was the power of great content—its potential to propagate and the transparent trackability of feedback on social media:

  1. Feedback. I could, thanks to several tweeters in the room, get immediate feedback on what the audience thought. Thankfully, it was good (I blushed appropriately), but in the past, I’ve found it almost impossible to gauge an audience’s reactions. Remember, I also work in the UK, and we’re all far too polite. Twitter just unlocks those inhibitions.
  2. Propagation. Within an hour, the network kicked in, and I could see that from a core of say six to nine tweeters, 20-plus were retweeting comments on/from my presentation, some from as far afield as Brazil and the U.S. The content spread.
  3. Trackability. All of this was transparent and visible to me. A few hours after my session, I loaded my presentation onto SlideShare and tweeted the delegates (still in session). Within two hours, there had been 222 views of my presentation. SlideShare also selected my content as one of the featured presentations on its home page.

Within 48 hours of the conference, my presentation had received 862 views and 63 downloads. This just blew me away. Remember, I’m a CMO, but I’m no Seth Godin. Despite being a marketing pro of many years, I don’t sell marketing services nor make a living from doing so. So this was very rewarding for me.

What’s my learning? It wasn’t the viral power of social media (we all know that), but to harness that power, you need great content at the heart of what you do. What I had to say resonated. That wasn’t by accident. I prepared. I tried to make sure my content was relevant, interesting, engaging, surprising, and of value. And it worked.

The result: people liked it, shared it, and spread the word. And for all of us B2B marketers, we should never forget that if we get the basics right with great content, social media gives us the power to connect and engage on an impressive scale.

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