Having an understanding of your target audience and what their looking for is the only way to create content for them. If you’re unfamiliar with your buyer personas, what they’re looking for, and what they need, you’ll have a hard time getting them to the end of your blog. In fact, it may be impossible to keep them on the page. If you’re exploring new ways to create extremely accurate buyer personas, this is a great template to get you started!
Defining your audience is where thorough research comes in. If a reader from the industry interacts with your copy and notices that it doesn’t use the right terminology, the topic is irrelevant, or the buzzwords they use are all off, this can be damaging. They’re going to quickly make the assumption you don’t have the first clue about their industry, and may never give you the time of day again.
In addition to being relevant, you want to get to the point, and you want to do it fast. Executives value their time, and the time they have to read a piece of copy that’s rambling on is likely limited. If they don’t find the information there immediately valuable, it’s likely that they’ll exit the page for another, which could end up hurting your SEO.
Remember; much of B2B copywriting is writing for executives, and people in business. You should have a deep understanding of what they want, be able to lose any irrelevant points, and stick to the facts so their attention can be kept. Even more important than maintaining their interest is delivering something of value, and something capable of provoking thought, or creating change.
When it comes to B2B, you’ll want to stress the benefits specific to the reader before the business benefits, though in a lot of ways, the two are the same. Business executives want to know that their choices are going to make a positive impact, both for them, and the inner workings of the company. Hopefully, your writing outlines a way in which they can both win.
Without pandering to them or trying to capitalize on emotion that simply isn’t there, quickly focus on their personal benefits. These personal benefits, later to be followed by the business benefit you’re attempting to sell them on, are a direct result of smoother operations within the company. 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions, so it’s important to do a good and thorough job on these.
Personal benefits may include, but are not limited to:
These topics are sure to have any executive listening, as long as you know why it’s important to them, and can properly tell the story of how you can help make it all happen for them. Plus, it’s very likely that some of these benefits will spark an emotional reaction.
B2B benefits when it comes to business are very specific, and sensible. The emotional reactions are more commonly used in B2C storytelling, though there are different factors that spark different types of emotion in your B2B readers. B2B readers look for:
This is a short list, but you get the idea. Your copy should touch on whatever is most relevant in their industry for the best luck with keeping them engaged. Explain exactly how you can keep your customers on board, and make all other customers fiercely loyal in simple steps. Explain how to open the dialogue with your subordinates so they listen to you, respect you, and always get the job done right and on time.
When reading your copy to solve an issue or find a desired product, you don’t want to make them wonder why they’re reading it in the first place. Too much build up, drumroll or not enough fact right off the bat will cause you to lose a good amount of readers to a writer that can be more clear. Many users will give a website a finite amount of time to prove why they should be reading. By finite, I mean the majority of readers will invest 37 seconds into reading an article.
It’s best to start with the benefits, or the answer to the question they’ve searched for, and work your way down from there. This immediately tells them why you’re the one to tell the story, how you’re going to help or assist them, and builds immediate credibility for the piece of copy. More importantly, if you’re quick to identify their issue and can be recognized as the one to solve it, this will keep them on your page.
Once you’ve completed your research and are beginning to write a piece of content, there is some periodic evaluating you should be doing along the way. Content is important, but content without a specific purpose is confusing, maybe even irrelevant. The point of blogging and creating content is to generate a desired outcome from the reader, if they feel it resounds with them - so, how can you do your evaluating?
There are questions you should ask yourself before, during, and after writing your copy. These questions will help you to determine how relevant it is to their situation, what your end goal for the copy is, and what your reader will be able to take home with them. These questions can include, but are not limited to:
If you’re able to both easily and simply answer these questions within your copy, then you’ve done your job. If you’re lacking in one or more of these areas, you may want to further your research, or adjust the piece of content to fit that need.
Writing a working title will also help with these evaluations. Creating a working title at the very beginning of the writing process will help you to stay on track with your goals, and remember to write around the topic you’ve decided on. This is a good way to organize your thoughts, and keep these organized thoughts on track.
The thing about a working title is that it’s just that - a work in progress. Once you’ve completed the copy, you’ll go back to the title, examine it, and determine whether or not it’s still completely relevant. Most of the time, you’ll have gone in a different, maybe better, direction with your content, and will have to alter the title to reflect the exact nature of the piece. This is a good thing! This keeps you topic focused, and helps to deliver a very precise end result.
Big words and strong language sound smart, but not as smart as you think they do. To many people, using elaborate language can make the writer sound insecure. This is the last thing an executive will want to see within your content. It’s also the last thing they will see, because they’ll be leaving your page for another.
To avoid this notion, along with potentially confusing readers with language they’re unfamiliar with, it’s important to be conversational in your copy. When going over a topic, you want it to sound like you’re having a conversation with the reader, so short sentences with little to no flowery language is both ideal, and effective.
Contractions and short sentences will help the piece sound more like a conversation than an academic lecture, and should be used in a natural way throughout your writing. This is also a great way to immediately build rapport, and make you very easy to understand.
Not sure how to make sure your writing is conversational enough to build credibility with the reader, and build rapport? A good editing practice to determine whether or not your copy sounds too technical is to read it out loud, or use a program that will have your piece read back to you. This is the easiest way to catch any awkward or run on sentences, or any jargon that may be a bit much.
Hearing your copy out loud, or having another member of your team read it over is one of the easiest ways to catch these mistakes that may go unnoticed, especially if you’re pumping out tens of pieces per week.
Another way to make sure your piece sounds conversational is to imagine copywriting as though it were a meeting with your prospect. You’re answering their most common questions, giving useful advice, and showing what your services and knowledge can do for them. It’s an easy going conversation, not a presentation to nail.
Emotion isn’t as big in B2B as it can come off a little condescending, but a little bit won’t hurt. A sales pitch is easily identified as such, whereas a story enables sales and conversions in a different way.
People will remember a good story much more than they’ll remember you claiming your product or service to be the best - there are hundreds, thousands of other companies working the angle of the latter. As a writer, your main focus should be to humanize your copywriting in a way that enables readers to connect with your story.
It may be difficult to determine a good way to tell the story of a product or service. A good place to start would be to tell the story of how your product changed someone’s life for the better, how your service boosted a failing company’s revenue, getting them out of the red. Readers can easily identify with feelings of stress, failure, and the desire to succeed - telling them a positive story can really work in your favor, when done right.
People will especially remember your story if they had an emotional reaction to the content - crying, anxiety, laughing, or contentment are all strong emotions that, if they’re made to feel, can really help them connect with the story. If you’re one in tens of pieces of copy that can deliver a memorable story, it’s very likely they’ll stay on your page, and somewhat likely that when they see more of your content, they’ll like what they see.
As the first thing that’s noticed about a blog, the creation of a good headline couldn’t be more important. The ideal headline is six words in length, descriptive, with good use of emotion; no pressure!
The reason so much time and effort need to be put into writing a headline is because 80% of users will read only the headline, before moving on if they decide your content isn’t for them. If your headline doesn’t accurately describe what you’re writing about, nor does it engage the reader enough to peak their interest and make them curious, you could be losing out on a whopping amount of traffic. Having your title reflect the B2B topic you’re writing about is another vital characteristic.
Executives won’t appreciate clickbait, or any other way of being mislead. If your headline promises something non-existent, not only will they leave the page, but they probably won’t ever be back. This leaves opportunity to have your bounce rate negatively affected if it happens too many times, and risks disappointing a large number of visitors.
Ideally, your headline is going to jump out on the page to the reader, and stop them in their tracks; or stop them in their scrolling, at least. You want to keep the headline fresh, and say something that’s never been said before. The best way to do this is brainstorm a long list of headlines before you make your decision.
When I say you should brainstorm, I don’t mean you should be jotting down two or three examples and choosing the best one out of desperation. Like we talked about earlier, headlines play a vital role in the success of your copy, and they’re worth the time and effort.
In fact, making a list of headlines that exceeds the length of a page, at least, is ideal. Most writers begin to craft their best titles near the end, anyway, and you want to make sure you get the best results possible.
There you have it! Some of the best ways to write compelling copy in a way that targets your B2B buyer personas, maintains their interest for enough time to convert, and gets them on the page in the first place.
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