What is it about B2B marketing and crap advertorials? (and what can you do about it?)
Why have I got a bee in my bonnet about B2B marketing and crap advertorials (if I can call it that)?
Imagine the scene
You’ve realised that you need to reach more people, so not unreasonably, you pay to have an article placed in a newspaper or B2B magazine aimed at your target customers.
You supply your words, your logo, your contact details and the publishers lay it out for you to sign off.
What could go wrong?
If that’s you – then congratulations you or your marketing team is an accomplice in a crime against your business brand.
A felony has been committed but which one?
Well the truth is you’ve probably had your pockets picked, as the chances are you had to write the editorial yourself, supply the picture, and edit and proof it – doing the publisher’s job for them.
Then you have to sign it off – so if there are any mistakes in there, then it’s your fault.
Oh, and you’re probably wondering if anyone has actually read it – though a few people comment that they have seen it, which of course isn’t the same thing.
And as for anyone picking up the phone and buying off the back of it… come on now!
So why does this happen?
Because there are two people involved in the heist – the sales guy at the publisher, and your marketing people.
And none of them know anything about storytelling.
The first, who has absolutely no interest in innovation or offering anything beyond what he already sells, is going to pretty much promise you what you want to hear because they have a number to hit, and you in your wisdom will believe them.
The reason this happens is simple – because that’s how it’s always happened, and nobody has come along and taken a flame thrower to the whole dungfest.
“Clients want edit,” is typically the refrain from the ad reps.
“Yeah, but what about their customers, what do they want? Because I bet my life it’s not this sh!£sh*^.”
Here are three of the worst offences (on the charge sheet of B2B marketing and crap advertorials)
1. Text and absolutely acres of it – sometimes stretching over pages (no-one will ever read this)
2. Zero decent photos – apart from a dodgy headshot – and as for infographics? Yeah right!
3. Putting you at the heart of the article and not the customer – because of course it’s all about you
Usually I’ve lost the will to get to the end of the article, but sometimes I may skip to the bit where the real story actually starts, if I’m lucky and it’s actually in there.
Or I’ll drift to the end in some sort of somnambulant stupor as the article meanders up its own backside.
Someone is going to do very well out of this advertorial arrangement and I’m afraid my friend it isn’t you and yours – nope it’s the other guy who got you to sign up to this pay-to-play model.
And as far as they’re concerned if the business model isn’t broken, and there are willing idiots out there prepared to keep paying them – then what’s to stop them?
Yes, there will be the inevitable wails of complaint from the publisher who does care actually, and puts the effort into making your words sing, and telling a story.
Well good luck if you’ve found them, they do exist and I’ve worked with a few – but hold them close, and make sure you’ve brought your bucket with you to collect the crock of gold sitting alongside them at the end of the rainbow.
So how are you going to get out of jail and break free from this and stop tipping your marketing spend down the toilet?
Three things you can do which can save your business content from the black death that is most advertorial
1. Put your customer’s needs at the heart of your story – it really isn’t about you
2. Show some TLC to the quality of the words and images
3. Give your target audience some real proof of the value you can add if they do business with you
If you can do that within the B2B publication, then great. But if not, you owe it to your business to find another way.
The Call to Action bit: Well you can see I got bit hot under the collar there, but I’m really passionate about great storytelling and the opportunities it can bring to your business. So now I’ve got that off my chest, if you think working with me sounds like a good fit for you, let’s have a chat.
And finally, if this post made you smile or snarl, then why not share it below?