How B2B Marketers Can Build a Community of Influence with Content

B2B Community of Influence with Content

B2B Community of Influence with Content
One of the most compelling scenarios for B2B marketers to build content and community is through a combination user generated content (UGC) and strategic content collaborations. To do this, many B2B brands will initiate ongoing social media content and engagement programs to stimulate dialog with customers, community and influencers to build essential relationships.

With B2B marketing shifting to digital first, there is more demand for content than ever, but there are also resource challenges with the need to continuously create new content. At the same time traditional social media and content marketing can have trust issues if the brand isn’t engaging with the community or the right influencers on a regular basis. A content marketing focused solution that solves for both of those challenges that also helps build community and influence for B2B brands can be found through participation marketing – aka, user generated content in the form of content collaborations with external influencers, brand community and customers.

As brands participate in social communities, asking and answering questions, engaging customers and sharing content, numerous opportunities exist to involve the community with content creation.

Crowdsourcing content with the different audiences of a brand helps create new, meaningful content as well as providing an opportunity to use the act of content collaboration as a way to build relationships, community and influence. When you make a relevant ask to contribute content and then use the resulting content to create mutual credibility and exposure for the contributors, the experience can drive deeper engagement and organic advocacy amongst the influential voices your customers trust.

Like all B2B marketing tactics, there are pros and cons for a crowdsourced approach to content. Some of the pros include:

  • User generated content is trusted
  • Contributors have an interest in helping promote the content
  • UGC provides more content for search engines
  • UGC provides more information sources for prospects & customers
  • UGC publishing allows for critical feedback about products and services
  • UGC publishing provides tools for brand evangelists
  • UGC facilitates brand conversations within the marketplace

Of course there are a few cons too:

  • Resources are needed for oversight and moderation
  • Who owns the content?
  • Where is the content published?
  • What is the value exchange for contributors? If paid, it could hurt content credibility

The good news is that most of the cons can be mitigated with good communications, oversight and process.

From a practical application standpoint, here are a few examples how content can be crowdsourced and repurposed

1. Interviews. Asking other people questions is one of the most basic ways to crowdsource content. There are a number of ways to implement such an approach according to the desired outcome. Asking the community for suggestions of who to interview and what questions to ask is a great way to involve people in the process. Interviewing industry thought leaders provides the brand’s audience with unique content and creates a positive association between the “brandividual” and the company.

Be sure to empathize with thought leaders and their busy schedules. It will often be far more effective to ask one question of ten famous people than ten questions of one person. When you do that, you’ve made it easy for each person to answer and have also multiplied the number of potential influencers that will help promote the finished product.

2. Social Q & A – Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks can provide very useful platforms to present B2B focused questions and attract answers from a variety of people for use in your content project. Of course, your intent needs to be clear and permission for reuse should be obtained before republishing. Those familiar with the Q & A communities can word questions to attract replies from specific influentials who might not otherwise respond to a content participation pitch via email.

3. Contests Resulting in Content – Examples of contests where consumers produce their own videos or share images abound on the social web. Community members or influencers could be invited to create videos, blog posts or other media as a way to “enter” the contest run by a B2B brand. Entries hosted on the respective participant publishing channels would link back to the contest home and then the top 10 entries could be compiled into a highlight video or ebook according to the format used.

4. Comment Feedback Loop – One of the most meaningful ways for a community to engage with a brand is through comments made on social networks about a brand, in reaction to brand content or topics of mutual interest. Soliciting the community of readers to participate in a dialog by commenting can result in content that is more engaging and specific to what the audience is interested in.

Brands can then recognize commenters by drawing attention to the “best of” comments in separate blog or social media post, or as we do it at our agency, on our TopRank Marketing Newsletter.

5. Print or eBook Authoring by Community – Reaching out to industry experts to share their insights as part of a larger project can be a very effective method for crowdsourcing content. Author Michael Miller did this with “Online Marketing Heroes” of which I was a part many years ago. He interviewed 25 successful marketers and the result of those interviews became a print book.

Another commonly used format of crowdsourcing ebook content involves creating an outline for an ebook with portions like the premise, key points and conclusion reserved for the brand point of view and allocating specific sections for contributions for subject matter experts – industry influencers, customers, and key opinion leaders.

Through progressive content collaboration experiences that result in content that is simultaneously useful to customers and great visibility for contributors, B2B brands can develop a community of influence that helps

  • Relieve some of the pressure of ongoing content creation
  • Creates content that is trusted and hyper relevant to audiences
  • Builds credibility for the brand by association with the influencers who contributed
  • Develops mutually valuable relationships with trusted voices in the industry
  • Inspire organic brand advocacy on the topics engaged

While there are many upsides when done well, it’s important to know that it’s possible to over rely on a community for content creation too, so don’t overdo it. Also, genuine recognition inspires better work and can motivate participants to share future crowdsourced content more enthusiastically than something that is more transactional.

As you look at the social networks, communities, prospects, customers and influencers that make up the ecosystem of information sources that are important to your brand, think about the gaps of information that exist in your industry that could be filled with user and influencer generated content. Looking beyond the fundamental benefit of content creation for marketing, even greater opportunities exist when the content collaboration experience helps build genuine relationships with community and industry voices that your customers trust.

The post How B2B Marketers Can Build a Community of Influence with Content appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

35 weird but useful things we bought using Amazon Prime

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

catty stacks
A cat condo is just one of the weird products we’ve purchased on Amazon.

  • You can buy almost anything on Amazon and get it delivered in just two days with Amazon Prime.
  • We asked our colleagues to share the weirdest yet most useful products they bought on Amazon.
  • The responses range from practical to comical and everything in between.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, whatever we order, we rarely have to wait longer than two days for it to arrive at our door. Sometimes our items even show up the same day.

But with great purchasing power comes some unusual choices.

I asked my Insider Inc. colleagues to share some of the weirdest things that they’ve bought on Amazon over the last few months. From the practical (balsamic vinegar ) to the nostalgic (an updated version of Silly Putty ), to the strangely unique (a “Return to Sender” message stamp), Amazon is home to a variety of random products.

Here are the five best weird purchases you can make on Amazon:

  1. A cooling eye mask, $9.96
  2. A fabric defuzzer, $12.99
  3. A hot air popper, $20.59
  4. A LifeStraw, $14.89
  5. Incense bricks, $8.75

Given the random nature of these picks, we’ve decided to keep everyone anonymous. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar and length.

Check out 35 of our favorite weird but great Amazon Prime buys below:

A fabric defuzzer

Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer:Shaver

Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer/Shaver, $12.99

In our now-persistent quest to improve every bit of our home while we’re stuck in it for inordinate amounts of time, my wife picked up this little bugger from Conair. She says that it’s “incredibly effective,” or more accurately, “That thing f@#ing works.” That’s about as emphatic an endorsement you can get as to how well this handheld fabric shaver removes lint and pilling from fabrics and clothing. Our pillows have honestly never looked so fresh.

An interactive cat toy

An interactive cat toy

Indoor Cat Interactive Swimming Fish Toy, $15.99

My life changed in 2020 when I adopted my adorable little kitten Sullivan. But in exchange for cuteness, sometimes all a cat wants is some entertainment. After exhausting myself with a number of options (including cat entertainment videos on YouTube and a virtual mouse app on iPhone), these battery-powered fish toys made Sullivan feel like he was in feline heaven. After you put the batteries in the fish and place them in a bowl, they wiggle around in the water to any cat’s delight.

A cover to prevent pets from chewing through cables

PetCable Cover wrapping around a cord

PetCable Cover, $14.99

No matter how many toys I buy for my cat, he just can’t stop chewing on nearby cables and wires. This wasn’t a huge problem until he completely chewed through a laptop charger last year and nearly hurt himself. That’s why I’ve ordered several of these PetCable covers on Amazon. They’re easy to install and are made of a durable nylon material and can be used on all sorts of electrical cables. I’ve been using them for months — they cover almost every exposed wire in my home — and Buddy has yet to chew through any of them.

Garlic hot sauce that goes with anything

Jersey Bonfire The Original Black Garlic Hot Sauce,

Jersey Bonfire The Original Black Garlic Hot Sauce, $13.45

If you’re anything like me, hot sauce is a mandatory addition to almost every meal. I discovered Jersey Bonfire a couple of years ago at the New York City Hot Sauce Expo and was ecstatic when I realized its sauces are available on Amazon. This particular sauce has the right combination of rich texture, punchy garlic flavor, and just enough heat, making it ideal for just about anything: chicken, steak, pizza, eggs, and more. Plus, Jersey Barnfire sources all of its ingredients from local farms in New Jersey.

A hot air popper

poplite popcorn popper

 Presto Poplite hot air popper, $20.59 

Popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack when it isn’t popped in oil or covered in butter. This air popper is really fun to use and makes a nice big bowl of popcorn in about five minutes. A 1lb bag of popcorn kernels lasts a surprisingly long time (I keep it in the fridge because I read somewhere that you should). For under $30, you’ve got plenty of snacks in your house at any time.

A ‘Return to Sender’ message stamp

Green Line 'Return to Sender' Message Stamp

Green Line ‘Return to Sender’ Message Stamp, $10.99

As an apartment-dweller who receives a lot of mail from people he has never met, this nifty $5 accessory gave me an official-looking way of sending the unwanted magazines and letters back from whence they came. Is it a necessary purchase? It’s debatable. But there’s something to be said about the satisfaction (and weird sense of authority) that comes with wielding this stamp like a gavel and sending away letters from credit card companies. Au revoir, ‘exciting offer’ from Capital One, you’re not needed here. 

Fidget-friendly Thinking putty

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty: Infinite Nebula

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, $14.95

I’m a fidgety person who always needs to do something with my hands, so Aaron’s Thinking Putty (think Silly Putty from your childhood, but better) is a godsend. This putty isn’t sticky or messy: it only sticks to itself and never leaks or falls apart. Maybe I’ve just been good about keeping it clean, but it also stays the same color and doesn’t get grimier over time.  I keep a few different tins on my desk for when I need to listen in on long meetings, but my favorite is this Infinite Nebula color.

Some balsamic vinegar

Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar

Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar, $17.23

 I buy a lot of random condiments and recipe ingredients on Amazon, the latest of which is this absolutely delicious balsamic vinegar. It dresses up any meat and cheese board, and it’s a great addition in salads too. 

Cheese powder for popcorn

Cheddar Cheese Powder by Hoosier Hill Farm, 1 lb

Hoosier Hill Farm Cheddar Cheese Powder, $11.99

I generally eat pretty healthy, but I think I’m in love with this tub of powdered cheese. It’s so good on popcorn, in mac and cheese, and sprinkled on any other sort of cracker, chip, etc. It’s supremely cheesy and salty and delicious! This is honestly one of the best Amazon purchases I’ve made in years. 

A cat condo

img_6308_1024

Catty Stacks Modular Cat Condo, $29.98

Have a cat? Do yourself a favor and buy them a couple of these stackable boxes and tunnels. We’ve dubbed our setup “Box City” and it’s our cat Lady’s favorite place to nap and play! For cardboard, they’ve held up impressively well since we bought them six months ago. 

Mop slippers

bear slippers

Selric Bear Mop Slippers, $12.99

From a treadmill to fake plants to books, I buy everything on Amazon. But the best thing I’ve ever bought would have to be these adorable Microfiber Mop Slippers. They clean my hardwood floors while I run around the apartment. Also my feet get really hot in shoes so I like that they’re a flip flop style so my toes can breathe. And, they’re and washable!

A funny mug

mug

Boston Warehouse Udderly Cows Mug, $12.79

My partner accidentally broke my cow mug while washing the dishes, and a replacement was ordered on Amazon within the hour. It brings me such joy … I don’t even like cows that much.

A cooling eye mask

eye mask

Kimkoo Gel Eye Mask, $8.88

Whenever I wake up with puffy eyes or just need to cool down on the couch over the summer, I pop this inside the freezer and then directly onto my face. I don’t recommend leaving it in there for more than 15 minutes — your skin will scream at you — but it’s good at de-puffing and cooling you down overall.

A 3DS game

zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DS [Digital Code], $19.99

I’m a big fan of Amazon Prime. It’s really brought out the inner child in me with products like these!

A LifeStraw

lifestraw

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, $13.30

I bought a couple of these personal water filters on Amazon Prime Day to add to my family’s emergency to-go bag … and I wasn’t the only person who stocked up.  

A bed frame

zinus

Zinus 14-Inch SmartBase Platform Bed Frame (Queen), $99

I bought an entire bed frame off Amazon Prime Now.

For anyone who hasn’t used it, Amazon Prime Now is Amazon’s courier service. Basically, anything that’s in the local warehouses can be shipped out to you within one or two hours. 

It’s a pretty mundane product, but you have to hand it to the company for nailing logistics down to the point where you can get a heavy, unwieldy package from Manhattan to Brooklyn for rock-bottom prices. (I tipped, generously.)

Apologies to the poor soul who had to load it onto the van for being that guy.

An electric toothbrush

sonicare

Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, $64.50

I recently bought this toothbrush, and it has changed the way I look at brushing my teeth. It used to feel like a chore, but this takes the work out of it. It also seems really efficient, it’s decently priced, has great battery life, and best of all, it runs for two minutes so I can’t rush or underbrush.

Silicone wedding bands

rings

QALO Silicone Wedding Ring, $14.95 to $24.95 depending on size

My husband and I are really active and travel a lot, and we’re always worried about destroying/losing our wedding rings when we’re playing sports/hiking/swimming/staying in places we don’t know much about, so for an anniversary present I bought us both these Qalo rings.

They’re made of medical-grade silicone and they’re super comfortable. Lots of users have switched to silicone rings permanently; I haven’t gone that far yet, but I can see myself doing it in the future. Also, a couple started the company, and they do lots of philanthropic work. Cute.

A speaker system

speaker

Cyber Acoustics 30 Watt Powered Speakers with Subwoofer for PC and Gaming Systems, $39.99

I picked these up when my Klipsch speakers blew out. Figured they were a budget buy and wouldn’t last long. Almost four years of daily use later, they still sound great — no issues whatsoever.

Sand coasters

sand coasters

Turtlebacks Sand Coaster Drink Cup Holder (4-Pack), $10.99

I just bought these as stocking stuffers for our beach vacation that begins the day after Christmas. Super excited about them!

LEGOs

lego

LEGO Simpsons House, $573

I ordered the Lego Simpsons house for myself, a crazy Simpsons fan.

An umbrella

umbrella

Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella, $65.49

This beach umbrella gets used nearly every weekend during the summer months. I’ve lost a few of the original stakes, but replacements are cheap.

A grill

weber

Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, $459

The grill I ordered ended up coming early (the next day)!

Cheap earbuds

headphones

MEE audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones, $16.99

I was looking for some headphones to wear while exercising, but didn’t want to shell out for a premium pair — I know I’d either destroy them or lose them. This pair was one of the cheapest I’ve ever purchased, but they are by far the best.

They clip to my shirt to stay put, a wire cinch keeps them from getting tangled on weight-lifting equipment, and they even come with a carrying pouch. When I’m exercising, they stay firmly in my ear, sound halfway decent, and simply will not die.

I’ve run in the rain with them, left them outside, and even stepped on them. And they come in some cool colors! Best $18 I’ve ever spent (editor’s note: The price has since changed).

An adult coloring book

coloring book

“Lost Ocean” Coloring Book for Adults, $14.95

Who said coloring books are just for kids? I’m pretty fidgety, so I like keeping my hands occupied. A coloring book is a fun way to exercise creativity, mindfulness, and put my restlessness at bay. Plus, in the end, you’re left with a pretty picture. 

A kinetic toy

toy

Flow Rings Kinetic Spring Toy, $5.25

This is pretty odd. I bought this off of Amazon and it’s super fun to play with. You can see how it works here

Protein bars

muscle bars

Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Baked Protein Bars (12-Pack), $20.27

I recently bought these protein bars. My family all agrees that they’re super filling!

Itch-relieving oil

tamanu oil

Pur360 Tamanu Oil, $14.97

Feeling itchy? Tamanu Oil is a natural product I use to treat dry skin.

A candle lighter

candle lighter

RONXS Rechargable Lighter, $9.99

I first read about this weird but very helpful candle lighter in my colleague Connie Chen’s review, and I bought one immediately after. It’s a small thing, but I love that I’m no longer wasting non-refillable plastic lighters thanks to a rechargeable version, and the flexible neck means I no longer have to contort my hand or even lift a candle to light one where it stands. Again, a small thing, but surprisingly very convenient.

Incense bricks

pinon

Incienso de Santa Fe Pinon Incense Box (40-bricks), $8.99

I typically loathe incense, and find that they often leave behind a smell as equally offensive as stale cigarette smoke. But potpourri is expensive, and air fresheners just smell like … air fresheners. In fact, they remind me of being in taxi cabs, and I tend not to want to feel like I’m sitting in the backseat of a taxi when I’m in my living room.

Alas, I’ve struck a compromise and found some incense I can not only stand but enjoy. Incensio de Santa Fe offers seven different scents, but they’re all clean, compressed sawdust from the respective hardwood on the label. My favorite is piñon (pine), which I find to offer the kind of fresh, bright, and uplifting aroma I like to keep flowing throughout my household. 

A facial hair trimmer

trimmer

Panasonic Facial Hair Trimmer, $19.99

I recently bought this because I wanted to get rid of the peach fuzz that’s on the side of my face, upper lip, and chin line. So far, I love it. The head pivots, which means it works with the contours of your face so it doesn’t end up snagging at your skin. It also comes with eyebrow trimmers. While I don’t use these attachments,  for someone who is averse to plucking, waxing, or threading, this could be a great alternative.

A stud finder

zircon

Zircon Stud Finder, $42.18

I wasn’t sure what to get my dad for Father’s Day. He can be pretty particular with gifts but he loves to play with new gadgets like they are toys. I was scrolling through Amazon and came across this stud finder. In reality, my dad knows where all the studs are in my family’s house, but I figured he’d have fun going around the house scanning the walls … I was right.

Sardines

wild planet sardines

Wild Planet Sardines in Water, $34.80

I eat a lot of canned fish, and I’m not embarrassed to say it, even as someone who routinely catches their own fish and makes sure it hits the table within 24 hours. Canned fish is high in iron, and as easy as popping a can and toasting a bit of bread for a quick and affordable (I get a 12-pack for about $26), healthy snack.

I also end up spending a good deal less than I would were I to head to the local grocery in Brooklyn. This is an easy backup to have on hand for a snack, or part of a balanced meal, at a moment’s notice. It also makes for good survival food, should disaster strike.

Food Coloring

americolor

AmeriColor Food Coloring, $26.25

Any baker looking to expand their repertoire won’t regret buying this food-coloring kit. A food blogger I follow uses it, and the range of colors you can create with it is really cool.  

Toilet Paper

solimo

Solimo Toilet Paper (30-rolls), $19.99

It sucks to run out of toilet paper, so I buy it in bulk. Amazon’s house-brand is surprisingly really good.

Read the original article on Business Insider