Transform Your B2B Lead Generation with Storytelling

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Transform Your B2B Lead Generation with StorytellingGo from BORING to ENGAGING  

The bane of chanting “content is King” in recent years is the ocean of truly boring content created in the name of content marketing. Particularly in the world of B2B marketing, it is all too common to find rambling, repetitive, dull, long-winded, overly technical content that is just too boring to read, let alone share. B2B lead generation is touted as the worthy cause for spewing all this meaningless content with the goal of attracting quality leads and converting more leads into sales. BUT, things are changing, and changing fast. Audience engagement is a tough challenge and marketers are learning the hard way that their content has to engage and inspire or their audience will very easily disappear and never come back; a single click is all it takes. The consequence of poor quality content is a high bounce rate and a sales team left scrambling for quality leads with no support from marketing.

Does this sound like an all too familiar story? It gets your emotion, right? It peels the onion of your organization’s pain points, does it not? That’s what stories do. They evoke emotion and get people to start thinking and wanting to take action. And that, is the essential first step of an effective lead generation process.

I have keenly been observing the shift in content styles moving away from third person, impersonal brand collateral. More companies are starting to develop unique personalities, writing in the first person, allowing staff to write more personal accounts, articles, blog posts, social media updates, etc. There is now, an open-armed welcome to storytelling as marketing spiel. Rejoice! This is what we want!

Storytelling is All About Relationships…Even if the Main Character is Your Product

Just like B2B marketing, which I have been repeating is now B2P, high quality marketing copy has also become about people and relationships. It is an opportunity for management and marketing people to  stand around a virtual water cooler and pick up the pulse of their organization. These are not necessarily ‘secrets’ shared by employees, but they definitely are useful insights into the business, products, staff, the R&D process, product development, customer service successes and failures. Whether you write a product description and sales pitch or tell a compelling story about your product will make all the difference in audience engagement levels. Remember, that in the end, the story of how your customers interact with your product and what customer experience memory they are left with will decide whether or not they remain your customers.

Companies that succeed at storytelling also know that it doesn’t always have to be a story about something good. It can be a good story about something bad! It’s okay to own up when something does not go according to plan, as long as you say what action is being taken to course-correct and take remedial action.

The best stories are the ones that include strong characters and easily identifiable personalities. Even what we would normally classify as boring industries, such as container shipping, snowplow manufacturers or mortgage brokers are working well towards powerful storytelling.

Not sure whether you really want to or can take on storytelling as part of your B2B lead generation activities? See this Infographic on Storytelling.

A Dozen Tips for B2B Content Creation and Storytelling      

Here are 12 recommended tips to transform your B2B lead generation with quality content and storytelling:

  1. Market your content widely and remember that automation is not the way to go, especially with social media. You need to have a process, a fool-proof system and appropriate resources for effective content marketing.
  2. Encourage your staff to tell stories that can go into your content publishing calendar.
  3. Stay on top of what your website visitors are looking for—simple analytics can tell you this. Take comments seriously, whether they are on your own site or on third-party sites and social media channels about your company.
  4. If you must write technical content and your prospects need it, by all means, write it. But don’t stop there! And like I said before, you can always find a way to weave in a story.
  5. Use content curation; it works and it gives you breathing room to work on creating your own stories. Need a Refresher on B2B Content Curation? Read this 3-part series.
  6. Make sure your content calendar and storytelling plans fit well within your overall marketing strategy.
  7. It’s good to invite guest bloggers and writers to contribute to your site and blog from time to time. Offer to pay them and you will get even better quality of content!
  8. Your content creators may tell a great story, straight from the heart, but there is tremendous value in having an experienced editor.
  9. Your audience is on the go and always rushed for time. So make your stories quick to read and mobile-friendly.
  10. Who reads your stories? Your audience and the search engines. Who buys your products and services? ONLY your target audience. Don’t ever forget this.
  11. Stories have to be huge on credibility, so make sure you cite and quote third party sources, research and stats, but also include your own research.
  12. Bedtime stories to children are told everyday; and they never tire of the ritual. When you start telling good stories that your audience enjoys, keep up with a consistent schedule. Quality before quantity though; always!

Got a great marketing story? I’d love to hear it! Do leave me a comment. You can also send me an email or call me at (905) 709-3827.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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