Successful B2B content is hard. Good content lies at the magical intersection of what your audience wants and what will help you reach your goals. But what exactly do your prospects and buyers want? And what are their pet-peeves and turn-offs?
To find the answer, we conducted a survey of 3,000 professionals and published our findings in a new report, Today’s Trends in B2B Content Engagement.
We’ve already covered what your audience wants from your content in this post, so now we’re going to share what they really hate.
Here are the top seven B2B content mistakes, in order, and how to avoid them. If you’re short on time, download this handy cheat sheet.
1. Too promotional
I realize the top objective for most marketers is to increase leads, but your audience won’t tolerate overly promotional content. Marketers are an eager bunch, and we often skip ahead and try to explain why our audience needs our product or service. But first things first.
Use your content to build trust, show your audience you understand them and you’re here to help. Content marketing is about increasing awareness and building relationships, not driving quick transactions.
Focus on providing real value. Help people do their jobs better, give a unique perspective, offer new data and insights, etc.
2. Too long
Think about the last time you read an entire ebook word for word? Or how about an entire blog post? Most of us skim and look for the relevant bits and pieces. Yet, marketers are still creating long-winded content that doesn’t just get to the point.
Don’t ever feel like you need to include a fluffy introduction or hit a certain word count or number of pages. If your audience would benefit from in-depth coverage on a topic, use subheadings to help readers find what they are looking for.
We also discovered that people are willing to spend more time with certain types of content. Webinars, podcasts, and videos receive longer engagement. Those are the formats where you can afford to take your time and really delve into the details of a topic.
3. Badly written
Bad writing has profound consequences that often go unchecked. Unlike good writing, bad writing doesn’t build trust or position your brand as a leader. It also doesn’t compel your audience to take action — unless that action is to go to a competitor with real content marketing skills.
The moral of the story: invest in great writers and commit to a high standard of writing in every bit of content from emails, to video scripts, to blog posts.
4. Doesn’t deliver on promises
We’ve all been the victim of clickbait. You know what it feels like to be duped; don’t do it to your audience.
Make sure your headline is true to the rest of your content. While we love getting hundreds and thousands of clicks because of a great headline, it’s more important to provide honest and consistent content.
In the long run, that’s what creates loyal readers and larger followings.
5. Too high level
Professionals don’t like vague generalities; they like concrete, practical content that can improve their business. For example, people don’t want to hear about how webinars are an important part of their marketing strategy. They already know that 😉 They want to hear about how different types of webinars can help them reach their specific marketing goals.
So, get specific and give your readers useful information. Give examples, include data to back your claims, and provide actionable takeaways, which brings us to the next mistake…
6. Not actionable
Are you giving your readers an action plan? Because that’s what they want. In fact, 95% of professionals surveyed said they are motivated to consume B2B content to learn new knowledge or skills.
Your content should show your audience where they are, where they want to be, and how to get there. But it’s not just about providing easy-to-follow directions; it’s about giving your audience the confidence they need to reach their goals. Actionable content can be incredibly empowering to your readers.
People process visuals way faster than words. Imagery is powerful, and poor design can ruin what would otherwise be stellar content.
Here are simple tips to make your website more appealing:
- Keep it clean – avoid clutter and stick to a simple, easily-to-follow layout
- Use high-quality images – if you don’t have your own photo library, stock photos are a great option
- Stay true to your branding – don’t experiment with off-brand colors or fonts
For the most part, taking your content to the next level and giving readers what they want is all about making small adjustments and focusing on delivering high-quality, useful information.