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BrightEdge CEO illuminates evolving content landscape for B2B startups

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“Think like a publisher” is a mantra that most content marketers, even entrepreneurs, repeat as they plan e-books, white papers, blog posts, videos and other collateral. They hire former journalists to write and produce, but when it comes to publication, a lot of them fall short of their goals. The secret, according to BrightEdge CEO and co-founder Jim Yu, is to operate the publishing arm of the marketing department in a B2B organization as an actual revenue-rich business.

Seven years ago, the market was already shifting, Yu said in an exclusive interview with the Springfield Entrepreneurship Examiner. Paid ads were becoming much less credible, and brands were starting to become publishers themselves to fill the gap. This was due to the new expectations from customers, who have grown up with TiVO and other DVR devices and tune out more ads. “People are more trained to expect content that is relevant to them,” he said.

That led to some pain for B2B brands, particularly startups and entrepreneurs, which want to get their messages out in this increasingly overloaded market. One of the first challenges, according to Yu, is determining which content to create and what format to use. “We’re seeing people leverage data to understand the buying cycle better,” he said. That means indexing topics, keywords and content, then pinpointing the kind of content that is currently in demand and will ultimately convert prospects to customers.

Part of that requires creating personas of the target buyer for the B2B company and learning the topics and keywords that the buyer would be using. “You can understand how big those markets are by leveraging data from searches,” Yu said. This helps companies build content that target customers will find; instead of using terms that only make sense internally and aren’t widely used by buyers, marketers are leveraging terminology from the buyer’s point of view. “What you want to do is take an outside-in approach and use data from search, social, and Twitter streams, for example, to understand trends in the market and leverage that before creating content,” he said.

Yu also advised creating mobile content, as this year, over 30 percent of search traffic comes from mobile devices. “It’s a huge change in terms of where the demand is and how people are accessing content, and we’re seeing opportunities for brands and B2B marketers to leverage content,” he said. However, he also cautioned that different types of content perform better than others on mobile, and ultimately mobile converts better on smartphones than other types of content.

“It’s important that, as you think about strategy, think about how prospects are accessing content is really going through a huge change,” he added.

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