Six Fast Ways to Improve Your B2B Copy

Copywriting KeyboardEvery few months I get the urge to focus my blog post on the subject of copywriting – specifically, how to write B2B copy that achieves the intended results. I do this not only to help the readers of my blog, but also because I need the useful reminders myself on how to communicate in the most effective manner. Here are six ways to improve your B2B copy and drive stronger results:

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  1. Cut back on the extraneous, superfluous, redundant, repetitive and unnecessary words – e.g. like the ones I used in this sentence. Assume everyone is as busy as you and get to the point quickly.
  2. Write to be understood, not to impress. Don’t show off your Ph.D. in English unless you are writing to just those who have a comparable level of education. Your only job as a writer is to be understood by the reader of your communication. Cleverness and style points don’t count, unless they achieve the objective of compelling action.
  3. State the call to action (CTA) clearly and often. Do tell the reader/listener exactly what you want them to do. The more specific you make the CTA, the better.
  4. Make it more about you, than I.  To put this another way, you should always talk to the person, not at the person. Regardless of how many people view the communication, your B2B copy should be written in such a way that it seems personal, not a mass distribution.
  5. Don’t let your personal preferences dictate your message.  For example, don’t be guided by the fact that you personally prefer either a lot of copy or just a little. Rather, write the amount of text necessary to get the lead (generally not too much) or the order (generally much more).
  6. Use a singular and human voice.  As my recent blog post, Do Multiple Authors Create Better Marketing Content, points out, too many cooks in the B2B copy kitchen can spoil the broth. The exception to this is to have an excellent writer (like I do with my colleague Nate Warren), review your copy before it goes out. It never hurts to have a smart person QA your copy and provide a little extra polish.

I’d like to leave you with a section of a recent Oktopost.com article where the interviewer asked marketing expert, Ian Brodie, the following question: In your writing, you constantly emphasize your straight-talk approach. Why is it that most marketers are keen to keep on writing fluff and using gobbledygook? How can we avoid this?

Brodie’s spot-on reply: “I think the tendency to write fluff and gobbledygook comes from three sources: first, at university, we’re taught to write academically, and we have to unlearn much of that. Second, most of us still have an underlying need to try to impress people. So, even subconsciously we use “clever” language and fancy phrases to sound intelligent. And, finally, fluff and gobbledygook is often a sure sign that the writer doesn’t actually understand what he or she is writing about. Marketers talk in abstract principles because they don’t have any specific examples. They dance around an argument because they don’t fully understand it.”

Can’t say it any better than this.

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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