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Inbound Marketing Age

5 things that will make your online writing unique

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  21, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing for the web is a beast that we’ve had to learn to grapple with in recent years. And it’s certainly a different one to writing for print. It comes with specific guidelines.

You can be a talented essayist or poet and still find yourself struggling to connect with an online audience. That’s because many of the rules go out the window. Forget long drop intros, intricate descriptions and digressions.

We need to get to the point. Now.

So, without further ado, what is it that makes online writing unique?

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4 important ideas to boost successful B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  12, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Have you embarked on a B2B content marketing journey? Or are you considering taking the first steps? Whatever your situation, it’s likely you have discovered that the exact route you should follow is open to interpretation.

In fact, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to B2B content marketing. It’s a case of finding the right fit for your company, dependent on your particular needs.

However, certain recommendations tend to hold true regardless of your strategy. Things like compiling an editorial calendar, blogging regularly and analysing your progress at each stage.

And then there are less tangible suggestions, such as being patient and developing a writing voice.

It’s impossible to capture all the valuable tips about B2B content marketing out there in the ether in a single blog post. So, for today, here are four from those in the know.

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What one thing do the best bloggers have in common?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What makes someone a great blog writer? Perhaps it’s their in-depth knowledge of a topic, their pithy turn of phrase or their clear-cut descriptions.

Different people shine in different areas when it comes to content creation. But it is almost guaranteed that the best bloggers all have one thing in common: they are voracious readers.

Reading widely is an assured way to improve our writing skills. And while it’s important for us to read around our industry and specific topics, all subject matter is worthy of our perusal.

You may already be a keen reader or you may find it difficult to dedicate specific time each day. Either way, we can all aim to become "better" readers.

There are a number of techniques we can employ that can not only help us to read more, but also to read in a more focused way.

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How to write a white paper

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Much of creating online content is about keeping it simple: creating catchy headlines; writing in clear and concise terms; addressing our audience’s needs and desires.  

And while that holds true, there’s a specific type of content that benefits from a more formal, academic approach: a white paper.

This is HubSpot’s definition: “A white paper is essentially a report; a detailed document that uses information, evidence and logical arguments to influence readers about a product or service.”

White papers can be a great asset to our content marketing. They are aimed at the decision makers in an organisation and are characterised by high-quality, well-researched content.

This means they are usually most successful when written by someone who really understands the finer points of the industry and topic being discussed – but it also means writing them requires time and dedication.

Perhaps that all sounds great in theory but not in practice. As B2B marketers we have a lot of balls to juggle – so is it really worth spending hours writing a white paper?

In fact, the potential to generate leads and increase sales is huge. And isn’t that the aim?

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Five assured ways to create catchy headlines for your B2B blog

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Perhaps you’re reading this post because the headline caught your attention.

From the front page of a newspaper to the title of a book, headlines are the first thing we see - and they are even more crucial when it comes to online content.

We make snap judgements when browsing the web: if a headline doesn’t catch our attention, more often than not, we won’t click through to the content.

According to a Microsoft survey carried out this year, the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds. By comparison the average goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds!

So how can you create catchy headlines for your B2B blog that get your reader on board quickly?

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4 ways to overcome blogger's block in B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  18, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

Those are wise words from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, about the importance of not putting things off.

So, ask yourself, if you are committed to B2B content marketing, how often does your company blog?

We've all been there: you get to the end of the week and realise you haven't published as many pieces of new content as you planned - or maybe none at all. Do you need to overcome blogger's block?

Perhaps you didn’t have time; you weren't sure what to write about; you didn’t think anyone would read it; or maybe you were worried your attempts would result in failure.

But, while these are genuine concerns, ultimately they are excuses we use to avoid starting. They are all forms of blogger's block - a problem for sure - but one that can be solved.

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Why content writing for "boring" industries never has to be dull

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  15, June, 2015  |  2 Comments  Subscribe

Some industries seem like they were made for content marketing.

But others, particularly in the B2B sector, can appear to present more of a challenge.

Perhaps you love your job and the company you work for but, when it comes to content writing, you feel the subject is quite, well… dull.

But is it time to take a fresh look?

Is there really no such thing as a "boring" industry – just boring content?

When people have a problem, they seek out information. And content that helps them find a solution can be highly interesting, whatever the subject.

So here are three questions to ask yourself.

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Developing your writing voice: three things to keep in mind

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  4, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whatever industry you work in, it’s likely that you want to be influential. But getting the right people to take note of what you have to say isn’t always easy.

The world’s greatest writers, from Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières, have a distinctive voice that resonates with their readers. They convey something that others can’t.

As a B2B content writer, you also need to develop your own voice – one that captures the attention of your ideal customers.

However, it’s not easy – there’s a fine balance between letting your personality show and producing something that your audience actually wants to read.

Here are three things to keep in mind.

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Five pearls of wisdom to inject value into your content writing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  3, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

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.

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7 simple B2B blog strategy tips that will help you get read

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, July, 2014  |  2 Comments  Subscribe

According to research in The State of Inbound Marketing 2013 by Hubspot (sample 3,339) 62% of marketers published a blog in 2013 and almost 80% reported inbound ROI, proof that they can be ultra-critical to the success of your business.

A good b2b blog has multiple benefits and can be a great way of projecting an authoritative and trustworthy company personality to your existing customers as well as helping you get found by new prospects, too.

If it contains relevant and useful insight, helpful advice, and intelligent opinion, it will get shared, extending your reach. And, each time you publish a new post you are adding a new page to your website, so you become more visible to the search engines.

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Why B2B marketers need a media-first approach in their marketing mix

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  9, June, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger Media and architect of the recent ‘agile’ launch of New Rainmaker (a new inbound/content/automation marketing platform) coined the moniker ‘media not marketing’ to position his latest offering which comprises the suite of software solutions used behind the highly successful Copyblogger platform.

‘Media not marketing’ goes to the crux of how b2b marketers need to rise above the tsunami of ‘noise’ flooding the Internet today, especially if you are in a crowded market. Look at it this way -- in 2010 Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, was quoted as saying “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”.

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The 17 types of blog post your audience can't wait to read

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  9, April, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We recently ran a training course for folk new to blogging, which covered everything from the business case for blogging and content planning to creating writing that works and how to measure it.  One of the areas that sparked real interest for our new budding bloggers, and proved invaluable to planning their writing for the coming months, was our trainer’s examples of the types of blog post that are open to them.  We counted around 17 types of posts that writers might wish to consider in approaching their blogging, to be used variously and applicably, as befits the tastes of your audience and the tenor of your blog.

So, here are our 17 suggestions for the types of post you might consider to keep your blog interesting, vital and educative for your readers:

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Ten hidden benefits of writing a blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  19, March, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Following on from my last post where I talked about a range of strategic reasons why an organisation might have a blog, in this post I am going to look at the hidden benefits of publishing a blog.

Listen up – this applies to you.

You see, what you might not appreciate is that publishing a b2b blog can benefit both you and your business in other, perhaps more subtle, ways. Ways you are definitely going to like.

So here are 10 hidden benefits of writing a blog:

1. It forces you to keep up to date

In order to create a blog that's relevant and timely, you need to follow the latest developments in your industry, the direction the market is going and what your organisation's latest developments are. You'll be the organisation's "Cutting Edge Expert" in no time.

2. It makes you think about your business, your industry, your products and services and your customers

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Are white papers really still relevant in the world of modern content?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  7, January, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In an age where Generation Y are, as I observed in an earlier post, “completely visual learners”,  with Generation X not far behind, does the rather formal, text-heavy, slightly august medium of the white paper still have any kind of place in your content writing armoury?

Should you just abandon it in favour of what David Meerman Scott, in his New Rules of Viral Marketing, called “the stylish younger sister to the nerdy white paper” - the more visual, interactive and “human” eBook?

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Establish your B2B blog by finding the right people to write for you

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  15, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you are running an SME in the UK today you can’t have failed to notice the growing importance of blogging, as part of your online presence.  Indeed, the reach and impact of business blogs is expanding all the time as potential customers look to source interesting, educative or entertaining insights into their industry sector. According to Hubspot’s very latest analysis of the State of Inbound Marketing 2013, for example, almost 40% of European marketers reported acquiring customer leads directly from their company blog.

But, where to start? One thing to do, first off, is to look at who else in your industry is blogging; read what they are saying, and look at whether they are being listened to, shared, etc.  If your sector is already very crowded with businesses talking about the same sorts of things, then maybe blogging is not the channel to consider for you.  However, if it seems that your competitors aren’t yet blogging – i.e. that there isn’t a great deal of noise in your specific field – then perhaps there is an opportunity to lead the charge in this dynamic area of content writing, to gain a new online audience and to steer the conversation in your field.

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How To Not Write Crap Content: An Interview With Doug Kessler

Written by Eric Swain  |  28, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners wrote an ebook earlier this year that hit home for many of us. In it he alerts us to the tidal wave of content that is drowning our audience and make our marketing irrelevant.

Doug, your ebook, Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge, addressed the flood of marketing content that is threatening to overwhelm us. Is this a problem?

It really is a problem. It’s also an opportunity. When digital-age content marketing was a fairly new trick, the early people had an advantage by being involved in it. So for our clients to do an e-book back then was a special thing; it was like, “Wow, they’ve published something about an issue that their prospects care about, without even pushing their products. And people came to them for it, and wasn’t that great?”

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Should Your CEO Be Tweeting?: An Interview with Neville Hobson

Written by Eric Swain  |  17, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Our own Eric Swain is the co-host (with Ann Hawkins) of a weekly podcast called The Social Media Show. We are providing transcripts of select shows.

Neville Hobson joined Ann and me on the 5th episode to discuss the role an executive should play in social media and content creation. Neville is a consultant, blogger and podcaster.

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Ann Hawkins: Neville, in the second show that we did of this series, we had Euan Semple talking about the authenticity of content writing. He was talking about CEOs veering between, on one hand, where you admire them for having a go, but, on the other hand, where they’re as embarrassing as your dad having a dance at a disco and you just want them to stop.

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How to create B2B content your customers are hungry for

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  10, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
We've all heard the T.V. nutritionists say it – we need to eat certain foods in moderation, others in abundance, others barely at all, and the balance can shift   radically depending on our time of life and associated behaviours.

Content writers and B2B content marketers – take heed! Too often, we end up feeding our prospects and customers material that simply isn't useful or beneficial for their particular stage in the sales process. So how do you ensure you're serving up a content menu that your audience can relish, digest and demand more of?

Remember your goal

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What the Father of Advertising can teach today's B2B content marketer

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
One of the human behaviours that dogs our ability to make sense of emerging concepts is that, too often, we are obsessed with the fact that they are shiny and new - and so we simply make a grab for them. What we don't do is make enough of the properties they share with concepts we already know about.

And so it is with B2B content marketing. Because it is often positioned as “new,” we tend to overlook the strong connections it has to the practices (and practitioners) of the past, and the wisdom therein.

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Is your B2B content marketing a complete waste of time?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It's a truth universally acknowledged: some people just shouldn't be allowed to choose their own clothes, others shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel of a car, and still others shouldn't be put in charge of mixing a decent cocktail. Horses for courses, as the saying goes.

Yet many businesses get wrong- footed every day by trying to “do” B2B content marketing when they are simply not geared up for it. Like a rookie barman seasoning a Bloody Mary, the end product is likely either to be bland, repellent or simply left untouched.

You may think you'd never hear me say this, but some businesses should seriously consider whether they're not wasting their time doing B2B content marketing at all. Here's some characteristics that the quadrupeds in question may exhibit.

The underinfluencers

It's a harsh fact to admit, but if yours is the kind of organisation where the CEO doesn't buy into Marketing's ideas, just don't bother with the content stuff – it's an almost total waste of your (and the business's) time. As the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reveals, organisations without C-level buy-in are three times more likely to fail at content marketing. Those are not good odds, on any horse.

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Content killers: mistakes and pitfalls in B2B content marketing

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  11, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
“A life spent making mistakes”, wrote George Bernard Shaw, “is not only more honourable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.” True, but who, given the choice, would prefer not to have made them in the first place?

With this in mind, we researched the mistakes and pitfalls that, regrettably, often “kill” B2B marketers' efforts to produce compelling, brand-enhancing content – and how to avoid them. If you're a content killer, it's time to 'fess up to the crime and face up to the facts: you need to do things differently!

Shot dead in six – the categories of content failure

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What is 'too much' information in B2B content writing?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  4, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
In the old-school, outbound B2B marketing world, engagement with the audience is one-way and limits itself to the positive. Buy this – it's great! Smoke these – your doctor does! Look at what we can sell you – you'll love it!

It's distinctly short-sighted. No human being communicates only on the level of the positive, so by restricting the interaction to that level your brand is missing out on 99% of the opportunities to engage with its audience. Effective B2B content has nothing to do with proclamation - instead it's all about the conversation!

Writing like a human

But this is where many B2B content writers struggle. Our new-found quest to humanise brands has left us groping for what constitutes helpful content and what constitutes “too much information” (as your teenager would have it – in other words, content that is inappropriate or overly familiar.)

Content boundaries are morphing faster than at any time before. Driven by the “millennials” or “Generation Y-ers", whose preferred environment for both private and professional utterances is almost exclusively online, content is undergoing two processes of informalisation.

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Heart-strings, not purse-strings: humanisation and content touchpoints

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  23, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
One of the creepier (but strangely apposite) terms to come out of the marketing industry in the past few years has been that of "touchpoints" - the number of potential contact opportunities you get with a customer or prospect during the process of communicating and transacting with them. 

Formerly, touchpoints were simply a glorified form of reminder, with an associated sales objective – your eye test is due, your car insurance is about to run out, you still haven't taken advantage of the special offer we're running if you join our partner programme. But an interesting thing is now happening in the field of touchpoint communication. It is moving from the propagandist (pushing a clear message to incite a clear sales action) to the informative (making a show of the communicator's expertise, knowledge, openness, informality, humour, and so forth.) 

In short, touchpoint communication is moving toward a B2B content writing model, humanising your brand. As I commented in a previous post, likeability is now a precondition of saleability! 

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Straight between the ize: clarity and shock value in content writing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  16, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Can you hear that ghostly thumping? That's George Orwell turning in his grave. Indeed, the man whose
Six Rules championed the values of clear, simple content above all else would be properly posthumously piqued by some of what passes for B2B content writing in this day and age.

In so many cases, simplicity and clarity have given way to jargon, euphemisms and mispunctuation. The hapless readers have become a secondary consideration. They struggle with impenetrable language and potentially catastrophic ambiguity. Let's face it, there's a big difference between “Let's eat, Grandma!” and “Let's eat Grandma!”.

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Nice blog, but no cigar: content writing and Churchillian rhetoric

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  9, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

So said Sir Winston Churchill, master of the spoken word, purveyor of linguistic lyricism, whose rhetoric inspired a nation at its most vulnerable. 

But how are the words uttered some 70 years ago bya British Prime Minister relevant to B2B content marketers in today's digital world?

We live in an age where technology is hurtling us forward at a dizzying pace. And yet, language, the way we express our thoughts and interact with that technology, is evolving far more gently - so that the words and liguistic form of yesterday can achieve just as much resonance with a contemporary audience.

The truth is that there are valuable lessons for the blog writers of today to be learnt from the eloqent and the erudite of the past.

Write it like you say it

Arguably, content marketers are awash with advice o

n what to do and what not to do when writing online - practical, common sense guidance on how to get your work found by the audience you seek. But, this advice might all be for nothing if what you have to say is not compelling, entertaining, educative... 

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Homophones - the Achilles Heel of Content Writing?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  2, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We’ve all seen it and we’re all moved to berate it: poor business writing, grammar and spelling. At best, it is a distraction, at worst, mistakes in your online content can cost you sales.

What doe the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? Oops, spot the deliberate mistake? It should read: what does the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? You know, you can’t trust your spell-checker when doing your online writing; for example, is it write, rite, or right that you need to write?

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B2B Content Marketing - just a load of old cassocks?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  25, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
When it comes to the art of marketing persuasion, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches. The first is often called the “Bread Van” school. Big van, “BREAD” written on the side. Contents and required action utterly indisputable - the van is the verb.

The second approach is rather less binary. It majors on alternatives, not imperatives. It attempts to educate, to engage and to resonate with potential customers.  This, of course, is Content Marketing - in our own words, “a sustained flow of valuable content that positions your company as the ‘go to guys’ in your field.” Or, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, it is the type of communication that “increases the number of ways in which it is possible to think.” From thought comes action and interaction, and from there, an opportunity to nurture and convert prospective buyers.

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How to best brief your writers for content that works for you

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  4, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As you are well aware, getting content marketing right for your organisation means true commitment to creating excellent, useful and interesting B2B content that resonates with your target audience.  So whether it’s blog posts, eBooks, case studies or newsletter articles, what is the best way to convey to your content creators (internal or external) exactly what you need them to write.

Here’s our recipe for a brief that gets the content you want from your writers:

In a nutshell...

  • Aim: Be crystal clear from the beginning what exactly it is you’re
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Talkin' bout my generation: writing for the age of your buyer persona

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  28, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

There's an old teaching adage that says if you're interested in something, you'll learn it more easily.

Many of you will remember a teacher who had this knack – communicating with you about subject X but via some more entertaining or instinctive content. And so it is with the content that your business produces. Identifying and creating your buyer personas is one thing. Ensuring that what you write is in a form that engages with some part of their interest, in order to lead them to a desired realisation or action, often in relation to some other topic - that's quite another.

Tony Zambito, the originator of the buyer persona methodology, has stated that buyers today spend up to 60-70% of the buying process without the help of a sales representative. Instead, they are turning to content – your blogs, your byliners, your commentary, your social media activity.

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Arggh! - what to write? 5 ways to beat blogger's block

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  26, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Why can’t you get that damned B2B blog post written? Are you worried about making it perfect? Are you bored with the topic? Are you building the task into something so much more monstrous than it should be? Are you paralysed by the approaching deadline? It really doesn’t matter why you have ‘blog writers block’. What is REALLY important, is to follow James Thurber’s advice and “don’t write, just get it written”.

But first, break down the blog writer’s task into its more manageable sequence: it starts with choosing the topic/idea/message/theme and framework - then the physical act of word processing - after which, editing/improving/polishing, honing that all-important headline - then proofreading - and finally publishing. It is only at the start of this sequence that bloggers block can strike. The rest are more mechanical tasks.

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