Making Influencers Part of Your B2B Content Strategy with Jeff Zelaya [Q&A]

June 05, 2015 | Brendan Cournoyer
Making Influencers Part of Your B2B Content Strategy with Jeff Zelaya [Q&A]

Have you heard of influencer marketing? It’s a valuable part of any content and social media strategy. It can also help you deliver powerful, credible content for sales enablement.

Jeff Zelaya

For B2B companies, an influencer is an expert or thought leader that has – you guessed it – influence over the buyers in your particular market. Developing relationships (and content) with these folks can help you in a lot of ways.

Few understand the power of influencer marketing as much as Jeff Zelaya of Triblio. Jeff hosts the popular B2B Marketing Leaders Podcast, in which he interviews various experts on all topics related to B2B marketing. Not long ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to join Jeff for an episode to chat about sales and marketing content strategies.

I could think of few people more qualified to talk about the value of working with influencers to help deliver impactful B2B content. Here is what he had to say.

#1. Let’s start with the obvious: For B2Bs, why is it so valuable to make external thought leaders part of your own brand’s content strategy?

Including thought leaders in your own brand’s content strategy can be leveraged in three main ways.

First, thought leaders are considered to be experts in their field, which can serve to validate your brand’s message. Second, there’s only so many times you can tell the same story and thought leaders can bring different perspectives and ideas to the table, providing diversity within your content. Finally thought leaders broaden your audience base because they already have a set fanbase of readers/listeners. Publishing content featuring thought leaders allows you to tap into their audience and expose them to your messaging.      

#2. Depending on your industry, it can sometimes be a challenge to identify WHO the key influencers are in your field. What are some simple ways to get started?

The simplest way to identify key influencers in your field is by listening to who your customers listen to. Discover who are the main people connected to your target audience and see what messages are resonating with them.

Social media can be used as a tool to identify key influencers and thought leaders within your industry. Frontrunners in the industry can be found by observing who your customers or target audience is following and retweeting. Social media can be a way to discover seasoned and up-and-coming influencers. Immersing yourself in the publications, blogs and podcasts within your industry will help you see who frequently covers your topics of interest and can serve as a way to begin a conversation with a key influencer or thought leader.

#3. One of the things I like about the podcast format is that it’s such an easy turnaround for contributors. It’s minimal prep – they just get to go on and have a conversation. How important is “making it easy” to getting thought leaders to contribute? These folks are busy after all!

Keeping an emphasis on how easy it is to contribute through a podcast is important in interviewing influencers. While there are the few overly generous people who will go out of their way to help a friend, as a whole they have busy work schedules, priorities, and deadlines to meet. Making your time with them as quick and easy as possible makes the likelihood of their taking your interview much higher.

The conversation should begin at a high level and the contributors can determine how in-depth they want to go within the podcast. It is important to do your research ahead of time before interviewing influencers in order to ensure you are asking the best questions that highlight their position and successes within the industry.   

#4. Educating your audience is an obvious benefit of “influencer marketing”. But often overlooked is what YOU (marketing and sales professionals) can learn from the experts as well. Would you agree?

This is an aspect that is constantly overlooked by marketers. While promoting your message and reaching new audiences is important, there is a vast wealth of knowledge marketers can gain from these influencers to better their marketing strategies and improve their products as well.

The industry is constantly evolving and we cannot always be the first to discover the best new way to solve a problem. We can all learn from one another, take a similar idea, like a podcast, and spin it to make it our own. It’s all about painting a different picture while using the same colors of paint. The industry is a blank canvas and we each have the opportunity to make it our own.  

Interested in finding out more about how to create, execute and monetize a B2B podcast? Check out this case study from Triblio. For more tips on developing content for sales enablement, download this free eBook.

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