Are you writing what your potential customers want to read?
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”Demand Gen Report survey “]Three-quarters of B2B buyers strongly agree that they have placed a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of content sources over the past year, though only about one-third are more willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy[/pullquote]
It’s no secret that there is a glut of content.
There are more than 200 million bits of content being created every minute! This is simply inconsumable by the average person.
And the Demand Gen data proves the point. People are overwhelmed by B2B content from all sides and the biggest casualty is credibility. 75% of the respondents said that they are looking for a source they can trust.
If you look past the desire to have mobile optimized content (at 52%), the next most important thing that customers want to see is shorter formats.
Tips on Creating B2B Content
Top 3 Easy Ways to Show Trustworthiness in Your Content
- Use screenshots. Data isn’t just about charts and fancy infographics, the best data is often the “show-me” kind. If you’re writing “How-to” content, use screenshots to show exactly how you did it. Screenshots provide a subtle unconscious trust factor because they allow your audience to peer behind your curtain and they show that you’ve actually done what you are showing them to do.
- Take real-time pictures and video. These days fancy, over-produced images and video actually reduce trust. Instead, take your own images. If you’re a business that has the ability to show before and after shots — do that. Don’t be afraid of using your mobile phone video feature. Customers love it.
- Share the “ugly”. When something or someone is too perfect, we just don’t trust it. Too many businesses and owners shy away from sharing their mistakes. Meanwhile, it’s your mistakes that make you human and trustworthy. Openly share your failures and how you overcame them.
How to Write B2B Content that is Quick and Easy to Read
Let’s just skip over the obvious need to have any of your online content be mobile friendly and go straight to a few of the other attributes B2B customers want to see such as shorter content, visual content, and multi-media content. Why? Because B2B customers said that they felt overwhelmed by content and shorter content, video content, interactive content is a “fix” for being overwhelmed.
Here are a few tips for creating shorter, easier to consume and less overwhelming content that will drive more traffic and convert more customers.
First, let’s get something straight.
Short doesn’t mean 350 words or 500 words. Short means “how long does it take for me to read.Click to tweet
I love Andy Crestodina’s blog from Orbit Media — check this out
This post is 1300 words, but only a 6 minute read. This fulfills on all the requests from the B2B customers.
Let’s take a closer look at this piece of B2B content and how it achieves fast and easy reading while continuing to fulfill on Google’s request for more words.
- It uses simple language, short sentences and short paragraphs. This reduces the amount of information overwhelm. Writing at a 6th-grade level isn’t about intelligence, it’s about making it easy for the reader to scan through content.
- It also has a ton of images that are engaging and that move around on the page.
- It uses screen shots that add to the credibility of the content.
- It focuses on a single, simple topic and delivers actionable results.
7 Easy Ways to Generate an Ongoing Flood of B2B Content Ideas Your Customers Will Want to Read
Content is all around you. Here’s a list of places you may not have thought to look for content.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Every business and industry has a list of frequently asked questions. Each question is a piece of content. If you don’t have a list of FAQ’s right now, you and your team can brainstorm one and then every time someone asks a question – add it to your list.
- Conversations: Every conversation is a presentation. Chances are you’ve already had at least one conversation today that would have made an interesting piece of content your B2B customers would have found valuable.
- News Feeds: There are several wonderful news feed apps you can use both on your desktop as well as your mobile device. Some of my favorites are Feedly, StumbleUpon and FlipBoard. Each of these can be customized to pull news stories from your industry or areas of interest. All you need to do is check in daily, pull the stories that jump out to you and add your point of view and insights to the story and post on social media or select several of these stories and create a blog post that ties them all together.
- Interviews. This is an often forgotten source of fantastic credibility and testimonial-rich content. Go to your customer list, select several customers that would make good interviews. You can then call the or even email them interview questions and use their responses as content. Consider interviewing them on Google Live, Zoom or GoToMeeting and recording the interviews. Now you have video content to supplement anything you write. B2B customers prefer content that includes other business owners over content that comes from companies or experts who are not connected to their business.
- Surveys and Research. These days doing customer research or industry research is as easy as creating a quick online survey and reporting on the results. To be effective online surveys need to be short and ask no more than 3 questions. You can do one every month, report on the results and watch your credibility and popularity rise. I use QuestionPro for my online surveys because it’s easy, low-cost and deliver enterprise B2B level results for next to nothing.
- Social Media. Your social media channels are loaded with wonderful B2B content ideas. All you’ll need is to know what hashtags to use for your industry, search any social media channel; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or even Google for that hashtag and BOOM- you’ll see what people are sharing that your audience might find useful. My favorite thing to do is set up search streams on either TweetDeck or HootSuite and watch what articles or conversations cross my stream. Here’s a snapshot of one of my HootSuite tabs.
- Look inside your organization. Ask your sales team what your customers need to know, ask your customer support folks what trips up customers, ask your tech or development folks about what makes your product or service unique. You have a wealth of information right inside your company that your current and future customers would LOVE to get their hands on.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get personal with your content. The number one reason customers choose you is because of the unique combination of people that are in your organization. The biggest mistake B2B organizations make is thinking that they have to sound “corporatey” — this is so WRONG. Be yourself, let your freak flag fly and watch as your customers flock to your content.
Here are a few articles I ran across that you can use to inspire you.
100 Blog Post Ideas in 30 Minutes: If this doesn’t inspire you, I’m not sure what will. The author gives you several steps (that look similar to mine) but what I love about this post is that she takes screenshots of her doing the work along with a timer! You gotta love commitment and actually doing what you say. If she can do it — You can do it.
Generate 100 Topic Ideas in Seconds: In this article, the author shares tools and apps that you can use to help you generate blog ideas and headlines.