Harnessing User-Generated Content for B2B Marketing

I am seeing the use of user-generated content pop up more and more in B2B.

One interesting example is events that are completely user driven. No PowerPoint, just networking and collaboration at its finest.

Good stuff, but still just an offline conversation. How do you keep the conversation going online?

To find that out, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself. Where are my customers going when they hit the Web? What are they doing? What are they reading?

It’s a much different approach from the “let’s start a blog and they will all flock to us” mentality.

Adopting this new mindset is undoubtedly the hardest part. Companies are quite accustomed to being one-way publishers of information, particularly online. As David Lidsky of Fast Company calls it “Imposing distribution onto consumers.”

To make the best use of user-generated content, B2B marketers have to start thinking more like publishers and less like marketers. Thinking like a publisher means paying close attention to what the audience needs, what kinds of content best meets that need and how frequently to deliver it.

So where is the Buzz? Smart buzz marketers remember that the Internet is a communications medium first and a distribution channel second. Like with any good marketing plan, you have to first figure out what the need is, and then go and market it. That’s why they call it market-ing. Everything else is just advertising!

Don’t miss the User-Generated Content track at the Henry Stewart conference this week in New York featuring Richard Kosinski of Yahoo! and Jim Nail of Cymfony.

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