Find A Way Media

What Is A B2B Writer?

 

A business to business (B2B) writer creates articles, emails, and white papers for companies that sell to other companies. This is in contrast to consumer writers (B2C) who help companies sell products to individuals. A B2B writer’s job is complex — part brand journalism, part sales — and they’re often well paid.

How to break into B2B writing

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What Makes a B2B Writer Different?

In B2B writing, the writer must entertain and persuade not just one individual, but many. Often, those individuals have conflicting interests. A CFO may not want to spend money, whereas the marketing team does. A B2B writer creates articles, guides, and emails that address both of their needs – a process known as content marketing – to guide the entire company to purchase.

differences between b2b and b2c writers
 
The line between B2B and B2C companies is soft. Many are both. Amazon, for example, sells soap, but also servers. GE sells lightbulbs, but also jet engines. The distinction depends on context.

Logic often plays a greater role in B2B copywriting than consumer copywriting. For example, a consumer interested in a sweater is primarily concerned with how it affects him personally. Does it fit? Is it affordable? Will his spouse like it?  In contrast, a business professional buying software to help manufacture sweaters considers how the purchase affects the whole manufacturing plant. Is the software reliable? Will it work as promised? Will employees want to use it? What happens if it malfunctions? Are competitors using it? Does it integrate with their existing systems?

Differences between (most) B2C and B2B audiences:

 

Business to business writers

  • Primarily persuades with logic

  • Storytelling is underused

  • Long sales cycles (months or years)

  • Large buying group

  • Must understand complex products and sales cycles

  • Concerned with audience demographics, firmographics, technographics, intent data

Business to consumer writers

  • Primarily persuades with emotion

  • Storytelling is widely used

  • Short sales cycles (days or weeks)

  • Small buying group

  • Hinges on trends, fashion, and human taste

  • Concerned with audience demographics, psychographics]

 

While a consumer copywriter may think deeply enough to write an article to help a consumer win their spouse’s approval, B2B writers must weigh the motives and interests of an average of 5-7 individuals within each account, sustain their interest throughout a 6-12 month sales cycle, and educate them on the product’s finer details.

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What B2B and B2C writers can learn from each other


B2B writers can often teach consumer writers to organize their writing into a marketing funnel that guides buyers to purchase. Consumer writers can teach business writers to appeal to readers’ emotions. Many business writers become so enamored with their products that they forget to treat buyers as people. They tout features as opposed to benefits, and produce reports that are dense with jargon and difficult to understand.

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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.


What is B2B Freelance Writing?


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.

Read How to find your first freelance client

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:

  • Healthcare

  • Finance

  • Technology

  • Manufacturing

  • Transportation

  • Banking

  • Energy

Common B2B topics and writer types:

  • B2B technical writer

  • B2B copywriter

  • 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:

  • Ask for referrals

  • Post on job boards

  • Read industry blogs and look for freelance contributors

  • Find a niche agency or content studio

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.


Learn how to become a B2B writer



More topics

How do you break into content writing?

What is content marketing?

What is a content marketing playbook?

What is cross-promotion?

How to write jargon-free sales emails

How to build an exceptional B2B newsletter