B2B Copywriting: Three Writing Rules To Follow (And Three To Ignore)

by | Dec 21, 2021

B2B Writing Tips Listed on Notepad

Content and messaging are key to any B2B marketing strategy and, as a Content Director, I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn I write a lot – I mean a lot, a lot. But even if you don’t spend your days entrenched in intentional B2B copywriting creation and direction, chances are you are doing a good bit of writing as you communicate throughout your day. Well, I’m here to help. But let’s start at the beginning.

What is B2B Copywriting?

Simply put, B2B copywriting refers to written content and material used to market to other businesses. If you’re in the indirect channel, chances are you are focused on B2B copywriting the vast majority of the time. Writing business-to-business differs in many ways from other types of writing, the most important of which is the target audience. Whereas typical business writing should carry little jargon or “insider”-type info, B2B copywriting allows for a little more of that.

But the most important way B2B copywriting differs from other forms of marketing messaging is that it is crafted to convert. B2B copywriting is typically sale-focused and results-oriented – or, at the very least, relationship-focused and collaboration-oriented. Regardless of the endgame, the goal is always the same: convey the appropriate message and don’t let your writing detract from it.

Practicing B2B Writing on Laptop

6 B2B Copywriting Tips

I love rules. I’m a rule-follower. I like structure and order and consistency. So, in this blog, I want to address a few tips that I really consider as rules. I could provide a million B2B copywriting tips, per se … but these rules are pretty standard for anything you’ll ever writing.

Considering my love of rules, it’s no surprise that I’m an editor. My favorite part of being a writer/editor is how “left brain versus right brain” the activities are. To write, you need to be creative and inspired. And to edit, you need to be meticulous and disciplined. With experience, the line between the two becomes blurred. This, in my opinion, is a good thing. Every writer needs to develop a good process that works for her or him. So, here’s some insight into mine, e.g., the tips I have promised you!

Bring on the writing rules – the ones I love and the ones I don’t.

Always:

  1. Read “everything out there” first. Some people like to devour every bit of information and writing about a topic before they write their own piece, but that personally is not my thing. I don’t like to read too much related to what I’m writing about until after my first draft is complete. Many writers might say this is contrary to a lot of academic or research-based writing, a la literature reviews; but there is value in formulating your own thoughts and preliminary arguments before you get too far down the rabbit hole of what’s already been written.
  2. Use a style. You should always follow some sort of style, even if it’s your own. There are a million out there: AP, APA, Chicago, MLA … the list goes on. (Team AP, all the way!) But even if the style is your own personal style — or even your company’s proprietary style — use it, love it, follow it. Consistency is key. For example, if your company name is Bits & Widgets, Inc., you should decide on how to write it and always write it that way. Never leave out the comma before Inc., never replace the ampersand with “and,” etc. People won’t actively notice if it is written consistently time after time; but they WILL notice if it isn’t. Add that to a handful of other style inconsistencies and your copy becomes distracting and difficult to read. Say bye-bye to communicating your actual message, just because you didn’t follow a style.
  3. Read it out loud. My editing process for any B2B copywriting is never complete without reading out loud. It is the final thing I do, and it’s even better if someone is listening. Oftentimes, you’ll hear things that need to be changed or rephrased, and you also might uncover opportunities for cadences, repetition, onomatopoeia, alliteration and other literary devices. I ALWAYS make several changes on my final “read it aloud” edit.

Never:

  1. Feel like you have to have all the answers before you begin. While I’m a fan of organizing the thoughts you have ahead of time, that doesn’t mean those thoughts can’t change. Many times, the process of writing about something is what firms up your argument, and it might even change your mind completely. So, when someone says you must have a hypothesis before you begin, I don’t always agree.
  2. Read “everything out there” first. Some people like to devour every bit of information and writing about a topic before they write their own piece, but that personally is not my thing. I don’t like to read too much related to what I’m writing about until after my first draft is complete. Many writers might say this is contrary to a lot of academic or research-based writing, a la literature reviews; but there is value in formulating your own thoughts and preliminary arguments before you get too far down the rabbit hole of what’s already been written.
  3. Overedit. So many writers say that the best work comes from days and weeks of meticulous editing. To that, I say, “Pfft.” A lot of my writing is for blogs, websites or internal/external communications for companies large and small. All of these projects require a natural and relatable voice. You want your writing to sound genuine, not overwrought. So, trust yourself and don’t edit a zillion times. Sure, a few edits and some fact-checking will do you good (are necessary, even), but don’t prevent your writing from rising because you’ve kneaded it to death. (Sorry for the bread metaphor — I’m doing keto, and I think about bread a lot.)

Be yourself in the development of your process, not just your writing. I could go on for days with writing advice centered around my process, but this really isn’t about me. It’s about finding your own voice that keeps with your organization’s brand. And it’s about developing a B2B copywriting process that works for you time and time again. With a little intentionality, your message can be clear, concise and, therefore, comprehended.

And when you need a team that can create content that connects and converts, we’re here for you.