I first came across Susie Carter on LinkedIn. She had published an article How to Write a Killer B2B Case Study, a guide that helped steer my case study/testimonial content and helped contribute to multiple awards and six figure client contracts. It was also funny, including instructions such as…
“Anyone using the word “delighted” in quotes must take a long look in the mirror and think about what they have done.”
Of course, we interviewed her.
I asked Susie how she creates impactful multi-media campaigns that engage, like the one with world record holding Everest climber Kenton Cool, which yielded coverage in every national UK newspaper and TV station. I also asked about her new role as Brand and Content Lead at Laminar Projects, and any advice she’d give to B2B digital marketers.
What she said in 14 words was…
“I think when you create great stories you end up creating really great campaigns.”
But let’s get more specific.
“So many campaigns are about ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’. It’s ineffective. Instead, focus on your customers and your market. Know it inside and out. Find a way to talk about them, to tell their stories, and to genuinely provide benefit.
I left freelance and went to Laminar Projects after a successful solo career. (Laminar Projects offers project management services for construction programmes across multiple business sectors) I moved because they understood the value of storytelling- the role was actually advertised as ‘Inspiring Storyteller’. And also because they understand that an outward focus is vital.
Laminar are fully supporting the creation of a multi-media content marketing hub – that helps clients, without selling to them. In the latest example, we created and gave away for free – with no lead gen involved – a guide on how to use new and emerging project management technology. It’s had great engagement, which builds brand loyalty.
While this is not uncharted territory, it’s unusual for B2B, and it’s rarely done well.
A customer centric focus enables you to put out valuable content, convey that you’re around, and help your target audience. Inadvertently, it also signals that you know what you’re talking about.
This is a much more sophisticated, much more successful message and practice. And it goes the distance in terms of long-term business relationships.”
We explored this recently in an interview with Danfoss Editron Division’s Nina Harjula, who heads up marketing for their electric drivetrain systems. While discussing her own B2B content she stated, “Of course our product marketing communications are extremely important. But we try to keep the customer in front.’
Or as HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah said, ‘Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant.’
In short, storytelling, outward focus, and customer centric content is not just for B2C. Let’s spread the word.
Tell the whole story.
Susie also led media relations for the record 16th Everest summit by Kenton Cool – known as Mr Everest.
But that wasn’t the whole story.
“It’s interesting that a man has climbed Everest 16 times, right – it’s a great achievement. But that’s not enough for something to get picked up widely, because it’s so far out of people’s realm of experience, they can’t relate to it.
“For it to get broadcast by every national news station and television station in the UK, we had to tell the whole story and it had to be relatable.
“I think with Kenton I worked really hard to actually find a weakness, or a vulnerability. I found out that he had broken both his heels in an accident and the doctors told him when he was a teenager that he would never walk again unaided…
“Now that’s a more complete story. That approach – including vulnerabilities – isn’t always palatable to clients. But I said to Kenton’s wife: If you were down the pub with your mates, this is the story you’d tell.’ It’s not just the accomplishment, it’s the turnaround. It’s the adversity. It’s the whole story.
So we went with it, it went viral, and I will never forget that phone call from the top of Everest thanking me for the campaign. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Learn from journalists.
I learned a lot during my time as a journalist. I learned to research thoroughly, to ask the right questions and to make connections. I learned to write in a compelling way. And to put the interesting bits of a story in front.
Journalism also taught me to include the human elements of a story. I think in B2B campaigns the human elements are often missing. But B2B at the end of the day is still person to person.
When it came to writing up a case study about the Kenton Cool campaign, I chose to start it by describing how I had to get off my train eight stops early, and call the local Wetherspoons to confirm they had WiFi – to deal urgently with enquiries from The Press Association. It’s not glamourous, but it’s human, relatable, and a bit funny – It gets people reading
Journalism also taught me to do my homework. I’d treat any opportunity with reverence by knowing the contact and the industry inside and out. One of the best ways to build trusted relationships and prove your worth both internally and externally is to do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.
Susie Carter is Brand and Content Lead for Laminar Projects.
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