- At its best, B2B content can inform, educate, and even entertain.
- Sales pitches still pepper too much B2B content.
- Jargon mostly bores people, research has proved.
Almost 80 percent of B2B companies have a content marketing strategy, according to a 2020 report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Research shows 77 percent of B2B buyers spent more time researching potential purchases in 2020 than they did in 2019. When audiences come to your content, they typically want to:
- get up to speed on a topic
- research a category of products
- discover what their peers think
- just kill some time.
Even though many businesses are staying the course with content marketing programs, too many continue with habits that do a disservice to audiences. Here’s three habits that frustrate audiences as they try to go about the tasks above.
1.Publishing Sales Pitches Disguised as Content
Nobody wants to be bombarded with content that has a ‘buy now’ tone, hyped claims, or boring sales pitches. Still, too many companies go on the hard sell in the opening paragraphs of an article, whitepaper, or ebook.
Why should audiences care? This question is too often left out of content planning and creation.
If your audience can’t immediately see how they’ll benefit from giving you their attention, they will just tune out. This is especially true for SaaS, B2B fintech, and other complex industries, where too often content programs frame technology as the only solution to a common problem — and one company as the only provider of that solution.
Some companies do a great job serving audiences through content, though.
Cloud accounting software Xero has a small business blog, with articles about recruitment, wellbeing, and inclusive workplaces. These topics are removed from the day-to-day activities of accounting and bookkeeping — but it’s valuable to Xero’s audience, because the audience cares about more things than cloud accounting.
2. Nagging Audiences for Contact Information
Take a peek at this oldish (but still funny) advert from chatbot company Drift.
It still sums up what it’s like to browse most B2B websites.
Who wants to fill out a form sharing their email, mobile number, and annual revenue before getting to your content? Yes, businesses need to keep in touch with potential customers and have a way to qualify leads — but too much gated content can turn people away. Sometimes they just want to read that article or watch that video without surrendering information. One way to make sure gated content isn’t annoying is to refer to it in other ungated but related content, where the audience has already shown an interest.
3. Using Jargon, Gobbledygook, and Gibberish
And then there is jargon. Waffle. Or mumbo-jumbo.
A recent study by Ohio State University researchers showed jargon kills people’s interest in scientific and political topics. People who took part in the study described themselves as ‘unqualified to participate in science discussions’ or ‘uninterested in learning’ when confronted with jargon. That’s a big thumbs down. Even technically savvy audiences value plain English. And if your content marketing program can simply explain complex topics, you’ll soon find audiences begin to stick around.
Kicking B2B Content Habits
At the heart of good content marketing is an obsession with genuinely helping the audience.
The habits above get in the way of this mission.
What else would you add to the list?