If you’re a freelance blogger looking for well-paid writing gigs, B2B (Business to Business) content marketing is an excellent place to start.
B2B content markets a company’s goods or services to another company or industry, and it’s a booming field. According to Marketing Mag, content marketing is on track to become a $313 billion industry by 2019, with B2B content a key component of that growth.
As someone who manages a B2B blog about small businesses, I’ve seen the blog posts that shine, with many dull posts in between.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes freelance bloggers make when submitting B2B content.
1. Linking to competitors
The goal of content marketing is to educate readers, increase brand awareness or convert leads into real customers — so the last thing a content manager wants is to send their readers into the arms of a competitor.
People often make this mistake when doing research for a particular industry, from health insurance to beauty products.
Any piece of writing with cited sources strengthens the article, but your research won’t help if it cites sources from a competing company.
Not sure who the competitors are? A simple Google search “Companies like [company name] or “[Company name] competitors” should help you out.
2. Not writing in the brand’s voice
B2B content marketing isn’t about your distinct writing voice, it’s about the company’s voice.
If you’re penning a B2B article with a similar voice to your private blog, you’re probably asking for rejection.
Businesses put a lot of time and resources into establishing a consistent brand identity. That’s not to say your writing can’t be fun or familiar — for example, Casper and Denny’s strike a playful and witty tone on Twitter — but it still means you should tailor your writing voice to the company’s brand identity.
Many companies will provide voice and tone guidelines or contributor guidelines that will help give you a better idea. If you don’t have access to that, study their blogs and social media accounts to get a fuller picture.
3. Targeting the wrong audience
The fastest way for your B2B piece to get rejected is to write for the wrong audience, even if that audience is only off in a minor way.
Most marketers have built a content strategy around customer personas, with demographics like gender, age and industry. If your writing misses one of those checkboxes, it probably won’t make the cut.
Before you pitch or write a B2B article, ask yourself these key questions:
- What type of industry does the publication target? For example, does the B2B publication target customers for medical supplies, sales software, patent laws? Not every freelance contributor can be an expert in those topics, but having demonstrated knowledge or interest in the industry will help you bring unique insights.
- Do they target small, medium, or enterprise-level businesses? Companies with 50 employees have vastly different needs than companies with 250 or 10,000 employees, so tailor your content accordingly. One simple way to figure this out: Poke around the company’s marketing website to see if they have a section for featured customers or case studies. Those customer names will tip off the industry size and type the company targets.
- Who is the decision maker in the buying process? Most companies know who the “decision maker” is — that is, the person who will decide whether to buy the company’s product or service. For example, the company I work for has a target audience of business owners and HR managers. We get lots of pitches with advice for employees in the target companies, but that doesn’t hit the mark for decision makers.
4. Overselling the brand
You’ve heard overly salesy language before — ”Get this exclusive offer now, before it’s too late!” — and it’s a huge turnoff.
Overselling also includes trashing competitors or twisting the truth about the product or services the company offers.
Consumers are increasingly savvy and can see through overt salesmanship in content. That’s why B2B content marketers pay attention to the delicate balance between education and selling.
Above all, strive to educate and inform your target audience with the information they’re looking for. At the end of an article, you can plug how the company itself can help the reader out.
5. Not optimizing for SEO
When a freelance blogger sends a post that isn’t SEO optimized, it creates more work for the editor — and makes that editor less eager to accept the piece.
About 80 percent of readers on my company’s blog come from organic search, such as Google and Bing, so we make sure to optimize every piece that’s published.
There are plenty of tips on how to get started, but Google Adwords is free and a simple place to start.
Writing B2B content takes industry savvy, brand knowledge and a knack for marketing. But if you do your homework and avoid the five biggest mistakes, you should get that first article published in no time.
Have you written for a B2B company before? What practices have worked best for you? Let us know in the comments below!