B2B content is a rich marketing tool, but let’s be real. Writing content to meet all your marketing wants, needs, goals, and target metrics — on a deadline — is a chore. Even if you enjoy writing, churning out consistent, high-quality content is a task that frequently lands at the bottom of your to-do list. Nobody likes to write under a deadline, and your favorite writers sometimes [often?] prefer not to write at all. When something we like becomes a chore, even the best of us struggle with productivity — or succumb to the procrastination monster.
Love it or hate it [dread it, ignore it, or panic at the thought of it], consistent, well-written content is an essential cog in your B2B marketing machine. So, what’s a marketer to do?
Since it’s always best to start at the beginning, you first need to decide what kind of writing your topic demands. You can’t slap a B2B label on any old thing and call it done. The quality of your message — and the engagement it inspires — relies on:
- Short and straight to the point? Or detailed and highly informative? Decide how much space your topic NEEDS, and give it neither more nor less than it requires.
- Your style should reflect your purpose, your brand, your knowledge, and your thoughts. The most essential features of style are authenticity and individuality. Whatever, and however, you write — make it yours.
- Tone is another point of individuality, but you can vary it according to the purpose of each content piece. Do you want to inform, create interest, build excitement, entertain, or all of the above? If humor comes naturally, and suits the topic, use it. If your topic requires a more somber approach, tone it down.
- B2B marketing content isn’t a commercial. Write your content to create value for your potential customers ON ITS OWN. Address your target readers’ pain points, or [even better!] solve a problem for them.
When you sit down to write your piece, a problem/solution approach is a good way to get the words flowing. It will probably help you decide on format, length, and tone — and it will definitely make your content searchable to an audience seeking the solutions you have to offer.
Speaking of searchability, DO make your content as “findable” as possible. Incorporate keywords into your writing [organically!], and when you share your content on social media, include a minimum of three RELEVANT hashtags. Platform search functions use hashtags to filter content. If you don’t tag it, you [severely] limit its findability. Link out to sources or additional information to further enhance both searchability and credibility.
Don’t do THAT!
Let’s start by running through the implied DON’Ts from the previous section:
- DON’T write too much — or too little. Meaning, don’t drone on too long OR cut yourself short. Say what you need to say — and not a bit more.
- DON’T copy someone else’s style. For one thing, it’s already been done. For another, your words won’t ring true. THOUGHT LEADERS don’t follow — and they certainly don’t imitate.
- DON’T be fake. Keep your tone authentic and appropriate to your topic.
- DON’T write a commercial. Add value to your readers. A problem/solution approach will attract more readers than 2,000 words on your brand’s superiority.
- DON’T forget searchability. You might be the Shakespeare of B2B writing, but if your target audience can’t FIND your content, your superior skills have ZERO effect.
You should also avoid overusing emotional appeals in your B2B writing. Leveraging your readers’ emotions may be powerful, but explicit emotional appeals play more like blatant manipulation. Convey charged or controversial information in a neutral tone, and let supporting facts and statistics carry the emotional load.
And finally, DON’T forget to close with a call to action (CTA). A CTA gives your piece a firm conclusion, reminds your reader what you want them to remember, and gives them something to DO. Relate your CTA to your topic, and link your contact information and/or more resources for your readers. DON’T use your CTA to make promises you can’t keep. [It sounds like common sense, but the temptation is strong.] Include a CTA, and keep it short, relevant, and honest.
Keep in mind
A few more things to think about as you head on your writing way:
- People like lists. To convey a lot of information, or just add a little variety to your format, bullet lists are your friends.
- Use the source. Linking out to sources within your text boosts your SEO, prevents plagiarism, and enhances your credibility. Be sure to link to sources that are relevant, recent, reliable, and reputable. And DON’T [seriously] link to your competitors.
- Show and tell. Adding images to content illustrates your point, makes it visually interesting, and provides a break between big blocks of text. Again, keep it RELEVANT, but don’t be afraid to have some fun with your visuals.