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Ann Handley Shares Content Creation Best Practices

Ann Handley headshotMost B2B companies are investing in content marketing, in fact the Content Marketing Institute found that 91% are using this tool while 80% of business decision-makers said they prefer to receive information about a company in a series of articles versus an advertisement.

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and co-author of Content Rules, broke down the five steps to content creation for B2B companies in a recent interview with the consultancy Open Labs. Join Handley and other content marketing experts during the B2B Content2Conversion Conference on April 22-23 at the TimesCenter in New York.

Handley’s five points about content creation:

  1. Identify how B2B content creation can work best for you;
  2. Start a corporate blog;
  3. Build your content pipeline;
  4. Dive into content curation; and
  5. Develop case studies to tell your company’s story

Handley said content marketing is a great opportunity for B2B companies because it enables them to show a more human side by publishing content that is not only relevant to their audience but also interesting.

To reach their audience Handley suggests small companies invest in corporate blogging. “Just the ease of publishing alone — you don’t need any special equipment, you can launch a WordPress blog for free.” Maintaining a blog takes commitment, she said. “Marketers need to step away from the campaign initiative and commit to the fact that it can take a while to build momentum on your blog.”

For a steady flow of content, Handley advises marketers to create a content pipeline. There are a number of ways to do so, starting with contributions from within the company to industry leaders. “Offering a blogging template to your contributors can be an effective way to encourage content creators in your company,” she said.

Handley encourages B2B marketers to see their blog as a newspaper — an industry source of information. This not only means producing your own content but also curating it as well, she added. “It can be as simple as setting up Google Alerts, looking at what others are publishing, and taking bits of that, maybe adding one or two lines as to why the story is interesting.”

B2B companies can benefit from using case studies to showcase the impact of their product or services. “Quite often B2B companies have products or services that are amorphous — it’s not a tangible thing,” Handley said. “Telling the story of your customers through a case study or some other client narrative is a really great way to show how your company lives in the world, how it is that you do help customers.”

 

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