Do you wonder what it takes to be a successful B2B marketing writer or even what to look for in a writer that you’d like to work with?
In the last 10 years of my 20+ years in marketing and sales, I’ve worked with 100+ writers on various B2B content marketing projects. Over that time, I’ve identified 5 traits that strong B2B marketing writers have in common.
The majority of writers that I’ve worked with have been freelance writers who enjoy setting their own schedules, choosing which projects to work on, and working from just about any location. This focus on a career that is flexible has led the writers to sharpen their ability to adapt. Too much background noise in a coffee shop? The writer finds a new location that enables them to have a smooth interview call with a subject matter expert (SME) with the client.
The subject matter expert who will be the interviewee for a topic likely has a busy schedule and an array of other priorities. In order to accommodate busy SMEs, good writers are willing to schedule calls well in advance and also go with last-minute schedule changes. Successful B2B marketing writers easily adapt to the needs of the client.
A Journalistic Approach
Not all B2B marketing writers are trained journalists and they don’t need to be. However, the strongest writers take a journalistic approach. What does this mean? It means that the writer acts like an investigator, gathering data and asking thoughtful questions meant to draw out the real crux of the story.
In an ideal world, a writer gets the exact topic in advance so they can prepare questions and have a storyline in mind. In reality, particularly in B2B content marketing, this is rarely the case and good writers know this. They know that it’s on them to draw out the details, ask probing questions, and get the subject matter expert to share their knowledge.
They also apply the “inverted pyramid” approach to writing. The inverted pyramid refers to the structure an article takes. Writers place the most important information first, then follow with the details. This works with B2B writing because a business audience is busy and often won’t read paragraphs down the page searching for information. In other words, they don’t bury the leading point of a story or blog post.
Recently, my cohort Robin drafted an insightful article on copywriting for B2B websites and digital mediums. As she states in the article, digital content is consumed differently than print content.
Think about it. You may pick up a print magazine and read the article from the first word to the last word. However, when you click on a link to an online news article, you may read the first two sentences, glance over the subheads in the article, and then skip down to the bottom and read the last paragraph.
Stubborn writers don’t understand this. They think all their content is read in a very linear fashion. However, savvy writers know that when they are crafting content for digital consumption, they need to approach it differently. They break up the copy into smaller chunks with breaks, include subheads and have a strong closing with a mini-recap or takeaway. Successful B2B marketing writers understand how digital content is consumed and draft their content accordingly.
Read more: How to write copy for users and search engines.
It’s a noisy world where a lot of brands and thought leaders are crafting and sharing content. What makes content stand out or resonate with the end reader? A strong or compelling story.
Effective B2B copywriters focus on weaving a story into each piece of content that they craft. They don’t just simply throw all the information on a page, they tell a story. I’ve said it in previous posts and I’ll say it again, storytelling is a skill that can be learned – but it takes practice (and a lot of it). Good writers want to engage their audience and focus on the storytelling element to connect with that reader. They look at all the data they have gathered and organize it in a way that appeals to and draws in the audience.
As a Content Marketing Director and longtime freelance writer, I understand that amount of effort that goes into parsing out the right words and debating mentally over sentence structure and the flow of an article, ebook, or white paper. I personally have spent hours and hours on website copy only to have a client come back and say they don’t like it. It can be crushing, especially if the revisions requested are silly or inconsequential or whatever you deem them to be.
The one thing that strong B2B copywriters have in common is that they know the feedback is not personal and they don’t take it as a reflection of their skills. Instead, strong writers delve into the feedback and get at the true meaning behind the feedback. If a client doesn’t like the copy, the writer looks to discover whether it’s not the right tone, or if the style is too reserved or too casual, or if it doesn’t include enough industry terminology, or doesn’t reflect the clients’ value proposition.
Good writers know that, at the end of the day, the feedback isn’t a reflection of their writing ability. It’s not a rejection of their own style or craft, rather it’s a reflection of that brand or the audience that client wants to connect with.
Successful B2B Marketing Writers Are Worth It
I’ve learned that successful copywriters don’t just appear. They are writers who refined their craft over time and have a strong customer-centric attitude. Working with a professional, polished writer for your B2B marketing is completely worth the investment. Trust me, I’ve spent my time editing and revising hundreds of thousands of words of copy, so I understand the time and resources that good writers end up saving in the long run.