OK, let me clarify upfront – starting a career in B2B technology copywriting can be tough. Really tough. At Radix, our writers come from all kinds of academic and professional backgrounds, and each of them will tell you that theirs can’t prepare you for the reality of B2B copywriting.
But here’s the thing: that’s totally OK. I’d even argue that it’s a good thing.
You see, entering this industry is a rare opportunity to start afresh. To shed any misplaced pride, and to flex your skills in a hugely rewarding and consistently challenging environment.
This is especially the case if you’re a university graduate – of whom we’ve hired many. After three or four years of academia, it’s only natural that you’ll have developed a certain writing style. And if, like me, your degree nurtured critical thinking while tolerating an unhealthy relationship with a thesaurus, your default style may be somewhat flowery. Pretentious, even.
And again, that’s OK. Academic writing has its place, but that place is not in the B2B technology sector. With that said, I must take this opportunity to thank the editors who waded through my bloated album reviews back in the day. I’ve learned my lesson – “brevity is the sister of talent.”
I’m in a lucky enough position now to offer some sagely advice to anybody considering a writing job in the B2B technology sector. Not just to help you adjust your expectations but to make those early months – even years – a little easier.
Anyway, let’s run through my top tips…
Three tips for graduates entering the world of B2B copywriting
- Be open to constructive criticism
Some people are better at this than others, but if you want to excel in this field, you must learn how to stomach constructive criticism.
Having come to Radix after years of experience in music journalism and B2C marketing, I figured I had this whole writing thing down. Sure, grammar wasn’t my strong point, and I knew I still had much to learn, but I don’t think I could’ve anticipated quite how much. So, yes, you could say my early peer reviews were something of a shock to the system.
But again, that’s OK – it’s all part of the journey to becoming a great B2B copywriter. In a nutshell: don’t let constructive criticism get you down, and you’ll be golden.
- Listen – really listen – and read a lot
B2B technology copywriting is as much about learning to understand the many niche technologies, solutions, sectors and the associated nuts and bolts as it is about writing.
For example, I entered this job with little knowledge of enterprise cloud solutions and data-driven automation, or why everyone is so obsessed with “connected customer journeys”. But, over time, I picked it up – and you will too.
To help you wrangle all this niche subject matter, I suggest using any downtime you may have during work hours to let your curious side take over. Listen to what your peers and clients say, and don’t be afraid to read about this stuff online and let yourself fall down a multi-tab rabbit hole.
The more of this culture you ingest, the more it’ll make sense and, better yet, the more confident you will be writing about it. Which leads us nicely to my third tip.
- Have the confidence to ask questions (and suggest stuff)
One of the greatest things about working in a warehouse full of B2B technology copywriters is being able to wave to a colleague and ask for help. Of course, not every writer is in a position to do this, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of reaching out to your colleagues and clients.
As time goes on, the questions will pile up and leaving them unanswered can prove problematic – especially if you go to first draft based on instinct alone. The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid of sounding silly; this is complex stuff and getting even your smallest queries answered can make the difference between a great piece of content and an additional round of amends.
Also, don’t be afraid to make strategic suggestions. A lot of the time, the client will be delighted to have your input, especially if it saves time, makes the job simpler, or improves its outcome. So, if you think, say, a blog could do with covering X but it only covers Y, or if you think the client has enough messaging to create an additional piece of content – like an infographic – then try your luck.
The worst that’s going to happen is they’ll say no thanks, and recognise your inquisitive effort.
Keep smiling; you’ll get there
To be honest, none of these tips will make your first months as a B2B copywriter easy, as such. But they might make them easier. If nothing else, look around you at all the other copywriters and remember: we’ve all been where you are now. It does get better. So trust your talent, let your curiosity take over, and keep learning.