This is not woolly thinking*; there are similarities between this one art of knotting strands of fibre together and business-to-business copywriting.
Both require attention to detail and a great level of patience to ensure that the end product isn’t broken and gets the job done. But the similarities don’t just end there; there’s far more to unravel.
Based on my experience last year of knitting six Christmas presents over the space of four days, here are five ways I think knitting is like B2B copywriting:
5. You can’t start without knowing who you’re creating for
In knitting, there’s no one size fits all, no one colour that everyone likes. The people who appreciate a bright fuchsia-coloured yarn are often different from the people who are okay with run-of-the-mill navy.
In B2B, not everyone in your marketing funnel appreciates the same types of content, written in the same tone. What a systems admin will find engaging and what a CFO will find engaging are often very different.
Knowing who you’re knitting/writing for will allow you to tailor the end result to your intended recipient. And whether you’re presenting them with a snood or an ebook, that recipient will be far more appreciative if it’s something that shows you really “get” them.
4. Don’t assume everyone understands the jargon
Most people who knit will know the basic stitch types. But they don’t know all knitting terms. Good knitting patterns will explain a specific term and outline what the knitter needs to do, or if there’s a more common term they’ll use that one instead.
In a similar way, with B2B technology copywriting you need to pay attention to your audiences and the language they use. Not everyone working in tech knows all tech terms. Not everyone working in B2B knows all business terms. You need to keep within common parlance and not be obscure.
And if you can’t avoid using a piece of specific jargon that could confuse some of your readers, you should clarify what you mean, just like in a knitting pattern.
3. Not following the pattern can lead to bitter disappointment
Deviating from a knitting pattern will often lead to heartache. Patterns for garments are there so that everything has its place and fits together once knitted, blocked and sewn together.
Unless you know what you are doing, improvisation will rarely work out and mostly leads to knitting having to be unpicked and re-knitted – all very time-consuming and frustrating.
The same can be said for not following the outline you’ve created for a piece of B2B content. If you stray from the outline your client or internal customer has approved, you’ll likely end up having to unpick and rewrite your work because it doesn’t resemble what was agreed. And before you know it, you’ve overrun on your allocated time and that big fat deadline looks even more stressful.
So stay on track to avoid creating one big mess.
2. There’s more than one way to knit a scarf
If all knitting was the same, knitting on the whole would be really, really boring. Sure, many would be expertly knitted on needles across the world, and have no technical faults, but winter attire would become incredibly dull and uninspiring.
Best practice doesn’t have to be adhered to, and you need to be wary of bandwagons. Picture a put-upon VP of Sales wading through samey content from 15 vendors to choose a new SaaS CRM system. If you want yours to stand out, do something different with your copy.
Marketing copy, like knitting, needs to mix it up a bit.
1. Good knitting, like good writing, takes time
If you don’t give yourself enough time and rush the creation of a knitted item, everything can fall apart – literally. Knitting last minute can lead to patterns not being followed correctly, stitches being dropped and button holes being missed: a.k.a. one big mess and no finished garment.
The same is true of copy that’s left to the last minute, without giving yourself proper time to think, plan, write and self-edit before sending it off. As you rush to meet the deadline, you may fail to follow your outline properly – missing out key elements, and leaving in a load of mistakes.
Never leave hand-knitted gifts or copywriting projects to the last minute.
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* I make no apologies for using awful, knitting themed puns in this blog post.