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Kicking ass at B2B
copywriting -
9 things every tech
marketer must know
Follow Radix Communications on Twitter
@radixcom
How important is good copy?
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Here are 9 things every B2B tech marketer must know
in order to kick ass at copywriting.
When 78% of UK organisations are producing more
marketing content than before
But 51% say “producing engaging content” is their
biggest challenge
And 46% say that “producing content consistently” is a
problem1
One thing is clear:
B2B brands need good writing now more than ever.
1
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/12/uk-2015-content-marketing-research
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
01.
THERE ARE SIX SKILLS THAT EVERY GREAT
B2B TECH COPYWRITER NEEDS
Great writing – You understand how your
audience talks and you write that way. You
bring your writing to life with metaphor,
examples, analogies and anecdotes.
Business experience – You know what a
supply chain is, how it works, and all the ways
it could go wrong. You’re au fait with seven
different categories of risk and you know your
kaizen from your Kanban.
Tech knowledge – You can get to grips with
the tech your brand or client sells: you know
what it is, what it does, what makes it great
and how it’s different from older versions and
competing products.
Marketing chops – You know what an ebook
is for, what an infographic needs to do, and
how a nurture campaign works. You know
what metrics you or your clients are measured
on.
Audience empathy – You know who you’re
writing for, and you feel their pain. You never
start a project without a persona.
Interviewing skills – You’re confident,
comfortable and curious in meetings and
phone briefings. You know the questions that
will draw out the most interesting information
for the audience, and you’re not afraid to ask
them.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Great writing – You understand how your
audience talks and you write that way. You
bring your writing to life with metaphor,
examples, analogies and anecdotes.
Business experience – You know what a
supply chain is, how it works, and all the ways
it could go wrong. You’re au fait with seven
different categories of risk and you know your
kaizen from your Kanban.
Tech knowledge – You can get to grips with
the tech your brand or client sells: you know
what it is, what it does, what makes it great
and how it’s different from older versions and
competing products.
Marketing chops – You know what an ebook
is for, what an infographic needs to do, and
how a nurture campaign works. You know
what metrics you or your clients are measured
on.
Audience empathy – You know who you’re
writing for, and you feel their pain. You never
start a project without a persona.
Interviewing skills – You’re confident,
comfortable and curious in meetings and
phone briefings. You know the questions that
will draw out the most interesting information
for the audience, and you’re not afraid to ask
them.
The good news is that as a marketer, you’ll already have your marketing
chops and plenty of business experience.
And if you’re lacking
in any of the other
skills? You can learn
and practise them.
Read more:
Why great writing isn’t the only skill that B2B tech copywriters need
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
02.
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
How do you get some of that audience empathy going – so you can write
the way your audience talks?
You spend time getting to know that audience.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Social listening: head to your audience’s preferred social platforms
and find out what they’re saying
In-person conversations: talk to existing clients and people at
events
Talking to salespeople: because they’re the ones who talk the
most with potential and existing customers
Create personas for each role or segment you’re targeting. And inform these
personas with real information gathered from:
(Gasp!)
Read more:
A cheat’s guide to creating buyer personas in minutes
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
03.
DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE
If there’s one way to draw out the writing process before you start typing, it’s
failing to do your research before you start.
But that’s not the only reason to do your research upfront.
If you can’t find evidence to support what you’re saying, it means you don’t
have a convincing argument.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Before you write, find:
Quotes
Make sure that what
you want to quote
fits the context you
plan to use it in –
and always go right
the way back to the
original source.
Statistics
And keep a list of references that you can include in the finished content.
Read more:
How to write an ebook for a B2B audience
Embrace the edit: 5 writing tactics for getting past the first draft
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
04.
STORYTELLING IN B2B: IT’S MORE THAN
JUST BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END
In his Content Marketing World 2014 keynote, Kevin Spacey said every story
needs three things:
Authenticity
or (as explained by
several speakers at
2014’s CMWorld)
Sticking with the truth
Conflict
Audience
Suspense
A human connection
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Putting the audience at the forefront, as the protagonist, the hero -
creating a human connection
Grounding the story in real events – being truthful like this adds
authenticity
Showing the protagonist’s journey and the drama it creates
(You don’t need to bring in House of Cards levels of suspense)
Storytelling is so much more than a list of things that happened.
Good storytelling in B2B content means:
If you can:
cool.
Read more:
How to tell a compelling B2B story using comics
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
05.
THERE’S GOOD JARGON AND THEN
THERE’S BUZZWORDS
Lots of people think jargon is the natural enemy of great B2B copy. Actually,
it isn’t.
When used appropriately, jargon can do two things:
Bring clarity to your content
and
Show confidence in what you’re writing about
NOTE: Jargon is not the same as buzzwords – pointless neologisms (derived
mainly from nouns contorted into verbs) that make you sound like you know
nothing.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
How do you decide when and where to use jargon? You need to answer
‘yes’ to the following:
Does it suit the
tone of voice
you’re aiming for?
Is it jargon that’s
used by your
target audience?
Yes, you really need
to get to know your
audience.
Answered yes to both of those? Then it’s OK use jargon in the piece of copy
you’re writing.
Read more:
Does jargon kill B2B copy – or does it bring it to life?
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
06.
IF SOMEONE SAYS YOUR COPY NEEDS TO
BE MORE “SPARKLY”, IT DOESN’T MEAN
THROW A TUB OF GLITTER AT IT
Some other adjectives you may hear instead of “sparkly”:
Punchy
Snappy
Dynamic
Energetic
Vibrant
Compelling
Enthralling
(There are more.)
But they’re not suggesting you break out some PVA glue and a tube of
glitter.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Use shorter words and sentences
Write as though you’re talking to a person
Use real life examples
Bring in metaphors and visual imagery
What your colleague or client means is that you should:
If that’s not enough, look at other pieces of great content and think about
what makes them work.
Read more:
Help – my client wants my copy to be ‘more sparkly’! What do I do?
Good thing you’ve
got that audience
persona sheet in
front of you.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
07.
WHEN EDITING YOUR WORK, READ IT BACK
TO YOURSELF, OUT LOUD, FIRST
Okay, so you’ve finished writing your copy and it looks good – you think. But
put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Does it read well? Is the language clear?
Do your metaphors make sense? Have you used one particular word too
much? Does it sound clunky, or dry, or passive?
It’s time to:
READ. IT. OUT. LOUD.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Sections that sound awkward
Words that are used too many times
Parts that don’t quite fit the tone of voice that you were aiming for
(And most importantly)
Bits that don’t make any sense
What does reading out loud do? It helps you identify:
Where your
tongue starts to
stumble, your
reader’s brain will
start to wander.
Read more:
Five writing tips I wish I had been taught in school
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
08.
USE WIREFRAMES TO GUIDE DESIGNERS
Is there something in your piece of copy that needs to be treated differently
from the rest of it?
Like a stat. Or a quote.
Then call that content goodness out.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
You know which pieces of your copy are important to the content and your
audience. So if you don’t want a designer second-guessing you, it’s perfectly
fine to box things out.
Or use bold.
Italics.
Underline.
Highlight.
Just make sure
you’re consistent
in how you call a
designer’s attention
to key elements of
your copy.
Read More:
Radix Copycast episode 9 – designers vs. copywriters (it doesn’t have to be all-out war)
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
09.
KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR COPY – AND
SHOUT ABOUT IT!
Your words are not a commodity. Great content makes things happen.
Clicks. Shares. Retweets. Conversions. Recommendations. Orders.
Purchases.
If your words lead to a $2m deal, it’s only right that you should get the kudos.
It could get you a fantastic promotion – or that dream job. And it shows just
how valuable great copy can be.
So keep an eye out for the true value of your copy. Know when an ebook
led a prospect to buy. Or when your blog post convinced someone to pick
up the phone.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
A/B test your content and copy
Crack out the data from your CRM and marketing automation
systems
Talk to salespeople about content that led to actions from
prospects and leads
Listen out for anecdotes from customers about how they found
your business
How do you find out the value of your copy? You need to take a quantitative
and a qualitative approach:
(Gasp!)
Read more:
The problem with establishing the true value of marketing copy
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
There are many ways to achieve B2B copy greatness. But if you start doing
these 9 things today, you’ll produce kick-ass copy that gets results for your
brand – and kudos for you.
If that isn’t enough copywriting advice for you:
Listen to our
podcast.
Get more tips and insights
in our monthly email.
#b2bcopychat @radixcom
Radix is a copywriting agency for the content marketing era. We work with
marketers to develop programmes of content that guide customers through
every stage of the buying process.
We specialise in the B2B technology sector, with expertise in enterprise
hardware and software, networking and electronics.
We’ve written for innovative tech companies large and small, including
Sprint, Fujitsu, Gemalto, Civica, Salesforce.com, Veeam, Experian, Oracle and
Spirent.
www.radix-communications.com
#b2bcopychat @radixcom

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Kicking ass at B2B copywriting - 9 things every tech marketer must know

  • 1. Kicking ass at B2B copywriting - 9 things every tech marketer must know
  • 2. Follow Radix Communications on Twitter @radixcom
  • 3. How important is good copy? #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 4. Here are 9 things every B2B tech marketer must know in order to kick ass at copywriting. When 78% of UK organisations are producing more marketing content than before But 51% say “producing engaging content” is their biggest challenge And 46% say that “producing content consistently” is a problem1 One thing is clear: B2B brands need good writing now more than ever. 1 http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/12/uk-2015-content-marketing-research #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 5. 01. THERE ARE SIX SKILLS THAT EVERY GREAT B2B TECH COPYWRITER NEEDS Great writing – You understand how your audience talks and you write that way. You bring your writing to life with metaphor, examples, analogies and anecdotes. Business experience – You know what a supply chain is, how it works, and all the ways it could go wrong. You’re au fait with seven different categories of risk and you know your kaizen from your Kanban. Tech knowledge – You can get to grips with the tech your brand or client sells: you know what it is, what it does, what makes it great and how it’s different from older versions and competing products. Marketing chops – You know what an ebook is for, what an infographic needs to do, and how a nurture campaign works. You know what metrics you or your clients are measured on. Audience empathy – You know who you’re writing for, and you feel their pain. You never start a project without a persona. Interviewing skills – You’re confident, comfortable and curious in meetings and phone briefings. You know the questions that will draw out the most interesting information for the audience, and you’re not afraid to ask them. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 6. Great writing – You understand how your audience talks and you write that way. You bring your writing to life with metaphor, examples, analogies and anecdotes. Business experience – You know what a supply chain is, how it works, and all the ways it could go wrong. You’re au fait with seven different categories of risk and you know your kaizen from your Kanban. Tech knowledge – You can get to grips with the tech your brand or client sells: you know what it is, what it does, what makes it great and how it’s different from older versions and competing products. Marketing chops – You know what an ebook is for, what an infographic needs to do, and how a nurture campaign works. You know what metrics you or your clients are measured on. Audience empathy – You know who you’re writing for, and you feel their pain. You never start a project without a persona. Interviewing skills – You’re confident, comfortable and curious in meetings and phone briefings. You know the questions that will draw out the most interesting information for the audience, and you’re not afraid to ask them. The good news is that as a marketer, you’ll already have your marketing chops and plenty of business experience. And if you’re lacking in any of the other skills? You can learn and practise them. Read more: Why great writing isn’t the only skill that B2B tech copywriters need #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 7. 02. GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE How do you get some of that audience empathy going – so you can write the way your audience talks? You spend time getting to know that audience. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 8. Social listening: head to your audience’s preferred social platforms and find out what they’re saying In-person conversations: talk to existing clients and people at events Talking to salespeople: because they’re the ones who talk the most with potential and existing customers Create personas for each role or segment you’re targeting. And inform these personas with real information gathered from: (Gasp!) Read more: A cheat’s guide to creating buyer personas in minutes #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 9. 03. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE If there’s one way to draw out the writing process before you start typing, it’s failing to do your research before you start. But that’s not the only reason to do your research upfront. If you can’t find evidence to support what you’re saying, it means you don’t have a convincing argument. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 10. Before you write, find: Quotes Make sure that what you want to quote fits the context you plan to use it in – and always go right the way back to the original source. Statistics And keep a list of references that you can include in the finished content. Read more: How to write an ebook for a B2B audience Embrace the edit: 5 writing tactics for getting past the first draft #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 11. 04. STORYTELLING IN B2B: IT’S MORE THAN JUST BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END In his Content Marketing World 2014 keynote, Kevin Spacey said every story needs three things: Authenticity or (as explained by several speakers at 2014’s CMWorld) Sticking with the truth Conflict Audience Suspense A human connection #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 12. Putting the audience at the forefront, as the protagonist, the hero - creating a human connection Grounding the story in real events – being truthful like this adds authenticity Showing the protagonist’s journey and the drama it creates (You don’t need to bring in House of Cards levels of suspense) Storytelling is so much more than a list of things that happened. Good storytelling in B2B content means: If you can: cool. Read more: How to tell a compelling B2B story using comics #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 13. 05. THERE’S GOOD JARGON AND THEN THERE’S BUZZWORDS Lots of people think jargon is the natural enemy of great B2B copy. Actually, it isn’t. When used appropriately, jargon can do two things: Bring clarity to your content and Show confidence in what you’re writing about NOTE: Jargon is not the same as buzzwords – pointless neologisms (derived mainly from nouns contorted into verbs) that make you sound like you know nothing. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 14. How do you decide when and where to use jargon? You need to answer ‘yes’ to the following: Does it suit the tone of voice you’re aiming for? Is it jargon that’s used by your target audience? Yes, you really need to get to know your audience. Answered yes to both of those? Then it’s OK use jargon in the piece of copy you’re writing. Read more: Does jargon kill B2B copy – or does it bring it to life? #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 15. 06. IF SOMEONE SAYS YOUR COPY NEEDS TO BE MORE “SPARKLY”, IT DOESN’T MEAN THROW A TUB OF GLITTER AT IT Some other adjectives you may hear instead of “sparkly”: Punchy Snappy Dynamic Energetic Vibrant Compelling Enthralling (There are more.) But they’re not suggesting you break out some PVA glue and a tube of glitter. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 16. Use shorter words and sentences Write as though you’re talking to a person Use real life examples Bring in metaphors and visual imagery What your colleague or client means is that you should: If that’s not enough, look at other pieces of great content and think about what makes them work. Read more: Help – my client wants my copy to be ‘more sparkly’! What do I do? Good thing you’ve got that audience persona sheet in front of you. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 17. 07. WHEN EDITING YOUR WORK, READ IT BACK TO YOURSELF, OUT LOUD, FIRST Okay, so you’ve finished writing your copy and it looks good – you think. But put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Does it read well? Is the language clear? Do your metaphors make sense? Have you used one particular word too much? Does it sound clunky, or dry, or passive? It’s time to: READ. IT. OUT. LOUD. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 18. Sections that sound awkward Words that are used too many times Parts that don’t quite fit the tone of voice that you were aiming for (And most importantly) Bits that don’t make any sense What does reading out loud do? It helps you identify: Where your tongue starts to stumble, your reader’s brain will start to wander. Read more: Five writing tips I wish I had been taught in school #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 19. 08. USE WIREFRAMES TO GUIDE DESIGNERS Is there something in your piece of copy that needs to be treated differently from the rest of it? Like a stat. Or a quote. Then call that content goodness out. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 20. You know which pieces of your copy are important to the content and your audience. So if you don’t want a designer second-guessing you, it’s perfectly fine to box things out. Or use bold. Italics. Underline. Highlight. Just make sure you’re consistent in how you call a designer’s attention to key elements of your copy. Read More: Radix Copycast episode 9 – designers vs. copywriters (it doesn’t have to be all-out war) #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 21. 09. KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR COPY – AND SHOUT ABOUT IT! Your words are not a commodity. Great content makes things happen. Clicks. Shares. Retweets. Conversions. Recommendations. Orders. Purchases. If your words lead to a $2m deal, it’s only right that you should get the kudos. It could get you a fantastic promotion – or that dream job. And it shows just how valuable great copy can be. So keep an eye out for the true value of your copy. Know when an ebook led a prospect to buy. Or when your blog post convinced someone to pick up the phone. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 22. A/B test your content and copy Crack out the data from your CRM and marketing automation systems Talk to salespeople about content that led to actions from prospects and leads Listen out for anecdotes from customers about how they found your business How do you find out the value of your copy? You need to take a quantitative and a qualitative approach: (Gasp!) Read more: The problem with establishing the true value of marketing copy #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 23. There are many ways to achieve B2B copy greatness. But if you start doing these 9 things today, you’ll produce kick-ass copy that gets results for your brand – and kudos for you. If that isn’t enough copywriting advice for you: Listen to our podcast. Get more tips and insights in our monthly email. #b2bcopychat @radixcom
  • 24. Radix is a copywriting agency for the content marketing era. We work with marketers to develop programmes of content that guide customers through every stage of the buying process. We specialise in the B2B technology sector, with expertise in enterprise hardware and software, networking and electronics. We’ve written for innovative tech companies large and small, including Sprint, Fujitsu, Gemalto, Civica, Salesforce.com, Veeam, Experian, Oracle and Spirent. www.radix-communications.com #b2bcopychat @radixcom