A Template for Boring B2B Blog Posts.
So, you want to write a B2B blog? While it sounds like a lot of work, in fact, it requires little more than following a few simple rules to make sure that you say stuff without saying anything, never offend a client or customer even a little tiny bit, and trying to push a product marketing agenda while making it look like you’re remaining ostensibly objective.
The goal of B2B blogging, of course, is not to entertain, educate or inform your audience – it’s to sell product. That means you don’t have to worry about your blog being good – the whole point is just having one. This, of course, makes you a thought leader by default.
Having written dozens of these cliched, innocuous and relatively boring posts (always without a byline, thankfully) over the course of my career, I can tell you that there’s no writing involved in writing B2B blogs – it’s more or less Mad Libs, if Mad Libs weren’t funny or engaging. If you can hit “find and replace,” congratulations: you’re ready to start cranking content. Here’s how.
Act 1: The Lead.
No one likes long leads. The headline is all the context any reader should need.
Sentence 1: According to a recent survey by [analyst firm you’ve never heard of], fully [some random percentage] of job seekers report to have used [category of product you’re trying to sell] during their most recent job search?
Subtext: No one reads bylines, but cite any statistic, and boom. Instant credibility, zero questions asked. You know math and stuff, so you’re some sort of genius.
Sentence 2: But did you know that as many as [another random percentage] of employers don’t yet have formalized strategies in place to handle the sudden spike in [product category name drop, part 2] usage [insert anchor link and CTA to your own data from an existing downloadable asset. Marketing!]
Subtext: Nothing gets the attention of your B2B readers quite like FOMO. This is why Twitter chats and conferences about social media engagement are things.
Sentence 3: If you’re one of those companies who hasn’t started building out your [product category, Rule of 3], or if you’re not sure how you stack up to the competition, here are some critical questions you should ask if you’re trying to figure out if you’re ready to [insert bad metaphor or outdated pop culture reference here].
Subtext: Cut to the chase and get to the bullet points. Leads are like cover letters. No one cares. But hey, you can always give Kimmy K a shout out. What up, girl?
Also, add a .gif. Because who doesn’t like a good .gif? For reals.
Act II: The Body.
After hooking them in with your formulaic fear mongering and regurgitating regurgitated statistics, you’ve got your readers just where you want them to stop thinking and start selling. As Syd Field taught, Act 2 is always the hardest to write, which is why you should always stick to a formula if you want to make it through to the denouement.
There are 5 different formulas for B2B blog posts. Follow these handy, dandy and time tested tricks of the trade and get ready to go viral!
1. The Case Study: A Recipe for Mixing Up Marketing Magic.
1 Part Director level or higher of recruiting at a company people recognize.
1 Part Company really sucks at recruiting. Crisis, drama and exposition.
½ Part Company RFP process.
½ Part Direct Sales Pitch
2 Parts Humble bragging about results from screen shot of vendor SaaS dashboard.
1 Part Sales or marketing CTA to capture contact information into a CRM.
To taste: Branded hashtags, product screenshots and/or audience Q&A.
Mix well before serving. Consume immediately – shelf life limited.
2. The Thought Leader: The B2B Guide to Buying Bylines.
Hi. I’m a thought leader. And you probably don’t know who I am, but you know Twitter? Go look at how many followers I have. I know, you probably think you suck at social media now. You do. But that’s OK. Because if you’re reading this, unlike me, you have a real job.
If you’re looking for sweeping and specious advice or third party citations from other guest posts I’ve written on places like BusinessInsider or Forbes.com – who publish literally everything they can get their hands on, from pretty much anyone – then hire me to name drop your brand a whole bunch.
I’m an influencer, and that worthless social media monitoring software you spent all that money on has an algorithm that says that I matter more than other people. Even if I can’t pay my own bills, much less, you know, make purchasing decisions on enterprise software. But those people totally love me. Seriously. Join the #Conversation and Snap me!
About the author: Douche McDoucherson is currently the Chief Culture Evangelist at Mom’s Basement, but has a Klout score of 81, so clearly knows their shit.
3. The Marketing Executive Buttons Down: A B2B Biopic.
INT. CMO COMMAND CENTER – SOMEWHERE IN THE BAY AREA – DAY
A cubicle under neon lights. A desk cluttered with books by Daniel Pink and Malcolm Gladwell. A hand slides across and grabs a coffee mug. Turning, we see it reads:
I SURVIVED #SWSWi 2013.
The hand belongs to WASPY DUDE YACHT CLUB NAME, CMO of TalentPersonCloud Solutions, the world’s top social recruiting platform delivered seamlessly through the cloud to improve the lives, and livelihoods, of over 300 customers in 90 countries worldwide. Don’t say that. Just thought you should know.
Hey there. Didn’t see you come in. I was too busy seeing the future of talent. Today. On my personal computing screen AND my mobile device.
He turns, pulling a Samsung Galaxy S6 from his Kohl’s knockoff of an old Alexander McQueen sports coat some Korean designer saw in the back of a 1996 Vanity Fair she was burning for fuel. He holds the smart phone to the lens.
The future always sounds a little crazy at first. But here, we’re not some VC backed pipe dream run by 25 year olds with no idea what they’re doing. We’re friends. And that’s why I’d like to invite you to join the conversation on our branded hash tag. See, I’m like on fleek and stuff. Heh.
INT. CHRO OFFICE – GLOBECOM ENTERPRISES – DAY
We pull back from the earlier shot, revealing a senior level HR BUYER has been watching the earlier scene on her Lenovo. She sits in a well appointed office, the walls teeming with recognition certificates and Successories posters. As the CMO’s final words fade, we push in on her contemplative face.
Where do I buy your enterprise software product? I must invest in your solution immediately.
MONTAGE: COLLECTION OF STOCK FOOTAGE OF PEOPLE CELEBRATING A BIG WIN AT THE OFFICE, SET TO THE OPENING THEME OF AMERICAN BEAUTY.
If you want to celebrate your next big sales win, invest in humanizing your brand via industrial film. Video. It’s the future.
THE LAST CLIP IN THE MONTAGE appears onscreen. We see a bustling Blockbuster franchise full of customers in Kangol or Fubu apparel clutching video tapes of New Jack City, Earnest Goes to Camp and Time Cop. Push in on the VIDEO as we
FADE TO BLACK.
4. The Backlink Bait.
Don’t want to write original content? Cool, you don’t have to! Here are 5 posts on the topic we’re trying to sell a product around that other people have already wrote so we don’ t have to!
Now all you have to do is Google whatever term you’re looking for, and throw in the name and author along with an anchor link. Yeah. And one of them better be from Mashable, because if it’s not, you just aren’t paying attention. Here are this week’s Top 5 Backlink Bait Posts Every B2B Blogger Should Read:
1. Top 5 Blog Posts of the Week by Publishing Trends Magazine (told ya).
2. 15 Best Corporate Blogs To Learn From by @Mashable.
3. Content Round Up: Tweeting Your Way To #Success by @PageMondo.
4. Same Shit, Different Brand by @ThePingThing.
5. Whatever @MattCharney published this week. Seriously. Link to my ass. It’s, uh, a best practice.
And don’t forget to add a bunch of social calls to action and maybe an embeddable product video. #Success
5. The One People Read.
Seriously. In a world where everyone’s writing the same stuff, maybe, just maybe, once in a while, it might not hurt to try something different. But doing what everyone else out there is doing sends a pretty powerful message about your product through your content – it’s just not the one you want them to hear.
If you want people to listen, tell them something worth saying. And if you’ve got nothing worth saying, then I’ll see you on Facebook.
Act III: The Close.
Everyone knows no one reads shit after your bulleted or number lists, so don’t even waste your damn time.
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Marketing is really easy, you guys.