By Becky Tumidolsky
I find it’s easiest to let creativity flow, and channel it strategically, when I approach B2B communication as a labor of love. I’m talking about neighborly love—easygoing, authentic, and mutually rewarding.
Good writers, like good neighbors, exude warmth and respect. They give readers the benefit of the doubt, just as they work hard to earn their trust.
I consider every writing project a neighborly encounter. The reader is the fellow next door. He’s had experiences, maybe not-so-happy ones, with past neighbors. He has personal issues and concerns. He’s curious, but a bit cautious—perhaps even cynical. The question I always ask myself is, How do I get past his defenses and win his confidence?
In a recent blog post called “Transmitting Thought Leadership with Finesse,” I argue that emotional intelligence (EQ) is as crucial to thought leadership as the substance of ideas (IQ). It’s basic human nature: If you’re tone-deaf in substance or aloof in style, readers won’t give you the time of day.
What does it take to distinguish a business in the eyes of discerning readers? I believe it takes lots of TLC—thoughtful, lively communication. Content that relies too heavily on tired industry boilerplate isn’t just dull and ineffective; it’s patronizing and insulting.
Thoughtful Writing Shows You Care
It’s fun to break the ice with a good hook. But making inroads requires a sustained effort.
- Get to know your readers. Look at marketing communications from their perspective. What are their driving needs and concerns? What issues can you authoritatively address? Consider the type (and sheer volume) of content they’ve likely encountered in the past in order to anticipate how they might respond. (And make the necessary corrections!)
- Be genuine. Content that seems forced or contrived is a complete turnoff. An original take on a familiar topic—written with personality and creative flair—is essential to keeping readers’ interest.
- Be congenial. It’s fine to impress with smarts and success, but don’t lose focus on sentiment. A friendly, intimate tone creates resonance and goodwill.
- Treat them like adults. Assume they’ve seen and heard it all before, because they have. They’re discerning, and they’ll likely reject anything that seems half-baked or warmed over (e.g., unsupported fluff, well-worn clichés, and buzzwords that have been beaten to death). If it’s clear you invested in your work, readers will appreciate the show of respect.
Since 2001, Becky Tumidolsky has written awareness-building content for B2B brands and their discerning audiences. Her work has appeared in leading publications such as Forbes, U.S.News & World Report, Bloomberg Markets, Newsweek, and Inc. as well as corporate blogs, websites, white papers, and other content assets.
Becky loves writing fluid, error-free prose. She’s even more passionate about building the foundation for her work—uncovering core brand distinctions, framing them thematically, and developing fresh, compelling narratives that advance corporate strategies.