First of two parts
Last year there was justifiable buzz when a study showed that for the first time people were spending more time online than watching television. That was good news for inbound PR and marketing firms like ours, but we all need to remember that while readers’ time online is considerable, it’s still finite. If we want prospects to consume B2B marketing content, it has to do something very specific: It has to make them heroes.
Money, power and sex are the time-tested pillars of a good story. Just look at these recent headlines from three of the nation’s most popular blogs:
- “Chelsea Clinton: Money Ain’t a Thing” (Gawker)
- “Republicans Finally Admit Why They Hate Obamacare” (Huffington Post)
- “Kim Kardashian Shows Off the Hottest, Most Eye-Popping, Boob-Showing Look Yet” (TMZ)
Our technology PR firm is countering with topics such as asset management, network monitoring, IT managed services, business process outsourcing, enterprise content management, and so on. Why would anyone read online content about that stuff? Because it can do something for them that Kim and Kanye can’t. At work at least, it can make them heroes.
What Makes Someone a Hero?
In the workplace, a hero is someone who solves a problem, avoids a problem, has an idea, or sounds smart. It’s that simple. To help a prospect be a hero, we need to write content with one of more of those desired outcomes in mind.
We can make heroes by offering a solution that helps readers solve a problem or avoid one. First, we have to identify the problem and, if possible, the people who have it. Then, in the headline and in the very top of the piece, we must promise a solution. A few recent examples from blogs we manage for clients:
- Dead Code Walking: What Companies Can Do to Mitigate Old, Dead Code
- How to Extend the Range of Your Two-Way Radios
- Is Your Networking Monitoring System Future-Proof?
- When Selecting a Technology Partner, Ask About Employee Backgrounds
Another way to make a hero is by giving the prospect an idea for which he or she can take credit. This is where newsjacking comes in. Convey something he or she can use to look good in a meeting or employ to strengthen an argument. A couple of recent examples:
- Tablet Surveys: A Proactive Approach to Customer Opinion
- Major Technology Shift Presents SMBs with New Choices
Finally, use content to make people sound smarter by giving them perspective. But instead of offering a bias-free news report, take a stand. Choose an industry-related topic and lay out an argument for or against it. Let your prospect decide if he or she agrees. Either way, readers will benefit from the perspective.
Solving problems and avoiding them. Having an idea and sounding smart. Those are the ways people at work become heroes. In the second part of this series we’ll look at how to make that happen with content – and the four things you may be doing that will cripple your chances for success.