When creating content marketing material for your B2B company, you want it to be engaging and attract the right audience. However, in the daily grind of tasks and to-dos, the content creation process can become rushed and the end result can be sub-standard or “flat” content.
There are a few basic steps you can take each time you create a B2B content marketing piece to ensure it’s engaging and will connect with your target audience.
Define Your Target Audience
Knowing exactly who you are speaking to is the first critical step in creating engaging content. For many companies, the audience may be well-defined and not vary at all. However, for many B2B firms, there are multiple target audiences that are involved in the selection process.
Before creating a piece of content, clearly define exactly who it is intended for. Is it engineers designing the manufacturing line? Is it the end-user of your accounting software? Is it the CFO who has the final call on the budget for the consulting project?
Select Topics that Resonate with Them
Once you have determined the audience you intend to craft your B2B content marketing piece for, you can select topics that will appeal to them. For example, an engineer likely won’t care about the cost of a product, but they will care about dimensions and materials. Similarly, a CEO may not care about the actual features of a particular software but will want to understand how it creates efficiencies or saves employees time for particular processes.
The second part of this step is to ensure the topic resonates with “them” and not just with your objectives. Your goal may be to build value during the sales process, but you need to think about it from the reader’s perspective. What do they want to read? They don’t want to read a sales pitch. They want to read about something that helps them do their job better, explains a complex process, saves them time, and/or helps them create their case to their internal managers.
If you focus on teaching with a piece of content, you should be heading in the right direction. However, if you find you are continually referencing your product or services, you are likely heading off track. For many engaging B2B content marketing pieces, the company’s products are services are never even mentioned. This is what separates content marketing from promotional copy and is the main reason most content marketing fails.
Work with a Professional Copywriter
While many people can write well, they can’t write engaging copy very well. This is a tough pill to swallow for a lot of B2B marketers. No one wants to be told they don’t write good copy.
Storytelling is a skill that must be honed over time. Even if a person is an excellent verbal storyteller, that doesn’t always translate to digital copy. A digital audience can’t see the facial expressions and hand gestures of the storyteller. As such, words must make an impact.
Working with a professional, experienced copywriter is the best way to create content that is going to appeal and connect with your target audience. Ideally, the copywriter is also experienced with your particular industry and understands how to talk to the end-user.
There are a lot of moving parts that go into making a piece of content engaging:
- The right title (Most “sensational” titles don’t work for B2B)
- A clear storyline or outline
- Subheads and contextual cues
- Readable language
- Descriptive language and variation
- Strong closings
- Clear CTAs
A professional copywriter is able to incorporate all these elements based on their years of experience and practice. Additionally, a copywriter will follow best practices for creating digital content.
Revise & Edit
The first draft of any B2B marketing piece is just that, a draft. The majority of engaging content has gone through several rounds of edits to streamline copy, find the right visuals, and evaluate the overall message and story.
I recommend having about 2 – 3 people review a piece of content. Some longer or more intensive pieces may require more reviewers but for your average blog post, 2 – 3 reviewers is a good number. This will typically include the copywriter, editor, and subject matter expert(s). The copywriter and editor will use their writing skills and experience to focus on the language and story, while the subject matter expert lends their knowledge of the subject and the audience to ensure all is correct and properly explained.
The good news is the longer and more consistently you work with a copywriter and editor, the more streamlined the editing and revision process will be. The only warning I have here is to not overthink it. The phrase often thrown around is “paralysis by analysis,” essentially not being able to get anything done by overanalyzing. You have to determine the reasonable amount of resources and time you’d like to allocate to revising so that you get content out and shared in an acceptable amount of time, but to also make sure the content is accurate and engaging.
B2B content marketing shouldn’t be boring. By taking the right steps during content creation, you can produce pieces that resonate with your target market and build strong connections.