I've got a couple very smart B2B marketing technology clients I've worked with for years.
By learning about their respective businesses, I've been able to pass along the occasional piece of sound advice to other clients. Practical advice about the right tools and solutions to their problems.
Along the way, I've noticed something.
A lot of B2B content marketers focus an awful lot on the visionary side of the content coin. As in, what are the big-picture challenges? Where's our industry headed? What's the transformational advantage to your enterprise of embracing evolution, innovation, disruption, or whatever's the trendspeak right now?
What goes missing are insights that are usable at ground level.
What best practices really work? Does a company's content show you how to tackle specific technical or tactical issues? Does it deliver how-tos or walkthroughs without making them part of a sales process? In other words, does their content really show an understanding of the everyday needs of their audience's business?
In content, vision isn't enough
Showing "thought leadership" and macro vision is important. Generating high-tier material that enriches the stature of the company and its leadership is good not just for visibility but for reassuring existing customers and stakeholders. It's a classic top-of-the-funnel tactic for drawing in prospects.
But you're not always speaking to a CIO/CMO. The eyeballs you attract may belong to mid-level managers and purchasing directors who have a different set of interests. They're scrounging for insights and information, too, but it may be because they're the ones tasked with operationalizing your widget.
So they're vetting you from a different perspective. Giving them what they need is another step in a kind of "utility funnel" for content.
Let's say you're marketing a Cloud-based email delivery service. It buffs your reputation to make pronouncements about Big Data email integration and how platforms (like yours!) can leverage it. But you should also offer specifics -- like how a growth hacker can accomplish rapid prototyping of different marketing mixes. Or tips on how to get an offsite service (like yours!) to work with in-house email infrastructures.
Make yourself useful!
Why doesn't every B2B content marketer populate this part of the content utility funnel?
For one thing, it's hard work to maintain a stream of usable content. It's usually easier to do the occasional sexy grand pronouncement. Maybe even get it syndicated it at WidgetIndustryTech.com.
Or truly useful insights and analysis may be considered IP. So we're not gonna give it away for free.
But the most effective B2B content strategy offers much more than lofty vision and broad-stroke analysis. It gets down to the nitty-gritty. Practical insight and useful guidance bring people back to a blog or site, time after time. Not big-picture vision pieces.
Content value is a workaday calculation for most of us: what helps me in the here-and-now?
That's the filter through which most customers and prospects view your content. Make sure they like what they see.