I sat in on a live session of #blogchat at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum not too long ago and a provocative question was asked of the group – “are you blogging to tell a story or are you blogging to sell a service?” Points and counter points emphasized either the story or the service. I listened closely and, having yet to find my full confidence as a marketer, held my tongue.
As time for the session slipped away, I could no longer contain myself. I volunteered my point of view and in the process, stumbled onto a statement that seemed to resonate with the room – “your story is your service.”
In B2B marketing, as more and more information becomes openly available to prospects and clients, the information itself becomes generic and less compelling. The key differentiator then becomes how that information is conveyed. Succesful B2B blogs wrap valuable information in a format that actually connects with the target reader. The content you create becomes emotionally evocative while still being informative.
Making your story your service isn’t so simple, though. But I’ve outlined a few key steps and examples for B2B blogs below:
Create relatable channels: You don’t need to craft characters like Shakespeare, but do include a human element – whether it’s actual people, or simply experiences and emotions tied to your message. This allows your readers to connect with your content.
Example: If your post is about the need for more efficient marketing practices within an industry, don’t stop at blandly reporting “X percent of CEOs want to improve marketing efficiency.” That statement is cold and generic. If, however, you were to include a CEO quote explaining why his or her company needs more efficient marketing, you can relate the statistic to that statement by writing, “Joe Schmoe of ABC inc is not alone, X percent of CEOs feel the same”.
Make the blog post breathe: Dull B2B blogs are dull because they lack life – there’s no change from one moment to another. People, on the other hand, are continually changed – most notably and universally in breathing. When we’re excited, our breath quickens, when our focus is required, air comes and goes in slow measured rhythms. The flow of a well-written B2B blog is no different. When an exciting point needs emphasis the sentence is short and sharp. In a more pensive situation the sentence structure may shift to a slower pace – affording the reader ample time to insert his or her own thoughts while reading.
Define your beginning, middle and end: Everyone knows this story structure, but not everyone knows how to implement it. When used correctly it creates a dynamic channel for sharing information. Generally speaking, the storyline flows much like your sales funnel. The beginning is where you create interest at the top of the funnel, the middle is where the reader is nurtured with information, and the end is your closed deal or call to action. Define what you want to achieve at each phase of the story.
Example: In this post, the beginning is designed to pique your interest and build trust by offering up a relatable personal experience of mine. The middle is the information you’re reading now which is meant to be of value. And as for the end…
B2B can‘t stand for “Bland to Bland.” Compelling content marketing connects with a target audience. Once that connection is established with a reader, it’s easier to achieve the desired response – a closed deal or a call to action.
For this post, the call to action is to share your thoughts in the comment box below. We want to know what tips you have for writing B2B blogs. How do you approach this process? What guidelines do you have in place?