People make mistakes – it is a fact of life. And writers are no exception. In the past, some writing mistakes to avoid may have gone unnoticed without much repercussion, but today that’s simply not the case. There is a huge abundance of content online competing for people’s attention, and poorly produced content will severely damage any B2B content marketing efforts you make.
In order to grab your reader’s attention, gain their respect and create a positive impression of your brand, make sure you avoid these ten all too common B2B content writing mistakes:
1. Not Leveraging User Search
If you’re writing for the web and you expect any eyes to reach your content, you need to leverage user search. Leveraging user search —in every part of your site including main pages and blog posts—is crucial to your business’s success and should be an integral part of your content strategy.
How do you leverage user search?
For starters, find out the phrases that users most commonly search to reach your website, and build content around those long-tail keywords. However, finding which phrases are most commonly used to reach your website is not as easy as it used to be. In a recent attempt to protect the privacy of search users, Google has been blocking keyword data, meaning the space where you used to see your keywords in Google Analytics is now full of the phrase “Keyword not provided” instead. As a site owner, this is understandably frustrating, but there are ways around it:
Mine Google Analytics
You can get other information that will reveal more about those visitors and what they were doing on your site. To do this, enter your analytics account and create a filter that will extract all the “not provided” terms, as such:
(Image Source: Kissmetrics.com)
This trick won’t reveal the exact keyword, but it will help you understand where that traffic is heading and whether you need to dig deeper with other techniques.
Utilize the Queries report
The queries report is a set of metrics that can help you decipher your most popular keywords. Here’s how you reach the queries report in Google Analytics:
(Image Source: Kissmetrics.com)
It only shows a limited time-frame of data so it may not be as useful for larger websites. However, for smaller sites it’s definitely worth looking at for a basic overview of what’s happening with organic search on your site.
Pay for Adwords
Paid search isn’t affected by the ‘not provided’ issue. Pay for Adwords and measure the response rates to keywords via PPC. These are shown in Google Analytics as Matched Search Queries.
Another method is to identify your users’ most frequently asked questions and provide answers within your content. There are a number of ways to determine which questions are most frequently asked by your users:
- Meet with your sales team and ask them to identify user FAQs.
- Conduct a survey on your website or through your mailing list.
- Analyze your customer service data to find out which issues pop up most often.
This as an opportunity to offer real value to your readers (which not only attracts a larger audience, but is also a fundamental part of SEO).
Read more about the technical details of leveraging user search (regarding linking, meta tags and more) in our article about writing an SEO friendly blog post.
2. Not Sticking to a Schedule
One surefire way of turning off your followers and your blog or newsletter subscribers is by posting too often and overwhelming them. And if you’re posting every day, for example, chances are the content you’re providing isn’t too valuable, either.
At the same time, don’t disappear for too long. If you do, your readers will stop checking in with you, and they’ll be less inspired to take a look at what you’re sharing when your post pops up on their newsfeed.
Posting one to two times per week is ideal. The best way to plan when you post your content is by creating a calendar and sticking to it. A great tool for this is CoSchedule.
CoSchedule is an easy-to-use, intuitive tool that helps marketers organize their content production, create a schedule for publication, and also manage their social media efforts.
3. Not Proofreading
There may be no quicker way to lose readers than with typos and other careless errors. That’s one of the reasons editing and proofreading your work is absolutely crucial. In fact, you should get in the habit of proofreading your work multiple times before giving it the green light.
The best time to edit your content is after you’ve had some time away from it. This will allow you to approach it with a renewed sense of perspective and insight. Proofreading comes after you’ve edited and made major changes. That’s the time to review and perfect your style, grammar and spelling. These steps are important, so make sure you leave enough time for them in your publishing schedule.
You can also search online for editing and proofreading tools to help you, such as Grammarly.
Grammarly is a free app, which you can add in Chrome, that pinpoints and fixes grammatical, syntactical and spelling errors that you might miss.
4. Not Doing Your Research
It doesn’t matter how much of an expert you are in the topic you’re writing about—you need to do your research. Simply put, readers will be more impressed by data, evidence and other information supporting your opinion than by merely your opinion, alone.
Don’t worry, though. While research is a process that requires hard work and patience, it can also be fun. It will excite you to find qualified support of your opinions, and knowing you’re providing readers with accurate, backed-up information will help keep you motivated.
5. Not Knowing Your Audience
If you knew your B2B content would be consumed only by English speakers, would you have it written in Chinese? This is an extreme example, but it helps to illustrate the importance of knowing who your readers are.
Successful content is that which readers can connect with. And the only way you can create this kind of B2B content is by getting in your readers’ heads and learning as much as you can about who they are and what they care about. This is why businesses would do very well creating buyer personas of their target audience before publishing anything. It is important to know what your audience segments are, what their motivations and desires are, as well as their demographics and geographical location.
Google Analytics is a great (and free) tool that you can use to gain insights about your audience.
Google Analytics lets you see the most commonly searched keywords and track your user behavior, so you can know, with certainty, what interests them and thus, what you should be writing about in your B2B content.
6. Using The Wrong Tone Or Style
Part of knowing your audience and catering to it is using the correct style and tone of writing. Without properly matching your style and tone to your audience, you run the risk of your content being too friendly, or too professional, or too technical for your readers to connect with, and you’ll quickly lose them. After you’ve gained clarity on who your readership is, use your knowledge to properly align the tone of your writing.
7. Selling Instead Of Providing Value
Some studies have shown that you have less than ten seconds to capture a web reader’s attention. Providing true value in your B2B content is one of the most important steps you need to take in order to keep readers engaged.
Don’t take advantage of your readers’ time by using your content in order to sell. Doing so will have the opposite effect. Instead, use your content to authentically solve a problem for your readers or to educate them on a specific topic. This will help you naturally move the conversation to a place where you can eventually introduce or connect your products in ways that are relevant for your readers.
8. Not Clearly Defining Your Pronouns
Here’s a sentence you might hear or read: “The company has their annual meeting every December.” This is incorrect, because “company” is singular and needs to be referred to as “it.”
This is one of many common mistakes writers make in mismatching subjects and pronouns.
One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make, however, is using pronouns in an ambiguous way. Doing so makes it unclear to the reader who or what the writer is referring to.
Here is a helpful video that shows how to fix this problem:
If you’re really struggling with pronouns, consider hiring an editor. The results will be worth it!
9. Failing To Include a Call To Action
Once your readers reach the end of your post or article, it would be a major waste to let them click away without inviting them to take some sort of action.
Perhaps you want your readers to subscribe or leave a comment. Or maybe you want them to download one of your gated B2B content offers (enabling you to gather their details and nurture them through the conversion funnel).
Take the extra step of inviting your readers to interact with you - ask them to share the article on social media or to contact you for more information. Include a call-to-action (CTA) that will keep your readers engaged and connected.
Try both textual and image-based CTAs in your content. Begin with a textual CTA above the fold and in the middle of the content piece. The copywriting for your textual CTAs should somehow tie into what was written directly above them. This way, they will blend in with the text rather than sticking out and looking too promotional.
At the end of the article include an image-based CTA with clean branded visuals that guide the reader to complete the desired action.
For example, Spectoos - a testimonial platform and widget provider - executes this practice perfectly with an image CTA, like the one below, at the end of their blog posts:
10. Writing Bad Subheadings (Or None At All)
Subheadings are a great tool for breaking up your text and helping readers more easily scan and consume your content. But when you use subheadings, you need to make sure that they are well written and that what’s below them actually delivers value.
Good subheadings give readers an idea about what they’ll learn in a particular section. Also, good subheadings use relevant keywords and information, which helps improve your search engine rankings.
You’re already putting so much effort into your writing – take these B2B content writing tips into account, by designing content that will position you as a thought leader and deliver value to your readers. With a little bit of extra care and attention, you can improve your efforts by avoiding these common writing mistakes.
Ready to speak to someone at KeyScouts?