Your B2B content will continue to fail unless you use ‘The Mirror Test’

Are your B2B content strategies shaping the industry, or just blending in? Dive into our latest blog where we introduce 'The Mirror Test' – your key to elevating content strategy in the AI era. This blog guides CMOs through evaluating and enhancing content with AI, offers a detailed comparison of mediocre vs. great content, and includes a practical checklist.

Quick Summary:

  • Introduces 'The Mirror Test' as a tool for CMOs to evaluate and enhance their B2B content strategy in the context of AI.
  • Discusses key attributes that differentiate great content from mediocre, focusing on audience engagement, innovation, and strategic alignment.
  • Includes a detailed comparison table and a comprehensive checklist to assess content quality.
  • Provides insights into the role of AI in content strategy and showcases a case study of effective content marketing by Zendesk.

As a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at a small-to-medium B2B company, your content strategy is an important component of your brand's voice and influence. 

But in an age saturated with content, how can you ensure that your strategy not only competes but leads in your industry? This brings us to an essential introspective exercise: The Mirror Test. 

This test will help you evaluate whether your content is truly pioneering or simply blending into the background, especially in the rapidly evolving landscape shaped by AI.

The Mirror Test Concept

The Mirror Test is a reflection exercise designed for content marketers like you. It’s an introspection tool to evaluate whether your content is leading the pack or merely following the trail left by others. In the context of AI, this test becomes even more crucial. It helps you assess how effectively you’re integrating AI into your content strategy to create not just more content, but smarter, more impactful content that sets you apart as a leader in the B2B space.

Key questions for Self-evaluation

Audience Engagement:

  • How effectively does your content resonate with and captivate your target audience?
  • Are you seeing tangible engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments) that indicate your content is striking a chord?

Content Originality and Uniqueness:

  • Does your content offer a fresh perspective or unique insight not commonly found in your industry?
  • Are you providing thought-provoking or innovative ideas that challenge or expand upon conventional wisdom?

Emotional Connection:

  • Does your content evoke an emotional response or create a memorable experience for the reader?
  • Are you able to weave narratives or stories that not only inform but also emotionally engage your audience?

Content Quality and Craftsmanship:

  • Is your content not just well-written but also reflective of high editorial standards and creative excellence?
  • Does your content demonstrate a mastery of language and an ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and compellingly?

Strategic Alignment with Brand Goals:

  • How well does your content align with your broader brand objectives and marketing goals?
  • Are you creating content that not just attracts attention but also supports and amplifies your brand's mission and values?

Impact and Influence:

  • Does your content have a measurable impact, whether in terms of driving sales, generating leads, or building brand authority?
  • Are you influencing industry conversations or becoming a go-to source for insights in your field?

Sustainability and Longevity:

  • Is your content designed to be evergreen, continuing to attract and engage audiences over time?
  • Are you building a content library that remains relevant and valuable, not just for immediate needs but for future opportunities?

The hallmarks of great B2B content

Now that you’ve taken The Mirror Test, here are the key characteristics that distinguish outstanding content from the average, ensuring it not only captures attention but also delivers tangible business value. These points are particularly important for content aimed at other businesses, where the decision-making process is often more complex and information-driven. Here are the crucial attributes:

Audience-Centric Approach: Great B2B content is tailored to the specific needs, challenges, and interests of the target audience. It goes beyond generic messaging to address the unique concerns of each segment of the business audience.

Depth of Insight and Expertise: It provides deep, well-researched insights, showcasing a high level of expertise. This includes industry analysis, thought leadership, and data-driven perspectives that help businesses make informed decisions.

Clear and Compelling Narrative: Even with complex topics, the content should be presented in a clear, engaging, and compelling manner. A strong narrative helps in simplifying complex concepts and keeping the audience engaged.

Solution-Oriented: Effective B2B content focuses on solutions. It doesn’t just highlight problems; it offers practical, actionable solutions that businesses can implement.

Credibility and Trustworthiness: Trust is crucial in B2B relationships. Content should be accurate, reliable, and backed by credible sources, statistics, and real-world examples.

Strategic Alignment with Business Goals: Great content aligns with the broader business objectives and marketing goals of the B2B company. It supports and enhances the brand’s messaging and value proposition.

Innovative and Forward-Thinking: It brings new ideas or perspectives to the table. Innovation can be in the form of exploring emerging trends, proposing new business models, or introducing novel solutions to industry challenges.

Engaging and Interactive: It should captivate the audience's interest, often using interactive elements like quizzes, calculators, or engaging visuals to enhance the user experience.

SEO and Digital Optimization: For online content, being optimized for search engines and digital platforms is crucial. This ensures visibility and accessibility to the target audience when they seek information.

Measurable Impact: Great content has a clear, measurable impact – whether it's in generating leads, driving website traffic, increasing brand awareness, or contributing to sales conversions.

Shareability and Network Effect: It should be compelling enough that readers want to share it within their networks, leveraging the power of social proof and broadening its reach.

Evergreen Value: The best B2B content remains relevant over time, continuing to provide value long after it's published. This evergreen quality means it can continue to attract and engage audiences, potentially for years.

Characteristics of Blah content vs. Great content

Case Study: B2B Content marketing done right 

Zendesk, a customer service software company, exemplifies how a B2B company can create great content. Drawing inspiration from the information available on their blog and industry insights, let's explore the key aspects that make Zendesk's content stand out:

Understanding the Audience's Needs: Zendesk excels in creating content that resonates with its audience – primarily businesses looking for customer service solutions. They focus on topics that matter to their target market, such as customer experience, service tips, and industry trends. This demonstrates a deep understanding of their audience's challenges and needs.

Showcasing Thought Leadership: Zendesk establishes itself as a thought leader through comprehensive articles and insights on customer service and engagement trends. Their content often delves into new research, innovative practices in customer service, and actionable advice, positioning them as experts in their field.

Leveraging Data and Research: Many of Zendesk's pieces are underpinned by data and research, making their content not only informative but also credible. They often use data from their studies or cite reputable sources, adding depth and authority to their articles.

Engaging and Accessible Writing Style: Zendesk's content is marked by an engaging, reader-friendly style. They manage to discuss complex customer service concepts in a way that is accessible to a broad audience, which is crucial for B2B companies that may be addressing readers with varying levels of expertise.

Even the way Zendesk asks you to subscribe is interesting!

Diverse Content Formats: The company employs a variety of content formats, including blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and case studies. This diversity caters to different audience preferences and helps in disseminating information in more engaging ways.

Providing Practical Solutions: Zendesk's content often focuses on providing practical solutions to common problems faced by their customers. This utility-driven approach ensures that their audience gains tangible value from their content, reinforcing Zendesk's role as a helpful resource in the customer service sphere.

Highlighting Customer Success Stories: They frequently feature case studies and success stories, showcasing how real clients have benefited from their services. These stories not only serve as testimonials but also offer practical examples of how Zendesk solves real-world problems.

Keeping Up with Industry Trends: Zendesk stays abreast of the latest trends in customer service and technology. They reflect these trends in their content, ensuring that their audience is always informed about the latest developments in the industry.

Zendesk's approach to content creation is a blend of audience understanding, thought leadership, data-backed insights, engaging writing, diverse formats, practical solutions, customer success stories, and trend awareness. This comprehensive strategy is what sets their content apart in the B2B space, making it not just good, but great.

10-step checklist for CMOs looking to elevate their B2B content

Up for a challenge?

Now that you have understood what great content is all about, it’s time for a fun challenge. It’s simple. All you have to do is apply the Mirror Test to your content strategy. Commit to not just using AI as a tool but as a strategic partner in creating content that leads and defines industry standards. Let us know how that goes!

Conclusion

As you stand at the crossroads of content creation and strategy, the Mirror Test emerges not just as a tool but as a beacon, guiding you towards content excellence in the B2B sector. It's a reflection of your commitment to not just meet but exceed the evolving standards of content marketing. By integrating the insights and strategies discussed, from understanding your audience's needs to embracing innovation and leveraging data, you have the power to transform your content from good to exceptional.

Remember, the content you create is more than just words on a page or screen, it's a testament to your brand's values, expertise, and vision. It's about creating a narrative that resonates, informs, and influences. As a CMO, your role transcends beyond mere marketing; it's about being a storyteller, an innovator, and a leader.

The integration of AI, while important, is just one piece of the puzzle. As we keep saying, AI is the wand and you are the wizard. The real magic happens when the wizard wields the wand, when human creativity, strategic insight, and technological prowess come together. This blend is what sets apart great content from the mundane. It's what makes your content not only seen but remembered and respected.

Download this Content Quality Checklist to find out if your content strategy needs a rethink

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