I absolutely love meeting marketers who just get it. After I got finished recording a podcast episode with the Lessonly content team I couldn't stop thinking about their mentality regarding the content that they were delivering to their audience. There was a belief system that everyone at Lessonly was a writer and their job was to help quarterback the process. I remember Olivia talking about how she turned to B2C brands for inspiration. Her mindset was to not get stuck in the status quo and to think outside the box when building content. It's easy to see why Lessonly has be able to build the brand they have in B2B through reading posts like this.
We don’t know good content when we see it; we know it when we feel it.
Content Specialist, Lessonly
I’m convinced the best stuff that people create—be it movies, written copy, photos, art, television, lectures, podcasts, graphics, you name it—leaves us feeling entertained, enlightened, or encouraged. Here’s some content I’ve been obsessed with these days that checks one (or more) of those “e” boxes above.
- Brooklyn 99
- Chick-fil-a billboards (Cows painting “Liv. Laff. Chikin.” on a billboard? I mean, how can you not at least smile at that?)
- The Stuff You Should Know podcast
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Almost every tweet from Wendy’s
- Ted Lasso
- Everything that Morning Brew has ever touched
We don’t always know good content when we see it, but we always know it when we feel it. For some reason though, B2B marketers, specifically content folks, are notorious for forgetting to entertain, enlighten, and encourage our audiences. Me included.
We get too technical, too stuffy and professional, too caught up in our funnels and MQLs and not caught up enough in making every touch a prospect has with our brand delightful. B2B marketing’s default is to suck. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m fairly new to the world of B2B content marketing, but in the time that I’ve been writing and learning, I’ve adopted three simple guiding principles that help me avoid the B2B-marketing-sucks trap.
1. Act like a human.
Lessonly is the name of the company I get to work for. We make training, enablement, and coaching software that helps frontline teams level up their skills and ultimately drive more revenue. It doesn’t get more B2B-y than that, folks. But here’s what I’ve learned at Lessonly: Yes, we’re a SaaS company that sells to businesses, but businesses are made of people. Therefore, we can act like humans, and it’s okay. It’s refreshing to prospects when we’re approachable and jargon-less.
2. Write like a 6th grader.
Speaking of writing sans-jargon, my onboarding at Lessonly included an entire section on this: Write like a 6th grader. Is it important to study our industry and know our ICPs? For sure. I wouldn’t want to undermine the value in being prepared, but the most successful pieces of written content we’ve pushed out at Lessonly in terms of lead volume combined complicated industry advice and knowledge with humanness and simplicity.
Long story short, it’s out with writing to sound smart and in with writing so people can understand. I’m convinced the best B2B marketers in the future will be the ones that make complicated things feel simple without undermining the nuances and intricacies of people’s business needs.
3. Ask “What would ______ do?”
My teammate, Rachel, and I talked about this practice on the 3C Podcast as well, but if you missed it there, our CMO, Kyle Lacy, had every marketing teammate at Lessonly fill in the blank to “What would _____ do?” with a B2C company we admired. Mine was Disney, but others included Southwest, Nike, Rothys, and Drizly. After we filled in the blank, we literally hung them up at our desks. Every day, we’d come into the office and see dozens of poster-child companies that deliver amazing experiences for their customers, and honestly, that simple practice inspired us and reminded us to create similar experiences for our customers.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope that if you’re reading this, and you’re a B2B marketer, you feel entertained, enlightened, and encouraged to go create the next wave of incredible marketing with your teammates. I’m rooting for ya!
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