Do you add coffee to your content?
No, I’m not asking if you inhaled as much coffee as possible before churning out a white paper, three eBooks, and 17 blog posts in one day.
I’m asking if you give your readers a glimpse into the secret so many B2B organizations forget to mention: there’s a human on the other side of the screen.
What does this have to do with adding coffee, you ask? Let me tell you a story.
The Tale of the Boring Blog
One sunshiny day in the Kapost office, located in Boulder, CO, I was typing diligently at my desk. Or searching for the perfect GIF to accompany a blog post. One or the other.
Next to me, my coworker was editing blogs. She suddenly let out a deep sigh, turned to me, and said, “This blog is boring.”
The writer had clearly researched enough on the topic to present information in a collected, organized way. But there was one key factor missing: personality.
She sent it my way to read through. It answered questions I didn’t even know I had, which I love! Yet I could tell the writer didn’t really care about the topic, so I didn’t care much either.
The fix? We went through and made minor adjustments to the already informative copy. We gave it a bit more humor. The running joke throughout the blog became coffee. (Side note: coffee is one of the easiest joke subjects. No one is ambivalent about coffee. Either you live by its power or can’t stand the smell.)
With just a bit of tweaking and a little extra coffee, the blog was ready to be published. The next time we happened upon a blog that needed a little more personality, my coworker asked me to add some coffee again, and the Kapost marketing team’s inside joke was immediately a favorite.
How to Fit Personality in Your B2B Blogs
Alright, the easy answer to where to fit personality into your B2B blogs is just somewhere.
Maybe that seems obvious, but I’ve seen a growing trend in B2B content: it lacks the human component B2C writers have down to an art. And while B2C and B2B certainly have their differences, they share an imperative to engage the customer.
Now, it’s no secret that there are more and more blogs being published every day. Depending on the source, it can be anywhere from 2 to 3 million. Not all of those are targeted for your particular audience, and maybe some aren’t optimized or promoted and won’t ever see much light. But with that sheer volume, your blog better stand out.
Sure, a flashy title will catch attention. And, of course, having valuable insight and information to present is necessary. But to really hook your reader, you have to keep their interest. Fortunately, marketers are increasingly realizing the benefit of showing the passion behind the information.
And while some pieces can have a bit of coffee added after the fact, typically that’s not the case. Generally, personality needs to start from the beginning. Here’s how:
1. Be Selective about Your Topic
When I get an article from a freelancer that feels a bit dry, my first assumption is that I did a poor job of suggesting a meaty, exciting topic for them.
I am a firm believer that everyone can write an interesting article based on a single variable: their level of interest in the topic.
Here’s the thing—it doesn’t matter if you’re a grammar wiz or if you consider yourself a terrible writer. I’m not talking about the technical skill of writing. This is all about bringing a topic to life with your passion.
If you don’t care, neither will your reader. Simple as that. So, whether you’re a freelancer, in-house copywriter, or just a general human who writes from time to time, don’t ever embark on a writing project that gives you zero excitement.
2. Know the Boundaries
Artists are known for being free spirits—writers are no different. But Picasso only went rogue after he mastered realism. Without boundaries, it can be hard to separate what’s art and what’s word vomit.
Keeping an updated style guide enables writers to know what lines are firm and where they can play a bit.
Here are some questions you need to answer to shape how much personality—and what kind—is going to fit in your blog:
- Point of view: Do you want writers to address the reader as individuals or from the company’s perspective? Is second person allowed?
- Tone: What are two to three words that describe the intended brand voice?
- Word choice: Are there any words to avoid or highlight? Is profanity ever acceptable?
Once you have the boundaries of what is and isn’t within the brand guidelines, let your personality fill in the gaps.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Write Something Dumb
Ever made a joke at a cocktail party and immediately want to put every word back in your mouth?
I’m certainly not admitting to occasionally having a lapse in my great sense of humor, but I’ve heard stories. The same concept applies to writing.
When I started this blog, I had an entirely different introduction. And I’ll be honest: it was not good. At one point I called coffee a “bitter yet magical concoction everyone seems to worship.” I’d say you’re welcome for taking it out, but I ended up making you read it after all.
The good news? It’s not live until you hit publish. Write, reconsider, delete. Rinse and repeat. Hand it to a colleague and get their opinion. Don’t be sad if they grimace when they read it. Okay, you can be a little sad, but then make it better.
The sh*tty first draft is not to be feared because something better usually follows.
Fellow B2B writers, consider this your permission to let your personality and passions shine through your writing. The key to all great B2B writing is understanding what’s professionalism and what’s simply boring.