Or: How to Use Comics in B2B Content Marketing

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1 RES OF U T N E V D A E THE AWESOM Or: How to Use Comics in B2B Content Marketing Story: Fiona Campbell-Howes Art: Kirsty Swan Letters: Emily King

2 INTRODUCTION: THE TROUBLE WITH B2B MARKETING HOW MANY LEADS DID THAT LAST WEBINAR GENERATE? LET ME JUST RUN THE ANALYTICS HANG ON HERE WE GO 1. IN A BIG ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGY FIRM, A MARKETING TEAM IS HAVING PROBLEMS ONE LEAD? HOW MANY PEOPLE WATCHED THE WEBINAR? I VE GOT THAT HERE, YES: 20. TWENTY PEOPLE WATCHED AND WE ONLY GOT ONE LEAD? THE OTHER 19 PEOPLE WERE FROM OUR AGENCY. SALES ARE GOING TO KILL US. WE RE MEANT TO DELIVER 50 MARKETING QUALIFIED LEADS BY FRIDAY. WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG? IF I MIGHT MAKE A SUGGESTION. 1

3 OUR WEBINAR WAS BORING. WHAT WAS THE TITLE? LEVERAGING MEGACORP S AUTOMATED SOLUTIONS TO MAXIMISE BUSINESS EFFICIENCY? SO WHAT YOU RE SAYING IS WE NEED TO USE LESS JARGON? WHO S GOING TO GET EXCITED ABOUT THAT? IT S JUST JARGON. I M SAYING WE NEED TO MAKE IT REAL. TELL STORIES ABOUT REAL PROBLEMS OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE. MAKE THEM LAUGH. MAKE THEM CRY. AND THEN TELL THEM HOW TO MAKE IT ALL BETTER. MAYBE NOT A WEBINAR. MAYBE A. RIGHT. WE NEED TO RECORD A WEBINAR THAT WILL MAKE PEOPLE CRY. A WHITE PAPER? A COMIC! 2

4 CHAPTER 1: WHY COMICS? BUT COMICS ARE FOR KIDS, AREN T THEY? I LOVED SPIDER-MAN WHEN I WAS LITTLE. BUT WE RE MARKETING TO GROWN-UPS, WITH SERIOUS JOBS, AND HARD DECISIONS TO MAKE. COMICS AREN T JUST FOR KIDS. LISTEN TO JOE PULIZZI. HERE S WHAT A COMIC BOOK IS NOT: A GIMMICK JUST FOR KIDS. BY REINFORCING TEXT WITH VIVID PICTURES, COMIC BOOKS COMMUNICATE IN A FUN, FAST AND MEMORABLE WAY TO READERS OF ALL AGES. FOR INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT, COMICS MAY BE ONE OF THE VERY BEST TACTICS AVAILABLE. WELL, JOE PULIZZI KNOWS HIS STUFF. HE S THE GODFATHER OF CONTENT MARKETING. AND THE ONLY MAN ALIVE WHO LOOKS GOOD IN ORANGE. BUT WHY S A COMIC BETTER THAN AN EBOOK? THEY HAVE VIVID PICTURES TOO. USUALLY OF PIE CHARTS, BUT HEY, WE RE IN B2B. 3

5 BUT WE RE SELLING REALLY COMPLEX STUFF. WOULDN T A COMIC MAKE IT ALL SEEM A BIT TOO SIMPLISTIC? IT S ALL ABOUT THE STORY. DRAWING THE AUDIENCE IN. CREATING CHARACTERS THEY IDENTIFY WITH, IN A WORLD THEY RECOGNISE. SHOWING WE UNDERSTAND THEIR PROBLEMS. AND THAT WE CAN HELP. NOT IF WE DO IT RIGHT. ASK SCOTT MCCLOUD. AND HERE S BUSINESS ILLUSTRATOR S VIRPI OINONEN. A SIMPLE STYLE DOESN T NECESSITATE SIMPLE STORY. WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT SOME AUDIENCES MAY FIND COMICS [...] A BIT IMMATURE, YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED HOW MANY SENIOR MANAGERS IN CONSERVATIVE INDUSTRIES APPRECIATE THIS ART FORM! LIKE PEANUTS? OR DILBERT? OK, BUT I M STILL NOT CONVINCED OUR AUDIENCE WOULD READ A COMIC. DILBERT IS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR US. HERE S SCOTT ADAMS ON WHY DILBERT APPEALS TO A BUSINESS AUDIENCE. MAYBE NOT A FULL GRAPHIC NOVEL, IF THEY WEREN T USED TO THE FORMAT. BUT WHAT ABOUT A CARTOON STRIP? 4

6 MANY OF THE SUGGESTIONS I GET FROM READERS START WITH, A COWORKER OF MINE HAS THIS ANNOYING HABIT. NO MATTER HOW RANDOM OR OBSCURE THAT HABIT IS, I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I KNOW THAT PERSON TOO. SO I GET THAT PEOPLE LOVE COMICS ABOUT THEIR WORK PROBLEMS. AND THAT IF WE DO IT RIGHT... CHARACTERS THEY IDENTIFY WITH, IN A WORLD THEY RECOGNISE. WE CAN SHOW PEOPLE WE UNDERSTAND THOSE PROBLEMS. WE CREATE EMPATHY WITH OUR AUDIENCE. EXACTLY. AND WITH LUCK WE ALSO MAKE THEM LAUGH. WHICH I M PRETTY SURE NONE OF OUR WHITE PAPERS EVER HAS. BUT I DON T WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO DO IT. WHAT IF IT DIDN T WORK? WHAT IF WE LOOKED STUPID? 5

7 CHAPTER 2: WHO S DOING IT? 2002 WE WOULDN T BE THE FIRST TO DO IT. THERE S A WHOLE HISTORY OF COMICS IN B2B MARKETING. C A RT O O N I S T H U G H MACL EO D O F G A P I N G V O I D S TAR TS DRA W I N G C A RT O O NS F O R M I C RO S O F T, D E S I GNED TO ACT A S S O C I A L O BJ E CTS, O R C O N V E RS A T I O N - S TAR TER S. G O O G L E U SES A 3 9-P AGE ONLINE CO MI C TO EXP L AI N THE TEC HNIC A L WO RKI NG S O F I TS CHR O ME B R O WSER. THE AR TWO R K I S CR EATED B Y CO MI CS L EG END SCO TT MCCL O U D. I WANTED TO B E P ART O F THE CO NVERSATI O N, AND B ECAU SE I WAS THE O NL Y O NE DO I NG CAR TO O NS I N THE SP ACE, I G O T NO TI CED. P EO P L E SEEMED G ENU I NEL Y SU R P R I SED B Y THE DEG REE TO WHI CH THEY U NDER STO O D WHAT THEY WER E R EADI NG AND THE DEG R EE TO WHI CH THEY WER E I NTER ESTED I N WHAT THEY WER E R EADI NG Y O U C A N T J U S T S T A RT BE I N G S O C I A L. Y O U H A V E T O BE DO I N G S O M E T H I N G L I K A BL E A N D S H A RA BL E I N T H E F I RS T P L A C E. A N Y O N E C A N DO I T, I F Y O U RE DO I N G S O M E T H I N G DE L I G H T F U L. S A G E CR EA T E S A C O M I C - S T RI P CHA R A CT E R, S A RA BA RL O W, F I X ED A S S E T S M A N A G E R, T O S HOW CA S E T H E BE N E F I T S O F I T S S OF T W A RE O N T H E S A G E F I X ED A S S E T S BL O G O CTO B ER ' S CARTO O N-B L O G G I NG AT THE R EAL -TI ME WEB SU MMI T WAS A WEL L -RECEI VED EXP ER I MENT I N I NNO VATI VE EVENT CO VERAG E. M A RK E T E R- T U RNED-CAR TO O NI ST T O M F I S H BU RN E STAR TS M A RK E T O O N S T U DI O S, CR EATI NG BE S P O K E C A RT O O NS F O R SO CI AL S H A RI N G, F O R BR ANDS L I KE V O DA F O N E, O RA CL E, G E, AND I NTU I T E-M A R KET I N G P L A T F O RM M A I L CHI M P C RE A T E S A W EB COM I C TO A L I G N T H E M A I L CHI M P BRA N D W I T H I T S S I S T ER A PP, M A N DRI L L. 6 CAR TO O NI STS L I KE MATT B U CK AND R O B CO TTI NG HAM STAR T R ECEI VI NG CO MMI SSI O NS TO DR AW THE DI SCU SSI O NS AT B 2 B CO NF ER ENCES I N R EAL -TI ME. M A RK E T I N G A U T O M A T I O N SO F TWAR E C O M P A N Y M A RK E T O U SES CO MI C-B O O K S T Y L E A N I M A L C H A RA C TERS TO B RI NG I T S DE F I N I T I V E G U I DE T O L EAD G E N E RA T I O N T O L I F E. O K, SO L O TS O F P EO P L E ARE DO I NG I T AL R EADY. I M WAR MI NG TO THI S. B U T HO W DO WE MAKE O NE? T H I S M A RK ETI NG M E N A G E RI E L ENDS A L I G H T H E A RT E D VI SU AL P U N C H L I N E T O WHAT M I G H T V E O T H E RWI SE B EEN A BU T T O N E D - U P HO W-TO. 7

8 CHAPTER 3: DIY OR DELEGATE? THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO CREATE A COMIC. SOMETIMES, LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE INVOLVED. HI! I M A COMICS WRITER. YOU TELL ME WHAT STORY YOU WANT TO TELL, AND WHO YOU WANT TO TELL IT TO. THEN I LL WRITE A SCRIPT, ALL DIVIDED UP INTO PANELS, READY TO BE DRAWN. THEN I LL HAND IT OVER TO ME, THE COMICS ILLUSTRATOR. I LL TAKE THE SCRIPT AND DRAW IT, USING THE GLORIOUS ARTISTIC VISION I HAVE INSIDE MY OWN HEAD. SOMETIMES WE RE THE SAME PERSON. (OR IN THE STYLE THAT YOU PREFER I M VERY VERSATILE.) HI! I M A COLOURIST. I ADD COLOUR AND LIFE TO THE ILLUSTRATOR S BLACK-AND-WHITE DRAWINGS. HI! I M A LETTERER. I DESIGN AND CREATE THE CAPTIONS, THE SPEECH. LIKE THIS THING I M SAYING NOW. MAYBE NOT ALL OF THEM. WE COULD EVEN HAVE A GO OURSELVES, USING STICK PEOPLE, OR AN ONLINE COMICS-CREATION TOOL LIKE PIXTON.COM. TO BEGIN WITH, ANYWAY. HI! I M AN INKER. I REINFORCE THE ILLUSTRATOR S PENCIL DRAWINGS WITH INK OUTLINES, LIGHT AND SHADOW. WOAH, DO WE REALLY NEED ALL THOSE PEOPLE? THAT S A LOT OF POS TO RAISE. 8 LET S GIVE IT A TRY! BUT WHAT SHOULD IT BE ABOUT?

9 CHAPTER 4: THEMES FOR B2B COMICS TOPICS THAT LEND THEMSELVES WELL TO COMICS? HOW ABOUT A CASE STUDY? ALLOW ME, MADAM. I WISH I COULD COLLATE THESE REPORTS FASTER, I VE GOT A DATE AT SOON HAVE THEM ALL DONE FOR YOU, MADAM. SO YOU CAN GO ON YOUR DATE. SOD THE DATE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING LATER? 9

10 OR A BIT OF INDUSTRY HUMOUR, MAYBE I HEAR THE CEO HAS BOUGHT ONE OF THOSE TELEPRESENCE DRONES. I HEARD IT WAS SO HE COULD SPY ON EMPLOYEES. SO HE CAN ATTEND MEETINGS WITHOUT LEAVING HIS OFFICE? NICE. BACK TO WORK! BEFORE I ZAP YOU! SURELY HE S TOO BUSY FOR THAT. OR WE COULD EXPLORE A TOPICAL ISSUE AFFECTING OUR CUSTOMERS 10

11 DAMMIT ROY! THE REGULATOR WILL BE HERE IN 20 MINUTES! WHERE S OUR BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN? ER, IT WAS DESTROYED IN THE FIRE. WHICH IS IRONIC, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. WELL FOR F S SAKE WRITE A NEW ONE! WE CAN T AFFORD TO FAIL THE INDUSTRY STRESS TEST! ER, I LL DO MY BEST. I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF PREPARING A NEW PLAN FOR YOU, SIR. I CAN T WRITE A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN IN 20 MINUTES. THOSE THINGS TAKE MONTHS. BASICALLY, ANYTHING THAT WILL EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN OR INFORM OUR CUSTOMERS AND WHICH LENDS ITSELF TO A VISUAL STORYTELLING FORMAT. I CAN SEE IT NOW. BUT ONCE WE VE MADE IT, HOW WILL ANYONE KNOW ABOUT IT? 11

12 CHAPTER 5: GETTING IT OUT THERE LOTS OF WAYS! HERE ARE SOME IDEAS: TRADESHOW GIVEAWAY WEBSITE SERIALISATION PRESS/BLOGGER EXCLUSIVE E-MARKETING CAMPAIGN YOUR EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF HI, ROBOT, THE NEW ONLINE COMIC FROM MEGACORP 12

13 ROBOTS, AWESOME! SLIDESHARE EMBED PRINTED DM PIECE USING ALL OUR FAVOURITE TOOLS TO MEASURE ITS SUCCESS, OF COURSE OK, I M CONVINCED. LET S DO IT! 13

14 Want to make a comic? We want to write it for you! Two things make a really good comic: a great story and art that makes it come alive. If you re excited about including comic strips or even full-on comic books (like this one) in your marketing mix, we d love to write the story for you. Radix is a niche copywriting agency specialising in content development and brand storytelling for B2B technology brands. We ve written reams of content in many formats (including comics) for brands including Avaya, Basware, Fujitsu, Oracle, Rackspace, Salesforce, Wipro and many more. Talk to us to find out how we can help you create content that stands out and gets results. Fiona Campbell-Howes Radix Communications Ltd Tel: +44 (0) Follow us and sign-up for our monthly e-newsletter

15 DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of quotes and entities in this document does not mean that the sources of these share the views of this document or Radix Communications Ltd. or endorse either.

1.- L a m e j o r o p c ió n e s c l o na r e l d i s co ( s e e x p li c a r á d es p u é s ).

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