content that converts

How to Create B2B Customer-Focused Content that Converts

In my first year operating my content marketing agency, I made a huge mistake that cost my company thousands of dollars.

And caused a new client to churn after the first month.

(Talk about stress… 😅)

So how did I screw up?

I took on a client in a complex industry that I didn’t have the process or subject matter expertise to support.

The result?

  • We had loads of edit requests.
  • The content didn’t align with their Ideal Customer Profile.
  • The client relationship failed because our content process was misaligned and inefficient.

I wasn’t proud of it at the time.

But that mistake has transformed how we create content for our clients.

It was a valuable lesson that led me to create a new content process that woos prospects just about every time I tell them about it.

And clients LOVE it (even the ones in more complex industries)!

Below, I’ll outline that exact process.

If you don’t use a process like the one I’m about to explain, your clients won’t get results, leading them to churn, and you’ll struggle to get higher-value clients.

The Problem with the Way Most Content Marketers Operate

Most freelancer writers get handed a topic and are expected to write like a Subject Matter Expert from the get-go.

(Or sometimes, writers are handed a “brief” that’s just loaded with a bunch of SEO mumbo-jumbo.)

This is an unfair and ineffective process.

But it also means:

  • Clients won’t be satisfied due to misaligned expectations.
  • You’ll have an overwhelming amount of edit requests, which will slow down the publishing velocity and therefore decrease your client’s results.
  • And ultimately, you’ll probably lose the client.

The solution?

It’s your job to realign expectations and set up an effective content creation process that INCLUDES your internal stakeholders.

SPOILER: You’ll need to have clear communication and hold live meetings with your clients. If you only have minimum, text-only communication, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

How to Onboard Clients the Right Way (No, you can’t skip this!)

You can’t create content for a company’s industry without a deep understanding of their customers, product, and sales process.

So before you even think about brainstorming topics, you need to onboard your client with an interview.

We prepare for client onboarding interviews by creating a list of questions that are segmented into these categories (I’ll give you some examples to get you started):

  • Sales – What prospects are the easiest to close? What problems are they trying to solve for? Why did they end up buying from you?
  • Customers – What types of customers are the best fit for your solution? What are the top questions customers ask?
  • Product – What part of your product do customers value most? How does your product solve their pain points?

Keep in mind: These are just base-level questions. You should fit and expand these questions based on your client’s industry.

Additionally, you should create questions related to content expectations.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Who would be an ideal expert to write about your industry?
  • Who is your target audience? What’s their position in their company? What’s the size of the companies that you’re looking for? 
  • Do you have a specific voice you’d like to portray in your content? (ex. educational but casual) Please link to content that has a similar style.
  • Do you already have a content style guide for your company? 

(If you want the template I use, shoot me a DM on LinkedIn.)

Write all of these questions on a doc, send it to your client, and ask them to fill it out before the interview.

Once filled out, read your client’s responses before the interview.

Then, think of “why” questions you could ask to dig deeper during the interview.

Finally, conduct the interview during a live meeting. 

Ask for permission to record the meeting, so you don’t miss any additional valuable information.

ALSO, don’t be afraid to ask questions and for opinions.

You want to fully understand ALL of their responses and reasonings.

How to Come Up With Topics that Resonate with Your Client’s Audience

People who do SEO have been notorious for coming up with topics just by using an SEO tool.

They look for keywords with the most volume that seem like they MIGHT be relevant (but most of the time, they’re not). 

If companies hired content marketers only to get traffic, this might be okay.

But they don’t. 

Your job is to drive revenue.

Not traffic.

There’s going to be some nuance when coming up with quality topics.

But for the most part, revenue-driving content will mostly fall into 2 categories:

  1. Content targeting an audience that knows a product like yours exists and is actively searching for a solution. (Best product lists, competitor comparisons, competitor alternatives, landing pages, etc.)
  2. Content targeting people who have the pain points that your solution solves. (How to [fix X problem], How to [accomlish Y goal], How to use an integration, etc.)

These types of content should make up about 90% of your efforts.

How to find keywords that’ll drive revenue

I’m not going to show you how to do keyword research because there are plenty of videos and blogs on that.

But here are my most important tips:

  • Use your onboarding doc for ideas!
  • Find keywords related to the reasons customers buy your product.
  • Find keywords for people actively searching for a solution.
  • Take keyword volume with a grain of salt. Just because Ahrefs says a keyword doesn’t have much volume, doesn’t mean people aren’t searching for it. (Because if customers are talking about it, they’re probably searching for it.)
  • Get specific when looking for keywords. More specific, longer keywords tend to drive higher conversion rates (ex. “Salesforce for Insurance Agents”)
  • Try to have a niche focus with your collection of topics (focus on one industry or feature at a time).

Every month, we hold a content meeting with our clients and always ask more questions related to their sales, customer, and product.


You want your content strategy to stay relevant to their business (sales, customers, products, and the economy always change).

How to Get On the Same Page with Your Client Before the Content is Written

During your monthly content meetings, come prepared with a list of relevant topics.

Ask your client or internal Subject Matter Expert about which topics will provide the most value to their business and target audience.

Also, explain how your topics will bring value to their business.

For example, sometimes — we might have a client pushback on making content about competitor alternatives. 

So we explain to them how the content will capture buyers looking for a solution, AND if they don’t capitalize on this strategy, competitors will.

Once you and your client have decided on a list of topics to target for the month…

Interview your client (or designated SME) on each topic

Your questions should be unique to the topic and their ICP.

But here are some generic questions that usually uncover strong points to include in the content:

  • What problems do your customers usually face with this topic?
  • What stops them from fixing this problems?
  • How can we position your product as a solution?
  • What relevant features should we mention?
  • Do you have any relevant customer stories that we can include?

Once you have the answers to your questions, it’s time to start the content creation process.

Use a pre-outline process and create a detailed outline

It might sound unnecessary at first, but getting really detailed about your audience and goal for a piece of content works wonders for writing efficiency AND aligns you with your client.

I like to call this process the pre-outline (some call it a content brief).

For our pre-outline process, we fill out a list of questions related to:

  • What type of customer would read this?
  • What’s the goal of the content?
  • What problems is the reader trying to solve?
  • How are we going to build urgency in the reader for them to take action?

Additionally, we prepare a list of 5-15 related keywords using Ahrefs and find “People Also Ask” questions to consider from Google search.

(Feel free to DM me on LinkedIn if you want the full pre-outline process.)

This is the SEO aspect of the content. However, take it with a grain of salt when creating the content.

Include keywords in the headings and content ONLY where it makes sense and is natural.

Otherwise, your content will be “optimized” for 2010 Google and not your audience. 

Once we have this information filled out, we create the H1, H2s, and any H3s of the content outline.

This is the framework of the outline.

But you should also take it a step further and add bullet points for the specific information that each section will include.

Creating detailed outlines allows you to write more efficiently and helps you get on the same page with your client about what the content should include — before you write the first draft.

We then send our detailed pre-outline information and outline to our client (or other SME) for approval.

How to Handle Edit Requests After the First Draft

If you followed this process, you probably won’t have many edits.

However, nobody is perfect, and your client’s internal team might have some disagreements on what to include in the content.

So it’s important to set expectations with your client from the start.

We usually agree to at least 2 rounds of free revisions for a piece of content.

(However, we’re happy to do more revisions for free if it’s necessary because good customer service is essential for any business.)

There are rarely more revision requests than this, so it works out 🙂.

We do the edit requests in rounds, even if there are multiple SMEs or stakeholders reviewing your content.

(Round = waiting for the client to give feedback on the entire piece before editing.)

The last thing you want is to be living in a Google doc all day, responding to comments and edits.

Finally, after every piece of content, ask for feedback. You’ll need to know why something needs to be edited and how to improve it in the future.

Want more advice on becoming a better content marketer? 

Feel free to shoot me an email or DM on Linked. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

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