This is the first post in my series about my experience as a B2B business writer.
I decided to start with metal fabricating because I was asked this week by a prospective client if I had ever written about it. The prospect was referred to me by my editor at The Fabricator, a publication I’ve contributed to for many years. (I’ve also contributed to The FABRICATOR en Español). Last year, in fact, I wrote the entire contents of the FABTECH EXPO show daily, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event.
My experience with metal fabricating goes back to the late ’80s when I began my career as a marketing manager for Panasonic Factory Automation (PFA). (I left Panasonic in 1992 to launch my freelance business). One of the divisions within PFA sold welding robots, and I wrote a myriad of metal fabricating case studies for the group, including one about cylinder fabrication that made the cover of the very same Fabricator magazine that I would later serve as a contributing editor.
While metal fabricating is far from my largest area of concentration, it has certainly been a topic I’ve visited repeatedly over the past quarter century.
When prospective clients ask me questions about how I work, the one question I’m always asked is: Do you have experience writing about my specific industry or product? After 25 years writing about enterprise technology, from the shop floor to the C-Suite, there is seldom an instance when my answer is no. Since this question is perennial, I’m going to write a few posts over the coming weeks that focus on specific technologies that I have written about over the past 25 years. I’ll talk about the product or service or software I’ve written about and provide an example or two.
So, stay tuned. I’ve written about a lot of very interesting companies with remarkable technologies during my career as a freelance B2B business writer.
One of the most frequent questions I receive from my B2B marketing clients is what is optimal length of a blog post?
The answer: blog posts of 1,500 words or more tend to receive more shares (see chart below).
A lot of my B2B marketers scoff at the idea of writing 1,500-word posts. They say, “People don’t have the time to read long posts.” The fact is that if a post contains useful information it will be widely read and wildly shared.
Quick Sprout has some interesting data behind this recommendation. They cite research from a popular online journal that tested the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn shares of all its post, broken down by word count. The longer the post, the more shares the post got.
The stats above would suggest that the bare minimum in length should be 700 words. That’s where shares really started picking up. But the B2B blog post length sweet spot is 1,500 words.
While you’re out there looking for new customers, here’s a reminder that keeping your current ones is pretty important. Here’s what an article in the Harvard Business Review had to say:
Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense: you don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client — you just have to keep the one you have happy. If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Those are some pretty arresting figures, which were used as a jump-off point for a recent column by Pam Neely in the Act-On blog that put forth a baker’s dozen of best practices to keep customers loyal. Of those, we selected the ten we thought were most cogent to those who subscribe to this blog:
Define which specific actions you want your program to shape. Consider picking just one thing you’d want to change about your customers’ behavior.