As B2B tech copywriters, we write about complex products and projects every day. A lot of these subjects have become second nature to us now (just ask us about enterprise mobility or the difference between GLONASS and GPS – I dare you), but they didn’t start that way.
Sometimes, converting a complicated subject into clear, digestible copy can be like translating from a foreign language. But with a little preparation and a good brief, you can help your friendly neighbourhood copywriter to get it right every time.
1. Give us a clear, relevant brief
I know we bang on about it a lot – in fact, I think I’ve mentioned this on my past two blogs – but providing a good brief is essential to getting a great piece of copy back. This is your opportunity to give us as much information as possible to get up to speed on a topic.
If you have technical documents, videos or just a bunch of informative articles, this is the place to include them. That way, we can have a good look through and learn more about the subject.
But let me take this opportunity to dispel a copywriting myth: giving a comprehensive brief isn’t writing the piece for us – far from it. It’s simply a way to provide us with the resources to start the job. The rest is down to us.
2. Allow time for desk research
As copywriters, we have an incredibly powerful tool at our fingertips (in addition to our creative brains): the internet. This enables us to read around the subject – and also, importantly, to see how your competitors are tackling the same topic, so we can write in a way that stands out.
It’s also vitally important to back up opinions and claims within copy – which is why you’ll find hyperlinked sentences throughout the copy we send. And just like you got taught in school or university, it’s important to go beyond Wikipedia (pro tip: try to find the original source).
Realistically, though, desk research alone will only ever give you a rehash of the opinions already online – rarely adding genuine value for your reader. That’s where a briefing call can make all the difference…
3. Let us talk to an expert
Briefing calls vary wildly, from the client leading the conversations to the copywriter asking a number of their own questions. But in either case, the end result is the same – valuable first-hand insight, direct from a product or subject matter expert. We wouldn’t have got that without the call.
Remember: although we’re B2B tech writers, we don’t live and breathe this stuff like your people do. Yes, we have a good starting knowledge of enterprise tech, but only a real expert can give us the insight to write a really good piece of copy.
As a bonus, they might also give us a personal, subjective point of view that can really help to make your content stand out from the bland, faceless stuff your competitors write – and humanise your brand to boot.
4. Pay close attention to our outline
For larger, more complex projects, outlines are a great way to plan out and summarise what we’re going to write about, before going all the way to a first draft. This gives our clients a good idea of what they can expect, and the opportunity to send back comments and guidance for the writer when they start the piece.
They’re also a great tool for copywriters. An outline allows us to structure the argument, order our thoughts, and set out exactly what the piece is going to say, without writing the entire piece beforehand.
This not only ensures the writer understands the brief – and has all the information they need – but also helps to reduce amends after the first draft. It also avoids scope change early on in the process, which can be both costly and time-consuming for the client.
5. Where possible, use a specialist writing team
Working as a copywriter in a copywriting agency, my most valuable resource is the other writers sat around me. And it’s something I just wouldn’t have access to as a freelancer or working at home.
Combine the 10 writers at Radix, and you’ve got a massive knowledge base on everything to do with B2B technology – so if I’m ever in doubt on a finer point of technology or jargon, I’ll just swing my chair around and ask.
And it works both ways: explaining a subject to colleagues can help us to think – and therefore write – more clearly about it too.
B2B technology for the masses
A wise political campaigner once told me that campaign literature was all about taking broadsheet issues, and melting them down to tabloid format. This is a crude analogy I know, but taking complex and technical ideas, and distilling them down into widely digestible content is the essence of a good copywriter.
If you have the product experts, but sometimes struggle to speak to a wider audience and want to know more, have a chat with us and explore the options.