3 great secrets to B2B blog writing that your 3rd grade self knew
What makes a stellar B2B blog stand out?
It has to sound like it wasn't written by a business. Businesses don't exist -- they're not real people, and despite the name "corporation," stemming from the latin, "corpus," for "body," they don't have one, and can't see, think, or feel. They're faceless, liability eschewing legalistic abstractions, and people just can't relate.
No, the best blogs sound like they're written by a person. A person who, much like a 3rd grader, doesn’t much care for your rules of grammar and doesn’t sweat ending sentences in prepositions. A person who is much more concerned about what's most exciting to listeners and who rarely lets formality get in the way of friendship.
Come to think of it, there's a lot that we've probably all forgotten since grade school and until we can get back to these basics, we're trapped into writing like corporations.
Just think about some of the greatest B2B blogs that you’ve read. Here are a few of ours:
What you’ll notice is that they all share these 3 childish characteristics: They’re personable (they read like a friend is writing to you), they use stories and analogies to break down complex topics, and they have a clear purpose.
Can you overcome your own professional self-censoring filter and reclaim these simple principles?
Here’s how to re-learn and leverage the 3 secrets to B2B blog writing:
Secret #1: Truly personable writing
In business, we default to formal, stodgy, and cautious language. It’s “goal oriented” this and “results positive” that. There’s probably a reason for this, but it has absolutely no place in your blog writing. It’s incomprehensible to only the most inside-insiders, as are acronyms and industry jargon for that matter. Leave them all behind.
What you want to do is return to the most basic of basics: take a look at your own personal emails. How do you find that you write to your friends? I’m willing to bet that it’s informal and totally unfiltered. You need to learn how to channel that in your business writing. Take a page out of your 3rd grade self’s schoolbook and write like you’re passing notes to friends.
Take, for example, this entire blogpost (we’re going to get meta here). It’s written as it'd be spoken and if there were grammar police, I’d be writing from behind bars. This is what makes it flow.
Once you can write in a fashion that people want to read, it’s on to making the content that you share is digestible.
Secret #2: Storytelling
Why is it difficult to read a dictionary cover to cover? Because there's no story. It’s just a list of unrelated facts. Most of our brains can’t follow information in this format and yet, this is how most people gravitate towards writing in business: lists of facts. This is why most of what’s out there is so hard to follow, and no amount of editing can save you from it.
How can you make it easier on your readers? Tell stories. Here’s an example of what I mean: try answering these questions as fast as you can.
5 + 7 > 11
Five and seven ganged up and together, were bigger than eleven.
Which did you have an easier time following? They’re the exact same equation, but one turns it into a story. This is our natural mode of processing information. We’re social animals, and we care not about what happens, but how it affects the people (or things) in involved.
Taking it back to your blogpost, turn it into a story. Pair your topic with an analogy or anecdote that highlights and explains your main point, something like “solutions selling is like riding a bike” or “what digital marketing taught me about dating.” (that’s a real one, and it’s actually quite good) Analogies make it easy enough for even a 3rd grader to understand it.
Instead of starting with a list of facts, choose a topic, bullet points, and then wrap them in an analogy or anecdote that ties it all together. Like so:
Do this, and you’ll find that your writing flows much better and that it’s actually easier to write because you too are human, and have an easier time writing stories than you do expounding upon facts.
This brings us to our final point, which empowers you to use your new-found powers of personality and storytelling.
Secret #3: Clear purpose
Know why you are writing. All too often in business, blogposts become bland as sawdust because they’re written for the sake of writing something (a la an editorial calendar) rather than for a purpose.
Take a moment to consider this right now. What is the purpose of writing your business blog? Could it perhaps be because someone thinks that you should have something up there? Or, is it because you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your solution or category?
Get back to what you knew as a 3rd grader: only do it because it’s fun. Do it because you’d be doing it even if you didn’t get paid to do it. When I was a kid I spent thousands of hours (you think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not) drawing spaceships not because someone offered to pay me, but because it was a passion. This is what’s going to power a good blog.
For us here at Find A Way Media, our passion is writing and a desire to share. We literally would write these posts anyways, and we just happen to have aligned our business to that. By educating our readership on writing better blogs we create community. What some of those readers take away from it is what a truly great writer can do for their business and sometimes, we earn a new client. We deliver value, we get value.
What is your personal purpose? While it’s not always perfectly aligned with the business, there are sub-categories that I’ll bet are interesting for you. I, for example, loved writing about software on account of the potential that it offers salespeople to develop their careers and move up.
Write yours down, somewhere outside of your computer. Every time you write, look at it, and tie what you’re writing back to that purpose.
Do this, and you’ll find that like a drawstring it will tighten up all of your content and you’ll see the impact in your results.
Time to get out there and write!
Now you too know the 3 secrets that great writers use and which your 3rd grade self knew, and it’s a powerful formula. Get out there and channel your out of work self and let your personality flow through your writing. Focus on telling stories with analogies and anecdotes so that readers can better understand and follow. And of course, hone in on your purpose and make sure that everything that goes up ties beautifully back to it.
These are the secrets to writing great B2B blogs and they’re yours to use as you will!