What Do B2Bs Actually Want to Read in 2016?

DaitoZen/ Getty Images

DaitoZen/ Getty Images

Less than half of all visitors spend at least 15 seconds actively engaging with on-page content, according to a 2014 Chartbeat study. In an increasingly fragmented and competitive digital space, marketing agencies face the ongoing challenge of not just capturing attention, but also keeping it. In 2016, could less content actually be the answer?

Less is More: Creating Content that Counts

While the Chartbeat study focused primarily on consumer-facing content (including traditional news and media sites), the findings are still applicable to the B2B world. Consider the approach of Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think and a

Erin M is a 6-Star writer at WriterAccess

Erin M is a 6-Star writer at WriterAccess

contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Unlike most B2B writers, Thompson publishes just two to three dozen stories per year. Contently recently compared Thompson’s publication rate with former tech reporter Bekah Grant, who churned out more than 1,740 posts for VentureBeat over a 20-month tenure. If the B2B content world increasingly feels like a content rat race, Thompson is waving the “less is more” banner. Thompson’s commitment to quality content creation and building a loyal readership, rather than “quick visitor hits”, paid off. Not only did he get a book deal out of his personal blog, but B2B companies like GE and Microsoft are also following his lead, focusing on quality over quantity. (Plus, I love how GE brilliantly pulls on our heartstrings with their “ideas are scary” campaign).

3 Essential Elements for Every B2B Article

So, what makes for a “quality” B2B article that also doubles as smart lead nurturing? Publishing fewer articles won’t help if these articles are still poorly written. If you hire a content writer to augment your agency’s efforts, keep the following in mind:

  1. Be actionable. Did a major report just shake up your client’s industry? Create an insightful and thoughtful analysis by expanding on the report’s findings. How can you better contextualize these findings within the current industry landscape? What should businesses do with this information? Offer a clear, concrete list of actionable next steps.
  2. Be solution-oriented. Establish your client as an industry thought leader by creating pieces that raise awareness about a specific problem and your client’s ability to solve it. Avoid the hard sell by instead focusing on available resource-smart solutions and empowering prospects with the information they need to take action. This content does double duty: it educates prospect and helps define the buying vision in favor of your client.
  3. Be insightful. Share a real-world case study that demonstrates how your client solved an industry problem. What unique approach did your client take to tackle the challenge? What lessons did your client learn that are applicable to other industry problems? Back up these assertions with concrete data. Include a list of relevant best practices that can be adapted.

Erin ghostwrites extensively on behalf of B2B companies to support their content marketing and thought leadership campaigns, and her clients range from major Fortune 500 companies to small business startups. When not crafting custom content solutions, you can find her adding stamps to her passport, scuba diving, or perfecting her secret cheesecake recipe.

6-Star writer Erin M is an award-winning New Media Director, Senior Editor and freelance writer, and has over a decade of experience writing and editing for web and print publication.


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