You want your post to rank in the top 10. So do thousands of other people, and Google’s algorithm to rank pages is constantly changing (500–600 times per year, to be exact). How do you write B2B marketing articles that cut through the noise and make your content stand out?
Once upon a time, in an internet landscape faraway, you could spew out 500-word blog posts littered with keywords and they might rank. If you know anything about search engine optimization you know that doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it’s worse than doing nothing. Google knows when you’re trying to shortcut the system and penalizes it.
“Keyword stuffing” can land you on Google’s naughty list. Don’t write like this:
File management software is so helpful. We sell file management software. Our file management software is the best. If you want some great file management software, contact our file management software team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok so that was a bit exaggerated, but honestly, that’s what all blog posts that are obviously stuffed with keywords look like to me. So, what should you do?
In this guide to effectively reaching your audience through B2B marketing articles we will:
Take a step back and review some marketing basics
Go over some key psychological principles you can leverage to get more people interacting with your content
Talk about SEO — because it absolutely matters
My 5th grade teacher began every day by having us free write for 15 minutes with only two pieces of guidance: 1) A vague writing prompt, and 2) A reminder to ensure that whatever we wrote was entertaining, educational, or persuasive.
I heard those three words every morning for an entire school year. Little did I know, this was preparing me for a career in marketing. I didn’t realize it at the time but my interest in marketing started in my 5th grade classroom as I learned the importance of writing to entertain, educate, and persuade.
That mantra runs through my head all day in my marketing work. It’s Content Marketing 101 that your target audience needs to find your content compelling and actionable. Every single time you craft a new blog post, create a video, write copy for a website, or engage with your audience on social media, your content must entertain, educate, and persuade.
Everything from your polished 5,000-word eBook to a 50-character tweet needs to accomplish this. Otherwise, you won’t leave a lasting impression on people and they will continue scrolling onto the next item in an endless stream of content competing for their limited attention and time. You want your content to shine out like a lighthouse, guiding your target audience to your website. How do you do this?
Sometimes we need a reminder to get back to basics. There’s no algorithm or SEO hack that can write in a way that draws in your target audience.
If you feel like you’re constantly searching for the latest trick to boost leads, consider spending some time getting back to basics instead. You could spend your day analyzing trends in your website traffic, or you could start thinking more deeply about the actual people behind those numbers.
Ask yourself these basic questions before outlining your B2B marketing articles— Who is my audience and how well do I know them? Are they finding my content helpful and interesting? If my clickthrough rate is low, where I am failing to entertain, educate, or persuade?
Sift through your website’s copy and all of your old content. Get into the mind of your buyer persona and carefully analyze it through their lens. Ask yourself, how would they react to every single sentence? You may be missing opportunities to entertain or persuade people in your sales funnel.
Figure out where you’re losing people. If you have an email list, use it to send out a survey to gauge your audience’s interest about certain topics. Spend more time engaging in social listening to see what people are saying and then adjust your content creation strategy accordingly. Do the research first, and then write your B2B marketing articles to reflect the data.
People’s attention and time are valuable resources to them, and our brains are wired to quickly filter out information that is not useful or interesting.
There’s an automatic process known as sensory gating — behind the scenes, our brains are constantly at work to selectively seek out information that aligns with our goals and ignore information we deem unhelpful. In the technological age we live in, we’re constantly bombarded by an onslaught of sensory input both online and offline. We have to filter out most of that information, or we would start to go insane.
You can’t blame people for not focusing on content they don’t instantly find useful — it just means their brain’s automatic process of selective information filtering is working like it’s supposed to! So, how do you breach the sensory gate and make sure your content isn’t selectively filtered out?
The only way for your B2B marketing articles to rank long-term is to consistently post high-quality content that entertains, educates, and persuades. In the constantly changing SEO landscape, the one core constant is the value of good content.
Google enacts tiny algorithm changes 500–600 times per year, and core changes every few months. And you can’t predict or do anything about that! What works today for SEO might be less effective later on. Take SEO with a grain of stoicism — you can’t control the changes, but you can control what you do. Take a look at this page on cloud migration consulting, while it might not look like much, it has been highly optimized for SEO.
What you can do is rely on the one thing we know will never change — the value of good content. Google agrees with me:
“We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.” — Google
Ask yourself if your content deserves to be rewarded by search engine algorithms. Is it better than what’s currently ranking in the top 10? If you’re unsure, the answer is probably no.
Ask yourself what your B2B marketing articles are providing your audience. Is it actionable advice? Motivation? Entertainment?
One tangible thing we know Google uses to figure out if your content is “the best content” is length. Make sure your blog posts are at least 1,200 words. The number and quality of your backlinks are another.
There are reliable methods to boost your SEO such as backlink building, leveraging Google Analytics to gain insights into how web users are interacting with your content, being mindful of your website’s information architecture, and properly done keyword research.
I’m not saying those things don’t matter. Proven white hat (search-engine approved/long-term) SEO tactics absolutely matter. When used correctly, they help elevate your content to the first page of Google. I’ve seen this in action – our marketing team at Vale Creative has helped clients make it to the front page after optimizing content to align with SEO-friendly practices.
But an effective SEO strategy must be built on the back of solid content.
Actually I’ll take it a step further and say that an effective SEO strategy, at its core, is solid content. It’s fantastic content with a web of little technical SEO details woven around it that together add up to your best chance at ranking highly on Google. Take backlink building as an example. It’s a core part of any complete marketing strategy. You build good organic backlinks when other people find your content interesting and helpful enough to want to share it on their website or with their networks.
Behind every successful set of SEO tools is a powerful foundation of good content. Nothing outweighs the power of well-written content that entertains, educates, and persuades. Because at the end of the day, you’re communicating with people. Everything from your website design to your polished B2B marketing articles needs to reflect this.
Stay laser-focused on those three verbs. Isn’t that what you would want from a piece of content? You wouldn’t want to read an article that didn’t offer something fascinating or useful.
To create the best content to start ranking on Google, let’s go straight to the original source for advice. Look over your content and consider the big picture questions, laid out by Google:
Would you trust the information presented in this article?
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
Depending on the type of content we’re talking about, you don’t always need to hit all of these items. But you need to be thinking about them constantly as you craft your content.
There’s one last verb I’d like to leave you with —
You also need to inspire.
A piece of writing can be highly educational and useful, but will fall flat in comparison to a similar piece that has that “spark” of inspiration. People want to feel moved. They want to leave your article feeling like they can change their lives. They don’t want to just be told what to do, they want to feel why they should do something.
To be fair to my 5th grade teacher, there’s not a 5th grader in the world with enough lived experience to be inspirational. In order to inspire, you need to be able to draw on your past failures and achievements. Drawing on your own experiences injects that boost of inspiration that takes your content to the next level, and it comes with the added benefit of showcasing your expertise (which is key for establishing trust with your reader).
With B2B marketing articles, your tone may be more professional than B2C articles. And the medium may differ – a more appropriate place for B2B marketing articles might be LinkedIn instead of Instagram. But keep in mind that you’re still communicating with people and selling things to make their lives better, easier, faster, etc. The tone and the medium might be different than B2C, but at the end of the day, you’re still talking to people. And people have limited attention spans and not a lot of time on their hands.
Use your own voice. Make your reader feel like they’re listening to an actual person. Even in the most technical content, let your personality shine through a bit. The bottom line is to create content your audience won’t automatically filter out. Always aim to entertain, educate, persuade, and inspire.
We recommend conducting a comprehensive audit of all of your old content. See if you can pinpoint moments where you may be losing people, and see these moments as opportunities to add some flair to your content that entertains, educates, persuades, and inspires. Taking the time to ensure all of your content reflects these principles is an investment in the long-term success of your business. Going forward, keep those four verbs in mind as you craft your content.