How do you spruce up your B2B marketing all the way up to 11? I recently had a chat with Jason Miller who is a Senior Manager at Linkedin Marketing Solutions and author of “Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing Up To 11.”

You can listen to the audio podcast on iTunes & Soundcloud (above) or keep reading for an abridged transcript of our conversation. A longer version is available at Link Humans. Questions by me, answers by Jason.

How can we spruce up B2B marketing?

I have a background B2C marketing, but I’m a B2B marketer and I also love heavy metal so I think that marketers seems to complicate things in the B2B space, and I like to simplify things. And I like to tell stories, and I use this rock and roll analogies to kind of make them fun and memorable. So what I essentially do is I take a B2C approach to B2B marketing, and it helps me to stand out and it helps produce content that is not boring and isn’t written like a bunch of instruction manuals. It’s really engaging content. I think there’s a lot that B2B marketers can learn from B2C.

I think I’m going to get into trouble for saying this, but I think they’ve traditionally been better marketers just because they know how to connect better emotionally. But now B2B marketers have the technology that B2C needs to keep that relationship going. So I think it’s an interesting place to be in right now, but just throw everything you know about B2B marketing, white papers out the door and make it a bit more entertaining than taking the thought leadership theme.

What’s the the rage against irrelevance?

There was this research report that came out that said 44 percent of respondents said that they would stop following you if you posted irrelevant content in their feed. An additional 22 percent said they would defect completely like from that brand. These are really powerful numbers and what it says to me is this isn’t a volume game anymore. You don’t have to produce 100 blog posts a day to make an impact or 100 pieces of content a quarter; you need to get to the core of relevancy. So it’s no longer a game of numbers; it’s a game of relevance. And the winner of that game is going to be how close to someone that can get to pure relevance with their prospects and customers. So your job as a marketer is to answer the number one question or pain point better than anyone else and you use content to do so.

What is a big rock of content?

The big rock is a concept that came from my Marketo days. And what we were doing there is if there was a question or a topic or a pain point and we wanted to create a piece of content, we went big. We went very big. We would literally create these things called the definitive guides, and it was literally. I remember writing these things at Marketo. We had a great team there and I remember going in Jon Miller’s office, he’s the co-founder, and said, “John, the new definitive guide’s ready,” and he said, “Is it definitive? Is it really definitive?” And I’d say, “I’ll be back.” But they weren’t instruction manuals because that doesn’t work.

You get an instruction manual with your DVR player or your DVD player. You throw it in the trash, and you go to YouTube. So we wanted to write them very strategically. Literally we wrote the book on it. We wanted to own a conversation; we would own a topic. So we’d write a book on it, and this is a book you could publish on Amazon but instead we gave it away for free. It was helpful. It wasn’t selling, very top of funnel stuff. But it worked. And these big pieces of content, it’s a tremendous amount of value. It’s a pretty good investment, but the return can be through the roof.


So I wanted to get that traffic back. So we created the best answer to that question and we put a tremendous amount of assets into promoting that and becoming the authority on this topic. And why shouldn’t we be? We have the domain authority. All we needed to do is have the content to support that domain authority and now we can rise above the rest. Now we own the conversation, we own the traffic, and moving forward we can revise that story and tell the most accurate story and skip the middleman. Now, let me just preface this by saying, or follow up by saying that those blogs are certainly important because I guest blog on a lot of these and they’re friends of mine and they’re trusted sources as well. And some of them do take a very unique approach to this. So it just kind of all works together. But for that specific topic, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t own it. And we do now.

Where do you get started with B2B content marketing?

Number one you need to figure out what that big rock of content…what’s your big rock? And that big rock is the answer in a video format, in an e-book, in an infographic, wherever it may be. It could be big, or it could be small. But what’s your big rock? What’s your big rock of content? It’s based on what is that number one question, what is that number one pain point? And how can you answer it better than anyone else? And then how can you keep on answering and support that moving forward? Then moves into a thought leadership plane.

And the second piece is while you’re building up that momentum to launch your big rock, you need something kind of always-on. And that’s where the blog comes in. If you don’t have a blog writer or if you don’t have enough resources to write everyday, you don’t necessarily have to. But start blogging immediately and start blogging about… make a list of topics, make a list of keywords that are important. Make a list of questions and write against these. You can pull together employees; pull together your brightest employees with these ideas. If you solve a problem, and you write about it and you put it out there, that’s some of the best pieces of content you can ever put out there.

Video is great as well. A quick YouTube video or a Slideshare deck based on one idea. A blog is one idea, it’s one question, it’s one topic. So don’t over-complicate this stuff. And again, if you really think about it, there are agencies out there that can help us blog. They can help identify these topics, they can identify the conversations you should be a part of and they can certainly help you jump start your big rock or your blogging strategy. So don’t go it alone, I would say.