Content creation is a total waste of money…
…if you do it like most B2B brands.
Seriously, there’s no need to publish another boring and self-centered article full of unnecessary jargon that serves no purpose to your business or customers. (Hint: content that no one reads).
But if you’re ready to work a little harder, be a little different, and a bit more innovative, content can be the biggest source of organic traffic and qualified leads for your business.
In this article, I’ll share actionable tips to help you create such content.
Content that keeps your readers hooked till the end and leaves them craving for more.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Understand Your Audience
The success or failure of your content largely depends on how accurately you understand the needs, wants, fears, and aspirations of your target audience.
No one has the time or the desire to read your articles.
People only read content because they’re looking for solutions to their problems or want to fulfill a need.
So before writing a single word, understand why your audience reads content and what problems they’re looking to solve.
Here are a few ways to do it.
Perform Review Mining
Review mining is a popular research technique in which you analyze customer reviews for the most popular products in your niche.
You can do this on any review sites but two particular sites stand out.
Number one is Amazon.
Head over to Amazon, search for the top-selling books on your topic, sort them by customer reviews, and open the top ten books in separate tabs.
Now analyze the reviews for each book and try to find any questions customers may have asked or topics they wanted to learn more about.
Pay special attention to 2-star and 3-star reviews since they often have the most useful insights (like the one in the screenshot above).
The other site to look for reviews is Capterra.
It has some of the most valuable customer feedback for SaaS businesses.
Again, just search for the top products in your industry, analyze their 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star reviews, and identify questions that people are repeatedly asking or problems they’re pointing out.
Here’s a good example.
Review mining is a great research method because it helps you understand the real pain points your audience is dealing with.
If you spend a few hours analyzing competitor reviews, you’ll get a very good idea of what your audience wants.
Study Forums and Social Media Discussions
Forums like Quora, Reddit, Facebook Groups, or LinkedIn Groups offer niche-specific discussions, making them goldmines for marketers and content creators.
No matter what niche you’re in, look for online discussions about the problems your product solves and see what people are saying.
For example, this Quora thread has more than 100 answers to the question, “what software is good for logo design?”
In this thread, you’ll find inspiration for content for a logo design product like Canva or Visme.
In fact, there are tons of content ideas hiding in plain sight on these kinds of platforms. You’ll find the same kind of insights in LinkedIn Groups or Reddit threads.
Interview Your Customers
Interviewing your previous and existing customers can help you understand their problems better than any other research method.
You can unearth the real expectations your target audience has from your product by determining why someone spent money on your product, what they hoped to get in return, and why they did or did not renew their subscription.
Survey Your Site Visitors
If you can’t interview customers directly, try running a few surveys on your site’s busiest pages, your social media profiles, and your email list.
Be precise and try to uncover the top three expectations people have from your product.
Shortlist the most commonly occurring problems that you identify through these research methods and then dig deeper by performing keyword research to find the search terms that you should target in your content.
Performing extensive research takes time and resources, but it’s a small investment necessary to create content that can make a real impact on your business growth.
2. Remember The Rule of One
The rule of one is a copywriting technique that says your content should only,
- Address one reader
- Have one goal
- Solve one problem
- Offer one solution
Don’t write an article just because you like the topic. Instead, ask yourself what goal you want to achieve with it.
- Where does it fall in the content marketing funnel?
- What do you want to teach your audience?
- Why do you want to teach it?
- Do you want to generate leads from this article?
- What do you want readers to do after reading this article?
- Will it make a difference if you don’t write on this topic?
Start with a single goal and tackle only one problem.
For example, instead of writing an article like:
“How To Generate Leads And Reduce Churn Rate”
Write two separate articles on:
“11 Ways To Generate Qualified Leads For Your Business”
“17 Proven Ways o Reduce Customer Churn Rate For Your SaaS”
Similarly, follow the rule of one in the tone of your content as well.
Write in a conversational tone that directly talks to a single reader using words like You, Me, or I instead of addressing a whole audience segment with words like Us, We, Our.
The more narrowly focused your content is, the better results you’ll get from it.
3. Create an Outline Before Writing
Before you start writing an article, spend half an hour or even an hour developing a complete outline.
Why is this important?
A well-researched outline helps you structure your content better, increases your writing speed, and helps you organize your thoughts in the right order.
What does an outline include?
Nothing too complex.
First, identify the main sections of your article. Then divide them into sub-sections and come up with sub-headings for each section.
Now assign a word count range for each heading and sub-heading. For example, you can limit the introduction and conclusion to 100 words each and equally divide the remaining word count among all the sub-headings.
That’s enough to give you direction.
But if you want to be even more thorough, find one relevant image/screenshot, one relevant example, and one data reference for every sub-heading.
With this structure in place, you’ll be able to create content much faster because it takes all the guesswork out of the writing process.
4. Write Drunk, Edit Sober
When you start writing content, forget the typos and grammatical mistakes.
Let your words flow through your fingers so that you can create that first draft as quickly as possible.
There’s no need to fine-tune your messaging or shorten your sentences just now.
Once you’re done with the writing part, take a break and let the draft sit alone for a few hours (or even a few days if possible).
To edit your content, use a free tool like Grammarly to identify typos, improve sentence structure, and fine-tune your content voice.
Here’s a really useful infographic to help you edit your content.
Then read the whole draft aloud or ask a co-worker to read it out to you.
You’ll be amazed at how fast you can find improvement areas in your content with this approach.
5. Invest Time in Your Headline
If your headline doesn’t immediately capture attention, it doesn’t matter what’s written inside your article.
No one would read it.
Research shows that 8 out of 10 people only read content headlines.
The challenge in creating headlines for web content is that you need to appeal to your readers while keeping on-page SEO guidelines (like title length and keyword usage) in mind.
This is why Upworthy, a site known for consistently creating viral content, recommends that you should write at least 25 headlines for every article before choosing the best one.
What makes a good headline?
A good headline:
- is between 60-65 characters so that it’s fully visible in search results.
- includes a number
- makes a promise
- uses adjectives
- speaks directly to the reader
- is very specific
As you can see, creating a headline that has all the above qualities takes some practice.
Still, in the end, it’s not that hard.
To make your task easier, I’d recommend using Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer, a free tool that measures the effectiveness of your headlines.
6. Nail the Introduction to Keep Readers Engaged
Research shows that 55% of people don’t read an article for more than 10-15 seconds.
If you want them to stay longer, you’ll need to nail the introduction of your article.
But what does a good introductory paragraph look like?
Nothing like the ones you learned in school.
Readers don’t have time for long and pointless warm-up copy.
They’re only reading your content to find answers to their questions.
The role of your introductory paragraph is to tell them what they’ll learn by reading your article.
For example, Brain Dean of Backlinko is known for publishing extremely detailed long-form content (10K+ words).
This is the standard format for all his introductory paragraphs:
He gets straight to the point and tells the readers what they’ll get by investing their time in reading his content.
Smartblogger’s Jon Morrow, one of the best copywriters around, also writes short but powerful introductory paragraphs.
Just like Brian, Jon gets straight to the point, offers proof of why readers should keep reading his content, and makes a strong promise.
That’s all an introduction needs to do now.
Make the promise, and use the rest of the article to deliver on it.
7. Use Aida to Write Compelling Content
AIDA is a popular copywriting framework that stands for:
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action
It’s what you want to achieve with each part of your content.
How does it apply to blog content?
AIDA gives you a framework for structuring the different sections of a blog post.
Instead of using it just once (like in landing pages or emails), you’ll use it for every sub-heading of your article.
Start from the introduction.
Remember I said your introduction needs to grab attention immediately?
That’s the first A in AIDA.
But in the same introduction, you also need to generate interest (by making a promise) and drive action (convincing readers to read more).
Use the same approach in every sub-heading.
Start with an attention-grabbing sentence (like a short intro of that section) and follow it up with interesting information and an actionable insight at the end.
Even if AIDA doesn’t apply to every section of your article, it still gives you a framework based on which you can create content that’s guaranteed to engage your readers.
8. Give Your Readers a Plan Of Action
Nobody reads B2B SaaS content because they like reading.
Your readers are looking for very specific answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
In a recent Hubspot study, almost 40% of the respondents cited “learning something new” as their primary reason for reading online content.
If you want people to keep coming back to your site for more content, giving them new information isn’t enough.
You must give them actionable advice that they can implement right away.
Here are the main qualities of actionable content.
For example, if your article is about sales follow-up techniques, don’t just tell readers to send follow-up emails — give them templates they can start using immediately.
Share a step-by-step follow-up sequence or strategy that they can apply to their business.
Creating actionable content requires significantly more time, resources, and effort.
Still, it pays off big time because it establishes your brand as the niche leader and turns readers into subscribers and loyal followers.
9. Create Thorough Content
Investing in content marketing and SEO is a strategic decision. Don’t make it ineffective by publishing short and thin content that barely scratches the surface of your topic.
The days of 500 or 750-word articles are long gone.
If you want to turn content marketing into your biggest traffic and lead generation source, the content you publish has to be epic.
What epic content?
Thorough, in-depth, and comprehensive content that covers your topic in detail and answers all the main questions of your audience about your topic.
Here’s a great example of what I mean.
Monday.com, a leading project management software company, wanted to rank for the term “project management software” and some of its other close variations.
Now, this is a very competitive search term.
So the content team at Monday.com decided to publish the most epic piece of content targeting this keyword and put together a list of more than 280 project management tools, software, and applications.
It amounted to more than 22K words.
In less than three months, the article is now in the top ten search results for their target keyword.
I’m not saying you need to publish 20K word articles every time.
Simply, whenever you write an article, try making it at least as good as the top-ranking content for your target keywords.
According to research, the average word count of a top 10 ranking page in Google Search is just over two thousand words.
Longer content also gets more backlinks, more social shares, and higher reader engagement.
So the next time you’re publishing a new article, ask yourself if you’re creating something truly epic or just adding another page to the internet.
10. Format Your Content for Easy Scanning
The formatting of your articles is as important as their content.
If you get it wrong, your readers won’t be able to stay long enough to read it even if they want to.
Let me simplify this for you.
Which article from the screenshot below will you read?
The one on the left, right?
Because it is better organized and easier to read.
Online readers already have short attention spans. If you format your content like a wall of text, they won’t read it no matter how useful it is.
So how should you format your content? Let me give you a list of things to do.
- Keep your introductions short (100-120 words max).
- Divide into different sections.
- Segment each section into sub-headings
- Under sub-headings, use bullet points and lists wherever it makes sense.
- Keep your paragraphs short (1-2 lines and 3 lines max.)
- Break a long sentence into two short sentences.
- Use bucket brigades to keep readers engaged.
- Highlight important words that you want people to read with bold, italic, and underlines.
These formatting guidelines make it easier for your readers to consume the most important parts of your content.
Write your content for someone who will read it word by word, BUT format it for someone who will scan it first.
In short, make sure your content is skimmable so that the reader can get to the parts that interest them quickly, but be sure to provide value in case they get intrigued and want to know more.
11. Use Data and Examples for Credibility
We’re living in an era where people doubt everything they read online.
A global study by Reuters and The University of Oxford has found that, on average, 56% of people are unsure about fake and real news on the Internet.
This applies to B2B Saas content as well.
If you want to build credibility with your audience and immediately make your content more believable, start backing up your arguments with data, numbers, research studies, and real-life examples.
Even if you’re creating an opinionated post, adding data and examples would make it more credible.
For example, what sounds better?
- “Content marketing is one of the best ways to market your business.”
- “Research shows that content marketing brings 292% more leads as compared to paid advertisements.”
The second one, right?
Similarly, when you share a theory or a marketing technique, combine it with an example where someone used it to great effect.
For example, instead of just saying that using pop-ups is an effective way to convert readers into email subscribers, share a case study like this to back your claim.
Search “[Topic]+case study”, or “[Topic]+examples” on Google to find relevant examples for your articles.
For statistics, search [topic]+stats+[year] (eg. email marketing stats 2020). If you can’t find anything, try exploring sites like Statista, Pew Research, Nielsen, eConsultancy, etc.
Finding examples and data doesn’t take much time, but makes your content a lot more valuable for both your readers and your business.
12. Add Attractive Visuals to Increase Content Consumption
Did you know that 93% of all human communication is non-verbal?
Our brains are designed for visual communication, which is why we remember 80% of what we see and only 20% of what we read.
This is why adding images, screenshots, and illustrations is a guaranteed way to make your content more engaging.
It communicates more value than plain text and also makes your content more share-worthy and link-worthy.
Many B2B blogs seem to understand the importance of visuals.
However, in spite of this, a lot of them use stock images for their blog content.
Stock images rarely engage readers because they have nothing to do with the content of your article.
If you want to take advantage of visual content, use relevant product screenshots, infographics, and videos instead of stock photos, throughout your content.
Just look at this article.
I’ve used a relevant screenshot or image under most sub-headings.
This increases your content consumption and increases its perceived value.
13. Write a Meaningful Conclusion to Your Articles
Many writers underestimate the impact of article conclusions.
Article conclusions are not about a few meaningless sentences that offer no value.
Instead, they’re a great way to reinforce the central message of your content and drive action from your readers.
So how should you conclude your articles?
Here are a few tips.
- Keep your conclusions under 100-150 words.
- Offer a summary of your article’s primary message.
- Ask your readers to share their questions or thoughts in the comments section.
- Add a clear call to action in the form of a button or a link that readers should explore next.
Need a good example?
Read the conclusion of this article below.
Are You Ready To Create Epic Content?
Content creation is a waste of money — unless your content has all the elements I’ve shared in this article.
Creating such valuable content will take you a LOT longer than putting together a thousand words of random fluff.
However, once you make a habit of publishing epic content only, it’ll generate qualified traffic and leads for your business and turn your audience into your biggest brand advocate.
Tell me your biggest content creation challenge! What’s stopping you from building a profitable content marketing strategy?