People in business: How to add personality to B2B content

“We want our content to have a bit more personality” is something I often hear from clients, but when they see copy that reflects the individual, it can make them nervous.

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

It reads as more conversational and less formal than the traditional B2B content you normally see.

The built environment sector I work in is frequently described as a people industry, yet you wouldn’t guess that from the content that is regularly published.

A lot of it sounds quite similar, as if following a particular rule book about how you write to sound professional and authoritative.

To reflect personality in your business content, that rule book needs to be ripped up. It will read a little differently, but it can help your target audience get to know you and the people in your business. It can make you more relatable and approachable.

And content that is a bit different is good in the noisy world of the internet and social media.

You don’t have to completely change how you write or sound like an Innocent smoothie advert. There are small, subtle ways to add a sprinkle of personality to your B2B content that will make a difference.

Whether you are writing your own content or writing it for someone in your business, here are four ways of adding personality:

1. Particular word choice

Start with choosing words and phrases you would use in a real conversation with a friend, family member or peer. If you would naturally say you were ‘chuffed’ or ‘over the moon’, write that.

If you are writing a piece for someone in your business, listen carefully to the words they use. I like to record content chats and get a transcript ( is the tool I use).

Are there any particular words or phrases they use? How do they explain their viewpoint or describe something when chatting about it?

Use these in the copy so that it sounds authentic to them.

A simple example is someone who works in the healthcare sector using the word ‘poorly’ rather than ‘sick’ to describe patients using a facility.

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The diary of a B2B journalist at a trade show

I was walking along the Croisette in sunny Cannes, on my way to my fourth meeting of the morning, my thumbs rapidly typing a Tweet.

Screen shot of a Tweet showing a picture of the beach and sea in Cannes. Beach is covered in deckchairs with parasols. Caption is Gorgeous morning here in Cannes, just in case you were wondering #MIPIM makes for a lovely walk to work.
Tweeting from Cannes back in 2017

It was day two of MIPIM, the international property trade show held every March, and already I felt like my phone was part of my hand and might have to be surgically removed at the end of the week.

Tweeting was par for the course, something you slotted in while hurrying to the next event or one to one. It was about mopping up the sights, sounds and hot topics of the show to give a flavour of what was going on and what it was like for those not there.

It was also a way of showing what you were up to and that you were ‘all over the show’.

But it was only a small part of the output.

My work on MIPIM usually started in December, coming up with content ideas and commissioning the features for the supplements that would go out with the ‘MIPIM issue’.

Planning ahead with content

Supplements usually had an eight-week production schedule. However, because of the volume of content going into what was our biggest issue of the year, preparation started earlier so I could drip-feed articles through to the production desk for subbing and layout.

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Repurposing: How to make the most of B2B content

Creating brand new B2B content is time-consuming, particularly when you have a website and social media channels to fill. How can you get the maximum bangs for your content bucks with repurposing?

Screen shot from the It's A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live. Screen is divided into 3 with myself top left, Ayo Abbas top right and Susie Lober centred on the row below. There is  banner across the top of the screen which says It's a B2B comms thing Repurposing: Making the most of your content
It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live in action

In February’s It’s a B2B Comms Thing, with co-host Ayo Abbas and guest host Susie Lober, we discussed saving time with repurposing content.

Here are some edited highlights; the full video is at the bottom.

Why repurpose your B2B content?

Ayo: Repurposing is about saving time. We put so much effort into a piece of content, so how do I get the most bang for my buck? As I’ve got busy, it’s harder to keep posting every day, so it’s great to have a vault of stuff that you can go into and just adapt.

Also, you think that people are bored of your messaging and what you’re saying, but people are so busy have they even registered your content in the first place?

Susie: Yes, it’s going to save you time, it’s going to save you money. And don’t forget that it is also good for SEO as well.

Me: If you are putting content out on LinkedIn and Twitter. That doesn’t mean to say that all your connections and all your followers have seen that content. So repurposing and re-pushing your content out is about reaching a wider audience.

How should you repurpose your content?

Me: There are many different ways, but here are a couple of examples. If you think of a content pyramid or a hero piece of content, this could be an article, an event, podcast episode, all sorts of things but let’s take an event.

I wrote a 900-word article from a 10-minute interview. So if you have had a 45-minute panel discussion with three or four panellists, how much content, how many words can you get out of that panel?

And you don’t just have to do one article, you could do a series.

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