How to be a B2B tech copywriter

As we recently advertised for an entry-level Junior B2B Copywriter, we asked our Head of Copy, Matt Godfrey, what he looks for in an applicant, and what it takes to be a successful B2B tech writer.

How to be a B2B tech copywriter

At Radix, we’ve been developing great B2B technology copywriters for almost as long as we’ve been in business. And much of that development has come under the guiding hand of our Head of Copy, Matt Godfrey.

So, as we were on the lookout for a new junior copywriter to join our ranks – potentially giving a writer their first steps in the industry – we asked Matt for his view on what he’s looking for in an application, and what kind of person would be likely to succeed as a B2B tech writer.

What makes a great B2B tech writer?

Great B2B tech writers can quickly grasp the essentials of complex topics and products, and then write about them in a way that’s accurate, clear, authoritative, engaging, and persuasive – and pitched at exactly the right level for the target audience.

They understand that a 40-word sentence (like that last one) must be properly paced, and that it should probably be two 20-word sentences. Reading their work takes zero effort.

They begin every piece of writing with the reader in mind; they write for people, not search engines. They spend (nearly) as much time planning what to write as they do writing it. They have no problem writing in different brand voices (and in different tones within those voices).

They have the correct opinions on Oxford commas and em-dashes.

And, like all great writers, they’re also avid readers.

What sets a Radix writer apart – which qualities tend to help a writer succeed here?

Successful Radix writers are keen to continuously learn and improve. They have the ambition to try new things, and the humility to learn from feedback. They freely share their expertise with others, and they value the advice they get from colleagues.

Radix writers enjoy finding creative solutions to gnarly writing challenges. They flit gracefully between client voices, like butterflies with biros. They avoid similes and metaphors.

They understand how to quickly triage large amounts of information and absorb the bits they need.

They work fast. Very fast. But they know when to take their time.

Is there a natural writing style that works well in B2B?

I’m not especially interested in “natural writing style”. As B2B writers, we have to be able to detach ourselves from our natural style and assume the various styles of our clients. For example, I’ve been writing B2B marketing copy for nearly 12 years, and not once have I used anything even close to my natural style.

That said, if you naturally write in a clear, concise, and engaging way, that’s a great start.

What strengths other than writing are important, and why?

Flexibility and teamwork are essential. With dozens of active projects at any given time, it’s vital that we all work together to stop the whole thing falling off a cliff. (As if.)

The ability to think clearly in high-pressure situations is a real bonus. And you must be able to manage your time to meet deadlines. You also need the confidence to push back when those deadlines are unrealistic.

Do our writers need to be experts in B2B tech?

Nope; our job is to articulate our clients’ tech expertise. So we generally take talented writers and help them learn about B2B tech – especially in Junior Copywriter roles.

(That does mean you at least need a willingness to learn about some pretty niche and nerdy things.)

As our writers become more experienced, they do accumulate a decent level of expertise in the technologies they write about regularly. This helps them to ask the right questions of subject matter experts, handle industry jargon with authority, and find the most interesting angle in complicated source materials.

And because they write for many different clients about all kinds of tech, they also bring a broader perspective that experts in niche areas can find valuable.

What do you look for in an application?

It’s an application for a copywriting job, so obviously it needs to be well written. If it’s a bit too dry and dull, it probably won’t make the cut. But if it’s trying too hard to look clever, that can be a turn-off too. And if it’s riddled with typos, you probably shouldn’t expect a call.

Above all, I look for enthusiasm. I need to believe that the person behind the application understands what we’re looking for, has a basic grasp of what we do, and is excited about the idea of working with us. Don’t convince me you’re the best person for the job (your writing example and your interview should do that) – convince me that you want the job more than anyone else. And also that you’re the best person for the job. (Nobody said it was easy.)

Don’t rely on your CV – let your covering letter do the heavy lifting. I’ve hired every writer on the team, and the one common factor in all their applications was that they wrote a really great covering letter that left us no choice but to interview them.

Think of your covering letter as a piece of marketing copy. If your writing can persuade me to give you an interview, you’ve already demonstrated that you understand the First Commandment of Marketing Copywriting – get the reader to do something.

How should an applicant choose what writing example to send?

If you’re applying for a Junior Copywriter role, you don’t need to have experience of writing marketing copy. But if you’ve done some marketing writing in the past, it would be great to see an example of it, whatever the topic.

Other than that, send a piece you’re proud of that demonstrates some of the qualities I’ve highlighted. Something clear, well-structured, and engaging. Something that shows you enjoy writing, and that you think about the craft of writing. And ideally, something I can read in under five minutes.

How can I apply for a copywriting job with Radix?

Applications for our Junior B2B Copywriter position close on Monday 10th May 2021.

But if you’re a more experienced writer, or the date has passed, don’t let that discourage you; we’re always looking for talented people who can bring something new to our team. So if you like the sound of working with us, see our careers page.

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