Last fall I made an optimistic prediction for the future of B2B marketing: I said I looked forward to B2B organizations prospering with quality content that’s ridiculously useful and valuable and inspired.
Why? Because as I talk about in my new book Everybody Writes, we don’t need more content; we need better content.
The future is coming — it always does, of course. And for those of us who work in content, the future I describe will be ours.
But it’s going to take some work.
Good content is something anyone is capable of producing. I’d argue we all need to, too. If quality content is our future, we all need to get on board — and not just copywriters and producers and marketers, but all of us who use words to communicate.
That pretty much describes us all, doesn’t it?
In other words, if you and I were seated facing one another right now, I’d be looking you square in the eye — because This. Means. You.
But here’s the thing.
The more people you’ve got creating content in your organization, the more that individual styles get tossed into the mix. You know what I mean: Some of us write how we talk; others are much more formal and buttoned-up. Some of us are long-winded or rambling; others are succinct and concise.
Sometimes, individual styles can work well together — just as it takes many notes to make a melody. But there’s an art to making the notes work together — and not sound like kindergartners in a rubber-band band.
You need to give your content creators some parameters around things like word choice, cadence, use of company terms, jargon, and other things that can help even out the experience for your customers.
Consistency is one thing. But so is making sure that your tone is unique and instantly recognizable as belonging to you. Your tone of voice is one of the best things you can cultivate to differentiate you from your competition, on a few levels.
Why should you care about this right now? Because more and more B2B brands are realizing the power of tone of voice. And the ones that act first will benefit most.
They’re the ones that will seem most human to their customers and that will cut through the noise.
They’re the ones that will have the most authority and focus, and that will stand out. Online fundraising engine Crowdrise, LinkedIn, and my company, MarketingProfs, all have a strong, discernable voice that is a clear advantage in a crowded content world.
Remember the goal is better content, not more. There are lots of things you can do to improve your content, but getting your tone of voice right belongs at the top of the list.
Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and the author Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. Everybody Writes is a Wall Street Journal best seller, and a must-have guide for anyone creating content on behalf of any size organization.