After a longer than expected absence from the recording booth, the podcast is back, though not quite in the usual B2BQ&A format. In this episode, we’ve collected our favourite copywriting tips from the past few months.
Imagine a compilation album called Now That’s What I Call Copywriting, featuring freelance writer Matt Binny, Giles Edwards from …Gasp!, Katherine Wildman from Haydn Grey, and copywriter Vikki Ross, as well as contributions from our own in-house writing team.
You can read a full transcript of this episode at the bottom of this page.
Three tips for great B2B copy…
- Keep it short
A lot of our contributors stressed the importance of getting rid of unnecessary content. From deleting your first sentence to simply using fewer (and shorter) words, brevity is key. Giles from …Gasp! puts it this way: “If you can take a word out and nothing is lost, you should.”
- Stay on brief (and know your client)
When writing copy, it can be easy to lose track of the brief. When he’s reading through a piece he’s written, Matt pretends he has no prior knowledge and asks himself three questions: “Does it tell me what I need to know? Would I buy it? Am I bored out of my mind?” And always make sure you are using the right tone of voice for the client.
- Keep the reader in mind
Your copy may be intended for a wide audience, but it’s important to remember that you are only ever writing to one person at a time. Katherine puts it this way: “It’s a conversation between me, and what’s happening in my head, and the reader, and what’s happening in their head. It’s very intimate, and very privileged.”
We’ll be back to a more traditional podcast format in the near future, but until then, thanks for listening.
Here’s what you can expect in this episode…
0:30 – David explains why there hasn’t been a B2BQ&A podcast for a while
2:18 – Radix wordsmith, John, warns against ‘sesquipedalian loquaciousness’
2:52 – Freelance writer, Matt Binny, squeezes four tips into one
3:27 – Giles from …Gasp! tells you to trim the fat
3:38 – Katherine from Haydn Grey suggests you get personal with your reader
4:20 – Matt Godfrey, head of copy at Radix, has his tip spoken by a computer
4:52 – Ben from Radix talks tone of voice
5:30 – Copywriter, Vikki Ross, asks if no copy is really the best copy
6:00 – Radix’s Claire keeps it short and sweet
6:25 – David wraps up
Got a question? We’ll find the answer
If you have any suggestions for future podcasts, just send us a voice memo at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if there are any other thoughts you’d like to share, you can find us on Twitter @radixcom
How to listen:
- You can download the episode here (right-click and select “Save As”)
- Or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts
- Alternatively, add our RSS to your preferred podcast player
- Thanks to all our contributors for their excellent tips, and a huge thank you to Matt, Giles, Katherine, and Vikki
- Thanks to Lisa Woodruff, Marketing Manager at Radix, for the work she does on the podcast behind the scenes
- And, thanks to Gareth at Bang and Smash audio, for making everything sound wonderful in your earholes
Transcript: B2BQ&A 109.5: Best B2B copywriting tips
David McGuire: Hello listener, this is not an episode of B2BQ&A, and for that I can only apologise.
It might have escaped your notice, but we have been somewhat less regular than usual with the podcast lately. I’m sorry about that. Things have been somewhat stretched, to say the least, for various reasons, some of them COVID related. But in short, we’ve had a lot to do with not very many people. So I’ve had to roll my sleeves up, get my back to the wheel, and all of those other cliches. But basically, I’ve had to put the podcast down for a minute and pitch in with the team.
Rest assured we will get back to you as soon as we can with questions on corporate social responsibility, copywriting and how to do that without greenwashing, on writing with SEO keywords appropriately, and frankly, any other questions that you have for us, you can certainly still send them to podcast at radix hyphen communications.com.
I do also have to say that I’m afraid we won’t be running the best content of the year polls this year. There’s simply no time to get that done in anything like the high standard of quality that we’d like to for you. But hopefully we will run something else along those lines for you soon. So in the meantime, just because I feel bad that we haven’t put any advice and information in your earholes lately, we do have this collection of tips and highlights from guests over the past few months of the show. And I hope that you will find that useful.
John Kerrison: I’m John Kerrison, and I’m a Senior Copywriter at Radix Communications. My copywriting tip is to limit your vocabulary. That sounds like the opposite of what a writer should do. But often you’ll see people who are just starting out try and flex their inner thesaurus and pepper their copy with words you’d never use in conversation.
It’s important to remember that your job isn’t to show off, it’s to make things really clear and engaging for your reader. So as an example, instead of saying my work suffers from sesquipedalian loquaciousness, you can just say I use too many long words.
Matt Binny: Hi Matt Binny here, freelance writer from Falmouth in Cornwall. My copywriting tips are as follows. When I finish writing, I like to let it rest for a while or go make lunch, a cup of tea, probably then another cup of tea, then return with fresh eyes and proof. Always read copy out loud. [It’s] a very common tip for a reason: it’s very, very effective.
I also like to re-read copy as if I was someone with sort of no knowledge on the topic, or the product, or service, and ask a few questions: Does it tell me what I need to know? Would I buy it? Am I bored out of my mind? is always a good one too.
Giles Edwards: Hello, it’s Giles from …Gasp! My tip is: trim the fat. If you can take a word out and nothing is lost, you should.
Katherine Wildman: Hello, this is Katherine from Haydn Grey, and my favourite short copywriting tip is to remember that you’re only ever writing to one person at a time. So it’s never about the collective all of us, some of you, nothing like that. It’s a conversation between me, and what’s happening in my head, and the reader, and what’s happening in their head. One-to-one, very intimate, very privileged. So only ever write to that one person. Thanks for having me.
Katy: Radix’s head of copy, Matt Godfrey, is far too shy to record his actual voice, so we had to get a computer to read his tip for him.
RoboMatt: When you’ve finished writing a piece, delete your first sentence. Too much B2B content opens with unnecessary exposition, especially considering we’re typically writing for an expert audience. So, by deleting your first sentence, or even your first paragraph, there’s a good chance you’ll have a much stronger opening that will hook readers in, rather than telling them stuff they already know.
Ben: My name is Ben and I’m a Copywriter at Radix. For my copywriting tip of the month, I’m going to steal a piece of advice I learned from Fiona when I first joined the company.
Every time you switch the brand you’re writing for, just take 15 minutes to read some of their work, even if you’re already familiar with them. It could be a few blog posts, emails, or even an ebook. It will help you really capture their tone and voice, and get you in the right headspace for approaching the task at hand. It’s especially useful if you’re writing for multiple brands a day.
Vikki Ross: Hello, my name is Vikki Ross, and I’m a copywriter. One of my favourite copywriting tips is something David Abbott once said. He was one of the best copywriters in the world, so he knew what he was talking about. He said, “Sometimes the best copy is no copy.” I say that’s absolutely true, that sometimes you need a copywriter to say so.
I hope that helps you when you’re writing, or when you’re telling someone why you don’t need to write anything.
Claire: Hi, I’m Claire, a Junior Copywriter at Radix, and my favourite copywriting tip is to use fewer words. Read over your sentences and ask yourself, can I say the same thing in less words? The chances are that, if you can, it will make your writing clearer, more readable, and more concise.
David: And there you have it: a roundup of advice and information. I hope that’s helpful for you until we can get back with the other podcast proper.
Obviously, I’d like to thank everybody that contributed to that, once again. You’re all wonderful. And I’d like to thank Lisa Woodruff, who’s the Marketing Manager here at Radix. And does so much for the podcast behind the scenes. And Gareth at Bang and Smash Audio, who is very much the unsung hero, making all of this sound vaguely audible and make sense. So thanks to them.
And thanks to you for listening and for bearing with us while we get back to you with a proper podcast sometime in the near future.