Brilliant B2B technology copywriters can bring a lot of benefits to their clients. A skilled writer can quickly understand a client’s business, service or product, and deliver accurate, high-quality content.
But how much technical knowledge does a writer actually need to do B2B technology copywriting well? And how much does a writer need when starting out?
In this blog, we’ll explore the essentials of B2B tech copywriting, and how we help our writers acquire enough knowledge to write convincingly about even the most intense technical topics.
How much do you need to know?
When you’re starting out as a junior copywriter, you don’t need any technical knowledge – just a willingness to learn about some niche and nerdy things. Here at Radix, we generally take talented writers who have a clear interest in the subject, and teach them how to translate technical jargon into clear, easy-to-follow copy.
In fact, when you’re not a tech expert, it can often be easier to articulate clients’ expertise in a way that resonates with a less-techy audience. But of course, as with anything, there are some essentials.
The need-to-knows: your audience, the jargon, and the right questions
Like all writing, B2B tech copywriting requires you to know your audience. Without knowing what they care about or their level of tech expertise, it’s difficult to write something engaging, or even relevant.
Part of knowing your audience will mean understanding what terminology they use, and that’ll change depending on the client, product, or format – meaning you’ll end up learning a whole bunch of new terms as you work with clients over time. To get ahead, read Ben’s glossary – a quickstart guide to some of the most common concepts you might need.
There’s no pressure for a junior copywriter to know these things from the start; you’re not expected to be an expert. But you do at least need to know the right questions to ask of someone who is.
Asking good questions doesn’t just give you the input you need to write accurate, engaging copy first time. It reassures your interviewee that they’re in safe hands, and strengthens relationships with your clients (and even your clients’ clients if you happen to speak to them as well – which is what marketers want to see).
This might feel like a lot, but don’t fret. We help our writers acquire the knowledge they need to write convincingly about the internet of things, hyper-converged infrastructure, and everything in between. Here’s how we do it.
Training and client-specific onboarding
For junior copywriters, the first few months at Radix involve various training sessions with members of our team. Juniors get an intro to B2B content marketing, alongside training on copyediting, SEO, proofing and reviewing copy, and much more.
Plus, for every client juniors work on, we deliver client-specific onboarding – almost like a mini-training session, providing everything they’ll need to know before getting stuck in. We also prepare starter documents and organise past projects they can read before being invited to sit in on calls or start any writing.
A big part of client-specific onboarding will be independently reading their websites and social media pages – figuring out what they’re all about, and the tone and vocabulary they use in their content. But it won’t be the only research our juniors do.
Giving juniors the time to research is essential. It gives people new to the industry a good idea of what’s going on in the B2B marketing, technology, and the B2B tech world. We recommend picking up The Economist or Wired, which will provide a taste of the kind of thing our clients (and their clients) are probably reading too.
It’s also likely that in the first few weeks of training, Matt’ll hand juniors a copy of In the Beginning… Was the Command Line, providing Neal Stephenson’s biased take on different operating systems and the coding behind the modern computer. Or they’ll have the choice to pick up any book that suits their fancy from the Radix office library or our writer’s reading list.
Beyond these suggestions, we also give juniors the opportunity to learn however is best for them – whether that’s scouring YouTube, listening to podcasts, or reading blogs like this one (good choice, by the way).
Learning by experience
Some things juniors will learn over time, from practice, experience, and observing and eavesdropping on senior colleagues around our award-winning eco waterside offices in Penryn, Cornwall.
Take client calls, for example – sure, they’re a great way to get familiar with clients and briefings. But calls also mean juniors are learning firsthand how real people handle technical jargon, and they provide the opportunity to ask those really great questions I mentioned earlier. Calls are a chance to see how everything they’ve learnt comes together, live in action.
The same goes for proofing and reviewing each other’s work, as part of our QA process. Reading the work of other writers gives juniors insight into writing about technology beyond what they’ve already encountered, and can help cement what they already know.
Inevitably, the first steps in B2B tech can feel a bit daunting for any new copywriter. After all, you’re a smart person (who probably has a history of getting most things right first time), and having so much to learn can hit you like a bucket of cold water.
But that’s where being part of a writing team helps. We’ve all been there, so you’ll be surrounded by colleagues who can reassure you that it’s completely normal, and you’re doing great. Because the chances are, you really will be.
Sound good? Get in touch.