B2B writing is often looked upon as the poor, ugly cousin of B2C writing. The former tends to be bland, verbose, insipid even, while the latter is smart, sexy, funny, and the really good ones are usually remembered well into posterity. This is just humbug typecasting. There’s no reason why B2B content can’t be as energizing and remarkable as B2C. Here are 5 ways to let B2B content shine:
1. The Right Stuff at the Right Time: Sounds obvious, but a rarely practised craft. B2B buyers go through a (usually, protracted) buying cycle, and you need to feed them the right kind of content depending on what stage they are in that cycle. For example, if they are in the preliminary “get an idea of the field” stage, content like whitepapers and e-books are a great help to channelize their thought processes and establishes yourself as thought leaders in their minds. Further on in the buying cycle, when you have begun sales engagement, case studies can play a critical role in aiding their purchase decision. Keep the writing in all cases focused on their needs of the moment, and always write in actionable terms. This is not the platform for espousing theories.
2. Don’t misuse the luxury of attention. Granted that B2B buyers are willing to invest more time in reading what you have to say. But don’t take it for granted. Your audience’s attention span is a luxury. If you don’t pitch it right at the beginning, they will move on. The opening salvo ought to be concise, use short sentences and declare what the rest of the content is all about. Eschew flowery language, idioms, gobbledygook and the like. Humour is best avoided unless it’s really smart and translates well across diverse audiences. Again remember, this is not the platform to show off your copywriting skills; employ it to optimum use.
3. Have a primary call-to-action. B2B content must always be actionable. That’s their raison d’etre. To fulfil this condition, have a call-to-action that’s the focus of the piece you are writing. Secondary calls-to-action are fine too, as long as they don’t detract from the core message. And calls-to-action need not be too involved. A call to visit a website for more info, or to download content, etc. are just fine. Just remember that what you write must be compelling enough for the reader (preferably) to act without thinking twice.
4. Adopt a distinct attitude, and stick to it. Contrary to popular notion, B2B writing need not be all buttoned-and-suited up. Adopt a style that’s consistent with your organisation’s image, then lighten it up just a little (a la a Macchiato). And, don’t forget some basics of B2B copywriting.Over time your communication will stand out among your audience.
5. Be prepared to modify and adapt. If what you communication at first fails to reach out to your audience, try a different approach (you can do this simultaneously as well wit A/B split testing). And remember your B2B audience does change over time as the business environment and technology evolves. Be tuned in to the zeitgeist and adapt quickly. Holding on to what you hold dear is the sure-fire route to banality.
What are your recommendations for creating remarkable B2B content? Chime in!