All posts tagged: Content writing

Does it pass the human test?

Does it pass the human test?

Recreating the art of communication in a digital world

Has technology made us lazy in how we communicate? Technological advances mean we can communicate more widely and more quickly over a variety of channels and now algorithms can monitor and predict behavioural patterns to improve understanding of a customer or prospect’s buying habits.
Sounds great, so with all of this new intelligence, why is it that so often B2B communication campaigns fail to hit the mark?

Exploring the hypothesis

Email fatigue and digital noise are often cited as two main reasons why some B2B marketing campaigns flounder. When campaigns fail to deliver, it is invariably marketing that gets the blame as the organisation is “disappointed” in performance.

In an age of hyper-targeted messaging with “persona development” and extensive analysis of the “buyer’s journey”, both driven by data and research, why is it that the message often fails to resonate?

Digital communication is not a silver bullet, but it is a tool to share messages and is essential to modern marketing. To be successful, all communications need to be customer-centric with the audience in mind, be topical, relevant and provide the audience with factual, actionable information or tell them something they may not know or have not thought about. A good example of this is when communications apply current trends or new technologies to pain points to solve specific challenges.

Content is key, yet all too frequently, it is little more than a “sales pitch” which rarely solves real-life challenges and in today’s unsettled world, often can come across as tone deaf.

People are at the heart of communications

In the B2B world, people buy from people, they work for people and with people. With this goes all the human traits, such as happy, sad, angry, stressed, rational and in today’s world – irrational behaviour, too. AI may have revolutionised the way we track behaviour, but technology cannot replicate human emotion. People are not robots.

When developing content, one size rarely fits all. Organisations with business challenges, such as change, digital transformation or cost reduction, also employ people. All too often, whilst automation will alleviate many issues around accuracy, speed, and reduced cost of manual intervention, there is very little mention of the impact on people, other than you can redeploy them to do more productive, creative and interesting work. Appealing in theory, but where is the actionable information that helps them with how that is implemented and how it should be communicated?

People need real and actionable information in communications to help them make informed decisions, manage change, and retain and attract staff – which is a massive global issue. We should also not forget to consider the “what is in it for me?” factor. This applies to all of us. We are human beings.

A final point to bear in mind is to differentiate between an organisation’s buying journey and those “humans” involved at different stages in that process. Those who initiate are not always the same people as those who research and select suppliers, those who validate proposals and those who make the final decision.

As people, they will use a variety of ways to gather information – peers, personal networks, websites, searches, analyst reports, etc. One thing is for sure, most of these “humans” will check out your website. What they want is proof that you understand their challenges, know how to solve them and can ‘walk the talk’. Importantly and often overlooked, it matters if people ‘like’ your organisation, relate to its core values and if they will enjoy working with you. In B2B marketing, customers rarely browse aimlessly, they have an objective to meet and a job to do – they are looking for something specific, so accessibility, brevity and speed are of the essence.

Taking the next steps

Keep it customer-centric: Put people at the centre of your campaigns from start to finish. Do not get side-tracked by pressure to talk only about your organisation’s offerings.

Test, learn, optimise: Validate your content with your personas with a small test pilot and refine accordingly. Taking an agile marketing approach reaps rewards as you can test and fine-tune to understand what comms and channels really drive engagement.

Ask yourself:
  1. Would I read this?
  2. Do I think this is boring?
  3. What is in it for the audience and why would they care?
  4. Is it topical, relevant and actionable?
  5. Do you have the right data to make a difference?
  6. What do I want the audience to do – call to action?
  7. If the audience wants more information, can they find it easily and is it accessible?
  8. Does your website really deliver the right experience?
Use everyday language: Think about how you personally communicate with other people. Does it pass the human test?
Remember data and research are essential in mapping out personas but if your answer to question 1 is no and to question 2 is yes, then think again.
Finally, don’t be lazy: Utilise the intelligence provided by technology to guide you and get your message out, but use your common sense to humanise.

Communication that drives behaviour

Bright is an expert in B2B communication and understands how to balance data-driven insights and human-centric messaging to communicate with the right audience at the right time, in the right place, and with the right tone. Discover how to inspire action and drive change with impactful communications – drop us a note to chat further today.

Learn more about Bright’s content and creative services, guaranteed to get your audience fired up to interact with your brand.

At Bright, we pride ourselves on being B2B marketing experts that drive results through marketing agility. We embed an iterative and data-driven approach, leading the charge to better results and the ability to adapt and change at pace.

Shine a light on your marketing campaigns with Bright.

Get in touch with us today to discuss all things agile.

 

Jane Beazley Client Director Bright

B2B marketing communications

Jane BeazleyDoes it pass the human test?
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How to create compelling B2B content

How to create compelling B2B content

How many times have you, or someone in your team, spent hours crafting a piece of content? Agonising over the right phrases to use, making sure the content looks visually appealing, that the format is seemingly easy to consume, only to find that when it goes live, it doesn’t get the ‘big bang’ results you originally anticipated?

We’ve all been there, trying to uncover why it isn’t landing, maybe a shorter headline will help? Maybe a different graphic on the front cover? Is it cutting through the noise? Unfortunately, there is not just one right answer, it could be a whole host of reasons.

It may sound simple, but the way to create truly compelling content is by understanding your target audience, through this understanding you’re able to create something that is truly of value to them.

Where do you start when writing compelling content?

Something that is often overlooked when it comes to creating compelling content is relevancy. To get the traction you were looking for, your content should be timely and speak directly to your target audience and their pain points, regardless of if you’re creating a compelling case study or short social media content.

Understanding your target audience through developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Persona(s), you can collate unique characteristics which can help uncover average revenue, number of employees, number of customers, budget, industry, geography, and purchase process but it should include other information such as pain points around their role and industry, but also personal fears, aspirations and needs.

Once compiled, you can then tailor your content to specifically address these points – without this level of information, you can end up speaking about a subject matter that has very little relevancy or is of little interest. For instance, if your ICP includes HR businesses with 10 people that only operate within the UK, it is probably best to steer away from trends in the US…

Have you kept your audience in mind?

Now you’ve established your ICP, it’s pivotal to consider how you’re already communicating with your prospects, and at which stage they are within the buying cycle. For instance, if you’ve only recently started to communicate with them, it’s likely that they’ll still be in the awareness phase, so creating compelling content that keeps you front of mind for them will be key.

Considering what stage they’re at within their buying cycle isn’t the only thing to keep in mind, going back to your ICP and based on the information you collected, you should also have an understanding of what makes them tick and what motivates them day to day. Knowing this information will inform which format the content should be presented – for example, you should probably steer away from creating a whitepaper for time-sensitive individuals, and instead may want to opt for more snackable pieces of content that they can get value from in short doses.

Pinpointing how they typically like to consume content will also have an impact on how you leverage this and the channels you utilise. For instance, if through your ICP development you know you’re your audience typically spends a lot of time on Facebook, then you may want to target them there.

Are aesthetics important?

So now you’ve established your ICP and done your research about what makes them tick and considered how and where they typically like to spend their time, we should now shift our attention to the content itself. How many times have you read something that was completely lacklustre and switched off after the first paragraph? Well, you’re not alone…

The human element to your content shouldn’t be understated, in B2B it’s easy to forget you’re talking to another human behind their screen, so don’t forget to show some personality, sometimes being a little controversial or incorporating a light-hearted joke can help to attract attention in the saturated B2B market and become memorable, keeping your business front of mind.

Finally, don’t forget about your content’s curb appeal, your copy may be elegantly written, and personalised to each individual business but if it visually doesn’t look great – you may see that your audience hits the exit button quicker than you’d like. Ensure that the format and layout of your content flows and is easy to follow, include relevant imagery and eye-catching visuals, and sometimes it pays to think outside of the box, it’s not just B2C that can be fun!

How do you measure your content?

Now your piece of content has gone live, how do you know if it’s compelling? At this stage, it’s important to separate feelings from the facts and resist making educated guesses.

The data and insights from your website content will help you identify if the content is compelling in the eyes of your audience. Bounce rates, dwell times, downloads, conversions, and heat maps are a great place to start… but beware of vanity metrics! For instance, if your content has a high bounce rate, this may indicate that the information within the content isn’t providing added value, or if a heat map is showing a cold spot on your eBook, it may be a sign to switch up the format of the page.

It’s important to continually test and learn, further optimising to hit the sweet spot and leveraging that data-driven insight moving forward.

Learn more about Bright’s content and creative services, guaranteed to get your audience fired up to interact with your brand.

At Bright, we pride ourselves on being B2B marketing experts that drive results through marketing agility. We embed an iterative and data-driven approach, leading the charge to better results and the ability to adapt and change at pace.

Shine a light on your marketing campaigns with Bright.

Get in touch with us today to discuss all things agile.

 

Hollie Ingram

 

Hollie IngramHow to create compelling B2B content
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6 steps to writing engaging B2B blog content

6 steps to writing engaging B2B blog content

How to effectively articulate complex tech and consulting solutions  

You’re a smart B2B marketer, business leader or industry expert but do you struggle to write content that entices and engages your target audience, demonstrates the value of your products or services and showcases your expertise? For anyone who wants to become more visible as a thought leader, we’ve gathered writing tips and guidance on how to write engaging B2B blog content that captivates and resonates with your readers 

Step 1: Build a strong foundation for your content piece 

Before you begin writing, create an organised outline to ensure your argument is clear, concise and impactful. Use the following questions to help you lay out the subject, purpose, format and more:  

  • Main subject: Are you discussing a trend or event, or highlighting a challenge or problem that needs a solution 
  • Audience: Who is this for? What information do they already have? What do they need to know? 
  • Relevance: How does your content relate to their work, business, goals or interests? Why should they care? How will it benefit them?  
  • Story: Is there a story to tell? What happened to who? Where? When? Why? How? 
  • Format: Does the subject require classic blog prose or would a list, interview or step-by-step guide format work better? 
  • Research: What do you need to learn to write this piece? Can you find any stats on the subject? What can you add to existing research?  
  • Impact: What action should the reader take after reading? How will this benefit your business?  

Step 2: Present the value right away 

Next, pull out the value of your content. What is the key information you want your readers to take away from your writing? What is your purpose — to guide, educate or inform? Once you’ve pinpointed why anyone should read your piece, be sure to state the value right in your title to grab attention 

  • Studies show that popular content titles use How to, and 3/5/10 ways to, ‘why…’. These titles are eye-catching and assure the reader of a quick, easy and informative reading 
  • Title format that works: Numbers + verb/adjective + target keyword + rationale + promise 

Examples: 

  • 3 reasons why you’re not a high-performing organisation 
  • How to hire the best talent and keep them happy and productive  

Step 3: Choose a conversational tone of voice 

Before you begin, find your tone of voice. Despite what your brand guidelines might say, it’s best to write B2B blog content in a friendly, personal way as if you were having a natural conversation with your reader — remember that you’re writing for the web! It’s also important to remember that you can write with a serious tone without sounding too formal or academic. The last thing you want to do is bore or scare your reader away. Keep the following in mind as you write: 

  • Talk to the reader directly using ‘you’ and ‘your’  
  • Avoid sounding robotic by using with contractions: You’re, we’re, isn’t, aren’t, can’t 
  • Explain tricky technical jargon and acronyms whenever possible 
  • Stick with the active voice to keep your writing clear and energised

Step 4: Clearly demonstrate your expertise 

No matter your subject, you want to show your readers that you know your stuff and that you understand the challenges they’re facing in their business. As you write, keep the following in mind.  

  • Always try to strengthen your statements with an interesting fact or proven stat 
  • Use tech or inside-industry phrases and expressions where relevant (but not too many!) 
  • Reference or link to your case studies, credentials and client advocates  
  • Turn lengthy or complicated paragraphs into bulleted lists and give instructions in a step-by-step numbered list to avoid overwhelming the reader with information 

Step 5: Organise your content for easy reading 

In our digital age, people love to scan and read quickly. Make sure you lay out your content piece in a way that puts key information first and explains your point clearly and efficiently. Here’s how to do just that:  

Introduction (100-150 words approx.) 

Set the scene for your B2B blog content: 

  1. Present the issue, problem or lesson to be learnt  
  2. Tease how you’ll discuss it or lay out the solution  
  3. Explain why it’s important for the reader to learn about this topic — what is the benefit?  

 Main body (400-600 words approx.) 

Lay out the main points to the topic you set up in the introduction: 

  1. Present each point with sub-headers that summarise your argument — this is vitally important for keeping those fast readers engaged 
  2. Loop back to the introduction in each section, giving context or background information 
  3. Remember that each point should contain a “PEE” – Point, Evidence and Explanation. Explain how your offering or solution will help the reader understand recent trends, reach their goals or solve their problem 

 Conclusion (100 words approx.) 

Wrap up your argument with a brief statement that summarises your argument, then end with a strong call to action to prompt your readers to engage further with your brand: 

  1. Keep your summary to one line — short and sweet  
  2. Highlight the value again by reiterating the benefit to your reader 
  3. Hyperlink your call-to-action (CTA) to take the reader to your homepage or solutions 

Step 6: Tell them what to do next 

Now that you’ve taken the time to share knowledge, be explicit about the next step you want them to make to find out more about your brand. Motivate them with an energising call to action:  

  • Keep it short, about 5-10 words  
  • Start with an action verb, such as ‘get’, ‘find out’, ‘see’ ‘learn’, etc. 
  • Be creative and avoid using the dull and old-fashioned ‘click here’ or ‘here’ 
  • Give a sense of urgency by using ‘today’ or ‘now’ 
  • Make sure it’s relevant to your blog topic and doesn’t feel out of place 

Example: Want to learn more about XXXX? Book a meeting today. 

Becoming a B2B thought leader in your space demands engaging, strong content but knowing what to write about and how to sell your point isn’t always easy. If you follow these six easy steps, you’ll create B2B blog content that grabs attention, encourages conversation and tells your readers that you’re someone they can turn to for advice and guidance.  For more content tips and tricks, see our insights into writing content for your website, blog and social media pages.  

If you prefer to leave it to the experts, our content team at Bright are here to help you reach your business goals through blog writing. Get in touch today at [email protected]  

More of a visual learner? We got you.

Download the infographic version of this blog. You can print it out, save it to your desktop or share it with your content and comms team.

Zoe Merchant6 steps to writing engaging B2B blog content
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How to write better copy

How to write better copy

When it comes to writing copy, you need to get it right. Whether you’re writing a press release, sales pitch, blog post or an e-mail campaign, your copy needs to engage. This is your chance to have your message heard – and you only get one shot. Lose your audience’s interest and your message will fall on deaf ears.

With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to write better copy.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is critical to how you communicate with them. The purpose of copy (generally) is to influence someone’s course of action. In order to do this you need to know who that person is and how that person thinks.

Research your audience. Find out what those in the industry value and what challenges they face:

  • What do they like? Dislike?
  • What else do they read?
  • What language do they use?
  • In what tone are they used to being addressed? Is it authoritative? Conversational? Humorous?

Establish an appropriate identity before you attempt to engage your reader – or else they’ll disengage with you.

Composition and content

Be clear on the story that you are trying to tell and what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want your audience to purchase something? Join something? Go somewhere? Read more? Your call to action should be very specific and impossible to miss.

Use the fewest words possible to get your message across.

  • Think: simple and elegant – and boil everything down to its basic element.
  • Be descriptive but avoid adjectives.
  • Use active verbs – buy, join, visit, read – and where possible back up your persuasive language up with fact.
  • If you’re giving a technical description bullet points work well to directly relay information.
  • Vary your sentence lengths. Shorter sentences have higher impact. But too many short sentences can be exhausting. Lots of long sentences will get boring – so strike the balance right.
  • Read your copy out loud to get a sense of how it sounds.

Proof read – and then proof read again

Make sure your copy is completely clean.

  • Take out repetitive words or sentences.
  • Check spelling and grammar twice.
  • Even better, have a colleague check your work.
  • If that’s not possible, read your copy backwards (your brain will think that you are reading something new).

Remember, your copy reflects you – and you want to put your best foot forward. If you present well, readers will assume that you do your work well too.

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Lydia KirbyHow to write better copy
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The power of content

The power of content

Interruptions are infuriating. There are only so many times that you can demand your audience’s attention and persuade someone to buy a product, consider a service, read more, click here…or whatever your call to action may be.

Since you only get a few chances (if that!) to connect, producing relevant content that brings value to its readers is key to engaging with them.

Positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry is essential for establishing trust, proving authority, building awareness, and, ultimately, on market share.

But how do you go about creating killer content that will set you apart from the rest?

Be a giver

“The paradox is the more info you give away; the more people will buy what you have to give.”

Brian Clark hit’s the nail on the head. Your reader must feel like he or she has something to gain – or else they’ll quickly disengage.

Show them your unique perspective. Teach them something they didn’t know. Give advice that they can act on.

Business leaders want to learn before they invest, so set out to inform your audience – not to pitch to it. This not only shows that you know your stuff, but establishes an association between you and added value.

Be readable

This is obviously essential – but often overlooked. Your content has to be effortlessly digested, if is to pack a punch.

Be clear. Be concise. Be compelling. Make sure it is easy to absorb:

• Utilise bullet points (see what I did there?)
• Use images to break up the text
• Bold key words so that they stand out
• Look at the typography and font size
• Consider column width
• Think about colour
• How are the lines spaced?
• Where will your ‘call to action’ go?

It is important that your content is, not only readable, but also usable. Make it interactive by including links – both to other areas of your own site and to relevant third party content if this applies.

Incidentally, there is more on how to write better copy.

Sharing is caring

So, you’ve written something tremendous? In today’s world (where cat videos go viral in minutes) you need to ensure that your content is shareable.

Integrate social sharing tools to make it is easy for your reader to spread the word – your word.

All you need is a button, for example, that allows your reader to tweet your content with one click of the mouse. There are a ton of tools out there to help you to encourage others to promote your work. Help them to help you.

Think SEO

Not only do you want to enable someone to share your stuff – you also want others to be able to stumble upon it.

To boost your search engine ranking, and help readers find your content online, you will need to assign it at least one strong key word. You will then need to optimise your content, and its metadata, for your chosen terms.

This might involve doing some initial key word research (again, there are several tools to help you with this) but it will pay dividends in the end.

Read more on the do’s and don’ts of SEO.

Build a strategy

Yes, you can write something that will rock your reader’s world, but it’s what you do with your content that really counts:

• How is it distributed? Through which channels, on what devices, and in what form?
• To whom is it delivered?
• Where is it hosted?
• How regularly is it updated?
• Is it consistent?
• Is it relevant?
• Is it current – and how do you plan to keep pace with hot topics?
• What is the overall objective?
• Who is going to follow up – and how?

How you promote your content is truly essential – or your words may fall on deaf ears. If it’s searchable, shareable, and you’re shouting about it, you have a powerful weapon at your disposal.

At Bright Innovation we believe that if you get your content marketing right, it will speak for itself, and help you to build the relationships that will ultimately drive revenue.

If you’d like to talk about the kind of approach that might work for you, contact a member of the Bright team!

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Lydia KirbyThe power of content
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Infographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website

Infographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website

Time to work on some marketing updates for your business? We have created an infographic to summarise some high-level quick wins on how you can optimise your website to engage more of your audience and generate new leads. Take a look to see where you can improve.

So, there you have it, some tips on ensuring your side is giving your target audience the ultimate user experience journey. If you want to discover more ways to transform your marketing, check out our blog on ‘Getting started with agile marketing‘.

Alexandra JefferiesInfographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website
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A favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences

A favo(u)rite game:  Localising content for British and American audiences

In 1773, the Americans dumped 342 chests of British tea into the Boston Bay. In 1775, they thought they had seen the last of us when they sent our Redcoats home.  Yet, in 2019, they’re still speaking the Queen’s tongue…or are they?  While we may seem to speak the same language, the truth is that there are many surprising differences between British and American English and they are a powerful force in affecting meaning.

But if you’re not a linguist, why should you care about the differences between British and American English? Because while Content may be king, Localisation is queen, and she rules with an iron fist. All marketers must learn to localise their content in order to connect with British or American audiences.

Localisation is the art of adapting your messaging to the language requirements and cultural preferences of your intended audience. In truth, it’s the key to generating leads in cold marketing and a simple way to make an impact in a new market. Decide against localising, and you risk damaging your global brand. The last thing you ever want to do is break the connection between your audience and your marketing message.

For example, try telling an American that you’d be happy to discuss your offer in a fortnight’s time once they’re back from holiday, or that they can avoid the queue by filling in the timetable attached – pip them to the post, mate! Not that you would ever write either of those sentences, but you get my point – use the wrong dialect in your messaging and you’ll only succeed in confusing your audience.

To help you drive better marketing results, we’ve gathered the following comprehensive list of the differences between British and American English. Consider it your go-to guide for localising your content with ease.

Looking to further improve your marketing results and performance? Check out how we achieve results at pace through agile marketing.

Lydia KirbyA favo(u)rite game: Localising content for British and American audiences
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Website redesign using agile marketing

Website redesign using agile marketing

Bright is built around agile marketing – an agile way of working inspired by lean and agile project management methodologies so popular in the tech world.

The concept of agile marketing

Agile marketing isn’t just a principle we apply to our delivery, its something we use internally too and I’m going to talk about how we applied this way of working in the redesign of our own website and some of the key lessons that we took out of the experience.

At the heart of agile marketing is the belief that campaigns and marketing activities should be rolled out to a live audience as part of their development.

Being data driven and using the feedback and results collected are then vital inputs which are applied to optimise it and the cycle then begins again. The idea is that now only do you get faster but you also have campaigns that are actually built on the way your target audience responds rather than theory or guesswork. 

A fast and effective website redesign

Well, you’re seeing the results of MVM in action on this page! The Bright Innovation website, as you might have noticed, has recently undergone a complete redesign. The key point, however, is that what you’re seeing now is not the final version; come back in a week’s time and you might experience a slightly different website.

The website is constantly evolving. Agile marketing allows us to use sprints to test, learn and improve based on feedback and performance analysis. The backlog of issues, opinions and comments, which we created during the testing stage before go-live is as important now as it was three weeks ago. Testing is vital in agile marketing. It’s testing that allows you to make each consequent iteration better.

Additionally, because we only invested one month of our time in getting the (minimum viable) site ready (from concept to going live) we now have spare time and budget to keep improving the website. And, importantly, we can base our improvement decisions on data coming in from real leads.

So how do you go about redesigning your website using agile marketing?

A few practical tips

  • You could spend months or even years re-designing your website and never being happy enough to make it live. That’s not an option using agile marketing. Give yourself a very ambitious, almost unobtainable, time frame and stick to it. This will force you to actually face making data driven decisions rather than hiding from them by ‘exploring other options’ constantly.
  • Don’t boil the ocean – your website doesn’t need every conceivable thing you can think of. Think rather – ‘what are the must haves’? These will be both your goal and your starting point to create a minimum viable site.
  • As with any project, a website redesign is likely to have multiple stakeholders and mobilising them can be tricky. To help yourself out schedule in regular stand up meetings with the ‘high power, high interest’ key players
  • First impressions count. Agile marketing helps you get something up-and-running quickly, but you still need to pay attention to detail. Spelling mistakes, missing content, placeholder text – all of these are easy to miss when you’re pushed for time but it’s these small details that make your site look like work in progress rather than a finished product undergoing evolution (two very different concepts). Balancing the speed of testing and learning with high quality output is the key to a successful agile project.
  • To help with the above point it’s worth considering a fairly extended period of internal testing during which those little mistakes and niggles can be spotted and taken care of. However, for the testing to really be useful you need to have a backlog – whichever way will make it easier to get feedback from your testers. Documenting the comments, issues and changes made, together with date and priority allows you to keep track of the testing phase progress. Once the website is live and you start making new iterations checking the backlog will also help you to avoid previous mistakes.
  • If you’re working with web developers make sure you know how to use the back-end to make edits once your test results start coming in.
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Sian HeaphyWebsite redesign using agile marketing
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The Power of Storytelling

The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling. It’s an art and a powerful business tactic.

According to Robert McKee – author, lecturer and story consultant, 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world” 

And he’s right. Stories, when told well, are capable of influencing your audience’s motivations, emotions and psychology. More so than brand linkage and logical persuasion techniques. They are more powerful than statistics, more compelling than business-case arguments and more memorable than facts. 

And whilst the B2B world has been met with resistance when it comes to adopting a more emotionally-driven form of marketing, evidence suggests that B2B businesses have much to gain from taking on a more humanised approach. 

Much of this resistance is based upon an assumption that the decision-making process of potential B2B clients and customers is analytical, slow and rational. B2C on the other hand are afforded the more emotionally evocative content – a style that suits the intuitive, involuntary and perceptual decision-making of your average consumer. But studies are beginning to show a different story… 

Whilst the buying cycle remains distinct for B2C vs B2B, the people you’re talking to are not so different. Put simply, business people are still people. They just happen to be at work. 

And just because they work doesn’t mean they suddenly enjoy being bombarded with emails after direct mail after LinkedIn InMail, littered with business lexicons, unnecessarily complex terminology and unexciting propositions.

People generally like to feel important, don’t like their time being wasted and love being entertained – regardless of being at work or chilling at home. But being entertained in the B2C world – Shetland pony moonwalking to Fleetwood Mac – and entertaining in the B2B arena are different kettles of fish entirely.

B2B storytelling in practice: 

Storytelling in B2B is about evoking the right emotion within a business remit. Rather than focusing on humour, nostalgia and sadness, conjure feelings of trust, reliability, credibility and a sense of partnership. Storytelling is particularly well placed when your offering or service is complex and hard to rationalise in a handful of words.

Hewitt Packard (HP) 2017 advert – featuring the rather sinister Christin Slater – is a fine example of the data / technology industry using storytelling to remove themselves from the overly techie language and imagery that often plague B2B campaigns. It’s bold, engaging, cinematic, it has B2C written all over it – but it works. 

It works because it has taken a run-of-the-mill subject matter and completely flipped it on its head. Rather than taking a predictable route, this 6-minute advert is fronted by a recognisable personality who leads you through a dark and witty narrative. It credits its audience with intelligence and lets them draw their own conclusion – making the content far more engaging and leaving the viewer feeling positive about their interaction. Brilliant. 

Making the individual feel positive about their engagement with your brand is paramount to making B2B storytelling work. Research from CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council and Google found that when B2B purchasers saw personal value or opportunity, they are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service. They also conclusively showed that emotionally-led marketing is more effective at driving decision-making in B2B – more so than in B2C marketing. 

How do you start telling your story? 

Bright is the consultancy inspiring businesses to tell their story and communicate the right message at the right time to the right people. We specialise in bringing together strategy, content, communications and delivery to create tailored marketing programmes that drive sustained growth and support business leaders in delivering on their objectives.

We do this by completing an initial diagnostic of your business to measure your current marketing effectiveness. Depending on your business objectives and marketing maturity, we would recommend a messaging workshop to better understand who your target audience is, what their pain points are and what style of content will best resonate with them. We also explore your industry’s challenges, looking at how your product or service can help solve these challenges and building a story around these components to better engage with your audience.

Your story will drive growth and demand.

Your audience just haven’t heard it yet.

Get in touch to book a meeting and start telling your story today. 

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Alexandra JefferiesThe Power of Storytelling
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8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content

8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content

We’ve all been there, you hit the publish button in the morning and then spend the rest of the day waiting for likes, shares, leads and further accolades to come rolling in….and nothing.

Content is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign or program and it’s the fundamental way to educate your audience on your product or service.

However, creating noteworthy, memorable content can be daunting, even for the most experienced pro. 94% of B2B marketers say they use content in their marketing, do you know how many believe it’s effective? 42%…

Thankfully, we’ve got 8 easy tips anybody can use to create great, engaging and exciting content.

An editorial position will help to shape your name, tone of voice, visual identity and choice of content.

Over time, your audience will come to recognise your editorial position, and come to anticipate content with a certain approach or attitude, making it easier to trial new forms of content.  As competitors in your industry start to create quality content, it becomes harder to stand-out and stay present in your audiences’ head for a period of time. So it’s important that your editorial positioning is driven by the distinctive quality of your brand and a category or a specific genre.

When it comes to any form of content or copywriting, defining a tone of voice should be the first step in the process. But where do you start? First, it’s important to understand the difference between your channel tone and your overall voice. Still with me? Think of the example of singing – you only have one singing voice, but you can sing in a variety of different tones to deliver a different sound. Content creation is no different to this, your copy tone helps you define how you want your voice to be heard on each individual channel or platform.

While your content should have a cohesive and targeted message, it should also be adapted to its medium. Twitter is character-limited, for example, so the message you provide must be shorter and more concise. However, it can still carry the same type of message and information as your content used elsewhere. Keep your message consistent, and adapt as needed.

The successful implementation of any content strategy, or individual written piece, depends upon a crucial (and often overlooked) group of people – your content team. In the past, this team would either consist of a single person, or rigidly consist of account managers and creative copywriters. However, in order to create strategic and valuable content, you need a strategic and valuable team.

There are as many ways to structure a content team as there are teams themselves, so you need to build one that suits your business needs, whether that be a one-man show or a team of 20. But before you start hiring your ideal combination of strategists, writers, editors and coordinators, you first need to consider the possibilities you already have within your company, what they can share and how to engage them as part of your team.

Possibly the most adept framework for how you should think about your approach to content is the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model, developed and championed by author and PR industry leader Gini Dietrich.

The method serves as a means of segmenting all the marketing channels at your disposal into discrete groups, looking if there are opportunities to integrate additional channels or sources into new or existing programs, highlighting any opportunities to re-purpose content you may already have. By re-purposing content, or freshening it up, you give yourself the opportunity to expand something that may have been a single idea, into a several new pieces, each tailored to a different audience.

There’s also no reason, if it’s of a high quality, that you shouldn’t take inspiration from your competitors and their content. It’s often hard to consistently come up with appealing articles or topics, and you can often find yourself repeating pieces – but not re-purposing them. Of course, it’s unwise to simply visit your competitor’s blog and start copying their strategy from the ground up. Instead, use their content strategy merely as inspiration or direction for your own. Find a way to put new twists on topics they’ve already covered, and think about what topics they haven’t covered.

Creating a publishing content can be time consuming and stressful work, so you need to be able to keep organised and be on top of every step in the process. The simplest way of doing this – create a content diary or plan. When you have a visible schedule you can commit to, the content process becomes a lot less daunting.

Creating a plan, calendar or diary allows you to keep track of everything you’re doing, and makes all the necessary information easily available to stakeholders.

It’s easy to get lost in detail when you’re in the heads-down process of content creation, so having a larger visioning session to create the calendar plus taking regular peeks at the calendar once it’s made can help bring your work into context.  And by planning your content in advance, you can prep and organise around any key dates that could influence your content. An effective diary or plan will also help with keeping your audience engaged by preventing your content from stagnating, or getting overly repetitive and random.

There’s no better way to drive sales leads and expand your brand visibility than by producing thoughtful original content. Yet as more and more companies start to hop on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s getting harder than ever to ensure that your brand stands out.

Producing reactive marketing content is a great way to ensure that your company’s thought leadership is generating interest. The idea itself is relatively simple: by capitalising on a newsworthy event, your content instantly becomes more clickable. There are a few drawbacks to an over-reliance on reactive marketing content – namely, the relevance of your posts inevitably withering with time – but, if used correctly, reactive content can achieve staggering results for your brand, chiefly in the following areas:

  • It helps your brand stay relevant
  • It helps you connect with customers
  • It extends the longevity of your other content

Is your content often delivered late?  Do you have trouble getting it signed-off? If so, then it sounds like you could benefit from defining a content workflow; a set of tasks that determine how content is requested, sourced, reviewed, approved and delivered. Trying to get by without such a process will lead to you running the risk of projects getting stuck and people being unsure or unaware of their responsibilities and the amount of time that it may take to complete a task.

A defined content workflow tells people in all roles where the content is in the process when their turn comes, and it clarifies what they must do to deliver what’s needed when it’s needed. The workflow will also help the project manager recognise bottlenecks so that he or she can take measures to keep content moving toward production and ensure that sign-off matches required deadlines.

If you don’t know your audience and what they want, then no form of marketing (content included) is going to work for you. Take the time to listen to your audience (perhaps building personas) and what they’re telling you based on how they interact/ engage with your content. This kind of information is a goldmine, and who wouldn’t want to dig into a goldmine when they find one.

This kind of analysis is key to any content strategy, it allows you to discover gaps, identify new opportunities, adapt to the needs and desires of your market and discover if your content is truly addressing those needs.

Even if you follow all these tips, it’s still crucial to remember that content marketing isn’t a short-term investment. One you get it right, it will really pay-off, you just need to be willing to put the time and effort into it.

If you’d like any more advice about creating content, the type that will build revenue and drive relationships, then simply contact a member of the Bright team and we can get started an approach that works for you and your audience.

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Lydia Kirby8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content
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