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Content marketing: Boeing takes B2B to a higher plane!

June 27, 2010

Browsing through inbound marketing guru David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink blog at the weekend, I came across his commentary on the launch of Boeing’s new website. You can read the full version here at http://www.webinknow.com

Seems like the world’s most high-profile airplane manufacturer has suddenly caught the social media bug, launching not one, not two, but three Twitter accounts in the past few weeks, with the company also hinting at a possible Boeing Facebook page in the not too distant future.

The word “suddenly” is actually a little inaccurate in this particular instance. Boeing carefully considered its actions and developed a very specific content strategy before taking its first steps into the world of social media.

Realizing that if it was going to Tweet about its corporate, defence and airplane businesses then its website would need to deliver more than just a static brochure-type experience, the new Boeing.com is built around a handful of human interest stories focusing on the employees and customers of the company instead of technology and manufacturing. Many of the story pages now feature “share” and “comments” functionality.

Taking pride of place in the main viewing area on the site are four highly engaging feature stories – the launch of the new unmanned Phantom Ray aircraft; the retirement of Rockie the explosive detection dog after eight years (56 dog years) of service; a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company’s top secret testing labs; and an exclusive look at how Boeing tested a new miniature, unmanned vehicle at the Edward Jones Dome NFL stadium in St. Louis.

Kudos to Boeing for showing the world that the “Bs” in B2B don’t have to stand for “boring” and “brochure”.

5 top tips you can learn from the Boeing experience

1. Create multiple Twitter accounts to target your audience Instead of launching a generic corporate Twitter account and releasing a stream of posts from one singular source, Boeing created three Twitter accounts – corporate, airplanes and defence. In an era when information and content needs to be as targeted as possible, make sure your posts are relevant to the people reading them.

2. Add by-lines to feature stories By adding writer credits to the feature stories, Boeing humanized itself and created a sense of editorial impartiality and credibility. At the very least, add a by-line. Where possible, include a portrait photo and, where appropriate, a small bio. Readers like to know who’s writing for them.

3. Present the cool stuff first Don’t make viewers hunt for the fun and engaging material on your website. Place it upfront, in plain view so that it is easily accessible. Four or five good feature stories is enough to keep a viewer engaged and eager enough to return often for updates and new stories.

4. Remember that Twitter is a two-way street Once you step into the world of Tweeting you have to take the rough with the smooth. When you do get questions or criticisms about your brand, services, products or actions, respond quickly to address issues or questions.

5. Develop a content strategy before you make your move Boeing’s content goals were to present a more human side to the company and to attract and engage multiple audiences. Those objectives shaped the development of the content for the website. Remember that Facebook and Twitter are just platforms for your messages. They are not solutions in their own right.

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