What about business to human (B2H)?
No matter the vertical, B2B writers are still just writing for an audience of people. This idea has prompted a wave of pundits to advocate replacing the B2B-B2C paradigm with B2H, or business to human. (Because, acronyms.) But the business to human philosophy is useful as a reminder that B2B writers have a lot to learn from their B2C counterparts.
B2B writers are more successful at earning when they mimic consumer outlets by telling stories about people. But most B2B prospects will still face technical hurdles. They must seek approval from their boss, and if their case is only based on their own personal interest (“this’ll make me look good”) they’re unlikely to win budget. B2B writers have to understand the mechanics of how those purchases are actually made. The B2B/B2C paradigm is useful because it accounts for that difference.
B2B freelance writing is when writers work on contract for B2B brands. In the vast majority of cases, they work remotely. The marketing team will share a content brief and the writer will handle the research, writing, and often, editing. Freelance relationships afford businesses more flexibility and freelancers the opportunity to manage, learn from, and grow with multiple clients.
B2B freelance writers often have clearly-defined B2B writing niches and run in small circles. For example, B2B marketing software specialists are unlikely to hop into writing about healthcare. And writers who have carved out a niche as “the” video technology writer are unlikely to shift into an area where they’re less experienced. This makes for a tight-knit, collegial environment where B2B freelancers both compete and cooperate with peers, often sharing work.
Common B2B writing niches:
Common B2B topics and writer types:
B2B technical writer
Content marketing writer
Social media writer
How do I find a good copywriter?
If you’re hiring a B2B writer, your best option is to seek referrals through your network. Domain expertise is essential to write believably on B2B topics, and it’s difficult to find someone who’s both an excellent writer and knowledgeable about the industry.
If your options are limited and you can’t have both, select for writing skill over industry expertise. You can teach someone how software works, but teaching them to produce clear copy is much trickier and could take a lifetime.
Good ways to find B2B copywriters:
Bad ways to find B2B copywriters:
Content mills (Scripted, Skyword, ClearVoice)
General freelancing platforms (UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer)
Be careful outsourcing your writing needs to an agency. The bigger the agency, the more likely they are to think all writing is interchangeable and farm your work out to non-writers. It’s not uncommon for agencies to ask their website designers to also write the website’s copy. If you must use an agency, find one that’s small and considers writing its specialty.
Avoid content mills at all cost. These are services like Scripted, Skyword, and ClearVoice, which value speed and volume over quality and clarity. They’re essentially performing writing arbitrage: They charge high rates to cover the cost of the business and shop out tasks at below-living wage levels to inexperienced freelancers.
Also avoid generalist freelancing platforms such as UpWork. It’s simply not where good B2B writers look for work. Because of their niche, the best B2B writers already know who their ideal clients are and unlikely to waste their time with these platforms.