In this blog, Mike Davies runs through the biggest mistakes most B2B content creators make and why too many end up writing poor quality content that sounds like every other piece of content marketing on the internet.
B2B content creators have a difficult job today with the amount of content they have to produce. Imagine the pressure of having to write lots of search engine optimised blogs, news articles, eBooks, market research reports, whitepapers and the like, all then explain why some of it hasn’t brought in any leads for that month or quarter.
However, some B2B content creators don’t make their lives any easier; they fall into the same traps over and over, and make some simple but avoidable mistakes.
Now we’re not saying B2B content creation is easy – believe us, we know it’s not – but it can be made easier and more successful by avoiding a few simple issues.
But what are they, you ask?
They write for keywords – not people
We fully appreciate and understand the importance of a search engine optimsed blog, we get it, keywords are important if you want to rank for the things your customers and prospects are searching for online, but they’re not that absolute be all and end all - there's other aspects involved in 2019.
Getting your blog to the top of Google search is great but if it's incredibly hard to consume because it reads terribly, then what’s the point?
Plus, rarely do people search for something on Google by typing in a very specific keyword. They ask questions. In fact, today, they’re more likely to use voice search and they’re definitely not rambling off a bunch of keywords to Alexa.
Despite B2B meaning you sell to businesses, your customers and prospects are people, and they’re the people you’re writing for – not Google.
If your content answers questions it will be much more successful, generate more organic traffic and Google will reward it with a higher search ranking placement, rather than a “keyword optimised” crossword disguised as a blog.
They write about themselves – not their customers
We get it. Your company is great, your new product is the best thing since sliced bread, and you're a market disruptor.
The problem? It's not about you, your business or your product.
It might sound unbelievably harsh, but your prospects care about the problems they have and the things you can do to help them.
You need to think about what your prospects or customers want to know, what problems they have, and what solutions they’re looking for. Once you know, write content that helps them.
If you don’t know what your customers are asking, then ask your sales team (surely, they get asked questions all the time). If your sales team don’t know, consider hiring a better sales team – I joke.
And for those who are worried about “giving away trade secrets”, don’t forget that the internet is a big place and your business isn’t the only one of its kind out there. Your prospects will go elsewhere to look for information and if a competitor answers their questions, who do you think they’re going to buy from and trust?
They don’t link
Nearly half of all customers (47%) will consume at least three and five pieces of content before considering contacting a sales person, according to a Content Preferences Survey Report.
If you’re doing content marketing properly, you will have more than just one piece of content on a particular topic. However, too many B2B content creators make it difficult for customers to find extra information because they don’t link to other bits of content that might be useful.
Consumer websites are great at linking content. You can’t buy anything online now without being confronted with “you may also like” or “customers who bought X also bought Y” messages.
Make your customer’s lives easier by linking to other bits of content that they might find useful or goes into more depth about a particular problem. Not only does this keep them on your website and increase the chances of converting them, it also helps with your SEO strategy.
But how? Click this link to download an eBook we’ve done on topic clusters, links and SEO.
They don’t have a strategy
We need to have a blog. We need to do video. We need to be on LinkedIn. We need to do this, that and the other thing.
Believe us, we’ve heard it all when it comes to doing content marketing and the question we always start with is – WHY?
Producing all this content is great but if you’re just doing it for the sake of it, then you’re just creating stuff and stuff isn’t beneficial.
We don’t have time in this blog to go into the whole issue of creating a content marketing strategy (we have this blog to take care of that) but you have to have a B2B content marketing strategy if you want to be successful at content marketing.
Unfortunately, too many don’t and they soon run into trouble when their leads don’t improve and their web traffic stagnates.
They aren’t consistent enough
Is there a magic number for the amount of content you produce in a given time?
Honestly, there's no concrete answer.
One thing we can say for sure, is that you have to be consistent with B2B content creation if you’re going to do it.
Even just producing a blog a month and an eBook a quarter is more beneficial than creating a ton of content in January and then nothing else until September.
As for us, we typically publish between 15 and 20 blogs a month (but we love content and are lucky enough to have a dedicated content team that produces quality content at such a rate).
Regardless, whatever frequency you publish blogs, just be sure you’re consistent.
They say the same stuff as everyone else
Here’s a scenario every B2B content creator has experienced at least once:
They have to produce a new blog on a subject. Having tried to arrange time to speak to a subject matter expert or senior business leader, they’re told said person doesn’t have time and they should pull something together by doing research online.
Now, online research is always good for finding context to frame your argument, but building a blog purely out of what you’ve found online always results in one thing: you end up saying exactly the same stuff as everyone else.
And, given that some businesses do rather bad content marketing, it’s not a good thing to sound like everyone else. You end up with content that doesn't differentiate your brand from all the others out there.
If you’re going to do content marketing, you need to be able to speak to your experts, find your company’s tone of voice, take the time to frame new arguments, come up with new insights and stand out from everything and everyone else. Look for stories that make an impact!
Think about it like a journalist. Is what you’re saying new or does it add something different to the argument? If not, don’t bother with it.
They’re not reactive enough
No matter what industry you’re in, there is always news happening.
What there isn’t enough of is experts to tell people what this news means to people and what they can do about it.
Part of the problem is that businesses are so focused on promoting themselves and being salesy that they always miss the chance to add a bit of thought leadership or an industry comment into the mix.
This is a shame because research shows us that prospects are more likely to convert on a piece of thought leadership, or come back to a business which gets thought leadership right, than a business which is constantly promoting itself.
Start reading the news on a daily basis and be ready to write comment articles on major events or changes that are interesting, entertaining and useful to your customers. Trust us, they’ll thank you for it.
Time for a shameless plug: If you're finding that your current content strategy isn't working for you (first, you're probably making some mistakes we've raised in this blog) download this eBook which will give you some useful advice.