In an ever-expanding sea of content marketing, it’s challenging to command the attention of your target audience. Research shows that more than 60 percent of B2b decision-makers ignore the content they encounter.
At W2 Communications, we recognize that our content marketing must stand out to convey our clients’ messaging successfully. Ultimately, this requires the immediate establishment of authority/authenticity while following the timeless advice of “Don’t be boring!” With this in mind, here are five best practices we’ve incorporated to make our clients’ content “come alive” in the form of blogs, executive bylined articles and white papers:
Provide real value to the reader – and a good story. Most people turn to blogs because they seek solutions to a problem. To engage them, use a headline that directly states what readers can expect to “get” from calling up your blog (that you’ll solve that pesky problem) and a tight introduction and direct, concise bullet point tips/takeaways. The content should “tell a good story” about pain points, followed by a do-able response to the pain points along with tangible, expected positive outcomes.
Be clear. In writing blogs and articles for our clients, I always strive to demystify the hardcore technical details, so they’re easily understood. Define terms. Avoid jargon. Come up with examples/easy-to-grasp analogies to explain complex concepts. Replace obscure words with familiar ones.
Use concrete details and vivid anecdotes. These techniques will “breathe life” into your blogs and support the time-tested “show, don’t tell” rule of writing … Instead of saying, “Gourmet Plates has emerged as a leading restaurant food supplier in the mid-Atlantic,” dig deeper to pull out details/anecdotes: “Gourmet Plates started as a two-person operation using a garage for storage, and has grown into a 200-employee business that serves more than 5,000 customers – including Michelin 3-star restaurants like the Inn at Little Washington.”
Pump up it up with research. It’s fine to convey a position or opinion. But you boost the credibility of your statements when backed by solid research from respected authorities/organizations. Include links to the original sources of your research as opposed to second or third-hand publications that quoted the findings.
Three-quarters of people say that content containing data is more persuasive and trustworthy than content without it. After all, there’s a great deal of difference between saying something very broad and general (“Companies are investing in cyber threat analysis to reduce false positives”) and a more research-supported and detailed sentence (“Companies that invest in cyber threat analysis reduce false positives by 40 percent.”)
Keep it short. There are mixed messages out there about how long blogs should be. But let’s face it: There is a massive amount of content out there competing for the reader’s attention. I recommend keeping a blog to no more than 700 words, with 500 to 600 words being the “sweet spot.”
At W2 Communications, our Content Development division has worked with clients for a decade to publish informative, creative and compelling blogs, bylined articles, case studies and white papers. We are seasoned, professional writers who know how to tell a good story while skillfully conveying essential messaging points. If this sounds like something you’d like to find out more about, then please contact us.