Today I ran across one of those listicles that uses “humor” to make a point. It was called something like “How to Give a Mediocre Presentation No One Gives a Crap About.” Classy, huh? Anyway, the first practice the author poked fun at was, “Use logic and facts to sell your idea.”
It’s not my intention to deride this author, who was writing about public speaking, not B2B content writing. But it did get me to thinking. I’m immersed in persuasive writing on a daily basis. My clients tell me I have a flair for choosing the right words that evoke emotions such as confidence, loyalty, and security that are so important for large purchases and on-going relationships with trusted vendors. In fact, if you want to evoke these emotions more effectively yourself, I’d like to invite you to download my brand-new quick reference guide How to Cure the B2B Content Blahs (it’s free).
Still, I do wonder sometimes if business writing is swinging too far from “just the facts, ma’am” to the dreaded practice of dumbing-down. We’ve all heard the expression, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” But the sizzle is only important in the first 30 seconds of the first meal. After that, the customer wants a delicious, satisfying, high-quality steak—one that will make them want to return to your establishment and become a regular. To help forge these long-lasting relationships, you need someone to write your content who understands business, who knows how to do research, and who can interview your customers and subject matter experts with knowledge and diplomacy—not one who equates substance with “crap.”
One thing I never lose sight of is that your customers are serious people looking for accurate, helpful information to make decisions worth thousands or even millions of dollars. By publishing white papers, case studies, trade articles, and other marketing content that is dignified and polished—as well as engaging—you become a trusted source. Your customers find real information they can put to practical use, and everybody wins. And there’s nothing mediocre about that.