7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success

Man running down an infinite road into the sunset image.

I have an important question for you:

Athlete A runs a marathon in under 3 hours. Athlete B runs a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds. Which athlete is more impressive to you?

Athlete A can run the distance, but Athlete B is explosive. ?

via GIPHY

If you’re anything like me, you answered that they’re both very impressive. And you’d be right. Having both endurance and power are extremely important. So, why am I asking this question on a blog all about marketing? Well, the most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover those two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics.

For content marketing to be successful, you need those flashy, attention-grabbing campaigns to meet immediate goals. But you also need reliable, consistent, thought-provoking content to compound results over time. Below, I share the B2B content marketing tactics that combine for the greatest long-term success.

“The most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics.” — Annie Leuman @annieleuman Click To Tweet

7 of the Best B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Long-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Tactic #1 – Blog Content

When it comes to tried and true tactics, blogging takes the cake. Blogging is some 26-years old and still drives amazing results. In fact, a recent survey from SEMrush found that it remains the most popular content type with 86% of marketers responding that it is the most important content type they create. Considering how much we marketers value optimization and data, we wouldn’t still be writing blog posts in 2020 if they didn’t drive results.

How is blogging a long-term tactic, though? Well, similar to most long-term tactics, once you start you can’t stop. A blog is a brand-owned channel and a valuable resource of relevant knowledge for your customers and prospects. Stop publishing there, and it stops being that reliable source of brand perspectives and information.

All out of new blog content ideas? Read these tips for more efficient content creation from TopRank Marketing CEO, Lee Odden.

Tactic #2 – Social Media Content

Back in 2019, Statista reported the average person spent 144 minutes per day on social media. I can only imagine that number has gone up in 2020 due to the COVID-19 health crisis. In marketing, you go where your audience is, making social media content a must for any brand both B2B and B2C.

And once again, your social media content needs to be consistent over the long term if you’re to grow your social media following into the connected group of prospects, customers, and partners that you desire. Furthermore, social media content requires constant monitoring so you’re able to capitalize on timely topics and discussions that happen on social media platforms in real time. Growing your audience on social media is a laborious and lengthy process, but it’s easily worth it to have an engaged following, ready to consume the content you distribute and promote on your platforms of choice.

How should you approach social media listening in the age of coronavirus? We have some tips for you that should help

Tactic #3 – Influencer Content

Read any other marketing blog and an influencer marketing campaign is probably classified as an ad-hoc, short-term tactic. However, here at TopRank Marketing, we believe in an always-on approach to influencer marketing.

Think about it this way: do you approach personal relationships as a one and done interaction? No, relationships require nurturing and frequent interactions in order to grow and solidify. We believe influencer relationships, and therefore influencer marketing, needs to be approached in the same way. With nurturing. With empathy. Influencers are people, too, you know.

Not sure what always-on influencer marketing looks like? View these 5 examples

Tactic #4 – Podcast Content

Starting a podcast is not for the faint of heart. It involves working with a new medium: audio. It involves publishing across several channels: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. It involves securing guests. It involves creating thoughtful episodes. And, most importantly, it involves creating a show listeners want to tune into week after week.

It is because a podcast is intended to be a continual show or series that it’s one of our favorite B2B content marketing tactics. Here at TopRank, we think of our podcasts like TV shows. Each podcast has several seasons made up of carefully designed episodes that match the theme of the season. This allows us to use each episode and each season as a chance to further grow and engage our listeners.

If you’re wondering how you can launch your B2B podcast, start with these 10 steps.

Short-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Tactic #5 – Sponsored & Guest Content

As stated above, blog content is extremely valuable. But when posted on a brand-owned blog, you’re limiting the exposure of your content to the people who already know or follow your brand. To reach a larger audience, you need to turn outward. And while more social media or email promotion could help — if it’s on a brand-owned channel you’re still limited to people who already follow you. So what about reaching a new audience?

This is where sponsored or guest content can help you reach a new audience and expand your reach in the short-term. By posting content on a different channel, you’re exposing your content and thought leadership to a different audience. For example, you can secure placement on publications in a new target vertical or write a guest post on an expert’s blog. These are one-time placements, making this tactic drive short-term results, but the pay-off of greater reach and exposure is definitely worth it.

But waitisn’t that just advertising? We explain the great content vs. advertising debate here

Tactic #6 – Digital Advertising Content

Marketers have the seemingly impossible task of delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience, in the right channel. That’s a lot to ask. And it’s reaching that right audience that can be really hard to do with the long-term tactics above. Like I said, using brand-owned channels can make it tough to reach a new audience.

Luckily, digital advertising content is a great short-term tactic that can help you target your ideal audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right channel. From native social media advertising to traditional display ads, these ad campaigns can help you spread your message in the short-term.

Digital advertising is best when paired with content marketing. Learn more about how to marry the two tactics here. 

Tactic #7 – eBooks, Infographics, and Larger Content Campaigns

Campaigns, like eBooks, infographics, and interactive assets, have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Because campaigns aren’t designed to last forever — you need one to end for another to begin — they make it onto our short-term tactics list.

Why are they a great short-term tactic? You can pack a ton of information and insight into a content marketing campaign. Plus, you can use a wide mix of media and strategies like influencers, video, audio, interactivity, and more to drive powerful engagement among your audience. They aren’t built to last, but they are built to pack a punch.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

The best B2B content marketing strategies use a mix of the tactics above for both long- and short-term success. Short-term tactics help raise awareness for the long-term tactics. And long-term tactics help build up a loyal, engaged audience for future short-term campaigns. In other words, you need both. There’s a mutually beneficial relationship between all content marketing tactics. So use the list above to start plotting your course to B2B content marketing success.

Hungry for even more B2B content marketing tactics? Well, here’s 50 of them. Enjoy!

7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success

Man running down an infinite road into the sunset image.

Man running down an infinite road into the sunset image.

I have an important question for you:

Athlete A runs a marathon in under 3 hours. Athlete B runs a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds. Which athlete is more impressive to you?

Athlete A can run the distance, but Athlete B is explosive. ?

via GIPHY

If you’re anything like me, you answered that they’re both very impressive. And you’d be right. Having both endurance and power are extremely important. So, why am I asking this question on a blog all about marketing? Well, the most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover those two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics.

For content marketing to be successful, you need those flashy, attention-grabbing campaigns to meet immediate goals. But you also need reliable, consistent, thought-provoking content to compound results over time. Below, I share the B2B content marketing tactics that combine for the greatest long-term success.

[bctt tweet=”“The most successful content marketing strategies have tactics that cover two qualities: endurance and power. AKA long-term and short-term tactics.” — Annie Leuman @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

7 of the Best B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Long-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Tactic #1 – Blog Content

When it comes to tried and true tactics, blogging takes the cake. Blogging is some 26-years old and still drives amazing results. In fact, a recent survey from SEMrush found that it remains the most popular content type with 86% of marketers responding that it is the most important content type they create. Considering how much we marketers value optimization and data, we wouldn’t still be writing blog posts in 2020 if they didn’t drive results.

How is blogging a long-term tactic, though? Well, similar to most long-term tactics, once you start you can’t stop. A blog is a brand-owned channel and a valuable resource of relevant knowledge for your customers and prospects. Stop publishing there, and it stops being that reliable source of brand perspectives and information.

All out of new blog content ideas? Read these tips for more efficient content creation from TopRank Marketing CEO, Lee Odden.

Tactic #2 – Social Media Content

Back in 2019, Statista reported the average person spent 144 minutes per day on social media. I can only imagine that number has gone up in 2020 due to the COVID-19 health crisis. In marketing, you go where your audience is, making social media content a must for any brand both B2B and B2C.

And once again, your social media content needs to be consistent over the long term if you’re to grow your social media following into the connected group of prospects, customers, and partners that you desire. Furthermore, social media content requires constant monitoring so you’re able to capitalize on timely topics and discussions that happen on social media platforms in real time. Growing your audience on social media is a laborious and lengthy process, but it’s easily worth it to have an engaged following, ready to consume the content you distribute and promote on your platforms of choice.

How should you approach social media listening in the age of coronavirus? We have some tips for you that should help

Tactic #3 – Influencer Content

Read any other marketing blog and an influencer marketing campaign is probably classified as an ad-hoc, short-term tactic. However, here at TopRank Marketing, we believe in an always-on approach to influencer marketing.

Think about it this way: do you approach personal relationships as a one and done interaction? No, relationships require nurturing and frequent interactions in order to grow and solidify. We believe influencer relationships, and therefore influencer marketing, needs to be approached in the same way. With nurturing. With empathy. Influencers are people, too, you know.

Not sure what always-on influencer marketing looks like? View these 5 examples

Tactic #4 – Podcast Content

Starting a podcast is not for the faint of heart. It involves working with a new medium: audio. It involves publishing across several channels: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. It involves securing guests. It involves creating thoughtful episodes. And, most importantly, it involves creating a show listeners want to tune into week after week.

It is because a podcast is intended to be a continual show or series that it’s one of our favorite B2B content marketing tactics. Here at TopRank, we think of our podcasts like TV shows. Each podcast has several seasons made up of carefully designed episodes that match the theme of the season. This allows us to use each episode and each season as a chance to further grow and engage our listeners.

If you’re wondering how you can launch your B2B podcast, start with these 10 steps.

Short-Term B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Tactic #5 – Sponsored & Guest Content

As stated above, blog content is extremely valuable. But when posted on a brand-owned blog, you’re limiting the exposure of your content to the people who already know or follow your brand. To reach a larger audience, you need to turn outward. And while more social media or email promotion could help — if it’s on a brand-owned channel you’re still limited to people who already follow you. So what about reaching a new audience?

This is where sponsored or guest content can help you reach a new audience and expand your reach in the short-term. By posting content on a different channel, you’re exposing your content and thought leadership to a different audience. For example, you can secure placement on publications in a new target vertical or write a guest post on an expert’s blog. These are one-time placements, making this tactic drive short-term results, but the pay-off of greater reach and exposure is definitely worth it.

But wait isn’t that just advertising? We explain the great content vs. advertising debate here

Tactic #6 – Digital Advertising Content

Marketers have the seemingly impossible task of delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience, in the right channel. That’s a lot to ask. And it’s reaching that right audience that can be really hard to do with the long-term tactics above. Like I said, using brand-owned channels can make it tough to reach a new audience.

Luckily, digital advertising content is a great short-term tactic that can help you target your ideal audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right channel. From native social media advertising to traditional display ads, these ad campaigns can help you spread your message in the short-term.

Digital advertising is best when paired with content marketing. Learn more about how to marry the two tactics here. 

Tactic #7 – eBooks, Infographics, and Larger Content Campaigns

Campaigns, like eBooks, infographics, and interactive assets, have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Because campaigns aren’t designed to last forever — you need one to end for another to begin — they make it onto our short-term tactics list.

Why are they a great short-term tactic? You can pack a ton of information and insight into a content marketing campaign. Plus, you can use a wide mix of media and strategies like influencers, video, audio, interactivity, and more to drive powerful engagement among your audience. They aren’t built to last, but they are built to pack a punch.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

The best B2B content marketing strategies use a mix of the tactics above for both long- and short-term success. Short-term tactics help raise awareness for the long-term tactics. And long-term tactics help build up a loyal, engaged audience for future short-term campaigns. In other words, you need both. There’s a mutually beneficial relationship between all content marketing tactics. So use the list above to start plotting your course to B2B content marketing success.

Hungry for even more B2B content marketing tactics? Well, here’s 50 of them. Enjoy!

The post 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Always-On Influence: Why B2B Needs Brand Research & 11 Must-Ask Questions For Marketers

Business people over calendar at desk image.

Business people over calendar at desk image.

What is brand research and why is it an important step in building a successful always-on  B2B influencer marketing program? What are the key facts you need to learn about a brand that will lead to the creation of a strong ongoing influencer program?

Doing brand research right is crucial for always-on B2B influencer marketing success, but where do you start, especially with the increased importance of brand empathy and authenticity?

Don’t worry, as in the third part of our ongoing #AlwaysOnInfluence series — following on the heels of “Always On Influence: Short Term vs. Long Term for Success During a Crisis” — we’ll take the time to show why brand research is key to building a B2B influencer marketing program that features the most relevant influencers.

As a refresher, always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

Always-on marketing is a key facet of successful and award-winning campaigns according to new research from Cannes Lions and WARC, which have featured campaign duration as an important element in their new “Effectiveness Code” white paper research examining 5,000 award entrants and winners from 2011 through 2019.

“Even at low budgets, campaigns with longer durations and more media channels are more effective,” the Cannes Lions report notes.

“Overall, tactical campaigns with very short durations and small budgets tend to do poorly when judged on effectiveness. Just 51 percent of those campaigns converted to effectiveness award wins when entered,” the report added.

“As campaigns increase their spend, duration and number of media channels used, they become more effective. An optimum split of marketing investment is 60 percent for long-term brand building and 40 percent for short-term activation,” the report concluded, highlighting the effectiveness of always-on efforts.

Brand Research For Always-On B2B Influencer Marketing

B2B marketers have varying levels of experience with influencer marketing, from initial forays and testing the waters, to much more seasoned and mature approaches developed over many years of refinement.

A sophisticated B2B influencer marketing approach is based on a maturity model that includes conducting preliminary research about a brand to learn its needs, strengths, and weaknesses as it relates to the next steps of finding and connecting with potential influencers.

Let’s take a closer look at why brand research is important to successful always-on B2B influencer marketing programs, and at some of the methods a savvy brand-research strategy should include.

[bctt tweet=”A sophisticated B2B influencer marketing approach is based on a maturity model that includes conducting preliminary research about a brand to learn its needs, strengths, and weaknesses.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Why Brand Research is Key to Successful Always-On B2B Influencer Marketing Programs

Smart brand research adds a needed dose of the insight needed for building an always-on influencer marketing program that will feature the type of well-matched industry expert collaborations that achieve supreme relevance.

By building a robust understanding of a brand’s values, you’ll gain a significant advantage over those who charge straight ahead into beginning the process of gathering a list of potential influencers to work with a brand — another feature that sets continuing marketing programs apart from one-off campaigns.

Learning more about a brand is beneficial to all parties involved. You’ll be able to make more informed decisions when it comes time to seek out influencers, while those industry experts will benefit from the knowledge you’ve already gained about their potential brand client, and the brand itself will also be setting itself up for long-term ongoing B2B influencer marketing success.

Our CEO Lee Odden is a pioneer in the B2B influencer marketing field, and he recently explored the varying influencer maturity models at play in the industry, in “5 Ways To Build A Smarter B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy.”

“When you are more sophisticated and have more experience with this, you can hit the ground running and do certain things to help a business — such as doing a pilot — and you’ll start to see some of those metrics that will get attention from executive sponsorship, and win you more budget to roll out that program in a much more significant way,” Lee explained recently on a topic he has also explored in greater detail in “Trust in Marketing: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street with Customers.”

Turning Brand Research Data Into Always-On Influence Success

With smart brand influencer research data in hand, moving on to the process of seeking the most relevant potential influencers packs an especially powerful wallop when you understand a brand’s shared objectives, intrinsic values, and its nuanced peculiarities.

As Lee has often noted, trust is a two-way street of multidimensional elements when it comes to influencer marketing, and as B2B marketers it’s important to recognize this during research and communication with both brands and potential influencers.

“If the brand is empathizing with the influencer, they’re not only finding out if they’re topically relevant for the thing they want to collaborate on, but also they understand the influencer’s motivations, their needs, their wants, their pain points, and the return on investment (ROI) to which a collaboration with a brand will help solve those things,” Lee observed.

Truly legitimate brand-influencer collaboration also ultimately leads to stronger customer and buyer trust, as a mature B2B influencer marketing initiative recognizes the importance of first identifying and defining what marketing problem a brand is trying to solve.

Here are 11 key questions to answer during your brand research, to help solve a brand’s key marketing problem and inform a robust and mature always-on B2B influencer marketing program:

1 — What about a brand is unique with what it stands for?

Learn what makes a brand unique with what it stands for, through outreach to key team-members the the brand, examining mission statements and any history documents the organization has made available, recent press mentions, and through customer sentiment investigations via various social channels.

2 — What about a brand is compelling — why does the brand matter?

What makes a brand compelling and why should people care about it? Finding information that helps answer these important questions will go a long way in defining an always-on B2B influencer marketing program for the brand, especially when it comes time to find industry experts who match the brand’s story, vision, and organizational outlook.

3 — What is the state of the brand’s overall awareness — where does it fit in among its intended audience?

Just as brands have varying levels of influencer marketing maturity, each organization also holds a unique spot in the eyes of its intended audience, and learning as much as you can about the brand’s overall level of audience awareness will help bolster your always-on influencer marketing efforts.

[bctt tweet=”Each brand holds a unique spot in the eyes of its intended audience, and learning as much as you can about the brand’s overall level of audience awareness will help bolster your always-on influencer marketing efforts.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

4 — How is the brand perceived among its various stakeholders?

Not only the eyes of potential customers need to be taken into consideration when it comes to overall brand perception. Buyers, fans, and a variety of both internal and external stakeholders all have views on the brand that you can learn a great deal from by taking the time to research sentiment from each type of stakeholder.

This brand perception information then becomes useful throughout the influencer marketing strategy timeline.

5 — Where does the brand sit in its competitive landscape compared to those offering similar services or products?

Learning about a brand for an always-on influencer marketing program not only involves researching the organization, but examining its relevant competitive landscape.

A brand sitting atop its industry niche will have both advantages and disadvantages to consider, while a recently-launched startup can count on battling a different set of concerns — and seeing its own array of influencer marketing advantages. Having this data from early on in an always-on influencer marketing program will place your efforts ahead of those of others who take a pass on answering these important questions.

6 — How has the brand been performing both historically and recently?

Is a brand on an upswing, such as online collaboration platforms and their skyrocketing usage increases seen during the ongoing global health crisis, or has the pandemic brought it newfound struggles to overcome?

Examining brand performance trend data can provide helpful insights for shaping a robust always-on influencer marketing program tailored specifically to the needs of the brand.

7 — Who are the brand’s stakeholders?

In addition to knowing how stakeholders perceive a brand, compiling a basic list of who its stakeholders are can fast-track potential influencer outreach and vetting activities when the time arrives.

As with many of these brand-research questions, asking a variety of people throughout an organization — and not only marketers or corporate executives — can provide a more wide-ranging and realistic look at a brand.

8 — What are the brand’s plans and vision for the future?

Wherever possible seek out information related to a brand’s future plans, whether it’s through a short-term or long-term timeline of goals. Understanding a brand’s vision for the future — especially if they involve major planned shifts in focus — can make finding and lining up appropriate industry experts to meet a brand’s changing directions all the more efficient.

9 — What are the primary and secondary topics that represent solutions to a brand’s foremost marketing problem?

It’s important to identify and define what marketing problem a brand is trying to solve, and to then use this information to compile a list of primary and secondary topics that represent solutions.

Such a topic solutions list can then be consulted when researching potential industry experts to collaborate with for a brand’s always-on influencer marketing program.

10 — How is the brand marketing its solutions, and how do buyers and potential customers find the solutions they’re looking for?

If the two aren’t aligned, the information you’ve gathered from following the previous steps we’ve gone over can help harmonize the solutions the brand offers with those that buyers and potential customers are seeking.

A brand’s potential customers and buyers may be primarily looking for answers and solutions on LinkedIn* or another platform, or through search engines, while the brand might be offering its key solutions on its website in white paper or case study form.

Armed with the types of information about a brand we’ve explored, bringing the brand’s solutions to the places its existing and potential customers are actively looking for answers is a much more streamlined proposition, and one where always-on influencer marketing can thrive.

11 — What are the terms, phrases and topics most accurately associated with a brand’s problem and its solutions?

Finally, compiling a list of the keywords, terms, phrases, topics, and questions that are most relevant to a brand’s primary marketing problem and the solutions it offers will help power a smart always-on influencer marketing program.

Once you’ve used brand research to answer these 11 questions and identify a brand’s topics of influence, you’ll have a much clearer signal for finding experts who are influential about those topics, and when it then comes time to facilitate content co-creation between a brand and influencers, your earlier efforts will pay off.

These questions are only a starting point for learning more about a brand, however, and we encourage you to expand on them as needed.

With Smart Brand Influencer Research In Hand, It’s Time To Find The Best Influencers

Brand research for always-on influencer marketing offers B2B brands a great value when done right, in a process that is of an ongoing nature and not a one-and-done single campaign.

As AdWeek recently noted, “Brands leading in influencer marketing are making increasingly longer collaborations a big component of their influencer marketing strategy. It allows the influencer to best understand the brand’s values and marketing needs, enabling the development of a thoughtful strategy to deliver that to their audience over time.”

Always-on influence involves co-creating the kind of authoritative content that earns, grows, and keeps audience trust, and by asking the 11 questions we’ve explored here, B2B marketers will be well-equipped to tackle the next phases of an always-on influencer program.

Stay tuned, as we’ll be exploring each step of the always-on B2B influencer marketing journey in upcoming posts, and explaining why each portion of a continuing program is vital for ongoing success.

In case you missed the previous three guides in our ongoing series of always-on B2B influencer marketing, you’ll find them here as a helpful reference:

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Always-On Influence: Why B2B Needs Brand Research & 11 Must-Ask Questions For Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Always-on influence is especially vital today as brands look to combat increasing mistrust and apathy.

Why have top B2B firms including our clients LinkedIn, Adobe and Dell Outlet chosen always-on influencer marketing programs, and what results are they achieving using continuing influence programs?

We answer these questions and more with examples of always-on influence in action.

In the first installment of our new #AlwaysOnInfluence series, our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored what always-on influencer marketing is and why B2B brands need it now more than ever, and now we’ll move forward and look at why five major B2B firms have chosen ongoing influencer marketing.

First let’s refresh our marketing lexicon with an overview of just what always-on influence is.

What Is Always-On Influence?

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

“Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion,” Lee explained, adding that “a relationship-driven endeavor like engaging with influencers requires an ongoing effort.”

Why Are B2B Brands Choosing Always-On Influence Now?

Always-on influencer marketing also happens to be an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, as B2B brands seek to defeat audience apathy and skepticism by creating powerful influencer-infused content that bolsters brand credibility and authority.

Financial firms have increased their use of influencer marketing to drive awareness of services in higher demand due to the global health crisis. (eMarketer)

Using always-on influencer marketing helped our client 3M establish and popularize the Science Champions Podcast, paved the way for client DivvyHQ to see a 500 percent increase in awareness of its content platform, and led to our client Prophix seeing a 642 percent increase in engagement.

Our team at TopRank Marketing has been involved in always-on B2B influencer marketing since its inception, and we’ve had the honor of working with an array of major brands, and the success they’ve achieved utilizing ongoing influencer programs can serve as a guide for other B2B brands looking to try continuing influencer marketing.

“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action,” Amisha Gandhi of client SAP Ariba noted.

Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

What Are Some of the Benefits of Always-On Influence?

There are many benefits to ongoing B2B influencer marketing programs, and we’ll explore them and then look at examples.

“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand,” Lee recently noted.

“Many companies are meeting a boost in demand for information by engaging influencers to provide thought leadership, insights and how-to content. By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee added.

The uncertain times we face today can also be successfully addressed by brands through the use of always-on influencer marketing.

“Influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers,” Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, recently said.

The Cadence & Drum-Beat of Ongoing Influencer Marketing

Ongoing influencer marketing also helps keep the kind of steady cadence consumers expect today more than ever from brands.

Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging and publishing cadences, and ensuring their point of view and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared.

Live-streaming video from influencers is also increasingly helping to keep the ongoing drum-beat of brand messaging active.

“There has been a rush of business influencers live-streaming video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” Lee said.

[bctt tweet=”Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Always-On Influence Forms Lasting Relationships

The ongoing influencer relationships that brands build today can form a strong foundation from which to grow in the years ahead.

Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life,” Lee has astutely noted since the early days of B2B influencer marketing.

Consistency and persistence are among the key factors in successful always-on influencer marketing programs.

Consistency and persistency image

Long-term engagements, founded on solid relationships and strengthened through an always-on influencer strategy, will help you steer clear of stops and starts,” our senior content strategist Nick Nelson noted.

Always-On Provides Momentum, Nurturing & Commitment

Always-on influencer marketing offers brands a multitude of benefits, and is a multi-faceted undertaking, with some of the qualities being that it:

  • Works 24/7
  • Is an Ongoing Practice with Continuing Benefits
  • Focuses on Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
  • Builds Momentum
  • Helps Deliver Better Returns to Brands, Influencers, and Customers
  • Recognizes that Lasting Relationships Aren’t Built in a Day
  • Is a Two-Way Trust-Building Commitment

“Look beyond individual campaigns and think about how the brand and influencer relationship can create mutual value, influence and trust over time,” Lee has said, also noting that “Marketers need to be ‘on’ when it matters, and that might have to mean always on.”

Now let’s look at five examples of why major brands have chosen always-on influencer marketing, starting with LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

1 — Why LinkedIn Is Using Always-On Influence

Fresh off its latest tally of 690 million members, our client LinkedIn has continued to grow, with a 26 percent increase in user sessions and LinkedIn Live video streams that increased by 158 percent since February, according to parent company Microsoft’s fiscal year 2020 third quarter results release.

LinkedIn has remained in the top spot among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the platform is the most effective social media channel (Chief Marketer).

87 percent of Inc. 500 firms used LinkedIn for social media during 2019 (UMass Dartmouth), and for the third consecutive year LinkedIn has garnered the most-trusted social media platform spot, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s Digital Trust Report.

It may come as no surprise that engagement levels at LinkedIn have also risen during the pandemic, and this has been driven in part by the increasing use of always-on B2B marketing influencer initiatives.

LinkedIn WFH Engagement Chart

A powerful example of how LinkedIn has used the always-on influencer marketing approach is LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ “Here’s Where Sales Leaders Should Focus in 2020, According to Experts,” which asked a variety of leading industry experts to share their top priorities for  B2B sales leaders.

LinkedIn Sales Screenshot

Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn, sees the power of influence in building ongoing relationships.

“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships,” Ty has said.

LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content.” — Ty Heath @tyrona” username=”toprank”]

Humanizing a brand using B2B influencer marketing is explored in more detail in a Break Free B2B video interview we conducted with LinkedIn’s marketing manager Judy Tian.

Judy finds that the relevancy and engagement influencer marketing offers is especially important.

[bctt tweet=”“Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important.” — Judy Tian @judytian07″ username=”toprank”]

Our own Nick sees always-on approaches as becoming a part of the new marketing normal.

“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm,” Nick Nelson wrote.

It’s a view echoed by our vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall.

Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts,” Alexis noted.

There are many benefits to building long-term influencer relationships that simply won’t occur when brands view influencer marketing as a tactic that can be turned on and off at will, however.

“Brands are best served by fostering long-term and mutually beneficial B2B influencer relationships, going beyond seeing influencers as just another of many projects. The loyalty an influencer will have towards your brand is largely dependent on building and maintaining ongoing relationships,” Lee shared during a recent webinar.

“When a brand provides long-term commitment to a partnership with an influencer, even when an influencer may not be actively involved in a campaign for the brand, the strength of the ongoing relationship will drive continued incentive for the influencer to be advocating for the brand,” Lee added.

LinkedIn has seen continuing success using the power of always-on influence, and to help you learn more about how the firm incorporates influencer marketing into its efforts, here are seven recent related articles we’ve written.

[bctt tweet=”“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

2 — Why Adobe Chose Always-On Influence

Our client Adobe has successfully used always-on influencer marketing in multiple ongoing programs over a period of years.

Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in a popular interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

For its “Reshaping Customer Experience Management: The Future of #CXM” campaign, Adobe worked with TopRank Marketing to create a unique interactive online story that featured a wealth of helpful B2B influencer content to increase awareness of Adobe’s Customer Experience Management solutions.

Adobe Reshaping The Customer Experience image.

The campaign combined expert insight from top industry experts including Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies, Rachel Richter of Dun & Bradstreet and others, with enticing and genuinely useful interactive elements to bring Adobe’s CXM to life.

As we’ve seen, always-on influencer marketing delivers numerous benefits, including one that Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe, sees as especially important — bringing more of the humanizing element to B2B brands.

“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo,” Rani said.

“Influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source,” Rani added.

“We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers,” Rani noted, adding that “With an always on approach like this, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.”

[bctt tweet=”“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

In our annual list of top B2B influencer marketing predictions Rani suggested that influencers and brands will continue to strengthen their ongoing relationships both digitally and in the real world, something that will undoubtedly resume once the global health crisis subsides.

“In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community,” Rani noted.

Rani also sat down with Lee and shared how working with B2B influencers can drive marketing results, how influencer engagement is organized at Adobe, along with a variety of tips on recruiting and engaging influencers, as well as listing some of her favorite B2B influencers to work with.

You can dig in with Rani and Lee’s entire fascinating exchange here.

Among Adobe’s always-on influencer initiatives has been its successful #AdobeInsiders program, which features top B2B influencers assembled by Rani and her team, with insider members including Lee, Goldie Chan, and others.

Goldie Chan Twitter Adobe MAX Screenshot

Goldie recently explored the role of personal branding — an element important to savvy influencers — in a Forbes article which also features several take-aways from Lee.

“Adobe has not only built continued trust in its brand amongst a community of influencers but with the Adobe customers those influencers reach as well,” Lee noted.

[bctt tweet=”“With an always on approach, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

3 — Why Dell Outlet & Dell Technologies Use Always-On Influence

Our client Dell Outlet’s certified refurbished server, PC, and workstation program has used always-on influence as part of its award-winning marketing.

An fine example of how Dell Outlet has utilized always-on influencer marketing comes from the “Into the Wild: The Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Computer” guide it launched, featuring insight from a variety of “fit-for-you and fit-for-earth” tips from industry experts.

Dell Outlet Sales Guide Image

Dell Outlet was also a finalist at the B2BMX Killer Content Awards — the Finnys — with a campaign featuring small business influencers advocating on video and audio, and testing for the value of refurbished computers.

Dell Outlet needed to build awareness as an entity distinct from their parent brand. With a focus on refurbished hardware and a commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy, Dell Outlet built a unique personality, purpose and value proposition. They needed — however — to both establish themselves as their own brand, and educate a small business audience on the value of refurbished equipment.

With targeted research and outreach, Dell Outlet connected and co-created content with small business influencers who had relevance and resonance with the brand’s target audience. The full campaign, featuring videos, a landing page, and social promotion, achieved strong results that were only possible with always-on influencer marketing:

B2BMX Finnys Dell Image

The campaign was 175 percent over its goal for traffic to product pages, and even though it was primarily an awareness campaign, the influencer contributions succeeded in driving conversions — a powerful testament to how successfully the campaign built trust with its target audience.

Our client Dell Technologies has also developed relationships with a network of influencers, including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who hosted the popular Dell Luminaries podcast. Their discussions with technology visionaries from both inside Dell and elsewhere, put a human face on technology innovation, and build trust in the Dell Technologies brand.

It’s another of the many ongoing benefits of always-on influence that Lee has observed.

Don’t make your influencer involvement a one-and-done. Keep following and engaging with your influencers, helping promote them and developing a community. Better yet, introduce influencers to each other. They’ll have your brand to thank for meaningful connections they make with their peers,” Lee noted.

Here’s another example from Dell Outlet, highlighting the insights they’ve gathered from an array of small business experts and entrepreneurs on making smart tech purchases.

[bctt tweet=”“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

4 — Why RateLinx Went With Always-On Influence

Our client RateLinx has used always-on influence to achieve new levels of engagement and reach for its platform in the supply chain software and consulting industry, whether through co-created blog content, influencer-rich information resources, or other forms of digital content.

For its recent “14 More Supply Chain & Logistics Leaders You Need to Follow” guide, RateLinx worked with industry influencers including Inna Kuznetsova, Ph. D. and Beth Morgan to provide ongoing advice, insight, and guidance, following up on an earlier successful effort.

RateLinx Screen

Supply chain industry influencer Lisa Anderson was featured in another recent blog post, “Supply Chain Strategy: Modernization Tips from Lisa Anderson.”

RateLinx Screenshot

For RateLinx and all of the brands we’ve shared examples from, the time for always-on influence in marketing has arrived, however brands have been slow to adopt the practice, as we explored in “Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success.”

[bctt tweet=”“Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts.” @Alexis5484″ username=”toprank”]

5 — Why AT&T Is Using Always-On Influence

Whether it’s a major name influencer or niche industry micro-influencers, AT&T’s always-on influencer approach has seen continued success, such as its recent inclusion in the popular “#SomeGoodNews with John Krasinski” YouTube videos.

AT&T Screenshot

AT&T also notes that “92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, even if they don’t know them,” and has worked with influencers on campaigns including its successful “History by Us” initiative to celebrate Black History Month.

AT&T Black History Month Screenshot

Take Action by Adding #AlwaysOnInfluence To Your Marketing

As we’ve seen with our examples from LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell, RateLinx, AT&T and others, always-on influence is a powerful long-term method for driving brand authority and increasing brand trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times.

We hope that you’ve found inspiration in these various examples for your own efforts. To learn more about how TopRank Marketing can help you develop a premier always-on influencer marketing program, please contact us.


Source: SEO blog

Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success

Show of hands: How many of us brush our teeth at least twice a day? All of us? Great.

Now, a follow up question: Why?

The reasons are numerous, right? We care about maintaining our hygiene on a daily basis. We want to keep our smiles bright. We need to defend against offensive bad breath. We want to ensure the long-term health of our teeth, gums, and mouths. And, mostly, we want to successfully avoid pricey and painful dental work now and in the future.

via GIPHY

The moral here? With consistency and commitment we reap both short- and long-term benefits—and avoid a whole lot of pain. And the same is true when it comes to B2B influencer marketing.

As we like to say of consistency and commitment in marketing: “Always-on is always better.” However, most B2B marketers aren’t brushing as often as they should when it comes to influencer marketing. In fact, roughly 11% of B2B influencer marketing programs are ongoing. To put this into perspective, 48% of B2C influencer marketing programs are ongoing.

From building lasting relationships to enabling marketing scalability, an always-on approach to working with influencers is always, always, always better in our experience for several reasons. Today, we explore three of those reasons with the help of seasoned influencer marketing leaders at B2B brands.

#1 – Strong relationships are at the root of influencer marketing success—and relationships aren’t built in a day.

At its core, influencer marketing is all about brands engaging and developing relationships with individuals—individuals who have relevant topical expertise, reach, and resonance that aligns with the goals of the brand.

“It’s really about building a relationship that brings value to both parties,” Amisha Gandhi, Vice President of Influencer Marketing for SAP Ariba*, told us not long ago. “Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches.”

[bctt tweet=”Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches. – @AmishaGandhi #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

However, strong, long-lasting relationships aren’t built overnight, rather they’re sewed over time.

Success with influencer content is so much more than including a few famous people in a listicle post or quote roundup,” our own CEO Lee Odden says. “Competition for influencers is growing fast and there are only so many top influencers in each industry. It’s essential to create relationships now, long before you need to activate them.”

[bctt tweet=”It’s essential to create influencer relationships now, long before you need to activate them. – @leeodden #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

And as that demand for working with influencers increases, it will become more and more difficult to capture and hold their attention. By committing now to always-on relationship building and collaboration, every party can “come out ahead,” as Rani Mani, Head of Influencer Social Enablement at Adobe*, told us in a recent interview.

“We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long-term relationships with our influencers,” she shares. “We look at it as dating with an eye towards long-term commitment, which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give-to-get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead.”

[bctt tweet=”We look at influencer relationships as dating with an eye towards long-term commitment, which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give-to-get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead. – @ranimani0707 #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

And before your start to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of ongoing influencer nurturing and relationship building, don’t worry. Yes. It takes work. But by making it part of your integrated marketing strategy, you’ll have an opportunity to hone in on the specific characteristics and people who are the best matches for your brand.

“We used to think quantity was the key to everything,” Angela Lipscomb, Influencer Relations Manager for SAS, told us. “Now it is much more about quality over quantity. So, we’ve scaled back the scope of our engagement activities to focus on developing collaborative relationships with fewer individuals. That means that sometimes we focus on influencers who may not have the largest reach, but have greater engagement and subject-matter authority and the ability to inspire.”

[bctt tweet=”We used to think quantity was the key to everything. Now it is much more about quality over quantity. – @AngelaLipscomb #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Influencers can be an extension of your content marketing team.

Content is the strategic foundation of marketing. Period. But marketers frequently cite that consistently creating strategic, quality, engaging content is a top marketing challenge.

However, with an army of influential voices—an army that you’ve carefully cultivated and nurtured over time—you have a band of partners who can be an extension of your in-house content marketing team.

In addition, by co-creating content with influencers on a regular basis, you give influential experts with a steady medium to share valuable expertise and perspectives, as well as provide your audience a drumbeat of influential, insightful, on-brand content.

“Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way, so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know,” Whitney Magnuson, Global Head of Social Media and Influencer Programs for IBM, told us not long ago.

[bctt tweet=”Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way. – @whitneymagnuson #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Oh, and you can fill your editorial calendar, add flavor to your content campaigns, extend your audience reach—and the list goes on. And as Lee has said:

“For any kind of content a business creates and publishes to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say.”

#3 – An always-on commitment to influencer marketing helps you refine, evolve, and scale your marketing efforts.

Marketers are in the business of driving results, which means we’re constantly reviewing our tactical mix and strategic priorities. This constant vigilance helps us grow in marketing sophistication so we can drive success at scale.

Simply put, we don’t set and forget—we optimize and evolve our approach to achieve success. But with just one-tenth of B2B influencer programs falling in the “ongoing” bucket … there’s immense opportunity for improvement and alignment. As Dr. Konnie Alex, Head of Corporate Influencer Relations for Dell*, shared with us:

“A sophisticated influencer program doesn’t rely on a single identification method or one-time vetting process to start and maintain a relationship with an influencer, but rather develops a scorecard that gets constantly reviewed and, most importantly, evolves as this emerging field matures. At this point, we review strategy, methods, tactics, and measurement on an ongoing basis.”

Konnie also said: “We have a number of strategic partners who never stop evolving or expanding their expertise. We value them highly and feel that they represent a reflection of our brand’s values and long-term vision.”

[bctt tweet=”A sophisticated influencer program doesn’t rely on a single identification method or one-time vetting process to start and maintain a relationship with an influencer. It develops and evolves. – @konstanze #B2BInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Speaking of long-term, an always-on approach to influencer marketing can help you strengthen all your other marketing efforts. How?

For one, you can keep a pulse on your evolving audience.

“Strategic partnerships with influencers provide for an outside-in view when creating content for our customers,” Konnie said. “We need to constantly ensure that, as a brand, we don’t start talking to ourselves, but keep a keen focus on the evolving challenges our customers have and on the language they use to express these challenges.”

And secondly, you can create better experiences that lead to real results.

With influencer marketing, you’re looking to offer a better experience to your customers and deliver knowledge-based educational content with a third-party voice,” Amisha shared. “These experiences can be achieved through content, influencers speaking directly to customers, nurturing them through digital and high value assets. This approach with influencers will help you to drive sales journey and demonstrate pipeline touch.”

Smile for Always-On B2B Influencer Marketing

While many B2B brands are still cutting their teeth on influencer marketing, success and sophistication are rooted in giving the practice constant attention and care.

This commitment will not only help you grow lasting relationships with influential leaders in your industry, but also enable consistent, quality content creation and make a scalable impact on your overall marketing strategy.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these five examples of B2B influencer marketing in action.

*Disclaimer: SAP, Adobe, and Dell are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog