What is B2B versus B2C? And has the line between the two blurred?
Some of us are doing business differently these days. And because of this, we’re standing apart from the crowds. It’s not just that timeframes from thought to launch have shortened or that interactions have become more transparent; there’s also a marketing push that demonstrates how many of us are returning to key and core values of doing good in this world. We’re looking for genuine voices, integrity and innovation that move toward more conscious contributions for the greater good.
Because of this, traditional means of creating distinctive messaging for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) audiences have begun to shift toward a style of communication that focuses on person-to-person above anything else. No matter how large an organization becomes, every team is still comprised of individuals who have feelings and perceptions, which often prove to be subjective.
Start by understanding what audience you’re aiming to reach to adjust the tone and subject matter accordingly. From there, create with authenticity and focus less on pushing sales than fostering value-added relationships. By sharing your perspectives and expert advice, you are actively helping to foster long-term outcomes.
When it comes to B2B, what do you want to say?
Your interactions are with other businesses, including influencers, senior executives and decision makers. With that in mind, you’re not writing to impartial brick-and-mortar facilities – you’re still writing for people within those spaces. Your voice represents the larger overall organization, and it’s important to keep that in mind as you approach the content you’re looking to generate.
Here are multiple tips to consider when writing B2B content:
Consider Firsthand Accounts
One way to establish authority is by sharing direct quotes from key stakeholders and top management in your organization. This demonstrates accessibility and approachability to your brand, as well as creates an instantly unique voice. Having C-Level executives communicate with fellow businesses engenders a feeling of trustworthiness and transparency, and demonstrates that your company is made of people who care.
Create a Story
In every culture and region in the world, human beings have used stories to convey meaningful messages and vital lessons. This is no different when writing for companies, organizations, business and corporations – there’s still a story to be told that takes the reader on a journey from an alluring beginning to a thoughtful middle filled with useful information, then ends with a call to action that can be as simple as inviting others to share the content or provide feedback.
Show You’re an Expert in Your Industry
Know what’s happening with new products, innovations, solutions, blogs and whatever else might be worthwhile in your industry. Then, create a thoughtful opinion around it that you’re not afraid to share. Be sure that it’s well researched. Think about best practices. Invite conversation with other companies. By hyperlinking to other sources, you’re boosting your business for SEO. Most importantly, endeavor to create positive content, even when it comes to speaking about your competitors. It’s important to have distinctive thoughts, but it’s even more appealing to behave with integrity.
Interview Fellow Thought Leaders
There are plenty of ways to deliver content. In addition to articles, you can create video blogs, podcasts and e-books, just to name a few. In that vein, consider interviewing industry luminaries. Not only will this draw the fans of the people being interviewed, but you’ll also be able to generate plenty of fresh and useful content, demonstrating that your company is a valuable resource to come back to again and again.
Think Beyond Your Parameters
When you’re in the middle of it, it can be challenging to take a step back and see ways in which your business is making an impact that you may not even know. Do you have a charitable component to your company? Consider highlighting how your organization is giving back. Are there suppliers that provide elements of what you create? Share the support by featuring their business, too. Because your team members are one of the most valuable assets to your company, showcase their skills. This gives your company a deeper personality, as well as encourages your team members to be invested in what they’re doing, raising the bar for quality and performance all around.
Feature Case Studies & White Papers
You know your business best. What better way to demonstrate your power as a knowledge base than to showcase white papers your business has created, as well as case studies that demonstrate how you’ve taken clients from start to success?
When it comes to B2C, converse with your consumers.
Depending on your brand persona, there are varying degrees to how much leeway you have with what you can communicate to your target audience. You’re looking to reach consumers who will be making a purchasing decision regarding a good or a service. Stay in line with your company’s core values, but remember that by creating compelling and meaningful content with an underlying emotional hook, you’ll both entice your customers and serve an informative function.
Help Your Consumers Make Sense of Things
We all want to believe we’re the best in the business, but chances are, there are facets of your business that another organization might do better. Be transparent, because if you’re not, your consumers will figure it out. By being open and receptive to feedback, and being of real service to them, you provide infinitely more value, and your customers will remember your brand because of it.
Preview What’s to Come
People love being first in the know. So let your secrets “leak,” so to speak, and generate buzz for what’s about to come. You can also share about upcoming events or other resources worthwhile for your customers to peruse and explore.
Use the Medium to Your Advantage
Once you begin to build rapport with readers, use this as a means to find out what they’re thinking, what they’d like to see more of or what’s not working. This is an exceptionally effective way to conduct impromptu focus groups, so that you can refine what it is you’re offering and ensure that you’re being of service to your target demographic.
Seek Outside Help
If generating content is feeling tiresome or challenging, solicit help from your customers, clients or fellow experts. Guest writers bring a fresh perspective and again, create a sense of investing in the brand by your advocates and proponents.
Be Honest About Mistakes
No one’s perfect, so if you’ve made an error, talk about it. Show what you’re doing to resolve the situation. Share how you’re learning and growing. This humanizes your brand. You can also highlight testimonials, letting others shine the spotlight for you. You won’t have to toot your own horn if your customers are doing it for you, and that lends a different sense of authenticity to what you’re doing.
Whatever it is that your business decides to generate, remember whom you’re talking to (hint: it’s another person like you) and that being authentic is more appealing than anything else.
As a business, what are the ways in which you’ve triumphed or the things you’ve found challenging in being authentic with your content?