Content Marketing

9 B2B Content Marketing Sins to Stop Today

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
9 B2B Content Marketing Sins to Stop Today

Content is not king if it fails to ignite any interest or engagement from your customers. If it fails, your B2B content is noise and easily forgotten.

In her new book, Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content & Strategies that Drive Results, Ardath Albee outlines 8 ways (I added one ) your content practices are making your content, and thus your company, irrelevant and ineffective. Are you committing any of the following sins?


  • A website visitor fills out a form and you instantly send the lead to sales
  • Sales immediately contacts the website visitor, who isn’t a qualified prospect
  • You send emails to people who haven’t indicated they want them
  • You create content simply to keep your company top of mind
  • Company newsletters only tout company events, achievements, products and new hires
  • Your corporate Twitter profile only tweets company-focused blog posts and offers
  • Ditto for your corporate LinkedIn profile, with no discussion about or after your post
  • The most updated part of your website is the press release page, cluttered with self-promotion
  • The webinars you hold are simply product demos

If you are a B2B Marketer committing any of these sins, stop today. Realize that your organization is company-focused, not customer-focused. In today’s competitive world, company-focused content marketing doesn’t cut it. No one likes a blowhard.

Buyer Personas, Strategy before Content Creation

To reverse course, you need to change your mindset and figure out who your best customers are at a deep level, learn how they progress through the buying cycle, and learn what motivates them. You also need to create a strategy to engage prospects, turn them into buyers, and then into advocates. Only then can you create content that delights and engages prospects, turning them into customers. While it sounds simple, it’s not easy.

Many B2B marketers commit the sins above because they simply create content skipping the buyer persona and strategy work. Yes, it’s difficult, but very necessary.

Ardaths book jacketLuckily, Ardath shows B2B marketers how it’s done. Her principles not only work for enterprise companies with complex sales but any company that wants to become customer focused. Buy the book – I’m only through the first chapter, but I will devour the rest.

If you aren’t familiar with Ardath, you might want to check out her Marketing Interactions website, which is stuffed with great content.


(Full Disclosure: I’ve worked with Ardath. But I purchased the book, and she did not solicit a review or this post.)

Tell me: What problems have you had changing the mindset at your company? Please share any tips or resources that could make it easier for others. Or, if you like this post, please share it using the buttons below.


My Latest Freelance Articles in Horizon Airlines, Other Magazines

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
My Latest Freelance Articles in Horizon Airlines, Other Magazines

In addition to writing B2B content for corporate clients, I continue to flex my journalism muscles from time to time.

Redefining Retirement photo

I wrote a fun article about what Baby Boomers are doing in their retirements for Horizon Airlines, which published in its December issue.

From moving to Mexico, to landing patents and starting a business, to becoming an artist, this story covers a lot of ground.

I posted Redefining Retirement here for you to read.



Another ArticleComfort &Value at Home

I’ve been remiss in posting a previous article I wrote for Horizon called Comfort and Value @ Home, which I’m including here as well.

The story is about how homeowners are renovating their homes for sale or to better match their lifestyle needs.

Click to Read: Comfort at Home Horizon Story.



Flying the Friendly Skies in 2015

I’m happy to report I’m writing two more articles:

  • Being Financially Fit in 2015 for Alaska Airlines
  • How homeowners are adding green items to their homes, for Horizon


My story for Seattle Business on Evluma, a fast growing Seattle firm you probably haven’t heard of, was recently published as well.

Check out Evluma Shines with Streetlight Retrofits here.



Marketers: What Writers Charge for Ghostwriting a Book

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Marketers: What Writers Charge for Ghostwriting a Book

Several sales and marketing people I know are writing or publishing a book, or thinking about it. For example:Ardaths book jacket

Everyone Writes bookjacket Some are writing books for marketing reasons while others felt a strong desire to share their knowledge. (These aren’t eBooks; they are books from 100 to 300 pages or more.) All of the authors above wrote or are writing their own books.

But many times, people are too busy or lack the confidence and expertise to dump the millions of ideas swirling in their heads onto paper, organize them in a logical way, and tell a compelling story. So they look for ghostwriters. I was approached last year by two prospects wishing to write a book, one went with another writer while the other is still pondering whether he wants to tackle such a project or not.

What does it cost to Ghostwrite a Book?

A great unknown for many wishing to write a book but knowing they need help is how much writers charge for ghostwriting a book. Many are unrealistic and often don’t know it will cost thousands of dollars.

How much it costs really depends upon the length of the book, how much collaboration there will be, how much research needs to be done, whether you have a publisher on the hook or whether you’ll be self-publishing it yourself, and so much more.

This morning, Ed Gandia of High Income Business Writing, posted an interview with veteran ghostwriter Derek Lewis, who is coming out with his own book: The Business Book Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Write a Good Business Book. In the podcast, Derek revealed going rates for ghost writing books:

  • Newer ghostwriters charge about $25,000 for a full-length manuscript.The business book bible
  • Professionals start somewhere between $35,000 to $55,000.
  • Publishers tend to pay ghostwriters between $50,000 to $80,000
  • Veteran ghostwriters charge $75,000 to more than $100,000
  • Those writing for celebrities charge $120,000 and up.

Derek shared many tips for writing business books. You can listen to the podcast on Ed’s site. You can also learn more about professional ghostwriting fees in Derek’s book, publishing soon, or in a post Derek wrote on his website.

Content Marketing/Marketing/Writing

Why You Should Hire a Freelance Writer for Content Marketing

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

I have received several calls in the past few days from callers asking why they should hire a freelance writer and what the benefits are of doing so.

After one call, I created a quick proposal for a prospect to help convince her boss that hiring a freelance writer to help with content marketing was the right way to go.colored pencils in can msb

Here are 9 benefits I mentioned:

  1. While you may hate to write, freelance writers are passionate about writing and love it, which means they skip procrastination, fits and starts, and the constant rewriting that comes when you dislike the task.
  2. They free you up to concentrate on business development, strategy and the many marketing tasks you love to do.
  3. They cost less than hiring a full-time marketing writer. The freelancer writer is an independent contractor paying his or her own taxes.
  4. Veteran freelance writers have a system to produce written materials and adhere to a project schedule with little hand holding. Many can also manage your project.
  5. Freelance writers bring a fresh outside perspective, one that helps them think more like your audience. They aren’t steeped in your internal jargon or tied to ingrained marketing approaches.
  6. Freelance writers have an uncanny ability to understand, reach and engage audiences with their writing so they can help you better target your audience.
  7. Because they work with multiple clients, a veteran freelance writer brings knowledge gained at other firms and best practices, which can move your company forward faster. They can suggest ideas, improvements and channels that make your marketing materials stand out and demand attention.
  8. Finding a writer with industry expertise who is also knowledgeable about content marketing gives you a leg up on your competition. You don’t have to spend as much time learning about the new ways of marketing or spend as much time bringing the writer up to speed on your industry.
  9. Freelance Writers help you avoid falling behind. There is a cost when you do nothing: Marketing is changing rapidly. Today, B2B customers are two-thirds through the buying cycle before they engage a salesperson. That means they are doing research and seeking answers to questions before they are on your radar screen. Without fresh, helpful and thought-leadership content, you are falling behind your competition and losing customers.

Here’s a shorter answer: Hiring a freelance writer is a great way to create a steady stream of content on a variety of topics on a timely basis without having to add a full-time employee.

Can you think of other benefits of hiring freelance writers? Please share them in the comments.