Building and Scaling your B2B Marketing Media Engine
B2B marketers are in the age of demand gen.
And that means your teams have to behave a bit like media companies. That's because it’s the best way of delivering and scaling consistent, high-quality create-demand content.
Because let’s be real - the days of lead gen are behind us.
Gated e-books, broken forms, and sponsored trade shows - as a B2B marketer you have to say: ‘Thank you, next.’ 👋
Now, here’s the real question - how do you build and scale a media engine?
They’ll deep dive into:
- What a media engine means in the world of B2B
- Scaling a media engine with worked examples
- Other tips and best practices to consider
And much more.
So, let’s get into it! Scroll for more 👇
What is a media engine in the world of B2B marketing?
We understand you might have questions.
Media agencies in B2B? How? Why?
Alice kicked things off, outlining what a media engine or machine looks like for B2B marketers:
“It’s about building an audience with key subscriber channels.”
Here are some examples:
- LinkedIn company page
- LinkedIn subject matter expert profiles
- Blogs powered by story hunters rather than SEO writers
“And there are three core components to consider, that’ll help you build a successful media engine: quality, consistency, and a point of view.”
Alice took a deep dive into what each component means 👇
“Whatever the content is, we don’t put something out unless the person who consumes it has learnt something that would give them a competitive advantage in their role. This is the guardrail we’ve set for our content. And that’s what we follow.”
“This is important for making a presence in your audience and your space. I don’t think you’ll get the full benefits of your media engine at scale without this.”
Point of view
This is going to be dependent on the persona.
But in essence, it’s about owning a specific message:
“In the context of sales, we’re big advocates of outbound done well. And on the marketing side, it’s the shift from lead gen to demand gen.”
Scaling a media machine: the key processes at Cognism
The process for video
There’s so much you can do with video.
But where to start? How to plan?
Well, the best plan of action is to double down on the assets you know are working. In other words, focus on the quick wins for video content.
Alice explains more:
“From a video perspective, there’s a number of ways you can scale it out. For us, we’ve identified key topics within personas that really resonate.”
“For example, for the sales persona we know cadences and cold calling scripts are some of our best-performing assets.”
The process for newsletters
“This is something that’s been pretty interesting for us. And I’m sure we’re likely to change or switch up the format. But for now, our content team are living, breathing case studies - for the content digest at least. The demand gen digest will come from events like this - our Demandism Live webinars. We can repurpose and scale it.”
Think of ABBA.
The music wouldn’t be as good if Agnetha or Bjorn was absent.
ABBA works because they’re a fantastic four.
What we’re getting at here is - you need a team! Things work out better when people work together.
And Fran explained how the team is organised, so that the building of the media machine can be facilitated:
“In the demand generation pod, we have two content executives that focus on the two core personas - sales and marketing. They collaborate with our demand gen marketers - that’s the secret here.”
“With this setup, everyone is aligned on messaging. Our two content executives are in addition to the wider content team, who work on more general journalistic and SEO content.”
Now, here’s where the tricky part comes in.
The content writers in the DG pod are separate from Cognism’s main content team, although they share tasks such as writing thought leadership pieces and publishing SEO-focused blogs.
Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?
Well, it doesn’t have to be - it comes back to being organised. Alice said:
“How does it all fit together for us? We think about content in terms of buckets, such as thought leadership or social proof. And we have people working on the content within each one of these buckets.”
“To avoid duplication we use a project management tool called Asana. One board is assigned to each bucket, with separate sections for each persona.”
The bottom line?
In order to build your media machine, you need a structured team. Everyone needs to be aligned and aware of what each other is working on.
Scaling a media machine: Cognism’s case studies
So now it’s clear what a media machine is.
Let’s see how it might look in practice, giving a couple of examples of how it’s worked for the team at Cognism:
Scaling a media machine with subject matter experts
Cognism’s marketing team works with subject matter expert Ryan Reisert, on all things sales content.
He’s a great resource, as he’s got his ear to the ground, in a way the marketing team doesn't.
Here’s what the media machine looks like with him, including key KPIs and goals that have been set out for each channel 👇
1 - Scale Ryan’s LinkedIn following to over 24K by the end of June 2022 - with a monthly increase of 1K followers.
2 - His contribution to an uplift in organic unique blog views of 25% per quarter (currently at 17%).
“Ryan was going to be our subject matter expert on all things B2B sales, so writing quality content was possible here.”
3 - Ryan was to become the voice of the sales newsletter with a 50% increase in subscribers (currently at 25%).
4 - Ryan to become the host of the Revenue Champions podcast, sourcing influential and interesting speakers on a weekly basis and helping to scale regular active listeners on from 25 to 150. Also a goal to host 1 episode a week.
5 - Ryan to help produce regular video content to help drive YouTube subscribers on Cognism’s channel up to 10k in 1 year. So that means 2500 per quarter (currently at 600).
6 - Ryan to help run bi-weekly live events, such as Cold Calling Live Workshops. Alongside other sales leaders, help live volunteers improve their cold calling tactics, by offering actionable tips and advice.
Now, this is how micro-influencing has been scaled for the sales persona. What about the marketing persona?
Well, Cognism’s very own B2B marketing leaders are the solution of course!
Alice, Liam, and Fran are all scaling their personal LinkedIn profiles, through regular posting.
And something they’ve all learnt is that planning is crucial. In other words, it’s important to commit to the days and the number of posts that’ll go live.
Liam is a good case study for this - he explained his insights:
“I create a document and then try at the beginning of the week to plan two or three topics. And I tend to plan early in the morning. And it’s best to take up any opportunities for recording - that makes the posts easier to write. As you’ve got something to support what you’re saying.”
Alice agreed, saying:
“I tend to block record, and the content I film is based off the topics that have had a lot of comments or engagement. And what ends up happening is that I have a bank of content for use at my disposal.”
Scaling a media machine with Demandism Live
Live events are amazing windows of opportunity when it comes to scaling the media engine.
Liam explains why:
“Start off with something like a live event. This is something B2C marketers are very good at - and B2B marketers are a little bit behind.”
“These live sessions allow you to focus on the volume of content at your disposal. And this factor is key when running and acting like a media company. Because then you’re able to break out the content in lots of different ways.”
Here’s how the Demandism Live webinar episodes are split out:
1 - Core topics from the sessions are extracted, as a focus for blog posts.
2 - The audio from the webinar is repurposed for the Revenue Champions podcast.
3 - Snippets are used for paid ads on LinkedIn.
4 - These same video-square formatted snippets are also used for organic text and video posts on LinkedIn.
5 - Key topics from the webinar become the base of the Demand Gen Digest newsletter.
Oh - and remember. Make sure each person owns or takes responsibility for the content on these different channels. That way one team member isn’t spread too thinly.
You’ve gotta have all hands on deck when it comes to scaling!
Other best practices to remember
The marketing trio wanted to round off the conversation by giving a couple of last minute tips and tricks - so you can ace the building and scaling of your media engine.
Here they are ⬇️
Create value-driven content that gives buyers an advantage
⭐ VALUE, VALUE, VALUE! ⭐
It’s a word you’re no stranger to in marketing.
Follow Fran’s advice:
“In all honesty, I used to spend a lot of wasted time making sure if and when leads went into Salesforce, then wait if the leads had been followed up with, and then assess what the quality was like. And it used to keep me up at night, thinking about the number of leads we had and how much they cost.”
These were dark days for Fran and her team. So what changed?
“In the age of demand gen - it’s about providing valuable content that’s going to help your buyers. I took a step back, and I created a checklist for my team to follow. So we’re creating content our buyers and audience are actually interested in engaging with.”
Fran’s checklist is:
- Listen to customer calls
- Identify key pain points and how you can help solve them
- Understand how you can best deliver this content on an audience’s channel of choice
Now, in the beginning, you might feel bombarded or daunted with the choice of channels and media types.
So, here’s what Fran recommends:
“Figure out where you’re performing best so you can double down - that’s the key to making something scalable and repeatable.”
“You can start small by focusing on one channel, and then build out once you’ve got some momentum going.”
It’s all about the quick wins!
“For example, we used to have a gated e-book. But then we decided to run ads to this e-book - now as an interactive and completely ungated page.”
“And I was well aware people like to consume content in different ways - so there’s different bits of media on the page to support this too. That’s how you’re helping buyers - give them what they want!”
She also gave an example of what this value-led approach looks like with an subject matter expert:
“We have bi-weekly meetings with Ryan so he can produce video content, encouraging volunteers for cold calling live workshops.”
“The icing on the cake is that Ryan’s expertise is being served directly to our audience- and the content immediately becomes 10x more valuable. Because it’s coming from somebody who is living and breathing these sales tactics everyday.”
Track and report on your findings
Look at the quantitative feedback and the qualitative feedback.
Liam explained more:
“Think like a media company - don’t have a heavy focus on direct results such as leads or demo requests.”
“Instead, assess and measure the success of the content, through metrics like engagement, feedback, and interaction. Not whether you’re getting leads, meetings booked, or conversations.”
He gave some examples of what you might want to consider tracking, depending on the channel(s) you’re focusing on 👇
- Paid ads: Likes, comments, click-through-rates, video views, reach
- Blogs and SEO pages: page views, bounce rate, time on page, scroll depth
- Podcasts and webinars: subscribers, total listens, average audience, attendee numbers
- Newsletters: subscribers, replies, click-through-rate
- Direct feedback from your ICP
Watch the webinar
This isn’t the end - we’ve got more demand gen insights for you!
Want to hear about on-demand email nurtures and website journeys?
Watch the full recording of Demandism Live here 👇