5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing

Humanizing B2B Content Father and Son Cooking Together Image

Humanizing B2B Content Father and Son Cooking Together Image“You’ve really got to put yourself out
there. Don’t be too stiff.” “Be honest and sincere!” “Be
vulnerable and relatable… and it doesn’t hurt if you can make
‘em laugh.” Is this advice for a middle-aged man trying online
dating for the first time? Or is it advice for B2B marketers? Given
the proximity to Valentine’s Day, can’t it be both? The point
is, as good as this advice may be for marketers, it’s as vague as
it is omnipresent. We talk about “person-to-person” marketing
and “humanizing the brand.” But what does it really mean to
humanize a brand? 

Michelin Men Original Costumes
Yes,
these were the original Michelin Tire mascots.
In some
cases, apparently, it means high-octane nightmare fuel. So, maybe
don’t try and make an adorable mascot for your
software-as-a-service solution. Here are some better ways to
“humanize” your B2B content. 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content
Marketing It can be hard to bring out the humanity in B2B content,
especially when your product is intangible. Not many folks feel a
warm sense of empathy with a cloud-based data solution. You can’t
take adorable Instagram photos of happy customers cuddling with
your supply chain logistics platform. That just means that B2B
content marketers have to be more creative than even our B2C
counterparts.  Get Real about Personalization We all know
there’s a fine line between being personal and being overly
familiar. But we have to find that sweet spot between, “Hi,
[firstname]” and “Hey Bob Johnson, 42, who ate a hamburger for
lunch, how was your recent prostate exam?” For B2B marketers,
think more about smarter segmentation and less about personalizing
on the individual level. As Ardath Albee (persona
expert extraordinaire) puts it, “In B2B, we don’t need to know
their shoe size and we don’t need to talk about their gender. We
don’t need to know they live in the suburbs and have a wife, two
kids, and a dog, and they drive a red Corvette.” What we do need
to know are the general challenges and aspirations people with a
specific job title in a specific industry might have in common.
Then we can customize content to suit their job-related needs —
even the ones that don’t relate directly to the product.  Find
the Emotional Core It’s hard to imagine someone getting emotional
about a B2B product — jumping up and down with excitement, wiping
away tears, or eagerly unboxing the latest model. For B2C, the
product itself might inspire these emotions. For B2B, the emotion
comes in at a different angle. It’s not about the solution itself
— the emotion comes from what the solution can do. For example,
the product may be a software solution that enables automation. The
emotion comes from an employee who is able to finally leave work on
time to be at home with their family.  Or it’s the thrill of
earning a promotion with the help of a new analytics tool. Or the
intertwined hope and anxiety of starting your own business, using a
web hosting platform to launch your first site.  [bctt
tweet=”“Find the emotional stories that your solution makes
possible, and make them the star of your content.” @Nitewrites ”
username=”toprank”] Design a Content Experience We know that
valuable, best-answer content is the minimum for reaching an
audience. That’s the new table stakes.  But B2B marketers are
frequently accustomed to no-frills, straightforward presentation
for all that thoughtful content. It’s called a white paper, after
all, not a plaid paper. But when we’re thoughtful about the
content experience, we can show off the brand’s creativity and
personality, while at the same time showing respect for the
audience. Think about turning a long-scrolling asset into a

beautiful and unique
interactive experience. Or that series of
interview posts into a long-form
video series
. Content experience is all about telling your
audience, “Hey, we know that people need to be entertained.
We’re people, too! So we made this not only useful, but also
beautiful to look at and fun to play around with.”  Earn Trust
By Asking for Help I know, it’s tempting to present your brand as
the alpha and omega, be-all and end-all source of all knowledge. If
your wisdom isn’t absolute, why would people trust you as an
authority? But the truth is, humility builds credibility more than
the most dazzling display of knowledge does.  It’s called the
Ben
Franklin effect
: When you help someone, you tend to like them
— even more than if they helped you. So, give your
audience an opportunity to help you out.  Ask questions that you
genuinely want to hear answers to. Engage with their responses, ask
more, let their expertise drive an ongoing conversation. This type
of engagement accomplishes multiple goals:

  • Your audience gets to show off their expertise
  • Even those who don’t participate can now see themselves in
    your content
  • Your brand becomes relatable and interactive
  • You might actually learn something that can drive your next big
    idea

Involve More Actual Humans in Content Brands don’t create
content; people do. But frequently we hide the human content
creators behind the monolith of the brand. If we’re trying to
connect with people on a personal level, we’ve got to let the
people shine through. That means giving employees and executives
alike a voice in your content. But don’t stop there: Feature your
customers and prospects, too.  Think about including influencers
in your content as well, and not just as a one-off. Yet another of
the endless perks of influencer
marketing
is that humanization of your brand. Influencers add
credibility and prestige to content, but don’t overlook how they
add personality, humor, and humanity, too. Embrace Your Human Side
As a creative writer with a weird sense of humor, I’m incredibly
lucky to be in marketing right now. Just a decade ago, B2B
marketing would have driven me insane by my third dry-as-dust
eBook. There’s only so many times you can write about
“utilizing and leveraging synergy” in third-person passive
voice before the gears start to slip. Fortunately, B2B content
marketing has finally caught up with B2C in terms of creativity,
emotional import, and essential humanity. We have “permission”
to do it right — so what are we waiting for? Humanize your brand
with some great influencer content this year: Here are
25 ideas
to get you started.

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5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing
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Source: FS – Marketing 3
5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing