With a lot of education and awareness in recent years around B2B marketing, more and more brands are realising its importance, and the need to publish content to drive brand awareness and generate demand. Unfortunately, for many of them, it’s not working. Why is that?
Common mistakes in B2B content marketing
Here are a few common behaviours that we’ve observed online, and which we believe may be counter-productive in terms of B2B content marketing:
- Companies believing that their audiences will be interested in everything they have to say. Broadcasting heavily about a company, its management, its products, and its achievements and awards can often turn the reader off, particularly when using superlatives or using a boastful tone.
- Companies getting too abstract talking about their industry and the types of solutions they offer and their benefits, ultimately producing “any-brand-could-be-saying-that” type of content.
- Companies spreading themselves too thin, writing tons of shallow “blogs” about a large number of topics, thinking quantity matters more than quality. They end up struggling to make any real impact.
- Companies creating content about general trends that come up, tackling non-relevant hot topics that are already overloaded with content, and not providing any extra value.
- Companies getting too mechanical about the “B2B buyer’s journey” and driving conversions. They forget they’re communicating with humans. And humans can tell if a brand is pushing to sell instead of providing value, or if a brand is just repeating the same ideas as everyone else, or coming across as insincere.
The result of all these tactics can be content that generates very little engagement other than from the company’s staff or jobseekers. If it doesn’t get picked up by search engines, it just ends up falling into the abyss.
How to make B2B content more genuine, exciting and effective
Regardless of the topic, you can ensure that you’re producing unique and genuine content using brand authenticity and transparency. Your company has its own unique brand identity that represents it. Similarly, the content you create should reflect your brand’s essence and values, and reveal the character of your brand and the people behind it.
For content to be exciting for the reader or viewer it has to provide them with real value in a highly engaging format. This requires a thorough understanding of your audience, their content consumption preferences, their pain points and needs, and their interests and goals. From this understanding, you can start looking for common ground and find the sweet spot of the topics that are relevant to your audience and the topics where your brand has expertise and can add value.
Tips for creating engaging B2B content
Bring content out from within your business
Content is not always something your marketing or communications team can create in isolation. It’s an exercise that should ideally involve all departments. Create regular types of content streams that can feed into your content creation process, such as product or service updates, completed projects, success stories, client testimonials and reviews, newly awarded projects, partnership agreements, partner activities, CSR initiatives, project learnings, employee learning and development, team engagement activities, other company updates, etc. You can set up regular internal meetings around content to ensure that you’re not missing any opportunity to create a great piece of content.
Dig deeper for stories
The most interesting stories often come from your own teams; in your internal discussions, in the conversations that your teams have with your clients and prospects, and in your archives. Dig deep to bring them to the surface.
Show the faces behind the stories
Bring stories to life by featuring the people behind them, such as your team, clients, partners, or other stakeholders. For example, if you need to inform your audience about a new product feature, why not bring the product manager to speak about it? If you need to tell your audience about a successful case study, why not feature the person who championed the project on both your side and the client’s side?
Stand for something
Don’t succumb to peer pressure on what to talk about, what to say, and how to say it. Your content is your opportunity to stand for your values, talk about what matters to you and your ideal target audience, and say things your way.
Educate, but in your own way
If you plan to put out educational content, add your own flavour to it and align it with your content strategy so that the content is highly relevant to both your audience and your offering. This will help you stand out from the crowd and support your other content creation efforts.
Tips on format and style
Crafting compelling B2B content requires more than just good substance. Your content creation form and style play a vital role in capturing your audience’s attention and keeping them engaged. Here are some recommendations when it comes to style:
Keep it clear and simple
To write clearly, it’s important to empathise with your readers. Consider their perspective and write to express, not to impress. Avoid sentences that force a second reading. Keep your language clear, concise, and easy to understand.
Anecdotes are short, compelling, or entertaining stories about real incidents or people. They can help you make your content more human and bring your stories to life. Use anecdotes to illustrate a point or to provide an example of a particular situation or experience. This will make your content more relatable to your readers.
Write for skimmers
With shorter attention spans, it’s important to optimise your content for skimmers. Break up long texts into sections, use headings, bullet points, bolded highlights, facts and features boxes, infographics, and pull-out quotes. Start with the ending conclusion or an executive summary of 1-2 paragraphs, if possible.