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After the dust from the flurry that was the Social Media World Forum Asia has settled down, we arrive finally at the last instalment of our exclusive interview with Asuthosh Nair and Santo Thie. In parts one and two, they covered a variety of topics that ranged from a general overview of B2B Marketing content to deeper aspects like writing for B2B, etc. Needless to say, they have pretty much touched on most of the significant things involving content for B2B Marketing.
In this last part, our intrepid duo turned things up even further as they wove (or rather blitzed) their way through the last five questions which focused on making great video for B2B (specifically case studies), analytics, the correlation with social media, etc. Part 3 starts now …
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video are the personal views of the interviewee and and do not necessarily represent the philosophy or viewpoints of their organization or clients.
Transcript of the Interview
Asuthosh is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of GetIT Comms while Santo is the Project Manager (PMP) and Team Lead on AV Media. Both of them have superb technical grasp, insight and experience as well as having a great handle on the topic at hand. And both are also quite happy that the three-part saga is now signed, sealed and delivered.
Tips on making great B2B video case studies … what works?
Santo: Get someone who’s good looking. (Laughter)
Asu: Really? (Laughter)
Anol: Even if they talk rubbish? (Laughter)
Santo: Ok, what you would normally do is put your CEO, COO or Marketing Manager in there right? But it is just a fact that some people are not very good in front of the camera so you have to be really careful about it. Even if they are good in what they are doing (like in marketing, technology, etc.), the video is still about communication. That matters in a video case study. You have to get someone who is really good in communicating … one who is great at talking and expressing themselves and also someone who is very familiar with the context of the content as well. So that’s one thing.
As for the content, you have to understand that video case studies are made not because they are going to get someone to buy something after they watch the video. We are talking about marketing … otherwise it would be the job of sales people right? What you want to do is that you would want to put content with a bigger perspective. It’s not only about buying but also about thought leadership. So this is the type of content that you should be looking at when you make a video case study.
Then again, as Asu mentioned before that geeks are also humans, the content has to be informative because that is the first reason why they would look at the video and the content. It also has to have some entertainment value, something that is pleasing to see and something that you would like to watch and hear. It must not be boring. If you just put in a talking head there like someone who is just talking in front of the camera for ten minutes then I don’t think that it will fly. You definitely need something that is also pleasing to the viewer.
Traps to avoid in producing video for B2B
Santo: I would say don’t put your own people in the video. It’s just a matter of what I have always said before that you must not try to oversell. It’s nice if you can get testimonials from the people around you but it’s even better if you get ones from your clients. Get them to talk good about you of course. If a third party tells me something about you I would probably trust the third party more as opposed to you telling me about yourself directly. So that’s one thing.
Another thing is that a short video can have a lot of things to say. You can already put a lot of content in just only two or three minutes. So don’t keep it too long. The best practice for video case studies is to always keep in mind that in the first 10 seconds you have to get the viewer’s attention. And then you have to be able to “buy” their time for the next few minutes. If you take too long then it will usually become too boring and people will just lose their connection to you.
Measuring effectiveness of B2B content
Asu: There are informal and formal ways of doing that. If you produce a whitepaper or an e-book for instance, an informal way would be to look at how many downloads it has. The more downloads it gets, you track it over time and you see how popular or unpopular it is. But those are what we call as soft metrics because you are getting numbers but it doesn’t really say of people have read it and so on. We can look then if people have reverted after reading it. If they look at the content and are engaged by it, then it is a good way of measuring its effectiveness. If they commented or returned back to you, even if it’s just an email that says “I like your stuff, can we have a discussion”, these are some of the ways that you can measure.
These days they have things like scoring metrics. Scoring really is a very formal way of getting the effectiveness of your B2B content because whatever you posted or distributed on a site or whatever you have disseminated through the channels that you are using, you can put a score to its engagement. It means if people have downloaded, commented or remarked about it in anywhere then that kind of engagement gets a metric. That number is tracked over time and that helps you get a clear idea of what content is working, what engages people, what content gets people to talk back and what content gets people to buy your things eventually.
So if you are having a lead or asset scoring mechanism, which can be a part of an overall lead nurturing mechanism of course, then what you are looking at is establishing benchmarks or goals. Say you’ve invested quite a bit in writing an e-book and a lot of research goes into it. Let’s say within three months, if you don’t achieve a certain score then you would ask yourself if you should release an update and make it current. The score is composite and is a mixture of different ways of engagement like downloads and comments. So that way, you get a very tangible way of measuring your content and you get a valid reason to update.
If you’ve gotten people to help you out in your research then it’s very difficult to go back and say “I don’t think it is working.” I don’t think it’s difficult to justify if we have the figures. If we are not getting the results we want we can look at how we can improve it. These are some of the quick metrics that I could think of. Obviously the more your content spreads is a good sign but then spreading it these days is easy so really want to tie it back to the amount of business it gets you. That’s where lead scoring can help.
The correlation between B2B content and social media
Santo: Ok, first of all social media itself is as new place to put your content. In the past you just put your white paper on your website or something like that. Social media is another tool, as Asu said, to spread the word. So besides having your content, social media itself can create the context for your content. You can get something out of social media and try to see how you would fit to that. So it’s also about context not just being a place to put content on.
Asu: Social media is a great way to understand that it’s ultimately customers (your audience specifically) who decide what content is important. The key to that is making sure that your content is easily disseminated. Leverage all available channels. Whenever you write something, use all these channels for propagation. But then, also use the input / feedback / conversations that you get from there to re-energise you content. Whatever content you have done would become dead over time if it’s not updated and kept fresh. A great way of doing that is to use social media.
We have a Twitter chat session that we conduct every week, which is #B2BChat. Now, I wasn’t a very active participant in it until about a month back but once you do participate you will realise that you do get a lot of fresh ideas. It might not really be fresh in a revolutionary sense, but the way people share their thoughts and experience honestly is good.
In Twitter (at least in our chat), people are willing to share experiences freely regardless of what the competitors would be able to glean from the things they share. Use social media to keep your content fresh and at the same time make sure that whatever you produce can easily be disseminated through social media.
For example, if you have an e-book, you can put something in there somewhere that says “tweet about this book…” and you can have Twitter-able components present so that the reader can just click on it and everything would follow. In that way you can leverage the viral nature of social media to spread your content. It is a two way process where social media can leverage on the content you produce and the content that you produce must leverage on social media as well. So it is a real no-brainer in that sense.
Santo: In short, make it social media friendly.
How can your social media marketing ventures use content?
Asu: If you generally look at the trend that comes out of social media, there is actually very little original content that comes out because it takes time to produce fresh content and talk about it at the same time. You can remedy that by making sure what you write is easily spreadable. If you are talking about content that you helped write, instead of just locking all that up behind a PDF, you can definitely have that as part of a post. You must be able to milk the content you produce to be able to re-purpose that into social media content.
Even if you are doing a video, where people have to spend some time talking about it, there are ways where you can annotate it and ways to pick up bits of that. You can say that “In this video I read about this” and it could just be a quotable quote and then point exactly to that area in the e-book and then spread it fast. Make sure that the content you produce must find its way through all the different channels.
People don’t read their Twitter feeds every day, well not everyone does, so just make sure you keep on tweeting and re-tweeting about it. Multiply it; get others to talk about it, etc. I think these are some of the ways.