Writing effective long-form blogs/articles/white papers to share via social comes down to one principle that is curiously missing from so much long-form copy: saying something that addresses the natural resistance to your company solutions that exists in the market.
The abundance of content on the web is astounding. There is way too much being written on any subject and most of it is written with SEO in mind. This is why so much of it sounds the same. If you cannot out-spend your competition on Google AdWords, you may want to take a different approach. This new approach will ultimately be more successful, and you get to keep the marketing money! Sharing using social media, especially when using Advocacy or Social Selling methods, will reach your targets much faster than relying on search. For B2B Enterprises it is much more likely that your content will be clicked on and consumed if it is shared by a trusted individual vs your brand or the Google ‘highest bidder’ principle. This is strictly due to the technical nature of the topic and the buyer which is generally much higher for B2B propositions.
Addressing natural market resistance goes way past simply explaining what you do or mentioning interesting market trends that are forcing buyers to consider a specific solution like yours. Consider the following questions that most long-form content revolves around today: “Why do customers buy from you?” What problems do you solve?” The answers customers buy from you?” What problems do you solve?” The answers to these questions are what most of your competition is offering and that content is needed if you are driving audiences to your site using paid search and promotion. However, this is a very busy and expensive field. On top of all of that, this content is not really all that interesting to your target buyer who no doubt knows about these types of solutions and may even know about your company’s solution already. For this audience, you need to answer the next questions that usually begin with “Yeah, but…”
Creating articles that start with the objections you commonly receive has an incredible effect on the market especially when these messages are delivered solely by the social channels of your sales team and executives using social. When I worked for AT&T selling complex wireless security and application services, the questions went well beyond our ability to deliver quality network services. We were considered a highly trusted brand, but our customers wanted to know why they should work with us as opposed to best-in-breed boutique smaller firms who specialized in mobile applications and software. Our prospects secretly wondered if we would give them the attention and expertise needed to deliver all the piece parts. Addressing this problem head-on was critical. We need to show them the intrinsic value of ‘one throat to choke’ and focus them on the importance of tight integration and QA over our network as important aspects of creating and securing new mobile apps.
Additionally, creating articles that address market resistance helped me in my sales role show true ‘thought leadership’ in front of my clients. I was able to give the audience questions to consider that they may not have considered before. The result was twofold. First, impressed readers began to see me as an expert and began to follow and more closely read other content I shared. This improved social engagement which is the basis for future relationships and sales. Second, my content reached deep into the audience I wished to penetrate. This was in stark contrast to amassing clicks via SEO and promotion which is a soft ‘marketing’ metric. There may be a convoluted path to get these readers to fill out a form, subscribe or join a Webinar, but anyone who has done this before knows how hard it is to find those leads, qualify them and drive them to close using these methods.
Don’t try to do all the heavy lifting using the content. It isn’t necessary to educate, convince and wrap with a ‘call to action’ all in the same posting. Create some content that will generate the interest of your target buyer and use social channels to deliver it to a buyer who already is looking for solutions. Creating content to address qualified buyers with the deeper questions that need to be answered before they create a PO for you is much more effective for B2B Enterprises than following the pack and adding to Google’s coffers..