3 Ways to Master B2B Content Marketing in 2016

After the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, everyone’s in a frenzy to make this year better than the last. Many people strive to increase revenue by X percent or drive more leads from email, but let’s focus on a more human element of B2B marketing: storytelling.

B2B marketers use storytelling to share their message with the world, become thought leaders in their industry and strengthen ties with current and potential customers. To become expert storytellers, marketers should focus on creating authentic and engaging content that goes beyond the typical case study or listicle blog post.

Look to these innovative ideas for inspiration on how to take your content marketing to the next level in 2016:

Tell human stories

Create stories that entertain, amuse and inspire the reader. Storytelling, not marketing, will capture readers’ attention.

Creator, a publication by the company WeWork, does a great job of telling human stories that are at times both amusing and inspiring. Take the creator spotlight “5 Guys in Holland Create a Fitbit for Cows” or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which talks about the experience of getting what you want.

Granted, WeWork has an endless supply of entrepreneurs and out-of-the-box thinkers to tap for stories. Think about where your interesting stories can come from — is it your customers, contributors, partners?
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Seduce the audience

Some company blogs are filled with every topic imaginable, from corporate news and messaging to customer profiles and thought leadership. While this can work if done properly, more companies are creating sites for industry thought leadership. For example, General Electric created digital magazine GE Reports that appeals to investors and technology enthusiasts. What makes this digital magazine different from many company sites, other than its 1 million views, is that the managing editor Tomas Kellner wants to create more than a technology story; he wants to seduce the audience, as he told NewCred’s Amber van Natten. He does this by telling stories about jet engine testing and the idea of Internet for the Body.

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Get interactive

With people’s attention span — and time — dwindling, it can be challenging to get a reader to read all 700 words of your article. Consider more interactive forms of storytelling, such as podcasts and webinars, that listeners can tune into whether they’re commuting on the Muni or cooking dinner.

Intel created its “Expert Mode” and “Meet the Makers” series to showcase innovative projects, whereas HubSpot uses webinars as an education channel to teach viewers about everything from email marketing to buyer personas. Its most popular webinar, The Science of Facebook Marketing,” had a whopping 13,000 sign-ups.

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Whether you’re running marketing at a small startup or leading the pack at a larger tech company, look for ways to inject these innovative ideas or ones of your own in your 2016 marketing strategy.