Creating Content for B2B Audiences

You’re surrounded with examples of great content for B2C offers. Everywhere you look, you see reviews of consumer electronics, recipes including a beloved product from supermarket shelves or commercials for the latest sales event at a big box store. Marketing to other professionals in adjacent industries isn’t the same. The products and services a B2B company sells aren’t usually impulse buys, and buyers are far more market-savvy than the audience for consumer products. When publishing website content for B2B visitors, keep these guidelines in mind.

Talk to Your Whole Audience

For most consumer purchases, copy only has to reach a single decision-maker. Large investments such as a home or a car might bring in another voice or two as spouses and families give their input. In B2B marketing, your content has to connect with a number of influential people, including the executive who decides when it’s time to buy, the CFO who checks the budget to see if the expenditure’s affordable and the personnel who will use the product. You want to connect with the people who hold the purse strings, but don’t neglect others who influence the decision-making process.

Expect Longer Waits for Results

The orders companies place with their B2B suppliers could affect countless customers and cost millions. Those decisions aren’t made lightly or quickly. The lead time between when your business content is published and when it bears fruit could be months, so it needs to be evergreen. Evergreen content doesn’t become dated within a few months and still has something to say to readers months or years after its publication. Keep your B2B content largely free of narrow topical and time-sensitive information so it continues to work for you as long as you have it available. Save the timely information for social media and quick blog posts or email blasts; those channels are ideal for up-to-the-minute information.

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Is Your Contact Page Working for You?

Google Analytics can tell you which pages on your site your visitors see most frequently or spend the most time reading, but one key bit of information is harder to find: how well your contact page works for you. Contact pages are for more than just helping your visitors get in touch with you; when they’re well designed, they also let you collect important data, streamline communications with your customers and make it easier to help visitors who have questions. If your current contact form doesn’t have these details, you aren’t getting the most from it and should consider an upgrade.

Responsive Web Design on Contact Pages

Before you focus on the information your contact form should have, think about how users will view it. Chances are good they’ll be reading and responding to your form from a mobile device, so simple forms that use responsive web design are best. Responsive design adapts fluidly to the device on which it’s displayed, making it easy for users to type in the necessary information whether they’re contacting you from their office computer or sending off a quick request on their way to dinner. Radio buttons that users can tap with a fingertip or stylus are easier to manipulate than lengthy forms, so give busy readers the option to choose from a list or drop-down menu instead of typing in all their details.

Functional and Distinctive Design

Few things make customers unhappier than reaching out to a company and getting no reply, so test thoroughly from multiple platforms to ensure that all your contacts’ requests make it to you. The layout should also be easy to read and use. If visitors are already on your contact page, they want to contact you; make that as easy as possible to maximize the response you get. The rest of your site may be luxuriously appointed with special features, but if your contact page is an unadorned HTML form, it needs help. Give it the attention it deserves by adding your company logo and colors to the page. If you have a brick and mortar business, add a map so prospects can find your office or storefront.

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Should You Say No in Business Writing?

When writing business content, many companies instruct their writers to avoid any negative words. Everything must be re-framed as a positive, they believe, as if the word “no” and its cousins, such as “can’t” and “not” and “never,” will taint the rest of the content like used motor oil in a bucket of paint. You’ve read here before about magic words and how they affect your content, but does that magic have a dark side? Can reading the word “won’t” subconsciously associate your content with negative emotions? Is there bad juju connected to “no?”

The Difference Between Negativity and “No”

Sales and marketing executives have an understandable aversion to denying their customers’ requests. No one likes to say no to someone who’s about to give your business money. The word “no” by itself, though, can sometimes be a positive in buyers’ minds. Think of phrases such as “no money down” or “no special equipment needed,” and you’ll see how powerful this short word can be in the right contexts. These statements describe positive benefits even though they contain a negative word. While your content creation team could recast these phrases in positive terms, the results sound wordy or awkward – and awkwardness is a content killer.

Negative statements, on the other hand, are something your content team should avoid, at least on persuasive copy. While some negatives are unavoidable on FAQs or in warranty information, the content your customers see first should have a positive spin. Assume visitors are there because they want to buy with positive phrasing instead of implying they’re there only because they couldn’t find what they wanted elsewhere. Tell people what you can do for them, not what others can’t accomplish.

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Branching Out: Enhancing Your SEO Strategy with Keyword Stemming

Heavy-duty keyword stuffing is a distinct don’t for current SEO best practices. Google and other search engines penalize sites that overuse keywords as low-value vehicles for links instead of rich, relevant content. Keyword stemming, on the other hand, is very much in style.

Keyword stemming refers to layering related keywords and phrases throughout your content the way they’d naturally occur. You probably wouldn’t use the same phrase ten times in a few minutes of conversation even if you were discussing something very specific, but you might use versions of that phrase, incorporating it as different parts of speech or using synonyms for it. Your primary keyword is the stem, and variations of it branch out organically to create a keyword-rich yet relevant and compelling article.

Context Is Everything

Search engines rely on dozens of embedded and contextual cues to determine a site’s relevance to your query. On-page, embedded cues include search terms in the meta title and meta description, links to and from the page, and the site’s URL. These baked-in keywords are indexed as-is by Google, but contextual cues are more nuanced. They allow search engines to weigh words that are related to, but not identical to, the anchor text and meta data on the page as relevant.

For example, if your site offers content writing services, then “content writing” is your primary keyword. Stemmed keywords might include “content writers,” “writing content” and “content written.” Including these variations on a theme hits search engines’ sweet spots; they don’t look spammy or keyword-stuffed, and they’re easier on human visitors’ eyes. It’s tough to twist a 500-word blog post to fit the same long-tail keyword a dozen times to approach a 2.5 percent keyword density, but it’s easy to include it and its close relatives naturally in an article.

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