B2B Marketing Expo California logo

September 16 & 17 2020

LA Convention Center

How to Create Great B2B Content: A Quick Guide to Four Key Formats

When somebody reads your content, they’re giving you valuable time out of their day. If they’re a B2B decision maker, that time is especially precious – and they’ll expect some value in return.

Fail to deliver on that promise, and you haven’t only lost a reader. You’ve lost a potential customer too.

In that context, fancy words and bloated walls of text just won’t cut it. You need to tell them what they want to know in a way that’s easy – even entertaining – to read. There’s a lot to get right.

Don’t fear. Whether you’re writing your own content or reviewing someone else’s, here’s a crash course in the four formats most B2B marketers use.

How to write the four key B2B content formats:

1. Blogs: a go-to structure can keep you focused

Once viewed as SEO-friendly web filler, blogging is now one of the most powerful formats in the B2B marketer’s arsenal. When done right, it’s a fun, fast and flexible way to share and promote engaging content from across the diverse spectrum of B2B marketing.

That’s why it pays to have an evergreen structure you can use for almost any blog post. With a strong basic structure, you can start writing fast; keep your argument focused; and spend less time worrying about what goes where, when you could be delivering the value your audience expects.

What’s more, with the content already mapped out you’ll be able to summarise what you want to say much more strongly, right from the start. Which means you’re more likely to hook your reader – and to write something that performs well on social media.

2. eBooks: three steps to success

The ebook is one of the most enduring formats for long-form content in the top and middle of the marketing funnel. But with so many vying for attention, a great ebook needs to stand out from the crowd. To do that, it’ll need to cover these three qualities:
A. Audience insight
B.
Understanding who the reader is, what matters to them, and what they need.
C.
Genuine value. Offering useful, actionable and unique insight the reader won’t find elsewhere.
D.
Great writing. It’s a lot of words, so it needs to be accessible, enjoyable and inspiring to read.

Before you worry about the long form content, focus on the first page. If you can start by explaining clearly who should read and why, you’re likely on to a winner.

3. Video scripts: less is usually more

For the right writer with the right brief, penning a B2B marketing video script can be an absolute blast. For others, it can be an intimidating format to work with. But it doesn’t have to be.

Penning a B2B video script isn’t all that different to writing for film, and that means the rules are already written. Avant-garde copy notwithstanding, both formats require the writer to:
A.
Know the audience inside-out
B.
Follow a three-act narrative structure.
C.
Show, don’t tell
D.
Be descriptive and bring the script to life
E.
Show the audience only what they need to see

All of this means a successful video script contains a lot fewer words than you might think. You can leave out the distractions, or telling the audience about things they can already see on screen.

4. Case studies: make your customer the hero

As our resident case study expert Kieran once said: “The written case study is the WD-40 of B2B marketing tools.” It’s not fancy but it’s popular, because incredibly useful for all kinds of jobs.

Most case studies tell a clear story and follow an easy-to-understand formula (challenge, solution, results, glowing customer quote). But many still manage to be dull and ineffective.

Usually, that’s because the reader has nobody to identify with. So remember, your case study is not about you; it’s about your customer – and the thing you helped them to do.

Want some free B2B content advice?

If you’d like some more, come and talk to our B2B copywriters at the B2B Marketing Expo, on stand 2184. We’re happy to chat, and we have plenty of free writing guides for you to take away.

Or you could come and see David’s talk “Five terrifying risks you should definitely take with your B2B content”, which will show you some practical ways to make your content stand out. That’s in Theatre Hall 12 on Wednesday 27th March, at 13.15pm.