Back in 1996, Bill Gates declared the now famous words: “Content is King.” This statement has never been truer than it is today. Great writing is the way forward and the best way B2B businesses can get clients to engage with their brand. Gone are the days of neglected or keyword stuffed content: now it needs to be well crafted. If you know how to craft it and how to do it well, that’s half the battle won.
Most people can muster up a decent tweet but your average blog post is 2,860 characters longer, so below are 4 ways to make those characters count.
Know Your Audience
Every business should have a clear idea of their ideal client. If you’re not aware of your target audience, you can’t write accordingly; there’s no use sewing a brilliant suit only to find you’ve tailored it to the wrong body. Creating a customer profile is a great way to understand who you should be addressing and how best to engage them: it should be the first important step. Studying Google Analytics and survey responses is a good place to start.
Consider what the prospective client already knows about the topic and what they want to know. If they know a lot, they’re probably after a new opinion or insight; if they don’t know much, aim to answer the questions they’ll have with content marketing pieces. New information is exciting, but a certain level of familiarity is a must: don’t include references and jargon that will distance your reader through lack of awareness.
Strike the Right Tone
What is written and the way it’s written are two different things. Knowing your audience enables you to work out what to write, but the way you write it arguably requires additional thought. Social media is a perfect example of this: the same fact can be shared on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn but on each site the fact will be approached with a different tone.
Finding the tone of a B2B content marketing piece is not intuitive and, therefore, can be tricky. To make it easier, there are two main things you should consider: the subject matter you’ll be writing about and the medium in which you’ll be writing it – blog post, news article, white paper, etc.
A good rule to follow is to weigh the subject matter and the medium in your mind: if they are both lightweight, the tone should be light; heavier and the tone should be heavier; and if they differ in weight, use a neutral tone.
Wrangle an Angle
Sixty-five percent of people believe that content on the web is “unreliable” or “hit or miss” and you don’t want your B2B content marketing falling into those categories. You want to be a hit every time and it’s very important that your brand looks reliable. To look reliable, you need to research and utilize your facts correctly (see beginning of paragraph), but getting your facts right doesn’t always make for an interesting read.
One way to liven up dull statistics or the same old story is to approach it in an original way, thus making the information feel new and exciting; easier said than done. In order to find a new angle, you have to know how the topic has been approached in the past. Tireless research is a necessary evil for wrangling a great angle. A bit of creativity and linking the subject to current affairs helps too.
You’re the Expert
If you want prospects and clients to engage with your written B2B content you need to sound like you’ve created something worth engaging with. All this takes is a little self-belief and time learning to adhere to a few simple rules that make you sound more authoritative. Here are the top three:
- Cut uncertainties out when you can: fewer mights, perhaps’ and maybes go a long way.
- Waffles are off the menu: be clear and succinct.
- Use emphatics: phrases like “in fact” and “clearly” add assurance.
Following these tips should significantly improve your writing and help engage your reader, now all you have to contend with is the fact most people only read 60% of an article and it’s only the first two paragraphs that get a thorough read. Do not fear, however, if someone is truly engaged they’ll read every word.
About the Author
Lilli Hender studied English Literature at the University of York. She was Arts Editor of The Yorker and now writes for OfficeGenie.co.uk in her position as PR & Marketing Executive.