Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Is Your B2B Content Tipping the Effort Scale?

Tipping-the-scaleI do a lot of work for technology companies. One of the challenges with marketing technology is simplifying complex systems into understandable business enhancers that B2B buyers must have to reach their goals.

I just reviewed a paper written for a technical audience. You know it's tough when you have to keep backing up to re-read paragraphs because your mind wanders or because comprehension is elusive. And I read a ton of tech stuff - given my projects - so I should be a slam-dunk reader.

In the Age of Impatience and short attention spans, we've got to make even technical content fun to read. I don't mean rolling laughter or big entertainment - I mean easy to understand so that your ideas become compelling enough to diminish the urge to click on to somewhere else.

Here are a few of the biggest effort triggers that cause your buyers to flee from your content due to the perception of effort:

  • Run-on sentences. Fifty word sentences are not normal. They're hard to focus on all the way through. That's what was causing me to back up when I was reading the paper I mentioned above.
  • Alien grade-level competency. I tend to run the content I develop through the Flesh-Kincaid readability tool in Word. In case you're wondering - this blog post clocks in at 8.1 grade level to this point. The white paper I mentioned above came in at 24.1 grade level when I checked it. Can you imagine the difference in effort?
  • Big-word syndrome. A big word here and there can add interest when used well. Stringing them together in those run-on sentences and tossing in a bit of jargon to top it off can create twitchy fingers on the back button. We may think it sounds cool to use them, but it's like an assault on comprehension. And, as soon as you lose the thread of what the content is about, your mind wanders...and so will your buyers.
  • Abrupt transitions - no context. One paragraph we're cruising along and then we come to a new header and we're off in a new direction, unrelated to the path we were following. A header is not an excuse for a 180 shift. A header is a marker along the path. If you remove the text and string headers together, they should provide a synopsis of your content.
  • Abrupt transitions - from compelling idea to forced sales pitch. One of the things that bother me the most is when I'm reading about a compelling take on something and then I'm confronted by the equivalent of a solution brief for the last few pages of the paper. Or a bunch of hyperlinks to product pages embedded within the part masquerading as thought leadership. There's a time and place for everything - forcing the issue is not working in your favor.

There are others I can list, but these are the worst of the bunch. Of course if I don't say it, someone will comment - spelling and grammar should be a no brainer.

I didn't bring all this up to leave you hanging. Here are some simple ways to test your content before you set it loose on the rest of us:

  • Read it backwards. Seriously, this works. Why? Because when you read forward your mind has expectations and will try to compensate for words that don't work well with what it expects to see. If you've ever published something you know you proofread to death and discovered a typo after the fact, this is likely what happened. Start at the end and read it backwards. This will help you catch words that have different versions based on context (their, there, they're, for example)
  • Read it out loud. This is great for the run-on sentences. Have you ever noticed that you read about the same way you speak? You'll often adjust your breathing when you're reading as if pausing to take a breath when speaking. If you have to gulp for air when reading your content aloud, I'll bet you your sentence is over 50 words.
  • Have someone else read it. And then take it away from them and ask them to tell you what it's about. Can they identify the key points you wanted your audience to take away? What did they like about it and what did they not like so much? You'd be amazed how people interpret content. Their reaction may be totally different than what you expected to hear.

About that last one - don't take it personally. If people are afraid to tell you what they really think, they won't. And then you'll end up publishing stuff no one wants to read.

It's the beginning of 2014. I invite you all to take the pledge to make sure your content is not tipping the effort scale in the wrong direction. Writing to be easily understood is difficult. It takes thought and practice.

It's a good place to start in the New Year.

In case you're wondering - the overall Flesh-Kincaid grade level for this post is 6.2 with a reading ease of 73%. Only 3% of the sentences are passive. That's another tip for your content. Passive sentences allow the mind to wander. They're boring.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

Latest Stories
Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) has announced that NoviFlow Inc.has deployed IxNetwork® to validate the company’s designs and accelerate the delivery of its proven, reliable products. Based in Montréal, NoviFlow Inc. supports network carriers, hyperscale data center operators, and enterprises seeking greater network control and flexibility, network scalability, and the capacity to handle extremely large numbers of flows, while maintaining maximum network performance. To meet these requirements, NoviFlow in...
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
UpGuard has become a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and will continue to help businesses expand visibility into their cyber risk by providing hardening benchmarks to all customers. By incorporating these benchmarks, UpGuard's CSTAR solution builds on its lead in providing the most complete assessment of both internal and external cyber risk. CIS benchmarks are a widely accepted set of hardening guidelines that have been publicly available for years. Numerous solutions exist t...
Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...