It’s the 100th episode of the Radix Communications podcast… and it’s all change. New format, new sound, and a new name. So if you were expecting Good Copy, Bad Copy, don’t panic; you’re in the right place.
You’ll still hear great guests discussing B2B content and copywriting. But as the new name suggests, each episode of B2BQ&A will focus on a specific question, submitted by you. You set the agenda, and we go in search of an expert who can answer.
To kick off, we have an excellent question from marketer and content specialist Zdenka Linkova.
Zdenka asks: “How do you convince your clients to check for the factual accuracy of a content piece, like an ebook or a case study, rather than checking and changing every single word in your document – and leave the tone of voice and wording up to the copywriter?”
As our Barriers to B2B Content survey revealed, this is a perennial problem for writers and marketers alike. So we enlisted Doug Kessler, no less, to give us the definitive answer.
For this special episode, we’re also joined by a very familiar voice. Fiona Campbell-Howes returns as co-host, as we take the opportunity to reflect on the last eight and a half years of the Radix podcast, revisiting some of the wisdom from our previous contributors over the last 99 episodes.
You’ll hear from (deep breath): Emily King, Fiona Campbell-Howes, James Henry, Doug Kessler, Lorraine Williams, Pauliina Jamsa, Lasse Lund, Kate Stoodley, Maureen Blandford, Dr Andrew Bredenkamp, Harendra Kapur, Nick Mason, Shaema Katib, Matthew Harper, Alice Farnham, Angela Cattin, Mwamba Kasanda, Professor Chris Trudeau, Raine Hunt, Joel Harrison, Dr Christine Bailey, Rhiannon Blackwell, Luan Wise, Natalie Narh, Kavita Singh, Sonja Nisson, and John Espirian.
Huge thanks to you all, and to everyone else who contributed to the last 99 episodes. And huge kudos to Emily, who had the idea for the podcast (waaaay before it was cool) and kept it running for so long. You rock.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Radix podcast without a copywriting tip of the month. Radix Copywriter Ben Clarke lets us into the secret of how to make sure your tone of voice is on brand for the client you’re writing for.
You’ll find a full transcript of our podcast at the end of this post.
So, how do you get clients to stop meddling with your wording?
A conversation with a client or stakeholder, asking them to trust that you know what you’re doing as a content creator, is never an easy prospect. But like most difficult conversations, it can be well worth it if you get the outcome you want.
Thankfully, Doug Kessler has loads of tips to make sure you raise the subject at the right time, and in the most constructive way. Here are three to get you started:
- ‘If it’s making the copy better, it’s not meddling.’
Whisper it quietly, but the first thing to consider is whether the client or stakeholder reviewing your work might actually be right. It’s important to remember that they have probably been in this game for a long time, like you. And they might be tweaking your copy for the better.
- ‘Defend your work without defensiveness.’
If you want clients and stakeholders to listen to you as an expert writer, first you have to establish credibility. And that credibility cannot be demanded – it has to be earned. Start by by standing your ground in situations where you have the expertise, but also accepting neutral things that aren’t going to change the copy that much.
- ‘You’ve got to brief them clearly.’
If you can be really clear in advance about which aspects of your content need feedback, you’re more likely to get constructive results. So if your work is going to a client or stakeholder for review, adding a note to say: “We’re reviewing writing style separately, but I really need you to check the technical accuracy of this piece” might make them more inclined to focus less on the wording, and more on the facts.
In this episode, you’ll find…
1:20 – We welcome our co-host Fiona Campbell-Howes and introduce B2BQ&A.
4:45 – We mark our 100th episode by revisiting clips from the last eight years.
10:50 – We put Zdenka Linkova’s question to Doug Kessler.
23:35 – We hear some more wisdom from the last 99 episodes of the Radix podcast.
29:50 – Our copywriting tip of the month from Ben Clarke.
31:20 – We listen to a final set of past contributions to the podcast.
Have you got a question for B2BQ&A?
We’re ready to asnwer you! 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” to download)
- Or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts
- Alternatively, add our RSS to your preferred podcast player
- And don’t forget you can follow us on Spotify
- Firstly, thank you to Fiona Campbell-Howes. It was wonderful to have you back as our co-host.
- Thank you to Zdenka Linkova, for your brilliant question.
- And Doug Kessler, thank you for answering it so expertly.
- Thanks to Ben Clarke, for that excellent copywriting tip of the month.
- And last but absolutely not least, thank you to everyone who has contributed to the last 99 episodes of the Radix podcast. We couldn’t have made it to 100 without you.
Podcast editing and music by Bang and Smash
Transcript: B2BQ&A 100: How can I stop clients meddling with my wording?
How do you convince your clients to check for the factual accuracy of a content piece, like an ebook or a case study, rather than checking and changing every single word in your document and leave the tone of voice and wording up to the copywriter?
Fiona: It’s a brilliant question and I love it. Let’s ask Doug Kessler.
David: Hello, listener and welcome to B2BQ&A, the podcast where we go in search and an answer to your question about B2B content writing. This is also Episode 100 of the Radix Communications Podcast, so if you were expecting Good Copy, Bad Copy, don’t panic, you are in the right place. You’ll still hear great guests and co-hosts sharing advice on B2B copywriting – just in a shorter, more focused format. With a new sound and a new name.
Fiona: This episode, we ask Doug Kessler a question from Zdenka Linkova. How do you get clients and stakeholders to focus on checking for accuracy and let the writer handle the wording and the voice?
David: But first, where are my manners? We need some introductions. My name is David McGuire. I’m Creative Director at Radix Communications the B2B writing agency. And for this special episode, I’m joined by a suitably special guest co-host. It’s B2B technology writer, co-founder of this very podcast and my former boss, Fiona Campbell-Howes. Fiona, welcome back.
Fiona: Hello, thank you very much and thank you for having me back.
David: Oh no; anytime. How have you been?
Fiona: Good? Thank you. Yeah, surprisingly good, considering, you know, what we’ve just all been through. But yeah, the writing’s going well and I think I’ve been quite lucky in having quite a lot of clients and quite a lot of work. So I think our sector, especially, was one that survived the pandemic pretty well. Did you find the same at Radix?
David: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve never been so busy as we were over the last year or so. Which is, admittedly, a nicer set of problems to have than a lot of people have had lately. Do you feel that the market has changed at all, for B2B writing over the over the last year, 18 months?
Fiona: Well, I think what it seemed to be is, in all of the content that we wrote over the last three or four years or so it was all about digital transformation is going to happen in the future, and the future is going to be like this. And then suddenly it happened. And then every tech company suddenly had to rethink what the future is going to be. So all the content that had been produced kind of went out of date overnight. And we were called in to produce brand new content with brand new predictions about the future. So yeah, that’s pretty much how it’s gone for me.
David: Yeah, that sounds very, very familiar. And the new company, the new world post-Radix, for you is Greythorne. Is that right?
Fiona: Greythorne, yes. That’s my alias. It’s basically just me. I’ve got an unnecessarily swanky office – next door to yours.
David: It’s good to know you’re not far away.
Fiona: In the next-door building. I did move one building away. We could just about wave to each other. But we’re facing in different directions. So that’s where I am. And I’m doing pretty much what I was doing before at Radix. So it’s still B2B tech content.
David: Just without having to wrangle a team of 20 people?
Fiona: Yeah. So it’s more wrangling clients and less wrangling of people. Which does give more time to do the writing, which I actually really enjoy.
David: Well, great. Can’t criticise that at all. So anyway, Fiona, I’m sure you know, if you cast your mind back, you’ll remember how this goes. But could you please tell the listener how they can get in touch with us?
Fiona: Well, yeah, I sort of remember how this goes. But I’m wondering if maybe there’s new jingles – so I’m looking forward to finding out. So listener, if you have any comments or suggestions, you can find Radix on LinkedIn or on Twitter @radixcom. Or if you want us to answer your question, email us the voice memo, email@example.com.
David: Well, I guess that answers that. In just a moment, we’ll hear from Zdenka Linkova and from Doug. But this is our 100th episode and it’s one where one podcast is turning into another. So we’re going to mark that by playing in a few clips and thanking some of the people who have contributed over the past eight and a half years.
Emily King: “Welcome to Episode One of the Radix Copycast. Here we’ll be discussing some of the current trends and issues in B2B technology copywriting.”
Fiona: “You have to show the benefit of what you’re offering to your audience. It’s no use talking about your own product or talking about your own company or saying, ‘Oh, we’ve got a webinar’, ‘we’ve got a white paper’, those don’t seem to work. It’s can you show the value of opening the email to the recipient.”
James Henry: “I’m not sure having a three-act structure automatically engages the audience. But I think the human brain is hardwired to expect stories to have a certain shape. So if your story has got three acts, in whatever kind of proportion to each other, that’s just enough for the brain to sort of click into ‘Ah, I’m hearing I’m experiencing a story here’, then what you have to do is bring the engaging kind of elements to it.”
Doug Kessler: “Structurally rich and semantically categorized content, which makes it automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable, that seems to be the characteristics of intelligent content.”
Emily King: “Hello, and welcome to the 26th episode of radix. His podcast, which we’ve renamed Good Copy, Bad Copy,” (Fiona: “Nice.”)
Lorraine Williams: “If you can write something and then leave it, even if it’s for like an hour before you go back to it, or do something different away from anything, you have a slightly different headspace. So you won’t still be in that zone. So just, if you can leave it a whole day, that’d be amazing. Because you will definitely spot things.”
Pauliina Jamsa: “Stand-up comedy is all about dealing with difficult things, and making fun out of it. So, all the videos and content that I’m doing, I always have a little glint in the eye, so to speak. So it’s done with a sense of humour which makes even serious topics much more fun.”
Lasse Lund: “The data shows our customers are really interested in getting into, like, the nitty-gritty detail of what’s going on with some of our products and stuff like that. And so they do like the other stuff, too, at certain points. But that’s just one example of that we, you know, it’s one thing to rely on gut instinct. And the longer you’re in a company that the better that will be, right? But also making sure to measure and track and pull lessons away.”
Kate Stoodley: “It kind of has to again, come down to having social be a seat at the content planning table, and be a really collaborative approach. I think that’s really the only way that things can can really make sense. Because just because you can put something on social doesn’t mean you should.”
Maureen Blandford: “Generally what resonates with targets are their own words. If I’m selling ,particularly in a complex sale, I need marketing to behave the way in the market that great salespeople behave. So bubble up pain, ask good questions.”
Fiona: We just heard from Emily King, me, my husband James Henry, Doug (who we’re going to hear from in a minute), Lorraine Williams, Pauliina Jamsa, Lasse Lund, Kate Stoodley, and Maureen Blandford.
David: It’s always been an excuse to talk to really good people, this podcast. It’s changed a lot over the last eight and a half years. I think that’s safe to say.
Fiona: And thanks very much to all of you for being part of the podcast.
David: So lots of memories there. Fiona, when you started the podcast with Emily back in 2013, did you think it would get to 100 episodes?
Fiona: I didn’t think it would get to 10 episodes! I have to say I was a very reluctant participant at the start. So I don’t even know if I could be thought of as the co-founder of the podcast, because it was Emily. And you know, she had a lot of podcasting experience. She’s very keen that we did this and I was absolutely terrified. So if anybody’s listening, I apologise for the fact that I was so reluctant back in the day. But yeah, I thought we’d run out of topics after five or six. So the fact that it’s still going, what, eight years later, and 100 episodes. Yeah, it just shows how much there is to talk about in B2B copywriting.
David: Yeah, I mean, it’s now had three names. So for the first 25 episodes it was Radix Copycast, then it had 74 episodes as Good Copy, Bad Copy, before being B2BQ&A. And also, both of the original presenters have now left. I’m kind of wondering if it’s one of these Ship of Theseus things. At what point does it cease to be the same podcast? Although they called it the Ship of Theseus on Wandavision, but to me, I just always think of that as being Trigger’s Broom.
Fiona: Yeah, I had to look up the Ship of Theseus. You said, is it like the Ship of Theseus/Sugarbabes/Trigger’s Broom. So I was alright with the Sugarbabes and Trigger’s Broom, butt Ship of Theseus I had to look up. Well, I think you’ve had Emily back on as a guest presenter or co-host and I’m back here now. So you know, there are certain elements that recur.
So we’ll hear from some more guests later in the episode. But first the part we’re actually here for where we take our listener’s question and find an expert to answer it. Here’s Zdenka.
Zdenka: Hi, this is Zdenka Linkova. I’m a freelance content specialist from the Czech Republic. And I would like to ask for your advice on clients feedback. How do you convince your clients to check for the factual accuracy of a content piece, like an ebook or a case study, rather than checking and changing every single word in your document and leave the tone of voice and wording up to the copywriter? Thank you very much. Take care, and bye-bye.
David: Oh, this is a great question to start our new format. Although, Zdenka, if you don’t mind, we’ll take clients to include internal stakeholders, too, so that we can cover both agency people, freelancers, and in house marketers. Our research into obstacles to great B2B content shows stakeholder interference is among the biggest frustrations for B2B content marketers worldwide. 86% of respondents said it was an issue. What’s more, six out of ten think their sign off process makes their content worse. So we went right to the top for this one. Doug Kessler, creative director and co-founder of Velocity Partners. He’s known for content that’s a little outside the usual B2B comfort zone. So I asked him, How do you stop pesky clients meddling with your copy?
Doug: I do think it’s only meddling if it’s wrong, if it’s making the copy better, it’s not meddling. And so we think of it as meddling, whether it is or it’s irrelevant. And, you know, I think the core thing is you earn your credibility, you can’t just demand it, you have to earn it. And you have to deserve it. I do get prima donna writers who, the work isn’t good enough to be Prima Donna, if you know you slam-dunked it by all means defend everything to the last minute. But if you haven’t, listen and take on board stuff. Now we all know, some of that isn’t great.
But first thing is your positioning as an expert, as an expert writer, and as really good at this. And your positioning as it goes up, you get less and less of that. And, of course, there are stakeholders who come in and don’t know you and so there’s that. But your job is to earn that credibility and part of earning that is defending your work without defensiveness. Accept the neutral things that aren’t going to change it that much the things that make it better embrace, so be ready to do all that.
Whereas I do find some writers are like, every note seems to be a stain. And we’ve got to get out of that mindset. They’re not the enemy here. And so, you want feedback, we need feedback for our work, right? So you just want to focus that feedback on the person’s area of expertise, you don’t necessarily want style notes from a techie. I once got a ton of style notes. And at the end of the call, I realised this is the lawyer, they were asked to review it, because of legal reasons. And he’s given me all the style points as soon as he hung up, I pretty much crumpled it up.
But you want to try to focus it on their area of expertise, then you’ve got to brief them clearly, don’t just send them the copy. You’ve got to brief them on what is it for? What’s it not for? Who’s it for? Who’s it not for? What do you want from them, and what don’t you want? So if you are really clear and say, Look, I don’t really need you for style, I need you for accuracy – you might find that they’re, less inclined to improve your style.
So some of that actually briefing them is a big part of it. And I think maybe the last part is or a third part is don’t ask if you don’t really want the input. Now, obviously, if it’s you’re client you may not have that option, but you don’t have to ask everybody. And so there’s always that option, you know, I guess finally if it’s a chronic problem, and it’s a stakeholder you can’t get away from you got to have that difficult conversation. There’s a book called difficult conversations. I absolutely love it. It helps you have these and get them to the table to say we seem to have a working problem, let’s talk about it. So there’s that too.
David: Is this a problem that you still yourself get sometimes? Or do you get to a point where your Doug Kessler, Nobody messes with you?
Doug: Absolutely. No, there’s absolutely no, I get no points, I get kids out of college with a ‘how to write copy’ book on their desk in front of them, telling me how to fucking write copy. And so I get it all the time. And in truth, no, I was going to lie there. I said, in truth, and I was about to lie and say, it doesn’t bother me – it can really fucking bother me. But let’s face it, it’s a service business, we have to give the client what they want. But our job is to make them want the right thing. It’s not an obstacle to our job. This is our job. We’ve got to take that seriously.
If we’re failing to make them want the right thing. That’s our fucking fault. Right? We cannot cry about it and moan about it. So it’s a service business, and I’m in a service business, I don’t care if they’re right out of college, they’re the fucking client, they’re paying the bills, I will listen. But my job is to try to make them want the right thing. And if you fail over and over and over, well, you know, you got to fire that client or fire that boss by quitting. So if you really don’t, you’re just out of sync with what good is, you’re never going to please them or yourself. So find something else. Find somewhere else.
David: Thank you. So, to summarise, just in terms of tips for the listener, you were kind of saying it starts with briefing them clearly, earning it, earning the credibility, picking your battles a little bit on the feedback that you push back on, and what you won’t push back on. Anything else that I’ve missed there, or are those really the key things aligning around what good looks like?
Doug: Yeah, those things, I think, aligning up front to agree on what good looks like is a really big one. And if it’s the thing about they’re killing my mojo, like they’d systematically went through at every conversational moment, they stomped it out – you may not be aligned on what good copy is. And you need to kind of talk about it in the abstract before you talk about it for this specific piece of copy. And if you really fundamentally disagree then, well then, if you still want to please that stakeholder or client, you do it their way you don’t get to have all bitter about it. They’ve agreed they don’t want to do conversational, let’s say.
But let’s face it, some of this is: be open to being wrong. One person’s conversational is another’s cute, like, I hate cute. And I know that a lot of writers who go for conversational trip into cute very easily. I know I do it myself. There are times I think it was fine. And I read it later and think wow, that that’s horribly cute. That’s ‘Look at me’ writing and I think a lot of writers are very proud of the ‘look at me’ writing. It’s not what we’re here for. It’s not to make people say, wow, it’s so well written, it’s to change their mind and incite action and do something not to, to say Wasn’t that a cool turn of phrase. So these cool turns of phrase that we’re so proud of, might truly be jangling for the reader.
And so we should be open to being wrong. And that, our conversational and cool turn of phrase, actually didn’t serve the brief.
David: Thanks again, Zdenka, for your question. And thanks, Doug, for such a thoughtful response. Fiona, you’ve been at this writing game for a while, you must have some thoughts on this, I’m sure.
Fiona: Yeah, this is actually one of my favourite topics. Because I’m sort of jumped to the end of what Doug was saying, you know, having those difficult conversations with clients or stakeholders about them, in quote marks, ‘meddling’ with your copy is something that I’ve come to really enjoy doing. And I actually sometimes hope that stakeholders will meddle with my copy, so that I can have those conversations.
So, yeah, I really like this topic. And I really like Doug’s answers to it. Because there’s just so much wisdom in everything that Doug says, he’s like a sort of Egyptian cotton sheet.
David: I’m sorry what?
Fiona: You know how Egyptian cotton sheets have got a really high thread count? I think that with Doug, you get a really high wisdom count, a high insight count. I’ve got his interview in front of me, and I’ve just bolded all the things that I think: Yeah, he just said that really well. That’s absolutely brilliant. And it’s so true. About how you can’t demand credibility, you earn it. So very often, when stakeholders have input into your copy it is actually, right, they are actually helping to make it better.
And you can’t just, as a writer, just assume that you are the best and that everything you write is the best possible way it can be written. Because there are many people who are very good writers, and they may not be a writer for a living, but they do have some very valid suggestions to make. So, I really like that. But once you kind of earn your credibility, and part of that you actually do by having those difficult conversations with stakeholders. I find it’s much easier to earn your credibility by working in collaboration and having conversation rather than communicating with the stakeholder through the comments on a Word document.
David: So how do you actually approach those conversations, then if that’s something you particularly relish doing?
Fiona: So there has to be real reason for it. So, to give you one example. Recently, I’ve been working with a big tech company, one that you’ve heard of, I mean, not you, you’ve heard of all tech companies, but one that everybody’s heard of. And there were let’s say that about eight to ten, stakeholders for each piece that I was writing, and there was a real was a real division between one group of stakeholders who were briefing me to write something like a white paper, and another group of stakeholders who were reviewing that copy, but who wanted to see something that would read like an article in wired. And so I was caught between these two groups, and whatever I wrote for the first group would not wash with the second group, so I had to rewrite it.
And after three of four times of having to rewrite the entire thing from scratch, because it didn’t read like an article in wired, I thought, okay, we’re going to have to have that conversation. So let’s request – this was going through an agency as well, so I didn’t have direct contact with the stakeholders – let’s request a meeting with these stakeholders. And let’s just work out what it is they actually want to see? And how can we all get on the same page with what the output looks like? So how do I get brief to produce something that everybody wants to see? And that went really well.
So, those conversations were had. They weren’t confrontational conversations at all. They were really collaborative conversations. Like, we’re all working towards the same goal, we want to produce a brilliant piece of content. And since having that, I haven’t had to rewrite anything, which is brilliant for me. But also, I think they’ve got much better content out of it, as well. So the whole thing about being aligned on what good content looks like and making sure everybody knows what the end product should look like, is really, really important. And sometimes it does take a conversation like that.
David: So if you had to take one point away from what Doug said, to answer Zdenka’s question, how would you put it?
Fiona: So I think for Zdenka and for all the other hundreds and thousands of writers out there that are getting these horrible bits of feedback from clients and clients meddling in things that they shouldn’t be. I think the thing that Doug said, for me, is that we’re not enemies, it’s not us and them, it’s not the client and us and it’s a kind of war of attrition. I think the thing to know is that we are, or we should be on the same side.
It should be a collaboration. So, I’d say the way to stop stakeholders meddling is to have those conversations and to make sure that you are collaborating and not being confrontational with each other.
So in a moment, we’ll hear from Ben Clarke with his copywriting tip of the month. But first, as this is Episode 100, let’s hear some more wisdom from the last 99.
Andrew Bredenkamp: “There are, as with anything else, parts of the writing process that are very repetitive, and don’t require a very sophisticated process. And I think in those situations we’re looking at automating some of those. And so it’s really a collaborative… as in many fields, AI will not be replacing people, it will be taking away the grunt work, taking away the boring repetitive tasks and leaving the humans to do the higher end thinking and creative pieces of it.”
Harendra Kapur: “Very often, when people do research, they’re researching to collect facts. The thing I find way more interesting and way more useful, is to research for opinions. Really, the most useful thing for me is a phone call with a customer or a blog from someone with actual skin in the game, just complaining about their job, or just the category. That is so much more useful to me than ‘12% of people use this system and that system.’ ”
Nick Mason: “The reason why we are sort of anti-PDF, if you like, where we’re on that side of the of the argument, is we see it as a format that was created obviously, a long time ago; I think back as far as 1991. And really, so much has moved on since then. And PDF really, to our minds, hasn’t kept pace with that.”
Shaema Katib: “Of course, we do have a clear good standard of what good content is based on historical performance, right. So these are our safe bets; content pieces that we know, will always work. Things like case studies, we’ve we’ve always seen that many of our best performing content have that credibility factor in them, like, they have things like statistics, testimonies, customer success stories in different formats, whether it be videos, case studies, or webinars. These things have always performed the best on a global scale.”
Mat Harper: “I get the impression that marketers are always trying to justify their worth, and justify them being in the company. So to spend time on something that isn’t easily measurable, or doesn’t quickly show return on investment, is difficult.”
Alice Farnham: “It’s really about sort of bringing, I think anyway, it’s about bringing out the best of them and bringing out that sort of individuality within the orchestra. But at the same time having a sort of coherence, and the sort of vision of what you want as well.”
Angela Cattin: “So that’s the classic where a company’s using it’s own data and there’s naturally lot’s of sensitivities around that. So naturally in those instances, you want to go out there with very bold message. And there’s just a little bit of sensitivity, and you have to rein it in a little bit.”
Mwamba Kasanda: “And that is a critical differentiator. Rather than people seeing an advertisement, an email, but when they have their actual contact within the business talking to them about the campaign, it’s much more powerful and and that person can also put it into their into context, into their world, and make it relevant for where they are right now.”
Chris Trudeau: “There’s even more data now suggesting that as, you know, people know what they like. When you ask them do they want plain language, they don’t know what that means. So they tend to think as I was listening to one of your podcasts from a few months ago, that plain language is dumbing things down, but yet that’s not what it is. When you read something that’s clear, how many times have you actually said, ‘Oh, this is too clear’? You know, nobody says that.”
David: We just heard from Dr Andrew Bredenkamp, Harry Kapur, Nick Mason, Shaema Shazleen Katib, Mat Harper, Alice Farnham, Angela Cattin, Mwamba Kasanda, and Professor Chris Trudeau. We are super grateful. Now let’s get that copywriting tip.
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.
Fiona: Thank you very much, Ben. I’m glad to hear you found the advice helpful. I have to say, it wasn’t my advice. I nicked it from George RR Martin, who said that, because there are so many characters in his Game of Thrones books, whenever he comes to write for a character that he hasn’t written for a while, he goes back to read previous sections where that character featured so that he can get back into their voice. And I’ve always found it really useful. And I still do it now. So it’s a very good tip. Thank you.
David: I wonder which B2B tech firm is the equivalent of Hodor?
Fiona: I don’t think we should say in a public forum.
David: Well, that is very nearly all we have time for. But before we go, let’s hear one last chunk of distilled wisdom from our guests over the last 99 episodes.
Raine Hunt: “I think what people forget is, they are still consumers, in their jobs and outside. And as such, the messages must be more sophisticated than they have been to date to ensure that we are responding to the needs of those individuals. So that’s where the value proposition and what you stand for, and what makes you unique is so important for marketers in the NHS.”
Joel Harrison: “The biggest thing that’s made a difference in this industry is the understanding of the importance of emotion. And it is about understanding what drives an individual. And being able to really focus in on that, whether it’s on a granular level, or a kind of persona based level is, I think, what’s made the industry so much more of a wonderful, fulfilling place to work for everybody who’s remotely creative.”
Dr Christine Bailey: “Right now, we need certainty. It’s a very uncertain world. So we need some data points. And we’ve also been conditioned to believe that the more points of evidence we have, the more likely people are to believe us. So that’s another reason why it’s good to use data and insights in our story.”
Rhiannon Blackwell: “So that, for me, is the most critical thing about content in ABM. I think it’s really important that whatever you do produce, clients can recognise themselves in it. So not only the relevance to what they’re trying to achieve, but also the language that’s being used.”
Luan Wise: “When it comes to writing content, I think there’s best practices, whether it’s social media content, or blogs or anything else, and that’s: know who you’re writing it for, and write it for them. And to have a purpose, particularly when we’re doing it for business. Make sure you include a call to action, make it into a conversation and make it social on social media. That’s a good post.”
Natalie Narh: “It’s always, lik,e thinking about how you might perceive it and then putting yourself in the shoes of someone else to see how other parties might perceive it as well. And I think if more businesses did that, at every stage of production, they would then get to realise how the story changes over time. It sounds like a very simple thing to do, but I don’t think people question their processes enough.”
Kavita Singh: “So I would say, if you do want to do more diversity content, set a target. You know, for us we do a monthly feature or blog. And you know, sometimes it’s around mental health, you know, I’ve done one on psychological safety in the workplace, these all contribute to different aspects of diversity.”
Sonja Nisson: “It’s an approach to market which you could coin with this mantra: ‘Help, don’t sell; talk, don’t yell; show, don’t tell.’ So it’s a different approach to marketing, and it came out of sales experience, really.”
John Espirian: “It’s even more the case these days, especially now we’re in pandemic land, the last thing we want to get is a sales message. And yet, she says, and I totally agree with this, that if you give away your information, your ideas, as generously as you can, that’s actually what gets people’s attention. So you know, valuable content is is actually being as helpful as you can to the other person. That’s what builds trust. And actually, ultimately, that’s what does business for you.”
Fiona: So we just heard from Raine Hunt, Joel Harrison, Dr Christine Bailey, Rhiannon Blackwell, Luan Wise, Natalie Narh, Kavita Singh, Sonja Nisson, and John Espirian. Thanks very much to all of you for contributing. And thanks too, to Ben Clarke to Doug Kessler and to Zdenka Linkova. I hope you feel we’ve answered your question.
David: And thanks to you, Fiona for coming back in and co-hosting. It’s been lovely. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
Fiona: I have it’s taken me right. Yeah, it’s been a pleasure.
David: We don’t have the ‘pod yurt’ these days, you’re not surrounded in a cardboard box trying to—
Fiona: No, I am! I am! I’ve built one. I’ll send you a photo.
David: I look forward to it. Listener, remember, in a future episode, it could be your question we answer.
If you have a question for B2BQ&A to answer, email a voice memo to firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on social media.
David: I’ll see you next month for another B2Q&A. When we’ll be answering: How important is grammar, really? If you have any answers or thoughts on that please do send them our way. Until then make good content and remember, we have every right to create our own destiny, but none to interfere with someone else’s. Unless it’s to insert an Oxford comma. Goodbye!