As I approach the end of my first year as a Copywriter at Radix Communications, I’ve been reflecting on my development as a writer. A major part of my growth in this role has been characterised by a transition from being someone with a background firmly in marketing, to identifying myself as a professional B2B copywriter.
As I embarked upon this journey, I foolishly thought that it would be short and simple. In my uninitiated mind, the fields of marketing and copywriting seemed so closely linked that anyone with a strong understanding of one could competently perform tasks associated with the other.
This was true to some extent, and my knowledge of the industry and understanding of the goals that businesses want to achieve with copy helped me get off to a strong start. However, I soon began to realise that there is a colossal gap between competence and brilliance.
The marketing expertise that I gained during my studies helped me see the big picture in every brief I worked on. I understood where my copy would fit into a campaign, the importance of reinforcing the top level messaging, and the reaction that it needed to evoke from the reader. But, as I quickly learned, with copywriting the devil truly is in the detail.
Forgetting what I thought I knew
To excel as a copywriter, I had to change a few of the fundamentals that had helped me get started. I had to alter the way I viewed each brief and shift my focus from the big picture to the subtle nuances and finer details that make each job unique. Every piece of copy that I produced had to be specific and relevant to the person it was targeting. I quickly learned that copy that engages those who want to “boost their bottom line” is starkly different to that which appeals to those more interested in “improving sales process efficiency”.
This change of perspective also helped me build a stronger understanding of the subtleties that each client and target audience responded well to. In turn, it enabled me to consistently produce copy that they were pleased with, that was aligned with their corporate tone of voice and strategic objectives, and that drove the results they were looking for.
New challenges, old solutions
As the days and months went on, I faced new challenges in my quest for copywriting excellence. One of which was constantly finding the ideal balance between simplicity and complexity for B2B technology audiences.
We all know that shorter tends to be better, and that we should endeavour to get our message across in the most concise way possible, but balancing this against the technical complexity of the subject area is a tough task that takes some serious skill to get right.
The insight needed to strike this balance correctly led me to call on the higher-level industry knowledge that I had sworn off mere months beforehand. To make the best decisions I had to look at a complete picture of every job – one comprised of both the top level campaign goals, and the nuances that truly influence how well my copy resonates with the target audience.
It’s all about balance
In retrospect, the biggest lesson I have learned is that producing great B2B technology copy is all about finding balances. The balance between driving sales and thought leadership, the balance between simplicity of message and technical complexity, and the balance between thinking like a marketer and thinking like a writer.
One year in I have come to settle somewhere between the two – blending my areas of knowledge as required by each individual job. But the journey is far from over, and from what I’ve learned in year one, keeping an open mind and being willing to change what I think I know are going to be essential to my ongoing growth and development.
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