Marketers know that it’s essential to use the tools at your disposal to break down web and social media engagement to identify and learn more about your audience. However, a target audience isn’t just an amorphous or monolithic group. Audiences consist of real people with varied interests, experiences and identities, making it hard to put them into defined boxes.
Most companies already have an idea of what kind of person purchases their goods or services and many tend not to market outside of a few identified demographics. They might be satisfied to produce basic or bare-minimum content, such as product descriptions or social posts that just link to their website’s services. But this is a mistake. It prevents a company from reaching new customers by commenting on potentially viral industry news or answering the burning questions that potential leads may have.
Brand journalism helps businesses connect with their audiences in a way that raw data cannot fully capture on its own, and that is the art of it. A company needs to diversify its content to cast a wider net and discover niche audiences it may not have previously considered.
Here are nine ways your company can employ B2B brand journalism best practices to produce varied content that reaches every possible buyer persona.
1. Alternate between short and long-form content
Readers have a range of attention spans and reasons for reading your content. There is a benefit to both an easily digestible, snack-size overview of relevant news and a carefully researched deep dive on a specific topic.
With short-form content, a new lead (hopefully) gains a general understanding of what your company does without getting bored and clicking off the page. Long-form content establishes your business as an industry authority and demonstrates your team’s expertise. It is perfect for educating industry professionals or answering specific questions from someone who already has base industry knowledge.
Some marketing professionals believe that longform content ranks better for SEO than “thin content.” While publishing developed content does drive more traffic than hastily written click-bait, there is a place for both long and short blog posts in your strategy if they are informative and well-written.
2. Showcase industry knowledge with a white paper
When brand journalists carefully select a timely topic and optimize the content, white papers can educate new leads, the media and your peers. They can help industry professionals stay on top of the latest trends, provide valuable information about a new product or service and establish your brand’s reputation in the field.
Consider self-publishing these white papers or submitting them to trade publications to garner a wider reach. Identify excellent examples of competitor white papers and consider offering a contrasting opinion to spark industry conversation.
3. Don’t be afraid to use humor or a more casual tone when appropriate
Many companies make the mistake of releasing stiff content with too much technical jargon. Published content should be easy to read and informative, not require an advanced degree or a thesaurus to translate. Indeed, most content marketing should fall somewhere between an 8th- and 12th-grade reading level.
It’s not always wise to let your industry dictate a formal writing style. Finding a way to include carefully placed dry or witty humor helps your company stand out and keeps your readers engaged. Even educational blog content can be fun to read!
4. Repurpose video or audio content into social media posts or blogs
While the success of company podcasts, webinars and YouTube channels largely depends on demand, written content is a marketing staple. If your podcast didn’t get the listenership you were hoping for, all is not lost! Repurpose the transcript into a blog for audiences who prefer reading over auditory media. Cross-promoting content on different mediums allows you to grow your audience and develop an integrated strategy that supports itself.
5. Embrace the power of an expert interview
Besides showing off your brand’s knowledge and credibility, subject matter expert interviews help humanize your organization and can strike an engaging balance between personal and professional.
Audiences in 2021 want to support purpose-driven businesses they can connect with, and spotlighting exceptional individuals in your company provides an opportunity for connection. Focus on sharing knowledge relevant to your services, but remember to show some heart by highlighting thoughtful, nuanced expert insights.
6. Write about industry developments and how they impact your company
Businesses do not exist in a vacuum, and developments in technology, strategy and everyday life occur constantly. By examining the latest industry trends and expressing an opinion, you capture the attention of new audiences who expect their favorite brands to stay informed and on the cutting edge, as well as to tell them why what’s happening matters.
There’s nothing wrong with a humble brag if it spotlights the good your organization is doing. An internal project you may see as standard could set you apart from your competitors when skillfully shared across your marketing platforms to an audience that is outside the industry.
7. Devote energy to building a strong social media presence
Having a regular social media schedule is essential to success online. Modern consumers consult a company’s social media pages to get the answers they need about your services and what you stand for as an organization. Hubspot reported that even with only six hours a week spent on social media, 66% of marketers found it brought new leads.
Working with a team of content strategists allows you to share targeted social media posts that cross-promote your latest blogs, expert interviews, videos and other content. Social media offers a flexible format at a fast pace, so don’t be afraid to experiment with trending posts or more bombastic captions. While the internet is forever, it’s worth the risk to stand out from competitors by refusing to be lukewarm just for the sake of avoiding controversy.
8. Maximize your email marketing
Your latest content should go out to an active and ever-growing list of industry contacts and leads. Anything you would share on your website, social media or other channels should also go out via email. Different audiences consume industry news differently, so don’t neglect the tried-and-true newsletter format. Email marketing makes it easy to track open rates and discern what topics are getting the most clicks, informing your total content publishing strategy.
9. Grab attention with strong visuals
Choosing the right imagery for your website, articles and social media posts is just as important as crafting the perfect text. A brand journalist understands how text and imagery work together to make the most significant impact. What story is your current imagery telling, and what kind of buyer persona is it attracting? Make sure whatever imagery you land on is cohesive across your website, social media, branding and elsewhere.
Finally, try and offer a window into your company culture helps add a personal touch and makes your organization feel more relatable and trustworthy. Find ways to share exciting new hires, employee successes and anecdotes or advice from your executive team. Modern audiences support brands that provide a rewarding employee experience, applaud good performance and prioritize physical and mental wellness. If your business is a great example of work-life balance or exceptional teamwork, don’t be afraid to share that!
So, what’s the next step?
Experimenting with various content styles and formats leaves no marketing stone unturned, allowing you to reach new leads by developing a well-rounded content publishing strategy. Make sure to compare data from different campaigns, blogs or social media posts to identify what content is getting better engagement or providing leads from unexpected demographics.
With this knowledge, you’re now ready to partner with brand journalists to publish engaging B2B content that reaches new audiences and delivers real results. Start by harnessing the power of the PowerPublish virtual editor.
And if you’re a journalist looking to transition into the brand journalism sphere, PowerPublish is building a new, premium network of expert writers across dozens of industries and connecting them to clients in need. For more information, contact us today.