Content Marketing/How To

Research: The Most Engaging B2B Content in 2017

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Consumer brands have it easy when it comes to content creation and driving consumer engagement.

For B2B companies, crafting interesting, engaging content is a lot harder.

Many companies get caught talking too much about their products and services rather than  creating content that engages prospects and entices them to learn more.

Buzzsumo, a content marketing platform that helps you discover the most popular content on any given topic or particular website, offered a deep dive into engaging B2B content, sharing in this post 10 B2B content types that worked well in 2017 to drive B2B engagement.

The post itself is a great example of engaging B2B content: It offers original research on a hot, trending topic and provides How-To advice.

One word of caution:

Buzzsumo’s research is based on social media shares and content on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, not content that resides on company websites.

Top 10 B2B Content Types

If you want to amplify your B2B content shares in 2018, the content types that engage prospects and social shares, according to Buzzsumo, are:

  • Industry technology changes
  • Future trends
  • Opinion or viewpoint posts
  • Inspirational stories and case studies
  • Practical tips and how to posts
  • Personal career advice
  • Research and reference content
  • Leadership tips and advice
  • Industry news
  • Hot topics like artificial intelligence or content related to hot brands

The content identifier platform goes on to add a bonus content type: LinkedIn Pulse articles.

“If you want to gain more attention on LinkedIn, then you need to be publishing on Pulse,” according to the post. “Nineteen of the top twenty most shared articles on LinkedIn this year were published on the perform.”

The company and I share the same view on creating content for LinkedIn or any other social platform: doing so drives traffic to those social media companies, not your own website. That’s why I don’t currently post on Pulse.

Instead, Buzzsumo and I suggest you first write something for your own site, wait a few days and then modify the content to post on Pulse.

Why B2B Content Types Performed Well

After its list, Buzzsumo takes a deep dive into each kind of content giving examples and explaining why it performed so well.  The post is well worth a read. (Full Disclosure: I don’t write for Buzzsumo, nor have I used their platform.)

In addition to learning why the B2B content types were so engaging, you should examine the  headlines to learn several secrets to success and how to write better headlines.

Throughout the detailed portions of the post, I identified nine hacks that B2B marketers can add to their  content creation tool kits.

9 Writing Hacks to Boost Social Sharing of B2B Content

Among the hacks I plan to incorporate include:

  • Words such as ‘the future of’ and ‘trends’ gained above average engagement on LinkedIn
  • Make sure your social posts have reference-able articles – they’re far more likely to generate links than trending/of the moment content
  • The LinkedIn posts that drew the most engagement were How To posts
  • One of the popular topics on LinkedIn is sales content
  • ‘Success’ or ‘Successful’ in your title helps to get traction
  • You don’t always need original research to engage B2B buyers; Curation of a number of research reports works well.
  • Reference content such as data driven reports or charts do very well.
  • People are particularly keen to learn the secrets of successful leadership
  • And a Pulse tidbit: As a general rule people do not link to content on Pulse. None of the top 20 most shared posts on Pulse got more than 20 links, according to Buzzsumo’s research.

I was surprised that two content types – career advice and leadership advice – were among the top performing content.

As I thought about how my B2B clients might take advantage of these content types, I remembered the context in which the types were identified – social media, including LinkedIn.

Of course a business networking site would be filled with career advice and leadership advice. After all, LinkedIn is used to find new business and find new jobs.

 

Tell me: what kind of B2B content performs best for you on social media? Is it different than the best performing content on your company website?

(For me, my about page and blog posts about living in La Conner among the tulips and The Content Marketers Guide to Freelance Writing Fees are the top performers.)

 P.S. I no longer live in La Conner…

Writing

13 Tips (+3 Books) to Help You Become a Better Writer

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

Monina Wagner, social media community manager at the Content Marketing Institute, started a post on LinkedIn about Finding the Right Writer for Content Creation.

She asked two questions, one for advice on how to be a better writer, and the other on what parameters content marketers  consider when hiring a writer.

She’s gathering info for a Twitter chat with an unspecified date.

I weighed in with a writing few tips, and (cringe) embarrassingly called her Monica instead of Monina.

 

Not wanting to write a book on LinkedIn, I decided to steal her idea and create a longer list to help B2B marketers wanting to improve their writing.

Tips I’ve Incorporated Into My Writing Practice

Not all of these ideas are original; many are tried and true tips that many writers employ and that someone taught me or I read and incorporated into my own writing practice.

My practical writing tips can be used as a cheat sheet.

They include:

Before Writing:

  • Know and define exactly who you want to reach, and understand their needs and challenges. Writing to a broad audience is much harder than to a specific title and person.
  • Crystallize what you want to say – clear thinking produces clear writing.
  • Determine what you want the reader to do after reading your piece, if that’s your goal.
  • Create an outline for long pieces or complicated topics.

During Writing:

  • Don’t use a big or complex word when a small or simple word will do.
  • Use the Dictionary and Thesaurus. Make sure the word you want to use is the right word with the right meaning.
  • Read what you write out loud so you can hear your sentences so you can revise them, and so you can spot words or mistakes spell check skipped.
  • Back up what you say with proof, and link to credible, original sources of data, not just random websites that used a statistic, for example.
  • Don’t quote someone unless they have something interesting to add.

After Writing & Always:

  • I don’t need to tell you to always Spell Check, do I? And then read your piece out loud again.
  • Find a writing buddy, one who will red line your work so you can learn your common mistakes.
  • Read, Read, Read: Read and study great writers no matter what the genre – fiction, nonfiction, magazines, even comic books.
  • Write something every day or every week so you can flex your writing muscles. Take liberties with a to-do list, a letter to a friend, write a better email or write in a journal. Do whatever works for you.

Three Great Writing Books

I also suggest adding three great writing books, all from Roy Peter Clark,to your book shelf:

“How to Write Short” We live in an era of smartphones, texting and Twitter. Writing short is required. Writing short, however, is as hard as writing long.

It’s a skill to be honed and Clark provides 25 simple ideas to help you. They include:

  • Embracing the lyric
  • Adding by contraction
  • Summarize and define

Just reading the table of contents in any of these books will make you think more and write better.

 

“Help for Writers”    Writers run into problems before and during writing.

Clark offers 210 solutions to get you back on track, acting as an editor with practical help for many situations.   Do you:

  • Struggle with beginnings?
  • Use too many clichés?
  • Frequently become totally blocked?

Clark offers real solutions to these and other problems you can use time and time again. You don’t have to read the book cover to cover; simply dive in and find the problem you want to solve.

 

 

“Writing Tools” Another gem by Clark. Anyone can write, but writing isn’t an easy profession. Writing well is even harder. To get better, we study great writers but often their good writing isn’t as easy to decipher and learn from as we’d like. That’s where Clark comes in; he’s the coach sitting next to you offering practical advice you can instantly use.

Clark is the writing coach I wish I had earlier in my career. He and Jacqui Banaszynski.

In “Writing Tools,” Clark shows us how to:

  • Activate our verbs
  • Get the name of the dog
  • Use dialog as a form of action

You don’t have to be a professional writer to learn from Clark. His advice will help anyone wanting to be a better writer.

Other Writing Book Recommendations

Want more writing book recommendations? Check out this post I wrote previously.

 

Please share your writing tips or favorite writing books in the comments below. I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing.