B2B marketing has drastically changed over the last 10 years. To succeed in today’s world, you have to have a digital presence. When researching a new product or service, a B2B buyer makes an average of 12 searches online. This means it is more important than ever that your digital content is well-written, targeted and easily accessible.
With close to 2 billion websites on the internet, your B2B has a lot of content to go up against. When it comes to writing digital content, how do you get it to stand out, and more importantly, how do you get people to read it?
Creating digital content should be done strategically and with careful consideration of how to present the material. Writing for digital consumption is not like traditional writing. Your potential customers are looking for quick answers to their questions, and if you can’t provide that, they will look elsewhere.
To make your digital content stand out, use the following guidelines when writing blogs, articles, white papers and other digital content.
Planning and Research
Who is your target audience?
Before you can start creating digital content, you have to know who you are creating if for. Knowing your target audience is critical to developing content that customers will want to read.
Before you begin writing, ask yourself the following:
- Who is the target audience you want to reach?
- What subject matter is important to them?
- How will this content address a need or concern they might have?
What information is your target audience looking for?
Once you understand who you are writing for, you need to research and determine what topics are important to them. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were researching your B2B service or product, what questions or concerns would you have?
An excellent tool for helping with this is Google Trends. This is a website by Google that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. Users can search for keywords and see search volume and related search queries. The query data is especially useful because it can help identify the exact questions your customers are asking.
Another popular tool is Buzzsumo. This online tool allows users to find out what content is popular by topic. Searching across multiple social sites, Buzzsumo gathers information on what topics are gaining the most attention. It analyzes where specific topics are being discussed and how much attention these topics are getting.
What is the best way to present this content?
Once you know what topic you will be creating content for, you have to decide the best way to present it. First, consider the desired outcome. Do you want to educate, persuade, convert or entertain the customer? Then ask yourself, what is the best way to achieve this outcome? There are several types of digital content to consider, including:
- News Articles
- White Papers
- How-to Guides
- Case Studies
Writing Digital Content
Consumers don’t want to waste time or effort online. According to most eye-tracking studies, they are far more likely to scan content than read it word for word. So, when it comes to creating digital content, you have to adjust the way you write. However, it doesn’t mean you get to ignore the basic rules of writing and grammar.
To make your digital content more scannable do the following:
Focus on Creating Strong Headlines
This may be the most crucial part of your digital content. A good headline sparks interest and invites readers in. Remember that 80% of people will read your headlines, but only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content.
Put effort into your headlines. If possible, make a list of them and select the one you like best. Test them out on your coworkers and see which ones they love. Remember, this is the first thing your customers see, and if you don’t catch their attention, they won’t read the rest of your content.
Try using the “four u’s” of writing attention-driven headlines:
- Make it unique.
- Be ultra-specific.
- It should convey a sense of urgency.
- It has to be useful.
Most important information is at the top.
Structure your content like an upside-down pyramid. Place the most relevant content at the top of the page. Then, gradually drill down to the more specific, supporting information. With the first few sentences, you should clearly explain what you are writing about and why it matters to your audience.
Write simple sentences and keep paragraphs short.
The average American adult reads at a 7th to 9th-grade level. Ensuring that your content is accessible and easy to read will allow it to reach a wider audience. Focus on using nouns and verbs; use adverbs and adjectives sparingly. Don’t use words like “equanimity” or “obfuscate” when words like “calm” or “confuse” will do.
Place content into shorter paragraphs. Shoot for three to five sentences per paragraph. This will help improve the readability of the digital content, and each paragraph is another opportunity to grab your customer’s attention.
Divide your content into sections with descriptive sub-heads. These sub-heads not only grab your customer’s attention visually, but they help them quickly navigate the content. Make these unique and attention grabbing to encourage your customers to read what’s below. Sub-heads also provide an opportunity to use header tags to help improve search engine optimization (SEO).
Use bulleted and numbered lists.
Like headings, bullet points and numbered lists break up the page, and stand out from the rest of the text, which means they have a better chance of being read. By incorporating bullets and numbered lists into your content, you are making it more scannable. By breaking up information into smaller chunks, you improve readability, understanding and retention.
Incorporate internal and external links.
When developing digital content make sure you create internal links. These links direct to other content on your website. When a customer clicks on a second page during their visit, it lowers the bounce rate on your page, which sends positive ranking signals to Google.
Also, be sure to have external links to other websites that provide related information to your customers. An external link is more valuable if it links to popular and relevant pages that are highly ranked and related to the content on your web page. Valuable external links will also help to improve the authority of your website, by providing a viewer with references.
Your customers do not want to stare at a wall of text. Research shows that 90 percent of the information transmitted to the human brain is visual, and people process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. By incorporating visuals like images, videos, charts and graphs into your digital content, you are making it easier to read and understand. A well-designed visual can do a better job of explaining a complex idea than just text alone. However, only add visuals that help or add value.
Developing well-written, targeted and easily accessible digital content for your B2B is essential for success. The guidelines above should give you the structure you need to create content that gets found and read. Finally, make sure you proofread. Nothing screams unprofessional more than content full of mistakes.