Marketing has been talked about, analyzed and picked apart for decades. Yet at the end of the day, it all boils down to this quote from business legend Seth Godin: “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”
This isn’t a new concept. Advertiser E. St. Elmo Lewis was writing about the hierarchy of effects way back in 1903 when he stated that “The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader … then to interest him … then to convince him.” This developed into the model we know today: AIDA, or attention, interest, desire, action.
However you phrase it, the first step is always the same: Before you can engage your audience – nevermind actually convince them to buy your product – you need to get their attention. And you simply can’t do that without B2B marketing content.
Nobody likes a fake – and today, they’re easier to spot than ever before. Your content should not only speak to your audience, but also to who you are as a brand. To paraphrase the famous Socrates quote, “To know thyself is the beginning of attention-grabbing B2B marketing content.” What are your company values? What makes you unique in the market? Discover your brand story and let it inform your marketing strategy, not the other way around.
Know Your Audience
Real talk: You will never get attention by making your content “everything to everyone.” This is especially true in B2B marketing, which has many more ways to segment your audience than simple demographics. Industry, business size, years of experience, job title and more all play a part in targeting. So once you have your ideal customer profile (ICP), spend some time getting to know them. Determine which channels they use, types of content they consume and the pain points they need solved, and tailor your B2B marketing content accordingly.
There’s a fine balance between staying true to your brand and creating timely, relevant content. Newsjacking every story or trying too hard to create a “viral moment” won’t come off as authentic. But you do need to keep up with what matters to your audience. Their industry, customer habits and personal preferences will evolve. Their products and services will change. Old content will become old news. Creating B2B marketing content around relevant trending topics will certainly grab attention, but make it part of a more holistic strategy to speak to their needs.
Keep It Short
While the commonly cited stat that people only have eight-second attention spans may or may not be true, one thing is certain: Short, concise content grabs attention. At BOL, we call this “snorkel” content: It’s short, fun and easy to consume. (“Scuba” content is where you take a deeper dive.) Whether you create quick videos, animations, social media posts, infographics or interactive content, snorkel content captures your audience – paving the way for scuba content to educate your audience further.
You’ve done all that work determining your ICP, getting to know your audience and crafting content that speaks to their needs. But B2B marketing content that’s truly attention-grabbing takes it a step further with personalization. Don’t just speak to an industry – speak to each decision-maker and influencer individually. Better yet, speak to the person in San Francisco differently than you would the one in Knoxville. A solid account-based marketing strategy can help you do this in a way that’s not only efficient and scalable but helps you track the ROI of your campaigns.
Make a Strong Offer
It’s easy to get caught up in acronyms and social media speak – ICP, TAL, memes and likes and shares! – and forget a core marketing concept: People want to know what’s in it for them. Not weeks or months from now when they onboard your service or integrate your product, but right this instant. And they don’t want to talk to sales. Not yet and maybe not ever. So stop with the “Free Consultation” and “Book a Meeting” offers and get real. Lunch and learns, free trials, interesting webinars and of course, value-based offerings, are what’s really going to get their attention.
Stand Out With Creative
Listen, I’m a copywriter. I love words. But the simple fact is, you won’t grab attention with words alone. Bold, clean, engaging visuals are the only way to “stop the scroll.” Because before your audience even registers your words, they’ll see your color choices. They’ll notice your branding. They’ll relate to your imagery. There are no hard-and-fast rules, except these: No cheesy stock photos. No cookie-cutter creative. And never, ever be boring.
Choose the Right Channels
Now that you have eye-catching creative that cuts through the clutter, you’re ready to launch your content and start getting the attention you deserve. But if you don’t choose the right channels, your intended audience will never see your beautiful content. LinkedIn is always a popular and effective channel for B2B marketing content, and Facebook is a close second. Don’t stop there – direct mail and out-of-home can be unexpected, and new platforms like Clubhouse and Substack are a top content marketing trend.
Switch It Up
President Franklin D. Roosevelt unwittingly provided some of the best, most straightforward marketing advice out there: “Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else.” Because attention-grabbing content relies on the element of surprise to some extent, it’s likely to stop working eventually. You’ll always want to be tracking and measuring your content so that you know when it stops working – and you can do something else.
Attracting attention with your B2B marketing content isn’t as easy as slapping up a newsjacking post or making a fun GIF. It takes research, knowledge, planning and most of all, testing, refining and testing again. Sometimes it’s easier to leave it to the experts, so check out our content creation page for examples of our awesome work – and equally important, the results. Then get in touch!