One of the central tenets of best-answer content is comprehensiveness. Your content needs to fully and artfully answer your buyers’ most burning questions. And as John Joyce and his team at Brennan Industries remind us, sometimes that requires going back to the basics.

It can be all too easy for B2B marketers and brands to get caught up in new trends, industry lingo, and the next big lofty concept in their niche. We grow conversant in these matters on a day-to-day basis. But to assume the same is true for all — or even a majority of — our audience is a mistake, and potentially a costly one.

In the latest entry of our Break Free B2B interview series, John shares how a content strategy rooted in educational content helped yield an 800% increase in leads for his company. 

In detailing his experiences as Global Marketing Director for Brennan, John explains how he was surprised to find that the most basic information was in highest demand among his audience.

“At first glance, when someone from the sales field brought this to me as, there’s a need for this, I thought: you can’t possibly be serious, this is like the most basic — how do people not know this in our industry?” he shares. “But that’s exactly what people want. That’s the No. 1 thing that people want on our website. That super basic information.”

What I’ve found it is people don’t have time to just know everything about everything. So they really want you to make it easy and just tell them what they need to know. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #Back2Basics Click To Tweet

Learn all about the content marketing strategy that drove big results and helped Brennan Industries break free in the industrial B2B marketing space in John’s candid interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with John Joyce


If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 0:30 – How John’s team achieved an 800% increase in leads with content
  • 1:30 – Educational content in the industrial space
  • 4:45 – Gated vs. ungated content
  • 6:30 – How Brennan attracts a targeted audience
  • 7:30 – Dealing with long and complicated sales cycles
  • 9:45 – How trust factors in
  • 12:15 – Is content generally getting less valuable in B2B?
  • 15:00 – Nurturing through the buying journey
  • 18:30 – John’s vision for the next three years
  • 21:15 – How can industrial B2B marketers break free?

Susan: Tell us about your gating strategy.

John: When we first started, you know, the first thing we produced was white papers and everything was gated, but we had the gate basically set really low, you just needed to put your email address in. And over time, what we’ve done is, as we’ve grown that library of content, we started taking off the first items, or maybe the most responsive items, and making ungated versions of that. So we’ll have a pillar page, for instance, on fitting identification, which is directly taken from our fitting identification guide, which is still a gated piece of content. So what we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade of – you can also get this guide, which we supply in actual physical form. One of the things that’s been super performant for us is crossing the barrier into the real world. So instead of just providing things in like a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free if they fill out the form. 

What we’re doing is having ungated content with a premium content upgrade… Instead of just providing things in a PDF format, we actually print the guide and mail it to people for free. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Susan: Trust is really an important element in everything you’re communicating to your market, correct?

John: Yeah, for sure. So you’re trying to build rapport with your customer base, just like in any marketing situation. You’re trying to simulate the same level of rapport that you and I would have sitting here if I was trying to sell something to you or you were trying to sell it to me, but you’re trying to build that rapport organizationally. Between everybody in the organizations and the different silos and roles and whatever. And a lot of that is done through marketing, because that’s the first contact point that people have with your organization. So we try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. Since we have a product that’s more of a commodity product, okay, it’s a very simple product. And you can get cheap versions of it from Korea or China or wherever it wherever you want, we have to provide a value add. And we try to do that as a company. So as a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. 

So here’s value: educational information, something you didn’t know, some information you’re looking for. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship, from the first time they go to the website – oh yeah, this is really good. It’s providing me the answers to my questions and knowledge I need, it’s saving me money, they’re going to send me a physical guide, you know … any little way, that’s another reason why we do things in the real world. It’s, it’s a physical value. People are used to the digital aspect of everything.

As a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all – it’s to start communicating and providing value. — @mrjohnjoyce #BreakFreeB2B #B2BContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Susan: What is your vision for the next three years as you move forward?

John: We’re making an educational channel where we’re putting a lot more of this educational content in more forums, in one place that’s completely ungated. So my vision is lots and lots more ungated content. We’re going to continue creating gated content and then ungate old content, as as we move forward, creating more gated content, so that there’s just more free content because, again, it provides value, right? So you come to the website, you get immediate value, you don’t even have to subscribe to an email or anything. So part of my strategy is basically more free content. Okay, and the other part of it would be more granular content – so granular meaning like specific to your industry, specific to your role in your industry.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

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