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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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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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.

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

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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