Want B2B Content that Converts? Refine Your Editorial Processes

Want_B2B_Content_that_Converts_Refiine_Your_Editorial_Processes_FOR_LINKEDIN_AND_BLOG_USEv3One of the concerns we hear most often from our prospects is that their B2B content isn’t generating traffic or leads. It’s pretty disappointing, and it’s also common: according to SiriusDecisions, 60-70 percent of B2B content goes completely unread. What’s more, much of what is read doesn’t convert. That’s an awful lot of time and effort wasted.

Want to avoid this trap? Here’s how Bredin creates client content that consistently attracts readers, nurtures relationships with prospects, and helps retain customers.

Keep your focus narrow

The most frequent change we make when our clients send us lists of topics is to divide a single topic into five separate pieces of content. Breaking your content into such discrete units serves both you and your audience. The more granular your focus, the more useful the advice you can deliver, and the more likely your content will surface in search engines. Narrow topics also tie more tightly to specific products and features you may offer.

For example, “Financing options for small businesses” is a universe of content, not a blog topic. On the other hand, “Understanding the fine print of a small business loan,” “How to compare small business line of credit options,” and “Compare popular business credit card features” are each useful topics you can address in separate posts that help your readers.

When planning your editorial calendar, look at each individual topic and challenge yourself: Could I narrow this focus?

Put utility above everything else

Your potential buyers are reading much of your content because they need to solve a problem, not because they’re ready to buy. Satisfy them by providing your very best advice and expertise. Help them answer the question they put into the search engine that brought them to you.

If you have a product solution to their question, absolutely offer relevant links in and around your content, but if you lead with it, you’re going to turn them away. The number one job of your advisory content is to advise. Build your reputation as a trusted expert with good judgment and advice readers can apply. If that’s your reputation, you’ll be on every shortlist when it’s time to buy, and you’ll likely be at the top of it.

Get to the point

As a writer, your instinct may be to start with a clever preamble or a lengthy personal anecdote to warm the reader up, but with B2B content, less is usually more. Most of your traffic is from search or direct links, so readers are ready to dive into the topic. State simply and clearly why your topic matters to them. Back it up with data if you have it, and then dive in.

Establish an editorial process

B2B content isn’t poetry. Inspiration and solitude aren’t your path to success: planning, collaboration, and thorough editing processes are. Have an outline before you write, to make sure you address all the key points. Even if you’re an excellent writer, always have someone review your work.

Just as importantly: revise. Drafting is about getting ideas down. Revision is where good writing happens. Consider your colleague’s notes, and revisit your work with fresh eyes after some time away. Think about your content from a reader’s perspective. You’ll always find something to cut, something you can state more clearly, jargon to remove, or complicated sentences you can simplify.

Proofread everything

No matter how careful you are, your writing will have blemishes. Typos, misspellings, and formatting errors may make it through. Your spacing and abbreviations can be inconsistent. These errors look unprofessional, and even if they’re minor, some may confuse the reader. A professional proofreader is worth the cost. They’ll catch and fix your errors, as well as maintain consistency with whichever style guide you use.

In the end, you’ll improve your results if you respond to the information needs of your audience and deliver content that is highly focused, usable, and polished. If you adopt strong journalistic processes and standards, and stick to them rigorously, your content will stand out and build your reputation for excellence.

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About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.