“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative’. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”
David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising
Most marketers will share David Ogilvy’s no-nonsense view of advertising. But the same can be said for content in general. You want to know that the messaging you create has influenced your audience.
Whether the end goal is a tangible commercial or brand return, the best B2B content doesn’t just inform audiences or impress them with its thinking – it influences them, too.
Yet the concept of influence is poorly understood.
Using thought leadership to influence B2B audiences
What does it really mean when we say we have influenced an audience, and what do we want the outcome to be? How do we do it, and how do we know it has worked? To answer these questions, we pored over the literature on influence – from storytelling frameworks to behavioural economics and the work of persuasion experts.
Those findings are combined with what we know from our experience of a decade working on high-profile B2B content campaigns in our latest ebook: a practical guide to creating genuinely influential content.
What you can expect
Influence is all about getting the audience to think differently about your brand and/or act differently. But how do you put that into practice? How can you influence your audience with your B2B content?
In this ebook, you’ll find out:
- What does it really mean to ‘influence’ your audience?
- Where we can learn from the copywriters: The five stages of creating influential content
- How to get attention: FT Longitude’s SURE framework and when to apply it
- And, crucially, how to know if it’s worked
We’ll answer these questions and more in the following chapters:
1. What do we mean by ‘influence’?
Influence depends on what you are trying to achieve with your content. The action or thought you want to prompt must be aligned with your core objective, and there must be a clear line of sight between the two.
We explore the four most common goals for thought leadership content and explain why getting audiences to think or act differently is founded on a relationship of trust.
2. Learn from the copywriters: The five stages of creating influential content
Advertising copywriters know a thing or two about influencing an audience, and one of the most successful was Victor Schwab; a leading light in the industry for more than 40 years.
We look in detail at his five stages of creating influential content below, and find out why they matter more than ever.
- Get attention – introducing FT Longitude’s SURE framework; four essential qualities that your content should possess to help get attention (with real-world examples)
- Show people an advantage – including how to use storytelling frameworks as part of your content narrative
- Prove it – exploring ways of using independent research to help prove your point
- Persuade people to grasp the advantage – examining Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion and the ethics of influence
- Ask for action – identifying the six stages of the buyer journey and how to use content get audiences to think and act differently in each phase
3. How do you know if it has worked?
Measuring influence, as opposed to engagement, is challenging to do but it is possible. There are numerous metrics that can be used to track influence, and numerous indicators that can suggest content is having a positive impact by encouraging tangible outcomes.
We propose four dimensions of influence and provide some metrics that are suitable for tracking performance across your content campaigns.
For all this, as well as access to useful graphics and other practical examples from the world of B2B, download your copy of the ebook here.