How much do you plan a piece of B2B content before writing?

I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I have a detailed plan for every piece of content before writing it because I don’t.

But listening to a podcast interview with a B2B content writer talking about how they plan features and blog posts got me reflecting on my own approach.

And I realised that I don’t use the same method for every piece.

Photo by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash

Over the years I’ve got fairly adept at planning in my head or structuring as I go.

But when I started as a features writer on a weekly B2B magazine, I would always write out a plan for each piece.

It made writing a lot easier, particularly in those early days when I was new to the subject matter (commercial property) and new to writing features.

Now I adapt my approach depending on the starting point.

Sometimes I’ll get off a call with a client and already have a pretty good idea of the key points and main angle.

Select the juicy bits

I might free write the first few pars before going back to the transcript to start pulling out the juiciest bits, shaping and ordering them.

If the conversation with the client was a brainstorm around a few thought leader ideas, and the task is to pick out the best and write it up, then I’ll hone in on what felt like the strongest or most developed idea.

Listening to how the client talks about something can be a good indicator of where they have the strongest views or ideas. This is also key for capturing the client’s tone of voice in the piece.

Continue reading “How much do you plan a piece of B2B content before writing?”

4 common misconceptions about B2B press releases

Press releases can be an important way of sharing your B2B business news and building visibility, but there are some common misconceptions about how journalists treat press releases.

Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Understanding how journalists work is important for writing and targeting your press releases and building a relationship with trade journalists.

From the questions I’ve been asked about press releases over the years, these are the four most common misunderstandings:

1. The press release will get used as written

Nope. Most likely, you’ll have sent your B2B press release to a press list.

Publications and websites are competing for stories and readers. If the story is interesting to the journalist, they will be looking to create a point of difference to make it stand out.

Unless of course they are very busy but then if it is used as written then it most likely means they don’t believe it is worth spending the extra time on. (Sorry.)

2. It’s your story

It isn’t your story. You may have written the press release, but once it’s in a journalists hands, they will do with it what they want to make it engaging for their readers.

Think of the competition and how they want to differentiate.

They may take a different angle to what you’ve presented. They may want to interview someone from your business to get extra information or comment.

And they may talk to other people to get different views – including your competitors.

Continue reading “4 common misconceptions about B2B press releases”

How to moderate a webinar like a pro (part 2)

In How to moderate a webinar like a pro (part 1), I talked about pre-event preparation; in this post, I’m going to give some tips for what to do once you are live and in front of an audience.

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

Lights, camera, action

If you are joining the webinar from home, make sure you have sufficient lighting so that people can see you properly. Sitting with your back towards a bright light or window will throw a shadow over your face.

Position your camera so you can look directly at it; it looks more professional and is more engaging for the audience if you are looking directly at them from the screen.

If you have a standing desk, then moderate standing up as this will give your voice a bit more energy.

Dealing with nerves

It can be nerve-wracking speaking in public – even if it’s a webinar and you can’t see your audience.

Your heart starts racing, your hands might shake and, if you are like me, you talk faster.

Remember to breathe and consciously slow down your speech a little. It not only has a calming effect, but it gives you a bit more thinking time. It can help you feel more in control.

And if you appear calm and in control, it will help the panellists feel calm.

Set the scene

As a moderator, you run the ship; you are guiding the panellists and audience through the discussion.

Continue reading “How to moderate a webinar like a pro (part 2)”

Is your website copy clear about what you do?

‘Of course, our website copy tells people what our company does,’ I hear you say.

Slightly different question: Does your website copy describe what your company does using the same words and phrases your clients would use?

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Because that’s the thing, the words you use and those your potential clients use might not be the same. And it’s a crucial distinction if you want your business website to appear in searches.

When you are in the flow of writing about what you do, talking about your services and offer, it’s tempting to make it sound, well, a bit more flash. You might want to use technical terms or marketing lingo.

Here’s an example. I came across a company name, and I wanted to check what they did. I had an inkling were an office fit-out business.

So I Googled the company name to find their website and clarify what they did.

After spending 10 minutes scrolling through various pages on their website, I was still not 100% sure if they were an office fit-out company.

Fancy phrases vs clear and simple

The reason? Nowhere on the website did it mention ‘fit-out’. Instead, they used phrases like ‘end-to-end workspace solutions’.

If you were looking for a company to fit out your new office, would you search for ‘end-to-end workspace solutions’? Or would you search for ‘office fit-out company’?

It’s not unusual for B2B website copy to leave visitors confused about what the business actually does.

Continue reading “Is your website copy clear about what you do?”

Panel events: Are you creating an echo chamber of views?

Many years ago, I chaired a roundtable on the future of business parks.

A business park developer, an agent who leased business park space, an architect who designed business parks, and a business park tenant took part in the discussion.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

There was lots of excited conversation about what the business park of the future would look like, what facilities it would have and how it would be used.

The occupier wasn’t joining in, so I asked what they thought of the suggestions. What they said stopped everyone in their tracks.

Why?

The tenant – the business that may or may not lease space in the future – didn’t want most of what was suggested.

Instead, they reeled off a list of what they did want from a business park.

I used to regularly chair panel discussions for the magazine I worked for.

Curve ball panellist

They were great generators of content and brand awareness but what made them really fly was when there was a ‘curve ball’ panellist.

There would be a range of people on the panel representing different sides of property development. However, the best discussions were when there was someone whose experience was different from the rest of the panellists.

An outsider.

One example was a discussion about economic growth in a particular region. Four out of five of the panellists were from the area and one was not.

Continue reading “Panel events: Are you creating an echo chamber of views?”