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Jason Miller’s B2B Creativity Insight

LinkedIn’s Jason Miller on what B2B content marketers can learn from their B2C cousins.

As LinkedIn’s global group manager for content and social media marketing, Jason Miller knows about using content marketing to reach businesses. But as he started his career on the consumer side, working for Sony’s music arm, he thought B2B content marketing could learn some valuable lessons from B2C. Because the paradigm of perception is changing and the material is written not for “ephemeral” theoretical consumers but for real people, it is important to take advanced training courses.

Miller says that B2B leads the way in building relationships and measuring the impact of content marketing efforts, while B2C is better at crafting entertaining copy and getting it out into the world.

“B2B needs to get more creative, be bolder, and lighten up a bit,” he says. “Lots of brands are scared to try something new. Safe is the new boring. Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it must always be so serious.

“The very definition of content marketing is to inform, inspire, and sometimes entertain. I like the entertaining part the most.”

Miller says there are two essential ingredients to crafting bold creative content that doesn’t risk missing the mark. The first is knowing your audience and what message will resonate with them. The second is using metrics to test and hone your messages before you throw all your marketing heft behind them.

“With the right approach, testing incentivizes and enables creativity,” he says. “Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, you can try different creative approaches that have potential relevance for the target audience and then optimize around those that work best. It’s a great way to avoid being overly cautious or making decisions by committee. For a while, this huge movement towards big data and marketers seemed to forget about creativity – but nobody puts creativity in a corner!”

When finding messages that resonate, Miller believes in the “big rock” approach to content – creating one big piece of content a few times a year that can be recut and packaged into myriad assets. “You just have to ask yourself each quarter: What conversation do we want to own, and what is the No.1 question on our prospects’ minds? Very often, those are the same,” he says.

“The ‘big rock’ answers that question better than your competition. It’s not thinking like a publisher but publishing like a publisher. Know something your audiences want to know? Write the book on it.”

Miller’s portfolio includes “big rock” items such as the Big Marketing Activity Coloring Book and the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, and he says the approach is powerful because it’s doing more with less. “Creating one ‘big rock’ piece of content can fuel your social and demand generation channels for up to a quarter and many times longer than that,” he says.

“The original Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn has been our #1 lead generator for almost four years. We update it yearly like a publisher would update their best sellers with a new edition, introduction, and timely extra chapters. Then, we deconstruct the entire ebook by putting it in smaller pieces (turkey slices, if you will). We use this as ungated content to drive traffic back to the ‘big rock’. It’s also scalable.”