I once dropped an entire pizza on the floor – cheese side down.
Thank the Pizza Gods that it was still in the box, but some of it still poked out and touched the floor.
But it’s ok. My reflexes were so fast that the five-second rule became more like two seconds.
Because nobody wastes pizza.
And because I was standing outside a restaurant, entertaining patrons who weren’t expecting a show.
If nothing else, I made an impression, even as I high tailed it out of there to a chorus of sniggers and chortles.
Five seconds is all it takes to leave an impression. And that impression is everything – especially when it comes to your B2B content.
The goal of effective B2B copy – in 5 seconds
Great B2B copy does three things well:
- It saves your reader minutes by structuring the content into scannable, easily digestible chunks.
- It gets your point across without your audience needing to read every word.
- It makes an impression in five seconds.
So, how can your copy pass the five-second test? Here are a few tips.
Your headings and sub-heads should tell a story on their own
If your readers scroll through your article and only read the headings, what information do they get? What story are you telling?
Headings work hard. They navigate your reader through the content and give you an opportunity to make a point. Sub-headings break your content up into digestible, self-contained chunks of information.
Everything underneath the heading is evidence to back up your point. Most people will not read it, but there are a few tricks you can use to ensure they get the gist.
Give your reader all the information they need without having to read every word
Formatting is everything on the web because 79% of readers will only scan a text.
I know, right? All that work choosing the right words, and nobody even reads them.
That’s because people typically follow an F-shaped pattern when reading online. They’ll read the headings and first few sentences (if you’re lucky), and skim through everything else.
By structuring your content to match the F-shaped reading pattern, you can create a visual hierarchy and an intentional flow to draw readers’ attention to specific elements.
- Use bullet points. If you’re listing three or more items, put them in bullets.
- Bold the important bits. It makes skim-reading easier and helps to make your point, even if that’s all they read.
- Use lots of white space. It’s easier on the eyes.
Your conclusion is prime real estate – make it count
Your conclusion should summarise your main points and leave your reader feeling like they’ve come full circle.
So, here’s mine:
- Make your headings memorable; they may be the only thing your audience reads.
- Format for scanners. Bullet points, bold words, blank space. Lots of all of them.
- Place important and relevant information at the points your users pay attention to – the headings and first few sentences below.
People are busy.
When opening an article, they want to know, at first glance, what they’re reading about, why it’s important, and what to do next.
Which brings me to my final point.
Always, always include a call to action
Don’t assume that your reader knows what you want them to do next. Make it clear and make it easy for them to take the next step.
If you need help creating B2B copy that aligns with your content marketing strategy and leaves the right impression, get in touch. I know a guy.
And yes, I did eat the pizza. Even the bit that touched the floor.