A Guide to B2B Content Marketing with Manish Nepal
Manish goes over his framework and advice for creating successful B2B marketing content. They also discuss the most effective use cases for chatbots on B2B websites.
Manish Nepal is a content marketer with over 9 years of experience in helping different brands such as The New Indian Express, Matrimony.com, and Freshworks, Inc. As a B2B marketer with a penchant for storytelling, he writes data-obsessed, growth-focused brand stories that help businesses elevate their brand trust, improve engagement with customers, and boost conversions.
All right, everyone. Welcome to digital conversations. I am your host, Billy Bateman. And today I am joined by Manish Nepal. Manish. How you doing, man?
I’m doing great, Billy, thanks for having me excited to be talking to you.
Yeah, excited to have you we’re going to we’re going to talk about a few different things. But before, before we hop into it, I want to give you a chance to let everyone get to know you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re working on.
Sure. My name is Manish. And I’m a freelance content marketer with little over 10 years of experience working with global brands, mostly b2b brands, like freshworks, ringcentral, and sales hacker. I recently lost my own marketing agency in man in the middle of the pandemic, and it’s called marketing impact.
And I started it to scale my one-person freelance business, because I think that the demand for marketing related services has gone up exponentially owing to the pandemic, which I think has caused several people to start their businesses on their own.
And up until February, this year, 2021, I was running a podcast called the AVM confidence podcast. With my co-host Yang, we covered a lot of topics in marketing the same way you are doing here with digital conversations, Billy.
And I decided to move on from that podcast after doing it for a little over a year, because I wanted to invest my time and energy on setting up this online agency that I just mentioned. from being a podcast host until two months back, here I am today talking to you in your podcast, Billy, that’s the story of my personal life in less than 30 seconds.
Awesome, man. Awesome. One thing, let’s talk about this for a minute, the shift to a larger demand for digital marketing content with the pandemic, you know, like, it used to be, especially in the b2b world. you know, you could, you’d have your website, you’d be running your digital campaigns.
Effect of the Pandemic
But then you’re also got, you know, we’re going to trade shows, we’re hosting our own events, we’re bringing customers in, and we’re going out and we’re you know, having lunch with them, visiting them, making sure everything’s going well. That stops a year ago, and it’s just starting to pick back up again. But what did you guys see in terms of that shift? Like? Did you go from, you know, like, a 30% capacity to 100% capacity? Or what are your thoughts on that?
Sure. I’ll talk about my personal experience, which I think was a little ahead of the rest of the world, which is, you know, I started my freelancing career at towards the end of 2019, a little draft before the pandemic hit the entire world. And I think I was lucky because, you know, I prepared myself for the lockdown that had to come the work from home and remote work disruption that happened, you know, just by pure accident.
But then I think I hit a lottery because of the pandemic, because I was looking for clients. Obviously, when you are a freelancer, the number one problem that you have to solve for yourself is you have to find clients. And all of a sudden, when the pandemic hit, and everybody was house arrested inside their houses. I started, you know, freelancing businesses, freelancing requests for our content and marketing started falling into my laps from left hand, right. And I think that happened from maybe 10% to 30%.
Increase in Digital Marketing
Personally, for me, because I wasn’t expecting that much of a work. I mean, I was kind of going through a burnout phase, in the middle of 2020, because of the kind of work I was getting. And I owe it mostly to the situation that we were in. Because a lot of businesses, they started ramping up their digital marketing campaigns, I think a lot of businesses went through a situation where their ad budgets were taken away from them.
The campaigns came to an abrupt halt. And the only way that they could go forward was through organic content, they had to do something on the organic front, which cost them less, and had long term ripple effects. So that’s where I think my demand for the kind of marketing that I offered scaled from maybe 20 to maybe 10 to 30 40%. That’s, that’s been my career’s. Awesome.
What kind of Content Should you Make?
Going back to that idea of content, you know. Every business if you’re not doing some content, you should be. If you’ve got a website. but you know, what are what are some of the best practices that you found that in your experience for writing good content, you know, should you be focusing, you know, some questions that come to mind?
And you can just take these, or should I be writing, you know, short articles and posting them every day or a couple a week? Should we focus more on long form content? Is it video? Is it written? You know, like, what, what do you recommend as the best practices if you’re just starting to really, you know, pay attention and be purposeful in your content marketing?
Sure. I think content, you know, the, the answer to world’s most difficult questions is more or less always, it depends. And the same is the case here. Because, you know, marketing and content is something that depends on way, which stage of business growth, you’re at what kind of band and what kind of domain Are you in.
It depends, but if we, if we, you know, if I have to lay down general principles of how to create good quality content, which is a must, for all kind of business, I don’t care if you’re a mom-and-pop shop, or an enterprise software company, you have to do comm content, because it is the number one way to get on top of your customers minds.
Writing for Machines
And the variety or the type of content is secondary, what I think should be the starting point for businesses to start creating high quality content that ranks and that attracts the right kind of person erreichen people to your brand is you have to treat content, like a product in itself, you have to plan it, you have to prepare it, you have to package it, and then you have to promote it.
But most of the brands that I think are, you know, they’re doing a mistake by seeing content as a commodity that they use to gain the search algorithm. They’re writing for the machines and not people. I think that’s number one, roadblock mental roadblock that they have to get past.
The other thing is when it comes to actually executing and shipping the content out. This is very simple formula of how to get started and how to scale it to where you want to be, which is it’s called eat framework, which is at the E in the framework stands for educational, is for authoritative, and T is just being trustworthy with the audience.
And it might not be necessary for me to expand on this. But educational content teaches people how to you know achieve something or how to do something. So how to guides are perfect example.
Authoritative content establishes the brand as expert of the domain that they operate in.
And trustworthy content establishes their credibility on what they say, you know, it’s the kind of data and science that that is verifiable in the content, right? If you can fit your content into any of these or all of these buckets, I think you are doing a pretty good job at producing high quality organic content that will give you high payoffs in the long term.
How to Educate them
Awesome, awesome. I want to dig in on a few of those things like so with the educational portion of that framework. What do you guys recommend? Because there are a couple ways you can approach this, like, are we going to educate people on our product? Are we going to educate them on the industry? Are we going to educate them? Maybe just on things, you know, other related things to where we play as a business? So, you know, where do you think you get your most the most bang for your buck? I know what the answer is probably do a little bit of all of it. But if I’m just going to do one type of educational content, what would you recommend?
Yeah, I would definitely recommend it, you know, to keep it aligned with what stages of the funnel you want customers to be in, for example, in general, I would, I would recommend you keep it customer centric, you keep it oriented to your customers, because we should never forget that customers are the heroes of our stories. It’s not you or it’s not your brand. It’s always the customers.
Customer is the hero
So being authoritative is an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in that domain. Yes. But it’s not really an opportunity to blow your own trumpet, right? It should still be done in a way where you make customers the center of your word. I mean, the best kind of marketing the best kind of content out there never feels like they’re selling something to the customers that they don’t feel like marketing, right. It’s about building that kind of perception. And I think the brand set content is definitely a good thing to happen.
Content in the Funnel
But I think it happens, it fits nicely in your scheme of things towards the bottom of the funnel and not top, I think the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel should be generally kept. With customer’s interest in mind, you have to try to solve their problems, you have answered the questions about what keeps them up at night, what do they want to achieve in their lives and how to make their lives easier, in general.
A good metaphor I’ve heard about, you know, around this topic is your customers are like, you know, your customers are like Batman, they’re the hero of your story, right? And they want a psychic. It’s not the same kind of psychic that Robin was Robin was a good psychic is very reliable and all that.
But I think brands should behave like Alfred, the Batman’s family’s Butler, who was a coach or mentor, someone, someone who was a selfless guide, and someone that Batman look up looked up to, you know, in different times.
I think banks should behave in that way. And, you know, keep a balance of being brand centric as well as customer centric. But I think the balance would tilt more or less towards customers in general.
Building a Story Brand
Yeah, no, I agree with you. You need Have you ever read the building a story brand book?
Oh, yes, yes. Yeah.
I mean, that’s what they talk about is, we’re supposed to be like the Obi one like the guide to Luke. Right. Right. And, and help our customers be the hero? Yep. And I have never thought about, hey, how do we do that with our content, but great, I love it.
Man, we should be if you’re not doing it, we should be.
Want to dig into something related to content. You used to be at fresh works. And you’ve spent a lot of time working with their bots, and how you use bots with content.
I wanted to ask you, you know, what do you guys, what have you found is like, hey, here are the best ways to use bots for both lead gen and for just customer support.
Sure. So yes, I was working with a team within freshworks. freshworks has like nine or 11 products are right now. And I was with freshchat, the chat messaging software that they had. And it was very interesting for me to work in a product like that. Because, you know, it was the perfect tool that solved business problems across the funnel.
I mean, it started with marketing, sales, and then support and retention also, right. I think it’s, it’s when it comes to chatbots, or creating the right kind of chatbot experience. What I learned from my experience working with fresh chat was, it’s important to understand what chatbots stand against, which is I think it’s the static lead for lead gen forms or pop ups that are right on your face. I think chatbots kind of our antidote to those kinds of bad experiences that customers had.
In that sense, chatbots will be interactive, they should present your brand personality, they should they should be very contextual, highly contextual. I think that’s one of the number one skills that chatbots should have. And that’s what I love.
Personally, I love answer bots, which was very contextual to what I was looking, you know, it was very specific in it in offering help. And it should be perpetual, in the sense that it should, it should differ the traffic support traffic and load of tickets from the support team.
Different Use Cases
If it’s a, you know, if you’re using chat bots, for the support use cases, I think it should also for sales and marketing, actually, I mean, we use it for marketing and sales and customer support, mostly for customer support. But I remember we promoted the hell out of our content through chat bots on our page, because whenever we had we had lead magnet content.
I think it was one of the strongest channels for us to get those, at least spend the word about that content or get those content out through the chat with it. Because if people are on your website, and they are looking for specific answers to their queries, I think they have a high buying intent, a high purchase intent for whatever they’re looking for. And it’s the right time to give them something that can answer the questions. So that’s one principle that was that was really close to our best practices in freshchat.
Awesome. And so, I wanted to get on the idea of promoting content through the bot. That’s something I’ve seen our customers and our consulting team works with customers on doing and we found to be very successful. Yes. I just want it lets dig in like what were you guys doing? What tactics Can somebody use to promote content within a chatbot.
So, I think it was very tightly integrated with the other kind of content that we were populating through chat bots, content. Yeah, marketing content was just one small part of it, again, based on the based on the context of what the customer was looking for, for example, the where in our block base, if they were looking for certain specific answers, we triggered different content for different people.
Chatbots on Blog Pages
I mean, sometimes, if they were on a blog page, where they were looking for customer support tips, we would maybe recommend another similar blog, just like the recommended for you kind of snippets that you have across the bottom of the blogs, we Yeah, we triggered that kind of content for to the chat bots. Again, only with the permission, we would have antibody do that interaction initially.
Chatbots for Free Trials
And for people who are on our signup, ease are who are about to, you know, take the product for a spin, they’re about to take a free trial of the product, we maybe give them an E book or something that was closer to the context of what they were looking for. So yeah, those were those were different tactics.
Customer Support Bots
And the other kind of use cases that we have seen, when they were for example, in the support piece, or, for example, if they were looking for support related use cases, we would trigger a self-service content which and also knowledge base content, because I think that would answer that. And our data also showed that people customers coming to our pages, they loved getting answers figuring out answer on their own, rather than talking to a human isn’t until a problem call for talking to a human isn’t.
So self-service content was evergreen, it was one of the most on short after pieces of content. And I think chat widget was the perfect place for us to kind of trigger that. FAQs. Were a second favorite and knowledge base definitely, mostly for existing customers or trialing customers.
Booking Demos with Bots
Man I, I agree on pretty much everything you said, I, I love using the bot to suggest content to other people, I think, you know, we can always from a sales and marketing standpoint, we always want them to, you know, chat with us or book that meeting, you know, book the demo right now.
Most people aren’t ready for that, when they’re on the site, do establish timer, if you are like, hey, you know, I need answers, I need the answers. Now I’ll talk to somebody. But most people, they’re just starting to check it out early on, they’re probably not even the decision maker, you know, they’re just gathering information.
Using bots to Target Personas
And using the bot to provide content based on based on where they are on the site is another one. Another play that that we’ve seen done is asking people what their role is when they come to the site initially on that homepage. And then depending on you know, you probably have, you know, three to five personas that are part of your buying process.
And your customer base. Well, you have some content for those guys. And if they say, you know, I’m a sales rep, boom, here, two or three articles, you might like, you know, I’m a manager, here’s another article, you know, something new from our blog. And that’s we had a lot of success with that, and just getting people involved.
Chatbots for Sales
And that’s another thing. I think you reminded me of another very strong use cases for sales team, who were already, you know, the humans from the sales team who started a chat. Or maybe it was a business development team member who was, you know, trying to interact with a customer trying to help him or her figure out the right answer.
They would use the chat, not necessarily the chat bot, but they would use the chat widget as an window of opportunity to provide the right content for people who are looking to compare fresh chat with, say another competition and you know, intercom or drift.
Sending Documents with the Bot
So, we had sales enablement, documents that were not being widely extensively used. People were not being able to find it on their own, although it was right there under the resources section.
The sales people if the customer interaction was escalated to human agent, they would use the opportunity to send them documents that specifically talked about the comparison that they were looking for the price comparison feature comparison, the benefits of switching from this product to that and all that.
Chatbots are like Storefronts
I think that’s also very important and the way I look at it, what you just explained, Billy, is it just like, you know, the chatbot interaction mimics our real-world experience of going inside a store, right? I mean, sometimes we go inside Store and we don’t have time, we want the store representative to just, you know, find the product that we’re looking for find the milk or eggs that we’re looking for whatever it is.
But sometimes we just want to hang around. We want to explore the store and the aisles on our own. We want to take our own sweet time. It that’s what I said, you know, being contextual is very, very underrated when it comes to creating the right kind of chatbot experience.
Awesome, man. Awesome. This has been great. I really appreciate you sharing everything with the audience. Before we wrap up, if people want to get ahold of you and continue the conversation, what’s the best way for them to contact you?
Oh, yeah, there’s many ways I mean, I’m very active on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn URL is linkedin.com. Slash that guy. Manish TGT. Same thing with Twitter. I’m fairly active there at Red that guy Manish and you can just Google my name. I mean, I write blogs, so I should be SEO friendly.
Okay, all right. Well, thank you again, and, and we’ll chat later.
Yeah. Thank you so much, Billy. It’s been nice talking to you. Thank you for your time.