Have you ever read a technical blog post that seems over your head?
Technology bloggers and writers have a challenge: they need to get very complex concepts across to their audience and somehow make it engaging. This is where the art of storytelling comes in.
Here are 4 ways you can clarify your writing and connect with your audience.
Tip 1: Lead with Value
Reread your writing. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes, and see if your writing answers one simple question: “So what?”
Many B2B company blogs describe the “what” – the technology speeds and feeds, but miss the emotional connection, the “why”.
Here’s an example from an anonymous technical blog:
This post describes a use case involving Apache web server logs, you could just easily use the same components for any type of log/event processing. For an information security use case, processing proxy and firewall logs in real time can go a long way toward stopping external attacks and preventing insider threats. For an insurance company, processing claims and making them searchable to adjusters and fraud analysts can decrease time to resolution.
The above paragraph is as dry as a bone. What if we could make the same point, but put more emphasis on the reasons an audience should care:
So what does all this mean for your organization? For companies who need to protect their information, just imagine being able to stop external security attacks and threats from within your organization. Or for insurance companies, imagine being able to process claims and make them searchable to adjusters and fraud analysts. These are just a few examples of how processing proxy and firewall logs in real time can deliver value and make you the hero at your company.
What’s the difference between these two paragraphs? The points are almost exactly the same, but the second version leads with the points that are the main value for organizations.
Not only will leading with the value proposition make it easier to understand, it will also make it more memorable for your audience and hopefully make your brand top of mind for your buyers.
Do you think this makes it better? Leave a comment and let me know.
Tip 2: Use analogies and stories
You knew this was going to be on this list, right? After all my blog is about b2b stories.
If you are working on a “How To” piece, a descriptive list of processes is completely appropriate. But, if you’re trying to explain concepts at a higher level and make a lasting impression with your audience, you need to uplevel the story to appeal to a different part of your audience’s brain: storytelling makes the emotional connection which will drive home your point.
Lifehacker published a great post on the Science of Storytelling. This article describes how you can “storify” your content.
I found the most interesting part about this article was that listening to boring bullet points only activates a certain part of the brain, but telling a story lights up the entire brain.
Tip 3: Use smaller simpler words
“Seamless integration,” “World-class solutions,” “hyperconvergence” are all buzz words that seem to come naturally to technology marketers.
While they are convenient shorthand in Tweets and headlines, they aren’t differentiating because everyone loads their content with them.
Try using words that are shorter and more descriptive even if you need more of them.
If you are using a word like “hyperconverged” be sure to translate it to “a system that combines storage, networking, and processing in a small footprint” at some point in your article to add more clarity to your post. Simpler is better.
Tip 4: Use your audience’s own words
According to HubSpot, one of the best practices in inbound marketing is to using the language of your audience.
The most obvious reason for this, besides making the blog appealing to them, is to make your blog Search Engine Optimized. When your audience searches on terms using their own language your content is more likely to come up first.
To make sure you are using the right words, I recommend starting by researching keywords. There are a number of tools to help you do this, but my favorite is still Google Adwords
Going back to our example of “hyperconverged,” if you plug this into adwords you’ll discover that Google links the work closely with “converged infrastructure” and “Data Center.”
Consider using these related words throughout your post to strengthen the traffic draw.
There’s also a great freemium tool called Topsy – now owned by Apple – which allows you to track the words you’re interested in. Below shows the trend on our example “hyperconverged” compared with a more popular related keyword “data center”
It all comes down to thinking about the value proposition you are delivering for your audience.
If you can create a story that activates the entire brain, you are going to stand apart from your competitors who use technical jargon.
Plus, you’ll also be automatically optimizing for search engines which will help increase the traffic to your site. A bigger funnel means more sales and leads in your pipeline.