B2B brands are worried their content is too boring, so they often focus on making it pretty. Justin Schmidt—the VP of Marketing at Capacity, a B2B SaaS platform—believes that’s the wrong move. In this episode of The Content Callout, Justin shares some unique ways you can source interesting and valuable content and how you can get it to rank so looking pretty doesn’t matter.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:56] Justin’s background in marketing + leadership
- [5:50] Tip #1: Pretty doesn’t always equal good content
- [10:19] Tip #2: Everyone should keep a swipe file
- [12:36] Tip #3: Join the same communities as your customers
- [17:50] Off-the-beaten-path places to source content
- [21:42] How creative ideas fit into content strategies
- [26:10] Where content fits in the funnel
- [31:06] How to create content clusters that rank
- [35:24] Justin’s favorite piece of content
- [38:22] How to connect with Justin Schmidt
Pretty doesn’t always equal good
Just because a piece of content looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s the best content. B2B brands are enamored with thought leadership. They run webinars and create buyers guides, infographics, explainer videos, and more. But from a traffic or lead magnet perspective, the magic happens with pillar pages or blog content.
You can go into SEMrush or Ahrefs and look to see what ranks and gets the most engagement. You’ll often see that the highest-converting content is a blog post. Ultimately, you’re marketing to businesses that want to know if your product or service will work for them. Yes, you need to present it well, but Justin emphasizes that the most valuable content is educational, long-form, answers questions, and provides value. It can’t just be drivel for SEO’s sake.
Off-the-beaten-path places to source content
Forward-thinking organizations are trying to win the community conversations around their product or service. How do you do that? Join the same communities as your customers and be a fly on the wall.
Justin has an account everywhere his customers gather to look at their conversations. You see what customers are dealing with in their day-to-day lives, and it provides you with context you wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s a great source of inspiration to direct your content. There are communities for every category. Find one.
Job forums can also include discussions about things a prospect may dislike, which can give you another direction to take. If you spend time where your customers spend time, inspiration will strike from different places.
You’ll learn the most about your ICP from reading job postings for positions that would use your product or services. If a SaaS company is looking to hire a Chief People Officer, they’re trying to recruit the same person that BambooHR is trying to sell to. It’s the same audience and persona—so the same content will resonate.
You can also find a customer or influencer in your field that is active on social media. A great example is entrepreneur Twitter. Someone may share a long thread on why McDonald’s makes one-third of its revenue from lease payments from franchisees. Social media influencers and thought leaders share interesting things that aren’t just a link; it’s part of a conversation. It validates what works and what doesn’t.
How do you fit creative ideas like these into an existing content strategy? Where does content fit in your funnel? Listen to hear Justin’s thoughts.
How to create content clusters
From an SEO perspective, Google rewards authority. Authority on any topic is usually based on various related concepts associated with a keyword. Think of any value chain that your business is a part of. Capacity has a lot of customers that are mortgage lenders. Their chain might consist of a first-time home-buyer who finds a real estate agent. Then that real estate agent might introduce them to a loan officer. Those people may be researching a 15-year versus a 30-year loan. They may close on a house and later refinance. All of these topics in a value chain can create a content cluster.
Thinking of your content strategy in clusters gives you room to explore how to tie messaging together. You also create enough “meat on the bone” for search engines to drive visits. You need to understand the value chain of the industry you’re in, look at the customer journey, and look at the related topics.
Google is a great example. When you enter a search query, you’ll see that Google includes a “People also ask” section. If you hit “more” it generates more questions. That can help you explore all of the questions that surround the topic you’re targeting and drive your content strategy.