Guest blog from Rob Skinner, MD at Skout PR, a specialist business to business PR, social media and digital content consultancy.

Skout PR logoWelcome to the third and final blog of our series looking at how to put content successfully at the heart of business-to-business PR and marketing. So far we have investigated the ‘content imperative’ facing B2B PR and marketing people. We’ve also covered the often overlooked but vitally important planning stage to effective content marketing.

In this post we’ll touch on the other vital elements of success – content creation, utilisation and measurement.

Here’s some food for thought. PRmoment recently reported on Influencer50’s research into the relevance of social media influencers on B2B organisations. The research suggests that targeting these influencers as part of B2B communication is irrelevant, because so few of them (about 1%) are likely to be actual buyers, the rest being your competitors and a range of “also-rans”.

As a result, because social media influence is generally measured by the loudness and frequency of someone’s voice, there’s a tendency to target people saying a lot rather than saying the right things. This skews the value of measurement because it is not based on careful profiling of your audience which as we all know is a vital element of B2B marketing.

Bringing this back to our discussion on B2B content marketing, the relevance of this research is that it affirms the importance of saying the right things and telling the right stories to the people who have qualitative influence, not just a very large social media megaphone. We all like to get wrapped up in the importance of engaging those that can influence a buying decision, but look at the cold comparison between social media and traditional influencer engagement. In B2B tech, a sector close to my own heart, the key influencers are IT industry analysts, and these guys are approached as a one to one relationship, not a mass market.

These basic rules feed back into what content you produce and how you utilise it. Content creation must have a compelling and relevant story at its heart. It should also attempt to say something different but at the same time keep a firm foot in reality and tangible evidence. I saw an infographic the other day which stated that in B2B PR, product stories had given way to personal opinion and issues based content. To my mind this is not true – certainly not when you are trying to target people with a relevant sphere of influence around your product. They should be genuinely interested in the tangible product as well as the less tangible area of well crafted opinion.

The point about finding really relevant influencers also applies when it comes to utilisation of your B2B content. While you may need to work to a numbers game in terms of ensuring regular and timely content outputs to get noticed in your community, unplanned, bland and scattergun outreach is more likely to get you noticed for the wrong reasons. Whether using PR, LinkedIn, Twitter or other channels to communicate your content the same critical rules apply: What are you saying? Who are you trying to say it to? What do you want them to take away from it? And so on…

A B2B sphere of influence does not need to be big and loud, it needs to be focused, relevant and direct. This should be factored into the creation, utilisation and measurement of your content marketing too. If you haven’t already seen it and are working on your own content marketing plan you might find some useful tips in our Guide to Compelling and Connected B2B Content Marketing.

Rob Skinner