How to write content that informs and engages your audience.
We created these six rules to help B2B content writers create relevant, informative content that reads smoothly and leaves your audience wanting more.
Use the Try a Rule feature with a sample of your own content. Send us a text block of fifty words or less and we'll use the rules in this guide to revise and return it to you for comparison.
Economy of words
What: Unless making a purposeful, tone-compliant stylistic decision, use as few words as possible to convey your message.
Why: This approach improves readability and reduces overall read time. It also increases the density of valuable information. These two attributes appeal greatly to a B2B audience.
Avoid: “...pay for the costs of renting a space to operate from.”
Instead: “...rent an office space.”
Avoid: “This is the money an entrepreneur uses to develop and test the product, market the product, and get early sales.”
Instead: “Entrepreneurs use pre-seed funding to develop, test, and market a product.”
Avoid: “Because of the way startup funding works, your business needs to have proven market value before outside investors are likely to be interested in getting involved.”
Instead: “Your business needs proven market value before investors will likely get involved.”
What: Unless using the passive voice clearly improves the readability of a sentence (usually by reducing word count), use the active voice.
Why: The active voice almost always improves readability. Using action verbs and assigning them to subjects gives the sentence a sense of agency and immediacy. This approach appeals to a B2B audience because it more directly integrates them into the narrative of a brand and solution.
Avoid: “Seed funding is the money necessary to get the business off the ground.”
Instead: “Startups need seed funding to launch and sustain basic operations.”
Avoid: “For equity investors, the goal is to gain something in return for their investment.”
Instead: “Equity investors typically intend to earn a return on their investments.”
Phrase / clause placement
What: Place clauses and phrases within a sentence so they clearly modify the words you intend them to modify. In some cases, placing a clause or phrase earlier in a sentence may add context that eliminates confusion later in the sentence.
Why: This improves readability and avoids confusion.
Avoid: “66.3 percent of entrepreneurs used their personal savings, and 27.6 percent used income from another job to start their business.”
Instead: “66.3 percent of entrepreneurs used their personal savings to start their business, and 27.6 percent used income from another job.”
What: Avoid phrases and expressions that exist principally to mimic casual conversation.
Why: In writing, those phrases and expressions can lighten tone and enhance readability for certain audiences. A B2B audience, however, operates with a very low attention bandwidth and gravitates towards information-dense content. The phrases and expressions in question are more likely to deteriorate interest than enhance readability for this audience.
Avoid: “The way it works is, once you’ve reached a stage where the business has a clear market value…”
Instead: “Once you can clearly demonstrate a market demand for your solution…”
What: Use technical terms whenever possible. Integrate a very brief description of the term into the paragraph as seamlessly as possible. Avoid corporate cliches e.g. “synergy” and “par for the course.”
Why: Using technical terminology associated with your services demonstrates a basic level of competence and begins building trust with a B2B audience.
Avoid: “Convince investors that your tech startup is something they want to be a part of based on your desire to solve a problem and your ability to do so better than anything else out there.”
Instead: “Use your unique value proposition (UVP) to demonstrate your competitive advantage.”
Avoid: “As the business matures from the idea and development phase to building relationships with early adopters and getting ready to scale…”
Instead: “As a business matures from the discovery and validation phases to the efficiency phase…”
What: Try to use as precise of language as possible when discussing core topics.
Why: B2B prospects with experience in your industry will likely take notice if you use imprecise language to discuss core topics. As with technical terminology, precise language demonstrates competency and builds trust with a B2B audience.
Avoid: “Demonstrate customer interest.”
Instead: “Provide evidence of demand in the market.”
Avoid: “The business is turning a profit, but doesn’t have enough money to expand…”
Instead: “The business is profitable but doesn’t have enough money to scale…”