When it comes to good business feature article writing, I find that most practitioners take one of two sides. The first group will focus on getting the story found and opened through an effective keyword strategy, a great headline and excellent placement. They track how many times the page holding the story is opened and how long the reader stays on the page. If the content gets consumed, they call it a win.
While getting your content read is really important, I find myself with the second group most of the time. This group focuses on a handful of readers who will pore over the piece as part of their due diligence process and try to see if the executive who wrote it seems like the kind of person they would want to partner with. This requires an entirely different approach to content construction.
The primary difference between these two approaches is that the former group writes mostly top of the funnel content and the latter develops material for use further down the funnel, where the buyer’s journey is starting to get serious. They’re both important.
Can one piece of content serve both needs. Probably not. In my experience if I’m trolling around for top of the funnel content and I find a well-written, well-structured feature article that dives deep into what I want to know, I’ll set it aside to read later…and then never get to it.
When I’m at the top of the funnel, I need to see light breezy information that’s easy to read, on topic and informed. That’s generally all I have time for. And all it has to do is get me to say, “That’s right.” Not, you’re right…for reasons former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss goes into in his Masterclass, but rather, “That’s right.”
After a company gets me saying, “That’s right,” a few times (or a dozen), I’m ready to find out who the big brains are behind the operation. This is when the second corps of writers comes to the fore. These are the detail providers, the trend explainers, the insight deliverers. This is where I typically play.
In this world, structure is the writer’s best friend. In the vast majority of cases, a good business feature article is built using a single, strong architecture that includes (a) a clear thesis, (b) three supporting points and (c) a conclusion. Nothing else is required.
If the business prospect has already been through the top of the funnel and found the company writing about the things the prospect feels are important, it’s natural for the seeker to drift down into the funnel and begin looking for specific reasons to buy. They’ll be looking for clearly written positions on the most important aspects of a potential business relationship.
If the thesis for a particular article doesn’t land, the prospect will likely be lost. If it does align with the prospect, the reader will then expect to know why the company agrees with her. If the feature article doesn’t provide that, but rather floats back up to the top of the funnel and begins restating what everyone knows to be true without providing unique insight into why it actually is true, the prospect will likely be lost.
Good writing is just clear thinking and business buyers want to understand how a prospective vendor or service provider thinks before they buy from them. A well-written feature article can demonstrate that and win you more business.
Co-Founder and COO at Content Beacon + President at RGA Public Relations