The Content Marketing Institute has found that 89% of B2B companies are engaging in content marketing as a major part of their digital marketing strategies.
There are many reasons to implement effective content marketing into your B2B business—SEO, lead generation, building trust with your audience, and the list goes on. However, the most important of all is the one at the bottom of your blog posts: The call to action.
You write blogs because you want people to take some sort of action: Leave a comment, like or share the post, download an asset, register for a webinar — the options are endless.
Whatever action you want your readers to take, there are five important content writing tips to consider that will influence your reader to take that action.
1. Word Count
According to this infographic by Buffer, the ideal length for an effective blog post is 1,600 words. They further explain that 74% of posts that are read are under 3 minutes long and 94% are under 6 minutes long.
Seth Godin is one of the greatest marketers, and his posts are around 100 words each.
Meanwhile, Snap Agency says the ideal blog post length is 1,000-1,500 words.
The blogging experts at HubSpot mix things up. Sometimes they publish really short pieces and other times, very long ones (both of which perform well for them). This technique is known as creating pillar content, and it is one of the best content writing tips for SEO.
Pillar content refers to when you create one long-form blog post of over 2,000 words that discusses your main topic in detail. Subsequently, you create a series of related additional shorter blog posts (1,000-1,500 words) that all link back the to the original “content pillar”. Not only does this strategy allow you to fully cover your content topic in great detail, it also does wonders for your SEO.
So, what is the right answer? How many words should your blog posts be? 100 like Godin? Pillar content like HubSpot? 1,500 like Snap Agency?
The key is to know your audience. If they are generally the types of people who take time to enjoy longer posts and truly look for in-depth and informative articles, then aim for the longer end of the spectrum.
If they are looking for quick tips and advice, or if you know the types of people reading your blog tend to be short on time, then less lengthy posts could be more ideal for you.
2. Telling a Story
Storytelling is one of the most essential content writing tips. Your story may be heavy on data and use charts, graphs, and research, but if it is written well and told in a way that is interesting and engaging, it will perform better. I promise.
In fact, a 2014 study confirmed that 54% of B2B respondents identified compelling storytelling as one of the top three elements that make content marketing effective.
Here are some blog writing tips on how to incorporate storytelling:
- Use metaphors that jump off the page
- Be funny in a way that is memorable
- Be controversial sometimes (if you are always controversial, it is less powerful)
- Challenge the norm even if it angers some people (or especially if it angers people)
- Be entertaining so readers keep reading (low bounce rate!) and come back often
- Be personal because in the faceless abyss of anonymity (there’s my metaphor) that is the internet, we do want personal connections
- Be conversational, even if it means breaking some old-school writing rules.
- Spell check and use proper grammar, even though I (and copyblogger) just gave you permission to break some rules, don’t break all of them.
3. Be Scannable
Don’t take it personally – readers will not read every word you write, so stop fretting over
In Jakob Nielsen’s 2008 eye-tracking study, users read 28% of the text on a page. If you opt for a 1,500 word blog post, they will read 420 words.
To increase the amount users actually read, make your blog post scannable. You should use:
- Numbered and bulleted lists
- Headings and subheadings
- Short paragraphs and short sentences
- Captions for images (as those are the most read copy on some pages).
It’s also extremely helpful to utilize a readability tool such as Readable.io
Readable.io will give you readability scores, text analytics, keyword density analyzation, reading and speaking time, and sentiment analysis. All this to help ensure you capture your audience’s attention as soon as they reach your website.
4. Images ReIMAGined
Instead of using stock photos with models, try using real photos that show readers what your actual customer service person or products look like.
If you must use stock photos, you can opt to use more realistic-looking royalty-free images from a variety of sites, like Getty Images and 500px, where the photos tend to be more modern and attractive to today’s web users. Even using a beautiful, artistic image of landscape to convey an idea related to your blog post could intrigue your readers.
Unsplash is another great website that offers high quality images, royalty free.
Hootsuite does an amazing job with their blog post images. All of them are modern, relevant, and use realistic people, even if they aren’t directly related to the titles of their articles, every time.
Unless you are using them to show people what kind of images not to use, generic-looking stock photos should be avoided at all costs.
5. Be Anticlimactic
Do not leave the best for last.
The best things do not come only to those who wait.
Why is your CTA at the bottom of the post, where few readers will ever scroll down to see it? Instead:
- Try different placements on the page
- Try contextual links, images, and buttons
- Test different colors
- Try different messaging
You may find that your CTA performs best at the end. But you may find it works much better halfway down. Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm.
In order to help you analyze which placement works best and which doesn’t use tools such as Hotjar.
Hotjar allows you to understand what elements your users interact with on your website by showing you a visual heat map that represents their taps, clicks, and scrolling behavior.
Did You Notice My Neglect of the Content Writing Tips?
I didn’t follow all of my own advice. This article is not 100 words like Godin’s or 1,500 like suggested in Snap Agency’s research. The degree of wit does not qualify me for Last Comic Standing.
What I really want you to do is contact us to let us help you market your business. But I would also be thrilled if you shared this post with your colleagues and peers.
What I have done is given you a basic road map on how to construct your version of an effective blog post, and even on how to change them up a little to test the level of engagement and see if those changes help you guide your readers to take the action you want them to take.
Check out our next blog post for more “behind the scenes” tips and best practices on how to produce effective blog posts with SEO in mind.
Do you want to find out how you can improve your blog and start generating more leads?
The first step is conducting a thorough content audit. Many companies invest in creating fresh new content on a regular basis, but how many actually take the time to analyze the performance of their previously published content?
It’s critical to gain a clear picture of how your content performs, and if needed, to know how to improve your content going forward. From just a few improvements you can see increased traffic and leads generated by your existing content—rather than wasting your time creating new content without clear direction.
Ready to speak to someone?