This is a plea.
It’s on behalf of B2B copywriters everywhere, to you, as a marketer. And quite simply, it’s this:
Let us talk to your people.
Don’t get me wrong; we love it when you’re organised, help us with our research and provide a clear brief for the work you want. But give us direct access to a few people from around your organisation too, and you’ll be rewarded with stronger, more compelling copy.
And let’s be frank: you need better copy. Look at almost any survey of B2B marketers’ top challenges, and you’ll find creative engaging content is there or thereabouts. If you want engagement, this is how you get it.
(By the way, if you’re an agency marketer, the same thing goes for letting your copywriter talk directly to the client.)
Why? because a direct conversation will give us three essential ingredients your briefing document (helpful though it is) usually can’t:
- It lets us hear how people really talk, and use your sector’s terminology, in the real world – which helps your copy to sound authentic.
- It gives us an insight into attitudes, and how people think about concepts (the bad as well as the good) – which enables your copy to be honest, and deal with people’s real issues.
- It presents an opportunity to ask questions, and listen out for angles, ideas and hooks you might have missed – which means your copy might surprise you.
That makes for copy that’s informed, engaging and resonant.
Horrifying thought, isn’t it? Putting an external writer in direct contact with the assortment of oddballs, nerds and outspoken critics who reside in the dark recesses of almost every B2B-focused company. Who knows what impression we might get of them (or they might get of us)?
But relax; we’re B2B copywriters. Talking to geeks, digging into technical subjects, and finding the story in something dusty and dull is simply what we do every day. But more than that, we chose this line of work. We enjoy it, we’re good at it, and crucially we’re on your side.
So your office characters don’t need to be polished before they talk to us; polishing is our job.
And if you want your copy to really speak to your customers in a language they’ll recognise, there are three people above all others you should introduce us to…
1. That “challenging” salesperson
You know the one. They get great results, but they’re impossible to satisfy – always negative about your latest marketing work, dismissive of new product releases and outraged at production lead times. If you squirm inside at the thought of what they might say, they’re the one we need to talk to.
Why we want to talk to them: they’re our quickest way to find out why grass roots customers really buy from you. They’ll also probably be completely blunt about what’s bad about your product or service, where your competitors have an edge, and where they’ve seen marketing materials miss their target audience.
2. Your biggest product geek
Oh yes, the enthusiast. The one who – irrespective of your market research – thinks the new triple widget flangelator is really what you should be promoting, because it could revolutionise the whole flugelbinding process. If they read product catalogues and instruction manuals for fun, they’re perfect.
Why we want to talk to them: this is where your deep content comes from. The actual insights that customers can really use are currently lurking between your expert’s ears, and we’re experienced at mining them out. Also, it helps us to know not just that it’s faster, but *why* it’s made that way.
3. (Deep breath…) your customer
Yes, it’s a bit scary. But as writers we’re acutely aware that when we talk to your customer, we’re holding your baby – so we’re always on our best behaviour. Case studies are a great way to make this happen (while making the customer look clever and feel important to boot), but even helping you on a trade show exhibition stand can do the trick.
Why we want to talk to them: to find out exactly what’s important to people in your sector and – crucially – how they speak in the real world. One we’ve met a typical customer, it’s easier for us to picture them, and write compellingly to that kind of person. (They might also say things to a third party they wouldn’t tell you – giving you extra insights when we report back.)
You need engagement, we need access
For years, B2B marketers’ biggest problem has consistently been producing content that really engages. As external copywriters, the more we can immerse ourselves in your world, the better our chances of picking up on real, current concerns, unearthing fresh insights, and finding the right language to cut through the noise.
Please do continue to give your copywriter a full, detailed brief – but please, trust us talk to your characters too. Often, that’s where the gold is.
Fancy reading B2B copywriting tips and ideas on a regular basis? Our email newsletter is perfect. Try it for yourself…