By far, the number-one challenge we hear from prospects and clients when it comes to content marketing is finding the time to do it. Producing content is time consuming.
Behind every blog post, white paper, e-book, case study, infographic and video are countless hours of research, interviewing, organizing, writing and editing for accuracy, word choice, clarity, voice and flow.
At the same time, many in complex B2B industries (like law, manufacturing, technology, architecture, engineering and construction) believe that their businesses are too complex and niche for non-technical professionals (such as writers) to grasp and translate into compelling, digestible content.
“We have to do it ourselves” is something I’ve heard time and time again.
I understand their concerns. Great B2B copywriting is a rare skill. Once you find that diamond in the rough, however, get ready to shine.
How great B2B marketing writers impact your business
A skilled B2B content writer can:
Free up your subject-matter experts (SMEs)
This leaves your lawyers, engineers, technologists and company leaders more time to focus on their jobs, rather than writing white papers and blog posts.
Working with ghostwriters can feel disingenuous and to some, unethical (especially in law firms). Ghostwriters, however, aren’t creating the ideas, concepts and intellectual capital. They are instead communicating them effectively, allowing busy professionals like lawyers to focus on billable work. The SME assumes responsibility for the content, which the ghostwriter has enabled.
Act as your company’s own internal journalist
Great writers find and showcase the expertise, ideas and insights buried deep in all those smart brains. Marketers need this information to do their jobs effectively (for case studies, proposals, white papers, web copy and more). The challenge is digging those stories out of experts’ brains in the first place.
We often hear from our marketer clients that they had no idea their companies or firms were involved in certain initiatives and projects, offered certain services or had certain skills or expertise, until we interviewed one of their SMEs and told them about it.
“Well, I wish someone had told me about that!” is something we’ve heard one too many times.
Nail it the first time without rounds and rounds of edits
Good B2B writers will effectively interview your subject-matter experts (we do regular telephone calls), ask the right questions, write the content and send it back for review with very few edits needed.
Doesn’t having to make extensive edits negate the whole point of paying a writer in the first place? In the B2B and professional services world, we often find that bad writing can be attributed more to failures during the information-gathering phase — not the writing phase. The writer doesn’t have digital research savvy or the skills to ask the right questions and probe SMEs for the details they need. This results in a poor draft requiring extensive edits by the SME.
Get to know your business almost better than you do
As B2B marketer Doug Kessler said, “B2B copywriting isn’t pituitary gland surgery — but sometimes it’s about pituitary gland surgery. That means the writer is going to have to learn things. Technical things.”
Great B2B content marketers are voracious learners. They love digging deep to truly understand concepts. They don’t skim the surface and write pretty, shallow copy. They make sure they get it before they ever put pen to paper. This means that I know a lot about some pretty niche, weird stuff. And I love it.
Translate complex ideas into simple, easily digestible information
Great writers understand the power of examples, metaphors and imagery to convey complex information. They can also effectively weed out needless jargon and get to the heart of the message so that today’s busy readers don’t have to wade through obtuse language and unnecessary details to get the information they seek.
Write copy that engages today’s busy, scattered digital audiences
Online readers don’t read from top to bottom. Instead, they engage in a behavior called “information foraging,” following an “information scent” as they hunt for information.
Modern online readers are conducting a cost-benefit analysis as they scan through your blog post, white paper or case study, asking:
- What can I expect from this nugget of information?
- What will the “cost” (usually in time and attention) be to consume that information?
Skilled writers answer these questions, guiding readers with information cues.
Use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices
A good writer will research SEO keyword phrases, prioritize them and implement them into copy naturally and effectively.
How to spot great B2B content marketing writers
Sounds pretty good, right? How do you spot these angels among us?
Only work with writers who specialize in business-to-business (B2B) writing
They’re a different breed than other writers. They like going deep, rolling their sleeves up and writing about topics other writers find boring or too complex.
Look at their own writing
If a content marketing firm is not producing good content, well, duh. Run. Away. Quickly.
Ask their clients
Our clients tell us that they highly value our ghostwriting skills. I’ve heard over and over again how surprised and delighted they were to finally work with a B2B marketing agency that they didn’t have to micromanage.
Ask to speak to your potential writing agency’s clients to see whether they are editing their copy to death, or just checking for accuracy, making a few tweaks and approving the copy.
Want to know how working with a great B2B content marketing agency — with a team of skilled writers — can benefit you? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-374-5733.