6 tips for creating B2B content which connects and engages

A B2B content strategy can build brand visibility, but what does the tone and style of your content say about your brand? 

Is it a conversation starter? Is it relatable? Does it make you approachable?  

Business is forged on connections, and content can be the start of a relationship with a potential client, customer or collaborator. 

There is a misconception that ‘sounding professional’ means stripping out the human and personality and making content sound a certain way (corporate).

However, the tone of content contributes to how a brand is perceived; being easy to read, approachable, and relatable is simply more engaging. 

Content that sounds like it’s written by a human for another human is still professional. 

Here are some ways to make your content sound less corporate and more approachable:

1. Jargon and technical language

Never assume people understand technical language and jargon; you don’t want to alienate readers because they don’t understand what you mean.

You don’t want your content to be a slog; what impression does that leave? At its worst, jargon can come across as intimidating, arrogant or a cover for something. 

Clear and easy to understand is more engaging and cleverer.

2. Conversational language

Don’t substitute everyday words for something fancier: Facilitate/help, commence/start, utilise/use, etc. Use the terminology your audience uses (that’s what they will use in Google searches). 

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From sceptic to supporter: The case for B2B content marketing

Not everyone sees the value of B2B content and content marketing, so how do you convince the sceptics and get employees on board to help boost the visibility of your posts?

This was the topic of the August episode of the B2B Comms Breakdown live webinar, which I co-hosted with Ayo Abbas. You can catch up with the video replay (scroll to the bottom) or read on for an edited transcript.

We started the discussion with the case for creating B2B content…

What is worthwhile about content marketing?

Ayo: One of the biggest things about content marketing is that it is a way of positioning yourself as a thought leader, getting your views and projects out there and getting known for what you want to be known for.

It’s about building a brand rather than letting others build it for you. It’s how people get to know, like and trust you and keeps you front of mind. So when I want to buy, I think of you.

The LinkedIn B2B Institute put out some research that showed 95% of the market isn’t in a state to buy. That means only 5% of your target market is actually ready to buy.

So, how do you keep them warm? That’s where content marketing is a valuable tool to help you do that.

Stacey: I see content as a conversation, as a narrative with your existing and potential clients. It’s about nurturing that relationship and keeping that channel open.

There’s a practical element, too. Adding content to your website is good for SEO; that content is sitting there, and people can find it.

It’s all part of your brand building, but it’s not just about the hard wins, the business sales and people wanting to work with you.

That is part of it, but it can lead to speaking opportunities, networking opportunities, and opens the door offline just as much as online.

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What type of B2B content performs best?

Red neon speech bubble. Inside is a white neon heart shape similar to a social medial like button and beside it is a white neon zero. So the sign indicates zero likes.
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Which type of B2B content performs best was something I was asked recently, I guess because I put out content in different formats (written, video, carousels/sliders).

And, I work with clients on audio and events.

But it isn’t easy to answer because content analytics are complex and vary from platform to platform.

You will never know how many people read your online article all the way through, for example.

Some people might read a bit, some might skim-read, and some might click on the page and get distracted by something else.

It’s similar to a written LinkedIn post. A post will clock up ‘impressions’, but that doesn’t tell you if people have actually what you’ve written.

Impressions are the number of feeds your post has appeared in, not engagement.

The more likes/reactions your post gets, the more impressions it will likely get, but again it doesn’t mean people have actually read it.

Reacting without reading

*Shock warning* Some people hit react without reading the post or the whole post.

Video metrics are a little clearer.

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What makes a clickable headline

A piece of paper in a type writer which has the word 'news' written at the top.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

People will decide whether to click on a story or article based on the headline.

You could write a brilliant article, blog post or press release, but if the headline doesn’t ‘sell’ the content to your target audience, it won’t matter.

Think of all the headlines you scroll past vs what you click on to read.

Headlines are so important that some national newspapers and magazines have specialist writers called sub-editors to create them.

So what makes a clickable headline?

Different styles work for different types of content, but the key is creating some intrigue or tapping into an emotion or need.

Headlines also need to give enough information so that the reader knows what they’ll get from reading on.

Here are four headline examples and a breakdown of how they work:

1. Pique interest news headline

This headline, from the North West Business Insider, tells the reader enough, so they know what the story is about but leaves out certain information to help create curiosity.

It tells the reader that it is a development deal, the size of the deal and where it is. What it doesn’t say is who was involved in the deal, the type of development and the details of the transaction.

To find that information, the reader has to click through to the story.

News headlines are a balancing act. Reveal too much, and there is no reason to click through; reveal too little, and curiosity isn’t pricked.

2. Challenge or surprise headline

Presenting a statement in a headline that is incongruous with common thinking or trend is a great way of getting people clicking to read on.

This headline on a LinkedIn article by Daniel Paulusma creates different levels of intrigue depending on your views of hybrid working.

It appears to challenge the thinking of advocates of hybrid working, potentially highlighting something they’ve missed: Am I wrong? ‘What is the evidence?’

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Personality in B2B content and why its good

Some thoughts on showing personality in B2B content and if it’s ‘professional’

There seems to be a fear about showing personality in B2B content. Either that it doesn’t sound professional or makes people feel exposed.

Showing some personality can be using a particular turn of phrase or choosing more conversational words in your writing.

Or perhaps using an anecdote or talking about a personal experience or how something made you feel, something that shows some of your personality.

What is ‘professional’?

First of all, being professional isn’t about sounding or dressing a certain way.

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