B2B Marketing Strategy

3 Ways to Avoid Boring B2B Content Marketing

Brett McGrath

July 13, 2021

3 Ways to Avoid Boring B2B Content Marketing

I haven’t been shy about sharing why I love podcasting and how I’ve spent the last 11 months dropping 100+ episodes for my former company, passion project, and now Fathom.

There’s nothing like dropping the episode, promoting it on social media, and waiting for feedback.

A big part of my process is selecting the clip that I want to use to introduce the conversation to the audience. 

Sometimes it takes me a minute to find the right one. I’ll listen back a couple times and wait for the right moment. 

I have an internal debate with myself when selecting the clip because there’s always several great takes worthy of the spotlight and want to make sure I pick the right one. 

Every promotional round I feel like Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar trying to play mediator between the debate in my mind. 

Do I choose the clip that supports our narrative?

How about the one that I could relate with?

Should I pick the one that is the most controversial?

When I hit play on the episode with Terminus in search of my clip there was no beating myself up over the selection.

The soundbyte was immediate and honestly one that stopped me in my tracks. 

Jillian MacNulty, Content Marketing Manager dropped a nuclear bomb on the current state of B2B marketing when she said, “we don’t like a lot of other B2B content right now because to be honest it’s pretty boring”. 

I’ve talked about blacking out when recording podcast conversations. I didn’t get a chance to reflect on her words until listening to it back.

When her comment washed over me I knew that was the one.

It was an honest and authentic point of view on the current state of B2B marketing that I’m having a tough time refuting. 

Totally opposite of anything you’d hear coming out of Fletcher Reede’s mouth. 

Genuine 💯

I didn’t even think twice before clipping it, throwing it behind the sounds of Super Bowl Halftime standout The Weeknd, and blasting it across social media. 

VP of Marketing at Terminus, Justin Keller even got in on the fun quoting Jillian in a tweet about the episode. 

For being a brand new show in a crowded B2B marketing space we’ve received some great feedback from our audience so far. 

I think part of the reason is because we are trying to tell stories in B2B marketing and lean into one of our most important values of “authenticity above all else”. 

We are dedicated to this even if it means going to war with the old way of doing B2B marketing.

We will do this even if it means ruffling some feathers. 

We are here to share our point of view on the current state of B2B marketing and offer our platform to other marketers who have an opinion. 

These are some of the foundational ways that we are trying to make sure that our own content does not suck. 

This post wouldn’t be helpful if we just left it there. 

Instead I want to share some ways that I am thinking about marketing in the early days (I’ve been here a month) at Fathom. 

I’m trying to be real, share my point of view, and be mindful of my work not sucking.

Will I hit home runs with everything that I produce?

Hell no.

Will I learn more about how far we can take our message by being consistent? 

Can I get a hell yeah?

Here’s the top 3 concepts that I am infusing into our content to make sure it does not suck. 

  1. Amplify and infuse company values in everything  

I’m probably in a more unique position than most marketers reading this post.

I’m a month into my brand new role and I’ve got nothing, but greenfield opportunities in front of me to try things with very little blockers. 

The first week that I started I documented some “ingredients for success” or values that I wanted to use as bumper lanes when operating in my role.

These values are circulating throughout our company for feedback because I want to make sure everyone on the team has a say in representing what we stand for as we produce content.

One of the values that everyone has gravitated towards is “authenticity above all else”. 

We want to be the real us in everything that we do. In the early days, we might compromise a keyword strategy for posts like this.

Putting this value on paper, talking about it in Zoom calls, and hearing from others on the team has been incredible.

One of the biggest differentiators that we have as B2B marketers is our ability to lean into our point of view and align it with our company's mission.

Creating values develops consistency and holds us accountable for the work that we are sharing.

The best way to avoid sounding like everyone else is to spend some time working with your teams to create or reignite those values that might be sitting buried on your website in the bottom paragraph of your ‘About’ page. 

  1. Communicate like humans 

I lead with another one of our values here, but I think it’s critical when thinking about standing out from the rest of the sterile crowd in B2B marketing.

The message is the strategy and the way you write makes a difference. 

It doesn’t matter if it is a blog post, email subject line, or the headline on your next advertising campaign.

Speaking of advertising...I’d be remiss to not use this as an opportunity to share one of my favorite marketing quotes from David Ogilvy:

I got turned on to David Ogilvy’s book, “Ogilvy on Advertising” by Drift’s marketing team several years ago. 

I own the book and have read it from front to back at least four times. 

His message stands out to me because it leans on the importance of being real and personal with anyone taking the time out of their day to read your content.

The more time that we can spend as marketers understanding the motivations of our audience and writing to them like it sounds like it is coming from a letter in the mail the better.

Cut the generic, business jargon copy.

Your readers tune it out.

It’s also what mostly everyone else in B2B marketing is doing. 

Be you. Be different. 

  1. Tell stories in everything that you do 

Great storytelling stands the test of time with great marketing.

In every great story there is a hero and a villain. The concept of good versus evil is simple, but relatable for everyone that you are trying to reach.

People will never remember the features and functionality of your product at first introduction, but they will remember a great story.

There’s no better example to point to than the heralded, “Think Different” campaign from Apple that was launched in 1997 and used in some form until 2002. 

Apple built and developed a connection with their audience by creating an enemy by sticking it to the status quo. 

They represented their heroes as people like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr, Amelia Earhart, John Lennon, and Thomas Edison who delivered historic contributions in their respective fields.

Take some time that you have dedicated to spreadsheet work, keyword optimization conversations, and lead capture to consider the story that you are telling.

Spend time studying the B2C classics like “Think Different” and pull inspiration for your next campaign.

Winning B2B marketing touches the hearts and minds of your audience.

Stories are a great way to stand out, gain attention, and begin a relationship of trust with the people who you are trying to reach. 

If you enjoy what we are doing we’d love for you to do a couple things:

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