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
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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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60-seconds on…How to encourage B2B content engagement

Some ideas for encouraging B2B content engagement

Engagement on your B2B content – likes, comments, shares – means the algorithms will give it more visibility.

Why? Because B2B content engagement is an indicator, it’s of interest or value (or entertaining) and therefore worth showing to some more people.

And that goes for social media posts and stuff on your website.

So how can you encourage engagement?

Here is 60-seconds worth of ideas covering ease of engagement, responding to engagement and CTAs (call to action).

How do you encourage engagement on your B2B content?

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The myth of ‘sounding professional’ in B2B writing

“I struggle to sound professional when I’m writing for work.”

It’s not an unusual comment from people who aren’t in communications but might have to write stories for internal newsletters, intranet or even external stories.

So how do you sound professional when writing for work? I would counter that questions with: What does professional B2B writing look and sound like?

Close up of a man in a business suit straightening his tie. Representative of the false image of a professional 'look'.
Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

There is a common misconception that sounding ‘professional’ in B2B writing means using a different language to what you would use in a normal conversation.

That sounding professional means using long, fancy words, jargon and ‘corporate speak’.

And following certain rules that were drilled in when studying English at school, such as starting a sentence with ‘and’ as I’ve just done.

But that’s like saying that you aren’t professional unless you wear a suit and work in an office.

It’s stuff and nonsense. Being professional is about being skilled at what you do first and foremost.

The key purpose of B2B writing

And, just as labelling a certain way of dressing as professional misses the point, so does the idea that you have to write in a certain way.

Yes, correct English and spelling are good ideas, but using words and phrases you wouldn’t use when talking to people ignores the key purpose of B2B writing: To communicate.

If you want to communicate a piece of news, pass on information or get people to do something, you need to write in a way that is clear, concise and engages your audience.

And the easiest way to do that is to use familiar words and phrases – the language you would use in conversation.

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