B2B content: What should you focus on in 2022?

Multimedia, social media, events – there are many different channels for content marketing, but there are only a finite number of hours in the working day.

So making sure your content creation efforts are effective and get seen and digested by your target audience is paramount.

Mobile phone screen with social media app icons: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

In the third, It’s a B2B comms thing LinkedIn Live*, Ayo Abbas, Emma Drake and I talked about what content to focus on in 2022.

Ayo and Emma are fellow comms professionals working in the built environment sector, and these are some highlights from our discussion. If you are interested in the full chat, the video is towards the bottom of the post.

How do you know what content channels are the right ones for you in 2022?

Ayo: It’s got to boil down to where is your audience? Where do they hang out? If they’re on Instagram, that’s where you should go. If they’re on LinkedIn, that’s where you go.

You choose the content channels that work for you and work for your audience.

The big focus for my business and what I’m saying to my clients is email. As social channels like LinkedIn and Instagram try and monetize and therefore reduce organic reach, driving traffic and potential audience to comms channels that you own and have more control over has to be something to factor in.

Especially when you look at the fact that Facebook was down not too long ago.

Me: I would add to that: be on the appropriate platform and use the appropriate content for the story that you want to tell.

Different stories might require different mediums. Ayo, I know you use Instagram, and a lot of architects use Instagram. It’s a very visual platform, so it works.

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B2B content: Using questions in your intro and getting creative

In a previous post, I talked about the importance of your opening line and gave four simple ways to write intriguing intros. One of the ideas was to use a question, and I wanted to explore this a little further.

A neon question mark
Photo by Simone Secci on Unsplash

There are different ways of using questions, from the simple to the bold.

Probably the easiest is to ask the question that you go on to answer in your article or blog post. Here are two made up intros to give you an idea:

“How has the pandemic changed demand for offices? There is no doubt that lockdown has forced a reassessment of working practices, but what does that mean for…”

Or

“Will community uses be the key to reviving the high street? With more shopping taking place online, landlords and local authorities are looking for alternative uses to fill vacant retail units…”

But you can get a bit more creative.

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B2B content and the art of writing an intriguing opening line

The headline on your B2B content needs to grab attention and stop the scroll, but your opening line needs to keep the reader hooked and make them want to read on.

It is a powerful combination, but how do you write an intriguing intro to your article or thought leader?

A desk with a notebook and pen in the foreground and laptop behind with a blank screen.
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Writing an intriguing opening line is a powerful tool. There are simple ways of creating intrigue, and you can also get quite creative.

Below are just four ideas to give you a flavour and hopefully inspire your content writing. I’ve made up some examples to illustrate – they are complete fiction, so don’t think of them as actual market commentary.

1. Use a question

Questions can be used in several different ways – lookout for a future blog post on this. But one simple technique is to focus your intro on a question that you subsequently answer in the article.

Framed correctly it gives the reader an indication of what the article will cover and asks a question they are keen to find the answer for.

Examples:

In a competitive post-Covid office market, how do landlords ensure their vacant space attracts occupiers?

Or:

How do you land occupiers when the office market is competitive?

2. Challenge common perspectives (or misconceptions)

Presenting an idea which challenges commonly held perceptions or assumptions – or misconceptions can be a great way of intriguing readers.

It is something unexpected, and people want to know where there might be gaps in their knowledge.

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How do businesses talk about going green?

There is increasing pressure on businesses to set out their strategy for going green. Aside from having a moral imperative to mitigate climate impact, businesses face increasing scrutiny from investors, clients and customers.

Crowd of people and a woman is holding a cardboard sign which says Planet over Profit.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This is coupled with increased scrutiny from the government, which is introducing a number of measures to stop greenwashing – inflating green credentials.

For the second episode of It’s A B2B Comms Thing, I joined comms specialists Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake for a LinkedIn Live to discuss how businesses talk about going green.

If you are interested in the full discussion, including all the questions from the audience, you can find it here on LinkedIn but what follows are some highlights.

Why do businesses need to communicate their sustainability strategy?

Emma Drake: First, if you’re doing something amazing, then you want to tell everybody about it. As consumers and buyers, we’re increasingly looking for connections to sustainable products and services.

I had a guest on my podcast last week who works with startup companies finding investment for them. She said there’s an increasing number of investors looking to invest in sustainble businesses.

The flip side is consumers and buyers are wary, so it’s important that we communicate all the details and facts of what we’re doing clearly.

Ayo Abbas: The government is forcing peoples hands; every company by 2023 will have to have detailed public plans about how they are going to reach net zero.

Sustainability strategy and sustainability overall, if it’s done well, will be a differentiator; if it’s done badly, it will damage your business.

Me: People are much more savvy about greenwashing, and there’s a lot of scepticism about what businesses are doing or not doing. So it’s increasingly important to talk about what you are doing and your strategy.

Where does open and transparent communications leave us as communicators?

Emma: Greenwashing, whether that’s intentional or unintentional, can lead to a lack of trust from a consumer and a supply chain point of view. It’s a reputation issue that will affect the bottom line eventually.

It’s not just about best practices and communications; it’s about making sure that what we’re selling and what we’re telling people we’re selling are aligned in the simplest terms.

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Video: How to be a great B2B podcast guest

So you’ve been asked to be a guest on a B2B podcast; how do you make sure your audio interview goes well?

Business podcasts boomed during the lockdown, so the chances of being invited to talk on one as a guest are increasing. You may even be pitching to podcasts to be a guest as part of a communications and content strategy.

Audio interviews are similar to any other interview in that you need to prepare, but there are a few other things you need to do to make sure you are a great podcast guest.

In this video, I give a few tips I’ve picked up from my years doing interviews as a journalist – including podcast interviews. More recently, I’ve been helping clients with their podcasts and hosting interviews.

I’m also in the process of setting up my own business podcast, but more on that another time.

Hope you find the video useful, let me know your thoughts, or if you’ve already been a guest on a podcast, did you enjoy the experience?

More stuff on podcasts and press interviews:

Should I start a podcast as part of a B2B content strategy?

Press interview tip: Understanding the journalist’s agenda

The reason some people get quoted more in the press