In theory, you’ve done everything right: chosen a topic that is relevant to your ideal customers; used appropriate keywords; and shared your resulting blog posts, eBook or the like across your social reach.
However, is there something missing? Does your writing lack that je ne sais quoi? What you’re saying is good - but it is it remarkable?
Improving your content means becoming a better writer; it means engaging on a deeper level with your target audience.
Can anyone learn the necessary skills – and where would they start? The best content writers will tell you that they got to where they are today by hard work – they practised a lot and honed their craft.
Here’s five pearls of wisdom from five content heroes of our day.
1) Feel the love
What makes a writer great?
She responded: “Tremendous love for the audience and the topic. What I call GAS - giving a s**t. You have to care a lot - about language, about your readers, and about what you write about.”
As a B2B content writer you’re invested in what you’re writing about – but that’s probably not the same as having “tremendous love” for it. Perhaps, for example, the industry you’re covering isn’t traditionally exciting.
You should be writing about what’s important to your ideal customers. And if it’s important to them it’s important to you - so get excited about it!
Immerse yourself fully in their world; identify their specific pain and find ways to relieve it.
2) Blog frequently
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, marketer, and best-selling author. And he also publishes a blog post every day of the year.
Sometimes his posts are lengthy, other times they’re a couple of lines long; sometimes they offer advice, other times they pose a question; sometimes they delve into the specifics of marketing, other times they offer general inspiration.
But these posts appear each day without fail.
Speaking to Mike Volpe on HubSpot’s podcast The Growth Show, Godin said: “If you can make a decision once, then the question isn’t should I do it? It’s what will I do?
“[…] If you make the decision to blog every single day, then the only discussion I have to have with myself is what’s the best blog post I can write - not should I write a post.”
You may not want to blog every single day, but make a commitment to write on a regular basis – and stick to it.
This not only makes you a more confident writer, but it fuels your creativity - because you need to spend more time researching and formulating fresh ideas.
3) Write yourself silly
Writing on his blog, The Copybot, chief content writer for Copyblogger Demian Farnworth says: “Writing yourself silly is nothing more than a brief but intense period of writing everything down inside your head about a particular topic.
“It’s about shoving aside every objection and letting yourself go. For an hour. Two hours. For however long it takes to get ALL of your ideas down on paper.
“[…] Now you’ve got something to work with.”
Redrafting is key to producing a remarkable piece of content.
It can be easy to agonise over every sentence when you first start writing. But by throwing caution to the wind and just letting the words flow, you are able to get down everything you want to say far more easily.
It doesn’t matter if it’s rambling and full of grammatical errors - because the kernel of the content is there.
And then you can spend time editing and perfecting it without the stress of wondering what you’re going to write in the next paragraph.
4) Become a thought leader
“In a world where everyone is clamouring for attention, it’s increasingly essential to stand out. We need to think strategically about how to become recognised for deep expertise in a given niche, and then expand into nearby areas from there.
“Once you’ve become a trusted source in one realm, it’s far easier to leverage that toehold and become a recognized thought leader across the board.”
That’s the advice from Brian Solis: digital marketing analyst, speaker and author.
As a content writer it’s important to think about what your ideal customers really need and to offer them content that gets to the heart of their problem.
You need to delve deep into the topics you’re covering - prove that you're an expert and your content will come to life.
5) Be honest
However good your writing is, if it isn’t sincere it will miss the mark.
Yes, ultimately you want to close sales with your ideal customers – but you won't do that by focusing on yourself.
Your target audience wants information about a specific problem that they are looking to solve.
Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs writes on her blog: “The promise of content marketing is that we can connect directly with the people we want to reach. But key to its effectiveness is trust: Tell a true story well with full permission of the audience; don’t self-promote, advertise, or dupe.”
The best content resonates because it is useful. You shouldn’t be selling – you should be informing and educating.
If you do so effectively, the rest will follow.
Breathing life into your B2B content writing can seem like a difficult task. But it can be done.
Love your subject matter, write as often as possible, let loose with your first draft, delve deep and tell the truth.
That's the advice from the experts, after all.