Is your B2B content alienating your readers?

I read a piece of B2B content yesterday. Well I tried to read it.

The content writer was obviously well-educated and had tried to be clever in how they presented key points but instead had made the piece inaccessible.

Notice board that says 'Insert Something Cleve
Photo by Olivia Bauso on Unsplash

It was already a technical topic but was peppered with historical references to illustrate what they were trying to say.

References that didn’t mean anything to me and had to look up.

I was so busy trying to work out the historical references I ended up not really understanding the points the content writer was trying to make.

The thing is, if your audience finds your B2B content difficult to read and understand, there is a good chance they will probably throw in the towel rather than persevere.

Or if they don’t get a particular refererence, they may misunderstand your point.

Using unfamiliar references can also alienate your audience, which is the opposite of what you want.

Your copy may even give a whiff of showing off or sound slightly smug and knowing.

Encourage reader engagement

None of which is particularly good for encouraging reader engagement.

If your target audience is engineers with a love of medieval literature, then fine, reference The Wife of Bath (Chaucer) in a piece about designing steel supports for large glass feature windows.

But if the majority of your audience don’t have a penchant for old English fiction, then it’s probably best to leave Chaucer on the bookshelf.

You could explain the reference if it’s easy to do so, but only if it doesn’t hugely detract from the flow of the piece.

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3 ways to turn a conversation into B2B content

If you write B2B content for your business, there’s a strong chance you’ll have to create blog posts and articles based on conversations you’ve had with colleagues/clients.

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There are different ways to approach it depending on how you want to use the conversation and get the information across. For example, how much of the ‘interviewees’ voice do you want in your piece of B2B content?

Here are three different styles of write up to consider with pros and cons:

1. Simple Q&A

This can be the easiest way of getting across someone’s thoughts and ideas on a topic.

Writing up can be easy, too, particularly if you carefully plan your questions.

If you can, order your questions so that there is logical flow to them.

This means, when you come to write up your Q&A, you’ve already got a structure, so it’s just a case of trimming and editing the answers into coherent (and concise) written English.

If it’s been a more organic conversation, it can make it more tricky to pin down specific questions and answers. And you’ll have to work out a logical structure.

Q&A style interviews, because of their structure, means it’s harder to give context and background or set the scene (planning your questions can help).

But while you can rewrite your question to introduce a particular point, you don’t want them to be long and rambling.

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Why B2B thought leadership content is worth the effort

Whether you call it thought leadership, opinion, comment or insight, if you are a B2B business, there is huge value in taking the time to write and publish articles.

First and foremost, it’s a great way to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, understanding of the market and wider issues.

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It can demonstrate your understanding of your clients’ needs, what challenges they face and the pain points.

And thought-leader articles could help to reinforce your company’s brand values and help develop trust and authority.

As part of a content marketing strategy – and regular publishing – writing thought leader content can help build an audience and relationships with new clients, particularly if you allow comments.

Getting a bit more technical, it’s good for SEO. Google checks your website regularly for fresh content, and it is also looking for dwell – time spent on site. Alongside a good keyword strategy, it can help to drive traffic to your website.

Extra value

The time spent writing B2B thought leadership content carries extra dividends.

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The benefits of putting personality into B2B content

‘I don’t think sounding authentically you is the exclusive preserve of social media.

When I’m writing and commenting on social media, Grammarly grumbles at my word choice. Or rather, it points out that I overuse words such as ‘great’, ‘brilliant’, ‘really’ and ‘excellent’.

Make your writing sound human. Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

But when I am writing as myself, rather than for a client, those words are me. They are words I say—a lot.

I see social media as a conversational platform. It’s not a report or a brochure; it’s me talking to my connections, so I use the same words I’d use in a conversation.

They reflect who I am. Why hide my personality?

But I don’t think sounding authentically you is the exclusive preserve of social media.

Think of it another way. If you go to a networking event, how do you talk to people?

Do you talk in a manner that makes you sound like a PowerPoint presentation? I doubt it.

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Creating meaningful B2B content around ‘awareness’ days

All through the year, there are awareness days/months – Fairtrade Fortnight, Stress Awareness Month etc which offer an opportunity to publish related content.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

But it’s important to make sure that what you publish is meaningful and genuine. Your audience will see through content that is a tick box exercise or jumping on the bandwagon.

And, you risk opening your business up to extra scrutiny if you don’t put out content that is authentic and has integrity.

Take International Women’s Day which is coming up on 8 March.

The theme is Choose to Challenge, which provides a whole wealth of opportunity for content, but only if you have robust stories to tell.

Tell genuine stories

Those stories can be about what you are doing to improve gender equality in your business, what progress you’ve made, what difference you are trying to make and why.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the early stages of your strategy if you are taking genuine steps towards meeting your goals.

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