Is Your B2B Content Boring Your Customers to Death?

It’s started to become cliche– the amount of people at conferences and during webinars that ask what they can create their content marketing campaigns around. They ask this because their industry is too technical or boring to employ the creativity shown in the many different marketing examples by speakers and experts.

But the more often the question gets asked, the greater a need for an answer must be. While there’s not a total solution to solving dry industries and making them as interesting as selling candy or trips to Costa Rica may be, there’s one important point about B2B marketers that have trouble coming up with content ideas.

Your B2B content marketing doesn’t need to be interesting to everyone. It only needs to be interesting to your target audience.

I am a writer and marketing consultant. Am I fascinated by pipefitters? Absolutely not.

But I’ll tell you who is: plumbers and industrial maintenance workers. And that’s exactly who you should be targeted your content toward if you supply pipe fitters.

So many overshoot their content marketing goals; they want to be the example on speakers’ slides at the next big marketing conference. But they fail to recognize that all they really need is a story and theme that resonates with who would actually buy their product.

Is Your B2B Content Boring Your Customers to Death?

Here are some ways to tease out your story, no matter your industry.

What Does Your Small Talk Consist of With Customers?

Ask the people who run the front lines of interacting with your customers (whether that’s customer service, sales, or a warehouse service desk), what they make small talk about.

  • Do customers constantly remark about products being on time?
  • Or do they always have questions about pipe fitting sizes?

These innocent questions and the social grace that comes with being polite and talk about joint interests can be used to pull out a great piece of content.

  • If the sizes of your products seem confusing or many, create an infographic or illustrated guide of the different sizes and how each one can be used.
  • If customers keep asking when the newest model of your conveyor belts or saas platform will be released, create a countdown landing page with giveaways or promos leading up to the new products.
  • Shoot videos or first-person blog posts about what it was like to build your latest product.
  • Do interviews with the designers behind the product or show how it’s made and implemented from start to finish.

These types of journeys into your company and its inner-workings will make customers feel closer to what you have to offer, and increase their trust in your business.

What Products Do You Think About in The Shower?

When you love your work (or are at least invested in its success), your mind often leads to it when you are doing repetitive activities, like cooking, working out, or showering. This is because your brain is “more relaxed” since not much thought has to go into something you’re used to doing daily.

This “relaxed” brain is why there are so many mentions and jokes of coming up with great ideas in the shower, or right when you’re about to drift off to sleep. The brain naturally gravitates toward challenges it wants to solve or recent pressing issues.

This state of mind is extremely helpful for thinking about what you can create content around. If the things in your business or industry are occupying your mind in the shower, then it’s safe to assume your customers are likely thinking about it as well.

What your mind goes to when it’s left to wonder is a good indicator of something that is either unique about your business or a problem that needs more education and teaching on it.

For instance, let’s say you offer commercial cleaning services.

While taking your evening shower after a workout, your brain brings up an issue that happened earlier that day (that is so common, you wouldn’t have thought of it much otherwise). A client had a reception for new hires and wine spilled all over the builder’s grade office carpet. Without much in the way of cleaning supplies there in office (since the cleaning crew does the cleaning), the wine stain had to sit there until a professional could come and lift it up. It gave a good laugh to the company and it eventually came out, but now you’re left wondering, “How many other potential clients have had this dilemma?”

From this seemingly normal situation comes the idea for a video series or ebook on common stains that can happen in offices, and how to clean them up without professional cleaning supplies.

Potential clients will know what to do in a crisis, and your commercial cleaning company will be thought of as a knowledgeable thought leader in the industry that is helpful eager to share what they know.

As your mind naturally gravitates toward the day’s happenings or what happened to you during a recent business trip, try to think of everything from the angle of, “could explaining this help my customers?” and if so, figure out the best way to create content around it.

Even though it’s probably been given a few times as a gag gift, that shower notepad turns out not to be such a terrible idea!

What Are Your Customers’ Other Interests?

When we work in a specific industry, it’s natural to get tunnel vision about what you offer. I’ve mentioned this in previous columns, but the “curse of knowledge bias” is a real issue that can affect marketers and writers when they are trying to create campaigns for their target audience.

As a result, we need to constantly fight to create content that only we as the suppliers and marketers would understand.

We often have a difficult time coming up with content because we feel like everything we can offer has been covered to death already.

But the truth is, your target audience, no matter the industry, has outside related interests that aren’t strictly within the guidelines of what you offer. However, by tapping into what they like, you can create a wider breadth of content that will increase your engagement on social media, as well as shares and return traffic for your website or blog.

To figure out what your target audience is interested in, create a mind map, vision board, or word cloud that takes your core offerings and expands them out into related services.

This process can come about through brainstorming for an hour, or by using a keyword research tool like SEMrush, KeywordTool.io, or UberSuggest.

It also helps to “think outside the box” when it comes to what your target audience might also be looking at. If they will also need other products or services, how could you create content about those things and tie them back to what you offer?

Here are some examples:

  • SaaS invoicing system: blog post about API integrations with other SaaS your customers use
  • Industrial air conditioners: proper maintenance to ensure building upkeep and best environmental practices
  • Paper supply company: Pen comparison tests using different types of your paper, with a possible infographic to accompany it.

These interests could be obvious; they could take a few brainstorming and research sessions to figure out. The above examples are pretty obvious tie-ins, but take it a step further and think about what’s important to your customer that goes beyond just what you and your related competitors offer.

  • Do they have business concerns that could be leveraged to explain how your company helps make these easier (e.g. cost or employee time savings)?
  • Or how does their need to stay on top of industry regulations tie into your services?

Think past the direct value proposition that your company offers and go into what else the customer may be concerned about. These are the niche angles that can be used to create amazing content that your target market wants to read.

Let’s go back to the above examples and take them a step further:

  • SaaS invoicing system: a blog post on tax tips for small businesses
  • Industrial air conditioners: a PDF guide on the new permitting system for builders in your state
  • Paper supply company: An infographic on how to find the right office space, depending on company size and need

By honing into financial, business, or logistical concerns, these “boring” industries got a lot more interesting to their target audience, which is all that really matters.

What Problem is Your Product Solving?

If you want to take your content back to its original premise, focus on what your product or service is actually accomplishing, rather than focusing on its traits.

Focusing only on the features of something is a common mistake that many businesses make. They believe that by simply stating what your product offers, then customers will have no reason not to select them, especially of the features outweigh their competitors.

But if this was truly the case, why is it in every industry, there is always a top provider that offers less and charges more, but often blows industry competitors out of the water?

It’s all because their unique value proposition (UVP) likely focuses on something that goes beyond price. It’s usually the experience of using the product, or maybe the superior customer service the company offers.

Simon Sinek goes into this topic in more detail in his book Start With Why, but companies that gain large followings usually do so by focusing on solving the problem instead of simply presenting what is available.

Once you figure out the right angle and UVP, you can build content around it. To get started, here are some (completely fictional) UVPs comparisons that better illustrate my point, using our examples from above:

SaaS Invoicing System:

  • Features-Focused: “Our invoicing system has recurring billing, auto-pay, and is only $49.95 per month.”
  • Solutions-Focused: “We save you 10 hours a week by streamlining the bookkeeping process.”

Industrial Air Conditioners

  • Features-Focused: “Our AC units offer easy filter maintenance, a 10-year warranty, and top-of-line silicone piping.”
  • Solutions-Focused: “The energy-efficient Nimbus 2000 AC unit runs 35% less than our competitors, saving you up to $5,000 per year while also helping the environment by cutting waste emissions by 15%.”

Paper Supply Company

  • Features-Focused: “Our paper comes in 25 colors, has three levels of thickness, ships free, year-round.”
  • Solutions-Focused: “Studies have shown flyers printed on neon paper get 25% more conversions than those on white. With free shipping, our neon line can be out at your event within 3 business days, leading to more leads and more income from trade show events.”

As you can see, a solutions-focused approach is much more engaging because it speaks to the problem your customer is facing– usually looking to lower costs, time, and waste.

By spelling out exactly how their problem is solved, the customer doesn’t much care about what your service offers specifically in terms of features. They only care about end results.

Once you’ve developed a few unique value proposition statements, work out what content can be developed. Here are some ideas based on the previous references.

SaaS Invoicing System:

  • Solutions-Focused: “We save you 10 hours a week by streamlining the bookkeeping process.”
  • Content Idea: Create a white paper about time-saving shortcuts that can be automated using your software.

Industrial Air Conditioners

  • Solutions-Focused: “The energy-efficient Nimbus 2000 AC unit runs 35% less than our competitors, saving you up to $5,000 per year while also helping the environment by cutting waste emissions by 15%.”
  • Content Idea: An explainer video on how cutting down on waste emissions can actually save your customers money, even if they don’t care much about environmental impact.

Paper Supply Company

  • Solutions-Focused: “Studies have shown flyers printed on neon paper get 25% more conversions than those on white. With free shipping, our neon line can be out at your event within 3 business days, leading to more leads and more income from trade show events.”
  • Content Idea: Create an ebook about color psychology and how it applies to paper products. With each type of paper you offer, match it to its best use and back it up with data and research.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve covered, the top complaints of marketers that their industry is too “boring” doesn’t hold water when you focus your perspective. Remember, your b2b content marketing only needs to be of interest to your target audience, not your grandmother, kids, and next-door neighbor.

If you remember what your audience actually cares about, and focus your content marketing campaigns on that, you’ll find it’s much easier to brainstorm content ideas and build content that can drive conversions and website traffic.

Featured image made with Canva by author.

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