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April 15, 2015

Opposites attract: 5 things B2B companies can learn from B2C communications

Business-to-Business PR is often considered rather uncreative and dry compared to B2C. It’s supposedly harder to get attention and to create messages that will stick when it comes to companies that work behind the curtain, invisible to the end consumer. Usually companies like this focus on numbers, facts and analyses. Only a few have adopted consumer-friendly communication strategies. Here’s what we can learn from them:

B2B B2C PR

Images, images, images

Most professional articles are limited to text only. But the readers of the trade press get intrigued by visual content to the same degree as general interest readers do. Photos and videos are actually more important for B2B topics, which usually take longer to explain. Creating visual content doesn’t have to be expensive either. ”Visual stats” for example are a popular and easy alternative for delivering numbers in a playful yet professional way. Or how about a white paper with a colorful info graphic that is visually more appealing than a spreadsheet filled with statistics. There are numerous cheap or even free tools out there to create images, e.g. Canva, Picmonkey, Nutshell, or Vine.

Story Angles

A clever hook is sometimes all you need to get the pole position in the race for the audience’s attention. Topical examples make the messages even more tangible. You don’t need to wait for the next product release or case study. Even in the IT industry you can surf on the agenda of popular events like the Oscars or trending hashtags like #thedress when wrapping up your expert advice.

Get to the point

When it comes to purchasing decisions, businesses bet on hard facts such as productivity, profitability, performance, and the technology behind all that. However, even business buyers are only human beings, whose attention span is shorter than ever due to floods of information and appointments. Comprehensive content shouldn’t be radically cut though. It just means to get to the point faster and to highlight the main essence. Or as Carmine Gallo, author and keynote speaker, said: “If you can’t tell me what you do in 15 seconds, I’m not buying, I’m not investing, and I’m not interested.”

Get emotional

Be it a new business, service, or content – The question should always be: Which problem are we solving? A clear answer to that is the basis for content that succeeds by adding emotion to it. Even when you want to focus on facts, you can deliver them in a surprising and emotional way with the power of storytelling. The Boeing Company for example doesn’t present reviews and products on their website in the form of advertising, but rather as news stories. Serious, but gripping.

Simplify

Just as Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. It might be true that business-related products and services are always in need of a bit more explanation. But even in this case, the content needs to be delivered in an easy-to-understand and well-structured way. This can be achieved already with a few simple tricks: Leave out unnecessary filler words, empty cliché phrases and buzzwords and rather emphasize the reasons this service helps your target businesses. Shockingly, even 70 percent of all employees don’t understand the vision and strategy of their company due to complicated phrasings. So maybe you should start simplifying what you’re trying to say when you address your own team.

Photo: Keso CC by-nc-nd/2.0/

Mia Marjanovic