As a Content Marketer, I deal with countless articles, scripts, resource guides, sales sheets, and pillar pages daily. And let me be honest with you — a vast majority of what comes through my plate bores me to death.
It’s not even the subject matter that’s boring, but it’s the lack of excitement and thought for the readers’ experiences that leave me clutching for that 4th cup of Joe to keep awake.
You might be sitting there thinking, “Jake, you work in B2B marketing; clearly, there are not many ways you can make the topics interesting and engaging,” but after reading this, I’m confident I can change your mind. You see, there are endless ways to weave some fun into inherently dry materials and give it a breath of life that readers are desperate for. All it takes is a little pizazz and a bit of strategy.
If you ask me, it’s high time that people stop churning out boring content simply for the sake of having content. In today’s age, you need to take that extra step to create something meaningful, something memorable, to grab (and hold onto) your audience’s attention.Content Guru, @Jake_RBM, says it’s time to start making B2B content something to be excited about. See how: Click To Tweet
You might think your blog is the greatest, but here’s a newsflash — so does every other competitor in your industry. It’s time to stick out and add that oomph. Buckle up, everyone; we’re about to flip the script and make B2B marketing something to be excited about.
Stop Being So Damn Technical
You know the basics of content. Top of the funnel (TOFU) stuff draws in those that are unaware of your services or solutions, middle of the funnel (MOFU) content shows them why your solutions work, and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) pieces sell them on your specific offering. But why is there such a focus on the bottom when it only speaks to the smallest of your audience?
Don’t get me wrong; technical writing has its time and its place. But that place is much farther down the funnel. Seeing as the only people who actually are interested in your higher-level knowledge pieces are executives, experts, and industry professionals, you need to stop creating so much content that centers around the specifics.
If you’re always pumping out stuff that uses highly specified jargon and technical tones, you’re neglecting to nurture potential leads down the funnel in exchange for talking to the ones you’ve basically already sold your services to.
What happens, then, when those leads become customers, and you realize that you don’t have enough exciting, engaging content to attract new customers?
Let me scream this for the people in the back: EVERY STAGE OF THE FUNNEL MATTERS.
And usually, the top and middle of the funnel are the parts where you get to stretch your legs and showcase your personality to the world.
Can I Get A Little Flair, Please?
B2B is notoriously dry because it’s businesses talking to businesses (go figure). But who decided that businesses can’t have fun with the way they communicate?
One of the biggest challenges I face when talking to clients is trying to convince them that your writing can have some style, some character to it, even if you’re only talking to other enterprises.
When it boils down to it, there is a person that’s behind every screen and a person behind every decision. And, at a fundamental level, people are more likely to interact with and be influenced toward a decision when they read something they personally enjoy. After all, how can you expect your audience to want to read your content if they aren’t enjoying it?
Now, I’m not saying that your HRIS company needs to start a TikTok account where you dance to the latest trends. I’m not saying that your CRM enterprise needs to start using slang in your web copy. But let’s loosen up the restrictions and lighten up the tone.
I personally am bored of reading article after article that follows the same format:
You start by saying that I have a problem, then you say you can fix it, and you tell me exactly how you can do that without ever once showing me some of the personality of the person writing the article.
The result? I come away from the experience with a moderately deeper understanding of my situation, but with no more loyalty to your company than any other average Joe on the market. The bigger problem in this is that you’re not building rapport, you’re not gaining trust, and you’re not showing me why I should believe that this stuff you’re obviously trying to sell me on is actually going to fix my problem.
What really stands out is when a company finds a way to talk to its audience and customers that reflects how their customers talk to those around them. What does this look like?
- Add a bit of levity to your content — instead of saying, “Recruiters are overworked and tired because the market is challenging,” say something like, “Recruiters need some TLC after working themselves sick finding candidates.” This slight rephrase not only makes it more enjoyable for us, the readers, but it shows that your company isn’t just robotic; you’ve got some personality.
- Embrace pop culture and current events — one of my favorite things to do is find ways to slyly weave in pop culture references and see how the piece performs. Unsurprisingly, the articles that talk about the things regular people are talking about perform higher than my technical pieces. People flock to the things that make them feel comfortable and are recognizable, and never once have I been told that people find comfort in highly technical cloud-based data management discussions.
These little quips and bits of personality help to reestablish your voice and brand as an organization. It makes your company feel more real, more personal. And when your audience feels like they have a deeper grasp of who you are and what you stand for, they’re more likely to resonate with that message as well.@RedBranch’s Content Director, @Jake_RBM, says it is high time your content has some flair to it. See how you can weave personality into your writing, regardless of the subject: Click To Tweet
Break Up Those Sentences, Yo
In grade school, we were all taught that a paragraph is 4-6 sentences long and that each sentence needs a subject and a verb. I personally was also taught that a sentence should never start with and, but, or or. But we’re not in grade school anymore. (See what I did there?)
Your writing teacher is not here to dictate what you can and can’t do, so why not break the mold a bit and have some fun while you’re at it?
The truth is that your paragraph can be exactly as many sentences as you want.
It can be 10 sentences long (although please, PLEASE do not make it that long; split that damn thing up and don’t put your readers through that torture), or it can be 1 sentence long. All that matters is that the content you’re writing serves its purpose.
Start some sentences with “but” to keep the readers on their toes. Pair up a really long sentence, then immediately after, have a string of short sentences to change up the pace and grab the readers’ attention. Do what you want to do. It’s your content. It’s your world. No one can stop you.
When you look at some of the most gripping books you’ve read, you’ll notice that the best authors don’t follow a strict guide. They change up their sentence structure. They sometimes use fragments. They will even start multiple sentences with the same word (as I’ve just done); guess what, it makes for a great read.
The reality is that writing (and content in general) should be FUN. It shouldn’t be restrictive. It should be a way for you to let the creative juices flow, so you can find the voice that suits you and your company best.
And who knows; maybe that voice is a more technical one, or maybe it’s not. Regardless, it doesn’t matter, as long as it serves your purpose and fits your culture.
Basically, the key to creating more entertaining content is to stop limiting yourself. If you end up following the same procedures day in and day out, you’ll inevitably wind up writing in the same way and the same style. And while routine can be good for us, it can quickly become boring.
So, you’ve made it this far. And you’ve either decided that you like what I have to say because I believed in what I had to say. Or, you’ve decided that my voice and personality aren’t to your liking.
But here’s the kicker — either way, it doesn’t matter to me. Why? Because you read it! And I enjoyed writing it. And the bottom line is if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, why the hell are you doing it in the first place?