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Why publishing regular B2B content doesn’t have to be difficult

Producing regular B2B content can seem really daunting. If you are aiming to publish weekly, that’s 50 odd posts which can seem like a lot of ideas.

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But it isn’t as onerous a task as it initially appears.

First of all, don’t set out to write 1,500 words a week; website content, which is 400 words and upwards, is fine. Concentrate on writing what each topic is worth rather than hitting a particular word count.

To make coming up with B2B content ideas seem less daunting, start by thinking about the key pain points/areas of interest for your target audience.

Break down your ideas

You talk to your clients so you know what concerns them most, what questions get asked regularly and where they most need help.

Draw up a list of key subject headlines. Then think about how you can break each headline down.

Rather than writing one long piece on one topic, think of writing a series of shorter pieces looking at different aspects.

These can form the basis of your ‘evergreen’ content. Write a bunch of them in advance, so you have them ready or at least have the ideas sketched out to inspire you.

Then think about key events and dates in your business calendar, which will generate ideas or that you will want to comment on.

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Learning the hard way how to write web content headlines

When I first started writing my theatre blog 11 years ago my headlines were rubbish.

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I was trying to be clever or witty, sometimes using puns or a play on words.

But the more I learned about writing online content, the more I realised my approach was entirely based on what worked in print rather than online.

My experience and background was magazine journalism after all.

An article in a magazine or newspaper has images, graphics, tables, box-outs, subheadings etc. which help grab attention.

And an article in a magazine may already have context.

If someone has picked up a copy of ‘Window Box Weekly’, they are probably interested or at least curious about window boxes.

Try to find your own content

A big test was trying to find my own theatre blog content using Google. I knew I’d reviewed a particular production, but my ‘clever’ headlines meant it wasn’t coming up in searches – certainly not on the first few pages of results.

For example, I saw a play called Grief by Mike Leigh, and the headline of my review was ‘Good Grief?’

See what I did there? It might work if the piece sat in the theatre review section of newspaper or magazine, alongside a production photo and a subhead.

But out of context and with just two words to go on, it didn’t work so well.

Getting savvier about online search

As I started to understand how people find stuff to read online (search engines, social media etc.), I realised my headline style needed to change so that people could find my blog posts.

And know what they were about from the headline.

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Want people to stop scrolling and click on your B2B content?

Promoting your content on social media can be a great way of increasing engagement with your B2B content but there is an art to writing posts that get people to stop scrolling and click through to your content.

A row of people in suits all looking at their smart phones - picture is a close up of their hands.
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Think of LinkedIn or Twitter as like a huge crowd with everyone shouting to be heard. You need to craft a few sentences that stand out and grab attention.

It’s not simply a case telling people you’ve written something and they will click through and read.

Doing this just lets down all the hard work you put into your creating your B2B content.

Look at it this way. If you were selling a book door to door, you wouldn’t simply say: “I have a book, do you want to buy it?”

You’d talk about what was in the book and why it was interesting or useful.

And yet it isn’t unusual to see a social media post that says something like: ‘Our latest report on the office market is out’.

Now context, the business brand or person writing the post might help.

But it may not.

And if you are relying solely on who you are to ‘sell’ your content to potential readers, then you are missing out.

Hint: People may not know who you are or have read anything you’ve written before.

You want to make people stop and pay attention and to do that you need to capture their interest or intrigue about your content, so people want to click through and read it.

Here are some ideas for how you can do that:

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Twitter can teach you better B2B content engagement

First, it was text messages that had a limited number of characters, then Twitter arrived, and we had to hone our skills at writing succinctly while grabbing attention.

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And yet when we are writing B2B content for platforms where there aren’t restrictions we seem to forget we need to work just as hard to get people interested.

Just because you have more space to fill with words doesn’t mean readers have more time to read.

Most B2B content is consumed in a digital format rather than print now. We scroll headlines, and social media feeds to find interesting content, often making snap decisions about whether to engage – click through – and read based on just a few words.

The discipline of writing succinctly for a Tweet – although more characters are allowed now – is a good one. It teaches you to get to the point in an engaging way.

In just a sentence or two, you need to say something interesting or intriguing or useful. Or you want to make them feel something or react.

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How not to annoy B2B journalists and get more press coverage

Back in my days as B2B journalist, I was once told by someone I was interviewing for a feature that I should be doing my bit to boost the market.

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They wanted me to write a positive piece about their area of the market. It’s the sort of comment that would have me rolling my eyes.

Why? Because putting a positive spin on the market wasn’t my job as a B2B journalist. I’d be doing a disservice to the readers of the magazine if I didn’t set out what was happening in the market – good, bad or otherwise.

Misconceptions about a journalists roles are common and those sort of requests not unusual.

My response was always the same, I would politely talk about maintaining the integrity of the publication by presenting an accurate view of the market. And they would always agree that that was an important thing to do.

It didn’t always stop them trying the same tactic to steer the editorial in a direction favourable to them another time. Sadly.

Tiresome tactic

But this tactic never worked, it was tiresome and didn’t serve longer-term relationship building.

A B2B journalists job isn’t to do your marketing for you. A feature or news story isn’t an advertorial, it’s not a brochure.

What a journalist is trying to do is find out useful and interesting information for their readers.

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