The internet is drowning in a tsunami of content. Wave after wave of blogs, articles, opinions, comments and every other form of standard or rich media content rains down on us through multiple channels and devices. If you contribute to this rising tide, you need to stand out and get noticed. So first of all, get your title right. If it doesn’t grab attention and jump out from the constant stream of articles and soundbites that flood newsfeeds and social media circles, then what’s the point of writing it in the first place? Does a falling tree in a forest make a noise if nobody is there to hear it? Who cares? We went with a punchy title that name checks our targets to grab their attention. Every brand and business has a tone of voice. Find yours and push the limits.
Good content earns trust. It’s not about singing the praises of your client. Not when it’s a first point of contact. Initially it’s about whispers that roar that turn the heads of casual visitors.
Anyone can write a generic post. Even I could even make a stab at ‘knitting bobbins for woolly hats’ if push came to shove. But it takes insight, effort, focus and a bit lot of creative thinking to create powerful and relevant content that your target audience will truly want to read. Your bullseye reader isn’t going to share your content if it’s just okay; they’re going to share it if it’s something that provides real value. Something educational, empowering and engaging.
Here are some of the tactics we use to add value to our content offering to make it sharable.
Inspire and Educate
The most valuable B2B content provides real answers to pressing business problems. The stuff that keeps you awake at night and stops you enjoying a marathon Netflix session on the weekends. It’s not enough to just plant signposts to industry problems. You should aim to educate audiences, provide solutions and motivate people to take action.
Here are a few thought starters for you:
Keep it brief and keep it relevant. You’re writing for real people, not job titles. They all have lives outside of work and don’t have the time, patience or inclination to second guess long-winded waffle.
Quotes from industry thought leaders tend to prick up ears. Use them.
Practice what you preach. Drink the kool aid that you’re flogging. Teach your audience how to mirror the success you’ve found.
Seduce with a Smile
No matter what industry you’re in or writing for, there’s no reason any piece of content needs to reek of rigor mortis. Unwind a little and let your hair down while you still have some.
Not everything business related needs to be delivered through a drone, a moan or a groan (sometimes alliteration helps). Some of the funniest people we’ve ever met are accountants. Stereotypes are nonsense. People are people and come in all shapes and sizes, and fill all jobs and careers, but one thing we all have in common is our appetite to smile.
Granted, context is everything and often it’s not appropriate to use humour but even the most super-serious business blogs could introduce things like ‘Funny Fridays’ with more engaging or entertaining content. Better to be clever than a smart ass; it’s not about thumping belly laughs, it’s about raising smiles.
This is especially true for professional social media accounts. People aren’t going to share something dry and dull, social feeds are an extension of the self and people will only share content that they see reflecting well on themselves. It’s their own personal endorsement after all.
Make a Statement. Mean it and own it.
Softly, softly may catchee monkey but it won’t grab your audience. Too many bloggers and content writers thread on eggshells and use up a lot of words that amount to nothing. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t avoid the elephant in the room. Embrace the challenge. Tackle the big issues. Start a conversation about industry problems, service black holes, pricing irregularities, whatever. Everybody has an opinion and you have the opportunity to make a living out of yours. Make it heard.
You have the chance to spark debates, challenge norms, engage, educate and empower your followers with knowledge. Breathe life into your online presence. If people know that you won’t skip over uncomfortable truths, then you will earn their trust and they will listen to what you have to say.
Self depreciation is a humble quality that people can empathise with. Perhaps the service you provide or write about is not for everybody. No problems, let people know. Warn people against it if they are not your target audience. Speak the truth and tell your story. You won’t lose any customers that were never likely to buy from you anyway, but you may just pick up a few curious bystanders who are - and all of a sudden you have genuine leads to follow up on.
That’s all for now folks. We just wanted to give you a taster, an aperitif to whet the appetite; we’ll have plenty more to say on the matter over the course of the following weeks and months, so be sure to subscribe to our blog.