Creating online content regularly is crucial to keep interest high in your company and to find new users as leads to your website. This content has to be engaging however and interesting to drive these leads to your site and thus your product to ultimately drive sales.
Content however is dynamic and what works for one audience may not work for another. Likewise, what works in one industry may not work in another and this also relates to how it has to adapt to an ever-changing algorithm and industry conditions. With that said, here are some B2B content writing best practices to keep in mind when creating content for a business audience.
Differences between B2B and B2C content
The main difference between B2B and B2C content is that when creating B2C content you are targeting a single user, reader or consumer. Meanwhile, when you create B2B content, you are targeting an entire business or even industry full of many individuals. The target group for B2B content is sometimes referred to as a DMU, or a decision-making unit.
The content has to be tailored to individuals who make decisions within their companies, such as managers, CEOs or CTOs. They will read the content and are in the position to become buyers of the product you or your company offers.
Because of the fact, B2B content targets such decision makers, it will take more time to convert them to buyers from leads. Within B2C content, consumers or the “C” are not necessarily targeted or seen as potential leads, but simply viewers or readers of the content to drive interest potentially in the brand overall. Despite these differences, you need to understand the B2B audience and a business customer’s buyer’s journey when figuring out how to write B2B content.
Understanding the B2B buyer’s journey
The buyer’s journey of B2B content can again take longer than meets the eye and require some convincing before the lead will make that purchase. It also will depend on who the “B” or decision maker is as the lead. This is because appealing to everyone is not possible with all content.
If the decision maker or business representative is a CEO, for example, he will need to know how the product you offer is able to save them money or capital. They would also need to know what it offers over competition.
If the business representative or decision maker is head of a division, such as sales, they would need to know how this product can impact their team and what void it can fill that their current offering does not.
The product may be an improvement over what the company is using, but cost more. So, one decision maker can be in favor of a conversion or purchase, but the other (such as the final decision maker or the CEO) may not. Thus, for a true conversion to occur, the product should have broad appeal or at least pass the different phases of a company’s requirements.
Thus, to put it simply, the buyer’s journey starts with the content reaching the right decision maker or audience. Then this person or group will take it to their team and present what the content and what the product the content advertises (or comes from such as a company that creates the content) offers. This in turn will be compared and analyzed and the final decision makers at the company, such as the CEO, will make the decision to become a buyer or not. Along the way elements such as interaction with company representatives, trying the product as part of some trail and other aspects will take place.
It is said that between one to six individuals or teams will look at a product before making a decision within a B2B buyer’s journey.
Finding the right keywords and keyword phrases to use within your content is not often easy, but is crucial when trying to figure out how to write content that ranks. You will need to explore different options and know who your target audience is well. Tools such as Moz or Ahrefs are there to draw different comparisons and even give you estimates on how difficult it is to rank for one keyword vs another. Oftentimes, it is better to use long-tail keywords and topics more local or niche and particular to a specific audience, than try to rank on overall keywords everyone is bidding on and trying to rank for.
These tools that companies like Moz or Ahrefs offer are just overall estimates for the most part as Google keeps its algorithms a secret and it is difficult to get exact results from a potential keyword. There is also Google Search console to find keyword ideas, if you already have an established site with a strong audience, and even Google Trends to compare them to one another and find ones more relevant to even a particular time of year to use.
Elements of quality B2B content that rank well on search
First of all, the content should be created with reaching the right audience in mind. Knowing this audience or B2B decision makers ahead of time and planning the content to be tailored to them will make it much more effective, and this should be reflected in search as well.
Thus, the content should be well crafted (or written if it is say an article or blog post) and not based just on keywords or inbound links to drive overall traffic. The traffic that is important are those decision makers or company representatives that need to be reached.
Besides quality of the content and it being relevant to the audience it is meant to reach, the headlines, subheadings and other elements should also be relevant to the topic being discussed. Some keywords should be used, between one to three, that also should be relevant to the topic and included in the headline, some subheads potentially, and throughout the text. But it should not be forced or repeated without reason more than say three to five times.
There should also be a good use of visuals and text and aspects of SEO like adding alt image tags for Google to truly pick it up and make it rank well within search.
The tone should address the audience and if it is B2B it should be more formal and professional than B2C content. Thus, avoid first person or the use of “I” and if possible even “you” within the content and use a third person tone.
Finally, try to make it engaging. Add good use of links from relevant sources, known as outbound links, that can potentially give you good links to your content in return or when other relevant sources pick it up, called inbound links. Make the audience engage with the content and share it on social media for it to have a chance to go viral and attract the right attention.
Compiling with Google E-E-A-T
Google E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is one of the factors that Google uses today to evaluate the overall quality of a website or content. It’s origins are the Medic update in August of 2018 and it relates to Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines
This Google bot search will take this into account when ranking a page. It strictly deals with the quality of content being presented and its relevance to the subject it is addressing and audience it is trying to reach. Things like experience or talking about something the author actually used are evaluated by Google — or the website it comes from has similar content it specializes in — as it gives authority to the content. The more a page demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, the higher it should rank.
The bottom line is to provide insightful and relevant information within the content in order to understand how to write content that ranks.
Using AI to create written content
Today, we have more options than ever in creating content, particularly written content. There are various AI tools that can create even long-form written content entirely by themselves, such as ChatGPT. These AI bots can generate entire essays within seconds and have a library of data and information at their disposal to draw from — although interesting enough, ChatGPT does not seem to tap into the entire Internet for this, but relies on information from training data. Such knowledge, or research, it taps into instantly would take a person hours if not days or weeks to gather into a well-written and factual article.
The problem is much of this knowledge and data is open to interpretation and errors can occur. There is also the aspect of a bias or slant being present within the AI that is generating the content. After all, algorithms and AI were designed by humans with their own inherent biases. Thus, the final content generated by AI should be fact checked. The written content can also sound robotic or generic if not edited or further worked on by an actual human author.
AI tools can be good starting points for written content or content of various types, but not relied on at this point entirely to create it. A human element should also be present to make it flow well, fact check it, and make sure the flow and writing style matches the audience it is addressing.
Using automated tools and AI may prove a good starting point, give ideas on topics and provide good research into topic ideas, but B2B content writing best practices should include a human element as well.
If you want to create good content that reaches the right B2B audience, make it relevant to that audience, engaging if possible, answer questions others have not answered or at least in a way that is easily digestible and relevant. Understand that attracting a buyer is often not a one-day process and the buyer’s journey has to be taken into account. However, once you realize all of these things, you will eventually see results and new customers within your business as they turn from leads to buyers.