Inbound marketing can set the stage for long-term revenue growth, but only if you avoid common B2B inbound marketing mistakes and set realistic expectations with your executive team.

Today’s B2B customers are looking for buying experiences that provide them with easily accessible information — curated to their roles, business needs, and priorities. According to PwC, 65% of U.S. customers find a positive brand experience more influential than great advertising. That makes inbound marketing a strategic imperative for startups or high-tech B2B marketers looking to grow revenues.

Understanding B2B Inbound Marketing

Unlike traditional outbound marketing tactics, which broadly focus on promoting products or services, inbound marketing invites potential customers into a narrative, fostering engagement and trust through high-value content, search engine marketing, and personalized interactions. 

Too often, B2B tech marketers think inbound marketing is just about generating sales content. It’s not. Today’s buyers don’t want a sales pitch, cold calls, or impersonal emails. They want to be informed.

Doing inbound marketing right requires a comprehensive approach that includes understanding prospective buyers’ demographics and motivations, creating useful content, optimizing it for search engines, engaging on social media, and nurturing leads to drive conversion. That’s not to say that far-reaching traditional outbound marketing tactics that sell the benefits of products and services are obsolete. Just be sure to align outbound efforts with inbound programs to amplify your brand’s reach and impact.

Common B2B Inbound Marketing Mistakes

1. Expecting Quick Results

Many executives expect immediate results from their marketing investments. When they don’t see quick ROI, they cancel inbound marketing programs. Unlike outbound tactics, which can generate fast, albeit short-lived, spikes in engagement, inbound marketing is a long-term investment. It builds momentum over time, cultivating a loyal audience and generating sustained lead flow.

2. Believing Inbound Is Only for B2C

Many executives falsely believe that inbound marketing is only effective for B2C markets. B2B tech buyers need more informative and engaging content than B2C consumers to support their purchase decisions as they move through the sales funnel from interest to close. Inbound marketing directly serves this need, facilitating a more informed and engaged B2B customer base.

3. Thinking Content Is the Only Requirement

While content is undeniably the cornerstone of inbound marketing, its effectiveness is contingent upon a broader strategy. This includes thoughtful distribution, ongoing SEO efforts, and meticulous analysis to refine and optimize the approach continuously.

4. Adopting a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy

Treating inbound marketing as a universal solution is a critical inbound marketing mistake. High-tech companies must tailor their inbound strategies to address their target audiences’ unique challenges, preferences, and behaviors.

5. Inconsistent Content Production

Consistency in content creation is key to keeping your audience engaged and attracting new leads. An erratic publishing schedule can diminish interest and undermine your marketing efforts.

6. Failing to Integrate with Outbound Efforts

Inbound and outbound marketing are not mutually exclusive. Integrating both can create a cohesive marketing strategy that leverages the strengths of each approach, maximizing overall impact.

Strategies for Inbound Marketing Program Success

Establish Clear Objectives

Setting precise, measurable goals is the first step in developing an effective inbound marketing program. Whether your goal is increasing lead quality, boosting web traffic, or enhancing brand awareness, clear objectives guide your inbound strategy.

Develop In-depth Buyer Personas

Crafting detailed buyer personas is essential. These personas should inform every aspect of your content strategy, ensuring your messaging addresses your target audience’s specific needs and pain points.

Craft a Content Strategy

A strategic approach to content creation involves planning the types of content that will attract, engage, and convert your audience. This includes blogs, whitepapers, webinars, and more, tailored to the interests and stage of the buyer’s journey of your personas.

Optimize for SEO

SEO is vital for making your content visible to the right audience. To improve your search engine rankings, utilize keyword research, on-page optimization, and quality backlink strategies.

Leverage Marketing Automation and CRM Tools

Marketing automation and CRM tools can streamline your inbound marketing efforts, enabling personalized interactions and efficient lead management.

Monitor, Analyze and Adjust

Continuously measuring your strategy’s performance against your objectives allows you to make informed adjustments. Use analytics to identify what’s working and not, then pivot your strategy accordingly.

Conclusion: Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistakes to Achieve Better Results

Inbound marketing presents a dynamic and effective avenue for engaging and converting B2B technology buyers. With the right planning and commitment, you can avoid common inbound marketing mistakes and execute strategic programs that amplify your brand reach, cultivate a loyal audience, and generate sustained lead flow.

If you need help establishing or executing an effective inbound marketing strategy, Attain Marketing is here to help! With our expertise and deep understanding of the B2B technology marketing landscape, we can help you navigate the complexities of B2B inbound marketing and develop customized strategies that align with your brand and objectives.

From leveraging content marketing and earned media to establishing thought leadership, Attain Marketing can guide you every step of the way. So, join us to effectively tap into the power of content marketing, public relations, and audience engagement to supercharge your company’s growth!

In the ever-evolving world of B2B content marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. To truly engage your target buyers and set your brand apart, you need to identify and capitalize on trending topics. Use these top five strategies to plan content marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience and amplify your brand’s voice within your target markets.

1. Leverage Social Listening Tools:

The first step in identifying hot topics is to listen to your audience. Social listening tools can help you track conversations, understand buyer concerns, and spot emerging trends in your industry. Tools like Brandwatch or Mention can provide valuable insights into what your target buyers are talking about, enabling you to create content that addresses their current interests and needs.

2. Analyze Competitor Content:

Keeping an eye on your competitors is not just about understanding their strategies—it’s about identifying gaps in their content that you can fill. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze your competitors’ content performance. Look for high-performing topics that they may have missed or not fully explored. This approach allows you to create unique and compelling content that stands out.

3. Utilize Keyword Research Tools:

SEO is the backbone of effective content marketing. Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer to discover what your target audience is searching for online. Look for long-tail keywords that are relevant to your industry and have a high search volume but low competition. These are your gold mines for creating SEO-optimized content that attracts and engages B2B buyers.

4. Dive into Industry Forums and Online Communities:

Online forums and communities like LinkedIn groups or industry-specific forums are excellent sources for content ideation. These platforms are where professionals discuss industry trends, challenges, and innovations. By engaging in these conversations, you can gain firsthand insights into the topics that matter most to your audience.

5. Conduct Surveys and Feedback Sessions:

Sometimes, the best way to find out what your audience wants is to ask them directly. Conduct surveys or feedback sessions with your current clients or leads. Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to gather opinions on what topics they find most valuable. This direct approach not only provides content ideas but also strengthens your relationships with your customers.


Planning a successful B2B content campaign revolves around understanding and leveraging the interests of your target buyers. By implementing these five strategies, you can ensure that your content is not only relevant and engaging but also positions your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Stay ahead of the curve, and watch your content marketing efforts yield significant results.

Remember, the key to a successful B2B content marketing strategy is to consistently iterate—monitor, adapt, and refine your approach based on what resonates with your audience. Keep these strategies in mind, and you’ll be on your way to creating impactful and buyer-centric content campaigns.

Attain Marketing, a boutique B2B technology marketing agency, can assist you in this journey. With our expertise and deep understanding of the B2B technology marketing landscape, we can help you navigate the complexities of B2B content marketing and develop customized strategies that align with your brand and objectives.

From leveraging earned media and brand advocates to establishing thought leadership, Attain Marketing can guide you every step of the way.

With the right strategies in place, you can effectively communicate the value proposition of your technologies, build trust, and establish your brand as a reliable and clear choice in your industry.

So, join us to effectively tap into the power of public relations, content marketing, and audience engagement to supercharge your company growth!

Time is a precious commodity, which is why one huge benefit—maybe the hugest—of repurposing content is the time it can save you in the content creation process.

If you invest heavily in content creation, you should be thinking how many different ways it can be promoted. Generally, companies spend lopsided portions of their budgets on content creation and far too little time actually promoting the content that they create.  And there are so many ways to utilize it.

Repurposing a piece of content can be a great way to breathe new life into old work. You went to all the trouble to research, craft, and promote the content in the first place—you have to make sure that you get as much out of it as you can. 

When you repurpose a piece of content you’re doing one of two things (or both): changing the format of the content, and/or changing the target audience for the content.

Why Is Content Repurposing Important?

The #1 benefit of repurposing content is that it makes content MUCH easier to scale.

In other words: you don’t need to write every post, shoot every video and design every infographic from scratch.

Instead, you can use a piece of new content as the basis for press releases, articles, posts, videos, social media posts, webinars and more.

There are many benefits in addition to the time management and efficiency of repurposing content.  Some include.

  • Get an SEO boost. Multiple pieces of content around the same topic can generate additional opportunities to target a desired keyword.
  • Reach a new audience. In many cases, your original piece of content may have only been seen by one group of customers or influencers.
  • Reinforce your message. The more the message gets out, the better audiences understand what your company is doing.
  • Gain extra authority with multiple viewings. 

With so many resource and time demands, it is smart to repurpose valuable content.  You’ll be amazed with the results of morphing good content to attract a new audience.

Blog reality 2017: a reader will only skim. His or her attention is already at saturation when gets to your blog. If your content is not clear and easy to follow, the sad truth is he’ll bounce.

Your content must HOOK him or her within the first sentence. Word one is even better.

That’s not just a writing thing, it’s a giving thing. The blog owner MUST give value.

You must make clear that your message is relevant for him and his busy life. He needs that much to decide if he’ll devote the next 10 minutes to hearing what you have to say.

It’s a Gift

If you’ve got a reader’s attention, it’s a trust. Take care of him or her.

Arrogance is a turnoff. Today’s reader can smell it a mile away. Salesy manipulation and braggadocio won’t cut it. Once eyes are on you, you must solve a problem, and you must do it for each successive piece that you publish.

There’s a reason why some blogs attract thousands of readers. There’s no silver bullet. It’s a value thing.

The owners of those blogs are giving people information that they can’t or don’t want to do without. It’s not about WHO does the writing. It’s more about WHAT they write.

What to Write

Write about your products but do it from the customer perspective. How can your reader use this product to make his life better. Easier. What problem will this product solve? How will it make him more money? Save him time? What is better—really better—about this particular product.

And be specific. Outline steps. Walk him through it. Specific. Specific. Specific.

Putting your best foot forward can become habit forming. And the more sage advice you give, the more you’ll attract the right reader.

How to Get Tangible Results

Keep in mind that if you want something, you need to ask for it. Otherwise, people just assume you’re good.

If you want them to take steps to find out more, give them a click through button that links to a landing page or product sales page.

If you want to get them to a trade show or conference where you’ll be exhibiting or speaking, invite them to look you up. Let them know where you’ll be.

Get them to reach out if they have questions or comments. Link to your contact page or sales team. Turning on the comments isn’t the best fit for every blog. You can have people contact you, though, if they’re unclear about how a product works.

End Results

Getting your customer results gives you a better result in the end. A good relationship with a customer is pure gold. It’s what makes every ounce of content producing sweat and research worthwhile.

As writers of content, the end goal isn’t just to sell products. Those products must make your customer’s life better.

Product = Solution

Service = Solution

Solution = Happy Customer

Better life is service.

That’s a small business mindset, perhaps, but big businesses are using this principle with great effect.

It’s the reason why companies like UPS, FedEX, Netflix, Amazon, Google, SONY, Marriott, Apple, and Samsung made the USA Today, Customer Service Hall of Fame in 2016.

Take a tip from the big fish, infuse your content and your blog with outstanding value. It’s harder but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

Want to know one of the top keys to copywriting success? It’s one you won’t hear too many pros mention, but it’s super important. To get the reader’s attention, you must make your message clear. Nobody cares how many big words you or I know. In fact, the more complex the subject the more important it is to use simple words.

The truth is, people just want you to fix their problems as-fast-as possible so they can get back to what’s really important. Give them 3 steps, not 10. Give them short sentences, not long. And, if you do, they’ll reward you by coming back to read again.

Easy-to-read copy is one of the most important rules in good copywriting. I can tell you from experience that writing this way isn’t as easy as you might think. To make the task easier, I’m going to share a few tips to get you started. If you use them, you’ll begin to see results right away:

How Simplify Your Writing

  • 1. A single great idea is more powerful than two

    Have one main point and restate it throughout your narrative. Research shows that it takes up to six times hearing something before you start to remember it.

  • 2. Use parallel constructions

    Group like ideas together. Contrast where possible. Short bursts of concise sentences is refreshing and memorable.

  • 3. Use lists to pull the reader through your piece

    Lists easy are to follow. They allow people to make a quick scan of your material and decide what they need.

  • 4. Remove as many words as you can without losing the message

    Edit, edit, edit—get rid of words that add no meaning. The saying: less is more is true. Removing visual clutter allows what’s important to gain strength.

    Make sentences clear, concise and useful.

Follow these four tips and you will make your readers happy. And entice them to come back for more.


Are your headlines doing the job? Headlines perform a critical task. They entice your reader to actually read your content. If your headline isn’t clear or doesn’t promise a powerful reward, people will pass it by.

Professional Copywriters spend up to 50 percent of their time developing the perfect headline.

Here are four simple tips that will help you improve the quality of your headlines.

1. Promise something useful

People read articles because they’re looking to solve a problem. They need to save time. Your headline let’s them know exactly how you’re going to help. Don’t make people guess.

If you want someone to click on your headline promise something they can do right away.

2. Use Numbers

Readers like lists. They’re easy to follow. People are more inclined to click a post with a list because they feel the odds are good that they’ll find something useful.

Algorithms like Google Hummingbird reward useful content. Numbers tell search engines that your content intends to deliver something.

Use random, 2-digit numbers like 13 or 27. It’s an old copywriter trick. These numbers telegraph authenticity to readers.

A word of advice: if you promise 17 essential tips, be sure all 17 of those tips are high quality.

3. Use a Logical Keyword

If you sell tires, use words in your headline like: traction, tread, wheel-hub or grip. If you sell software for autonomous vehicles, use words like: driverless, WiFi, or self-parking.

Think of this like deposits into your search-engine savings account.

The more you include keywords naturally used by searchers, the easier they will find you.

4. Keep Headlines Under 65 Characters

Algorithms penalize headlines that are over 70 characters. That’s because they’re harder to read. That aside, the important takeaway is not muddy up your message with too many words.

Make sentences clear, concise and useful. These qualities will entice interested readers to read your article.


The title is one of the most important determining factors in whether your white paper is downloaded for reading or passed by in search of better content. Unfortunately, the white paper title is often approached as an after thought. And this can have damaging results. A lackluster title can severely impair the performance of an otherwise well-written paper.

Defining the title before you write can help give purpose and shape to the paper. For example, many tried and true attention-grabbing titles are based on formulas, such as “How to _______ in X easy steps” or “X Reasons Why ________ Fail.” These types of titles drive the structure of the paper.  When you write the paper first and title second, you limit your opportunity.

To improve the effectiveness of your next white paper, develop the title before you write the paper and use these tips to help you make the title great…

  • Focus on what’s in it for the reader. Your audience is out there looking for information because they have a problem that they need to solve. Tell people how you will solve the problem or give them a reason why they should listen to you.
  • Be specific. The needs of your potential customers vary greatly depending upon their industry, company, area of responsibility and current projects. Help your readers quickly identify what the paper is about and decide whether or not it’s applicable to them.
  • Balance creativity with relevance. Try to strike the right balance by giving the title enough personality to entice the reader, while still explaining what the paper is about. While a creative title may win you a chuckle, not many people will send their precious time downloading a paper just because it made them laugh.
  • Focus on Benefits, not Features. Benefits are the language of your customers. Features are the language of your engineers. Your customers don’t care if you have the fastest processor, strongest encryption or largest libraries. They care about the benefits those features will deliver, whether its cutting costs, supporting revenue growth or getting more done with less. So focus on what your product or services can do for your customers, not how it will do it.
  • Be succinct. Eliminate any unnecessary words and use the active voice to get your point across as quickly as possible (and avoid the awkwardness of the passive voice).
  • Be original. If you are syndicating your white paper, you will be competing with hundreds of other titles. After you have brainstormed and identified your short list of title favorites, do an Internet search for white papers on your chosen topic. If you find similar titles already available, cross them off your list. You cannot compete with a “me too” title.

There are hundreds of more tips available in books, blogs and articles. I’ve focused on the ones that I think are most important. If I’ve overlooked some, please feel free to weigh in with your suggestions.

P.S. Journalists that write for popular publications are masters of writing attention-grabbing and succinct titles. Perusing the headlines before you start your title brainstorming session can help get you in the right frame of mind and stimulate your creativity.

In a prior blog post, I discussed the fine line between keeping your company communications professional, yet personal.  I suggested that high-quality communications are a positive representation of your company, and a personal touch can really help to draw in your audience so that they make a connection with your company.  This balance is extremely important to maintain and can make a big difference in your marketing efforts.

Today, I’d like to take this a step further and talk about how to communicate effectively with your target audience.  All too often, companies miss the mark when talking about their products and services by not realizing that their audience may not have enough background knowledge to understand their technical terminology.  Even though your engineers and scientists may be able to explain company concepts most accurately, it’s important to “translate” this information into common, everyday language.

Here are a few keys to keep in mind:

  • Acronyms can be exhausting.  Even though the employees of your company may have them down pat, you cannot expect your customers to remember all of your acronyms.  If you are going to use them, be sure to define them clearly and often.  Limit the number of different acronyms you use.  Focus on the most important ones, and build recognition by repetition.
  • Internal company lingo or made-up words are cool, but they can also be confusing!  If you’re trying to get a new word to pick up traction with your target market, be sure to introduce it in a clever way and use repetition to make the word stick.  Eventually, it will hold some value – if you position it correctly.
  • Use examples, especially ones that give your audience a mental picture of what you’re talking about.  Some people learn best by visualizing.  Photographs, diagrams, and videos do a great job of saying a lot in a short amount of time.  A picture is worth a thousand words!
  • Step outside the box.  Or rather, step outside of your company’s four walls – and into the shoes of your audience!  A marketing or sales pitch that makes perfect sense during an internal planning meeting may not make a lot of sense to a stranger on the street.  (Have you ever seen a commercial that just made absolutely no sense to you, or was so off-the-wall that it actually made you not want to buy the product or service?  That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.)  Do your research, test out your pitches on your target audience, and listen to their feedback.  It can be very valuable.
  • Ask for help.  Find someone on your team who is really good at taking technical, difficult-to-understand concepts, products, and terms, and have them help write the “everyday language” version of the information.  This person should be involved with your marketing and public relations team as well.  Then, leave it to the experts!  Your marketing team (whether internal or external) will be able to communicate your information even more clearly.  Often times it helps to have someone not associated with the company do the majority of your writing.  Because they have to first understand and grasp your concepts in order to write about them, they do a great job of putting it in a way that anyone will understand.

If you keep these tips in mind when preparing your sales and marketing communications, you will certainly notice a better response from your audience which will translate into more success for your company.  Not only do we want to keep our communications personal enough to be engaging and professional enough to garner respect, but we also want to speak appropriately and effectively to our audience.  Stay tuned for more communication tips in the future!

In this blog post, Carrie Brooks, a nationally recognized Merit Scholar and communications professional with a bachelor degree from University of Central Florida, Rosen College, highlights keys to keeping business messaging both interesting and professional.  Carrie has recently joined the Attain Marketing team and will be providing public relations program support as well as uncovering new strategic opportunities for our clients.  Welcome to the team, Carrie!

There is a fine line that must be walked when attempting to produce written communications or give verbal presentations that are both professional and personal.  It is far too easy to stray too far in one direction or the other – professional to the point of being dull and “boring” or so personal to the point of… well… missing the point entirely.  Let’s consider some things to keep in mind while developing company communications that can both catch your audience’s attention AND convey a professional message.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

-Vince Lombardi

Years ago I worked for a small investor and public relations firm.  It was the most unique and demanding work experience I’ve ever had.  One of the rules in our firm was that the CEO of the company must be copied on every email (yes, every single email) that left the confines of our office walls.  In addition, our CEO demanded absolute perfection – in spelling, grammar, and (most importantly) how we said what we needed to say.  The first time I was summoned to her office to explain (defend) why I wrote a particular email, I quickly came to the realization that she actually did find time to read every message.

You can certainly imagine that this rule made us think long and hard about everything we wrote and usually made us sweat a little before we clicked the “Send” button.  If we had to communicate something particularly sensitive to a client, it was much easier for us to pick up the phone and make a call than to stand up to our CEO’s scrutiny over how we wrote our message.  In the moment, it was very intimidating.  Looking back – it was brilliant!

What did this teach us?  Quite a few things:

  • Quality – The quality of our written communications had to be at its very best, all the time, without exception.  This included our grammar and spelling, use of language, and consistency with formatting and messaging.
  • Necessity – This method kept us from reacting too quickly as situations arose.  We had to really think it through before we sent off an email, and we stayed very clear and to the point when we did.  Unnecessary messages were not sent.  Ever.
  • Permanence – We were reminded that anything we put in writing could always be used against us, or at least could always be referenced again in the future.  Therefore, we had to stand behind what we wrote – 100%.  Written communication that travels across the Internet is permanent.

In later years, I was able to apply these same principles to verbal communications as well, specifically when giving presentations to a live audience.  The bottom line: content for print and verbal distribution really can be entertaining and interesting while still maintaining a high degree of quality and excellence.

Specific Keys for Written Communications

  • Keep the quality high.  Attention to detail in writing is extremely important.  First impressions come across in writing just as much as they do in person.
  • Have a trusted colleague look over your work.  Make good use of track changes, comments, and other collaboration features in your software.  Sometimes a hard copy with a red pen and a highlighter is the best method!
  • Don’t be afraid to use punctuation to your advantage when trying to add a personal touch.  There’s nothing wrong with adding in (a few) unique punctuation marks that compliment your personal communication style… you’ve already seen quite a few in this blog post.
  • There are many ways to break up a whole page full of text to make it more interesting to read, such as quote boxes, bulleted lists, and unique page formatting.  Use them!

Specific Keys for Verbal Presentations

  • Be clear.  Clear messaging coupled with clear diction will help your audience follow along attentively and stay engaged.  Audience engagement, such as a show of hands or a response to a question, can be extremely valuable.
  • Open up with an attention-getter – a story, an incident, or something else that your audience can relate to.  At times, even a joke may be appropriate.  (Consider your audience carefully when deciding how to open.)
  • Remember, in most cases, it’s not about “you” or “your story” as much as it is about the company you represent – so you must find a way to tell the company’s story in a personal way without making it about you.
  • Many times a verbal presentation is supported by a slide show presentation.  There are various opinions on how simple or complex slides should be, but something to always remember is that you don’t want your audience so distracted by your slides that they tune out what you’re saying.  Slides are there to enhance your message.  When in doubt, keep it simple!

Clear, quality communications are a representation of your company and your people.  Taking care to think through what you write or say is a valuable tool in putting your best foot forward and representing your company well.  Perfection in this category is certainly impossible to attain, but excellence is something we can all strive for.  Adding a personal touch helps your audience connect with your business, so keep that balance in mind – professional communications with a personal touch is always a win for your company!

For this week’s blog post, long time colleague, friend and content marketing expert, Rachel Medanic, is back again to help our readers overcome the challenges of delivering on a robust and engaging content marketing plan for 2013.  Rachel has been a marketing pro for over 15 years and is currently is a Client Services Manager for PublishThis.

So you’ve started down the path of content marketing and tackled some of the low hanging fruit but are now experiencing an idea shortfall. Where do you turn to re-ignite your efforts? First, get perspective. Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and Brightcove recently teamed up to produce some data driven insights now published in the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report. You are not alone:  volume, variety and quality of content are key areas where B2B marketers struggle. 64% say they can’t produce enough content, 52% struggle to create engaging content and 45% say maintaining variety is also a key challenge.

In October, I shared how marketers in every industry (B2C and B2B both) are being affected by the sharp rise in content marketing as a practice. Companies are becoming publishers to more effectively engage audiences. Here are some insights and observations to get you back on the idea generating track.

#1 Individuals are the content consumption baseline. Jeff Dachis, recently wrote for Ad Age, “You don’t build brands at people, you build brands with them.” People are savvy enough now to be offended by push marketing. Growing up in the 70s, the brands I recall that were pushed at me included things like print ads for vodka and Joe Camel cigarettes. Brands were most certainly being built at me, not for me. B2B marketers should focus on the similarities they share with B2C marketers because ultimately, relationships are built with individual people. And those people have the same content expectations that B2C target audiences do. Business audiences may rank content that informs higher, but “edutainment” (educational/informational/entertaining content) is definitely a way in.

#2 Whenever an online conversation is started, marketers—especially in small or mid-size companies—are now often responsible for responding. Marketing used to be built on the premise of content interrupting the target customer. But your target customer now has the power to interrupt your business with their voice. Should marketing really be responsible for answering? The job role lines have blurred over time, but what is clear is that whoever answers should engage the customer wherever they are (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, or some other online community). Provide a public, professional response in a reasonable time.

#3 Make your content an opportunity for customers and business partners to co-create something great. This summer, I participated in a flash mob with a local dance studio where I take classes. The event created something fun we could all engage around, escalated our brand loyalty to the business and built our sense of community. Leading up to the day of the mob, all the instructors integrated learning the choreography into their classes so that on mob day we became part of a surprise experience at one of the city’s biggest farmer’s markets. How can you create the digital equivalent of a “flash mob” for your business? Who can you get involved? Make sure everyone has skin in the game—figuratively speaking.

#4 Content should be free. SAP’s Michael Brenner articulates an important reminder for marketers, “Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention. That currency becomes more valuable every time it’s shared by someone other than ourselves.” If your business is providing content such as online education, find a way to offer some of it for free to entice the buyer—and make it shareable. Curb your pay walls and over-eager newsletter sign up splash screens. Trying to force a relationship can turn your audience away forever. If your audience feels your content is valuable, they will share it. They may even pay for it if they can’t get it anywhere else.

#5 Your content may be helping your audience make sense of their world. Big brands are turning to publishing and the technology for every company to become a publisher is definitely available. So why not watch what publishers themselves are doing? The New York Times (among many others) are using social sign-on to foster new dimensions of engagement on their web site. I can see the articles my Facebook friends have recently read and from this I learn more about my particular friend’s (name obscured in this visual) enthusiasm for this publisher (plus I’m also encouraged to go read what he or she read—one article closer to the 10 free articles per month pay wall). Facebook social sign-on has led the way in B2C. For B2B, Linkedin can be a great way to gather community around your content. If you don’t have your own online community, Linkedin Groups can be an excellent channel. has a nice article on how to use Linkedin for your brand.

#6 Your content can be delightful! The famous example came to me through one of my favorite bloggers Rohit Bhargava. Have a laugh once, but then go back through and see how you’d re-script and adapt it to the essence of your own industry. What business pain points (no pun intended) can you “set the record straight” on? I’ll use  the hypothetical of a management consulting services as a challenging example. Is there a tongue-in-cheek video about some hypothetical C-suite leader who desperately needs your services? You can be creative and gentle. Your industry might be mired in stodigy content. If you’re willing to take the risk, the rewards for a fresh perspective can be great.


#7 Measure everything you possibly can. The number of shares, Likes, and Tweets, in addition to dwell time, return visits and clicks through to additional pages on your web site are good indicators of content engagement. has a video and writeup to get you thinking creatively about aspects of content marketing that you can actually measure.

#8 Beware the unintended! Usually I’m very receptive to companies creating content around adjacent customer interests. That’s exactly what 76 did. In my case, it had mixed results. I may not have been the target demographic. While fueling up recently at one of their gas stations, a sign advertising the latest in a series of mobile apps called “The Quiet Game” was above the pump. The game was positioned as ideal for my children to use in the car—because I have ears. “We’re on the driver’s side” read the tagline. All at once it struck me as weird, devious, and yet well-crafted content marketing.

The persona 76 constructed about my “driving life’s” adjacent problems (beyond needing gas), assumed I had a smart phone, kids and a need for silence—respite from mobile games in the car. So they created a silent app to replace what they assumed my kids were already using. What they got wrong is this:  my kid isn’t glued to a mobile device while in the car. For parents of whatever age children 76 is targeting, I still can’t decide if 76 is inadvertently insulting its target customer’s parenting skills by implying that their kids are glued to noisy games while in the car. I personally can’t overcome my hesitation to download an app from a gasoline company.

There are many more resources out there about how to do content marketing well. Here are some particularly good resources:

May great content be with you!