Producing great B2B content is hard. It’s even harder when the content needs to be technical and short. When working with marketing teams and creators, we dive into technical messaging briefs, brainstorm angles, talk with subject matter experts, research validating data, and more. 

Even with all that background, when it comes time to put pen to paper (metaphorically), crafting short-form B2B content that is compelling and engaging is truly one of the toughest writing challenges.

For example, explain federated learning in a 50-word summary for a website panel, create a 150-word script about AI inferencing models for a video, or describe the nuances of security analytics in a 200-word LinkedIn expert post. When you only have a few hundred words (or less) to explain a topic, you must be precise…and story-driven.

Whether you work in-house at a B2B company or for a content agency, we use four strategies to structure content and eight key tips for success in technical writing. But first, two considerations to keep in mind as you jump into a project. 

You Can’t Cover It All  

Drill this into your head. You won’t be able to include everything you want (or everything your engineering or product team wants). The more you try, the fewer words you have to explain each point. And if you try to include too many concepts, the final piece will be confusing and disjointed. It’s better to explain one part of a topic well than the entire thing poorly. 

That means you need to identify the core message associated with your topic. What’s the goal? What’s its reason for being? Sometimes, this is most important to your product or executive leadership team. Sometimes, it’s what interests your audience most. Sometimes, it’s a piece of the topic a reader needs to understand before it can be leveled with additional information. 

You Must Do Your Research

Research is how you determine the kernel of information that matters the most. What part matters most, and how can you validate what is being delivered? This might include your own research, information from the source, or interviews with stakeholders. Here are some of our go-to questions:

  • What do your customers or partners say to you about X?
  • How are your customers dealing with this issue/putting this technology into action?
  • Who does this issue/technology affect most directly?
  • What are the consequences of a company getting this wrong? Can you give me quantitative data?
  • What are the benefits of a company getting this right? Can you give me quantitative data? 
  • What do you want the reader to come away from this knowing?

Keep in mind you’ll get more information than you need. But it allows you to pare down then and identify what does and does not matter in supporting the primary story objective. 

Structuring Short B2B Content

Drawing from the questions above, you can also use that information to explore angles when structuring your content. For example, a problem and a solution, the status quo/a change on the horizon, how this new thing will affect your audience or something important that everyone is getting wrong.

Here are four common ways to structure content. Depending on the length, each bullet point can be a paragraph or a single sentence. Simple is good. 

1. The Explainer is great for content that explains a concept or topic (i.e., What is AI at the Edge?). With this structure, you can focus on the problems, roadblocks, new developments, and solutions. But you need one of each to keep things balanced. This structure works well to promote your company directly or indirectly. You can make the problems or solutions align with what your company does or wants to promote.  

  • The current state of the issue or technology. 
  • One to three problems or roadblocks of the current state. 
  • One to three new developments or potential solutions. 
  • How do these developments solve this problem? 
  • Conclude with an educated guess at what the future holds.

2. The Thought Leadership Piece works best for non-promotional content and thought leadership. 

  • Introduce a concept. 
  • Define it and any important terms. 
  • Explain why it’s important to the reader. 
  • Explain where it came from. 
  • Explain who it affects. 
  • Explain how your company interacts with it or their take on it.
  • Conclude with any developments on the horizon.

3. The “How it Works” Piece – works best when explaining a product, feature, or technology (i.e. How Product XXX is Helping AI Run at the Edge). Only include the “explain how to use it” step if this is a major differentiator or if it’s necessary to understand the benefits. 

  • Explain the problem that it solves. 
  • Introduce the product or feature. 
  • Define it and say what it does.
  • Explain how it is different or better than other options. 
  • List the one to three most important benefits. 
  • Explain how to use it in no more than five quick steps (only if this is necessary). 
  • Conclude by repeating what it allows users to do and the one most important benefit.

4. The Event Recap – For B2B content summarizing a panel, speaker session, or event (Four Key Takeaways from the AI at the Edge Summit).

  • Summarize the event – give key details, the tone and the overall focus.
  • List three to six takeaways. State each one in a single sentence (bold it or emphasize in formatting if possible).
  • Add one or two sentences to each takeaway explaining further. If that isn’t enough space, consider splitting the takeaway into two separate ones. 
  • Conclude by stating one or two overall themes from all the takeaways together. 

Short B2B Content Tips

When drafting short-form B2B content, we often refer to this list of tips after completing the first draft. If we can check all of these off, we know we are 90% there. 

  1. Each sentence must add new information.
  2. Keep your introductions and conclusions as short as possible.
  3. If you say something in a title or header, don’t repeat it in the first sentence. Always add new information!
  4. If you can show something visually (with a chart, image, or formatting), do it. Don’t repeat it with words. 
  5. You don’t have the space to explain how anything works unless the entire content piece is about that. Stick to saying what things do and why that is helpful. 
  6. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. They’ll be easier to read and understand. If you’re struggling to do this, that means one of two things: either you don’t understand it well enough (and you need to do more research), or the topic is too complex for a short content piece (and you need to pare it down).
  7. Do review cycles tend to increase or decrease copy word count? Knowing what typically happens when others review can help you better calibrate on word count. Cutting words is typically easier than adding.
  8. Was it fun and engaging to read? Be honest.

Short B2B content can be extremely compelling when written properly. With the above strategies and tips, you should be well on your way to quickly finding the nuggets that matter most and creating great copy.

Justin Hall

Justin Hall is the co-founder and managing partner at Voxus PR, a B2B tech public relations, social media, and content marketing agency in Seattle, WA. For more than 25 years, he’s created and executed marketing programs for clients in cybersecurity, networking, AI, SaaS, semiconductors, and more. Justin holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University.

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