All businesses use various written marketing materials to promote their brands. It can be website texts, blog posts, client testimonials and case studies, social media publications, and even Quora answers.
Either way, all of these copies target individuals or businesses. Focusing on B2B (Business to Business) writing can bring significant benefits to a company, including the following:
Attracting new customers. Gaining new clients is usually considered much more challenging and expensive than converting existing customers into returning ones (or directly marketing to your returning customers). B2B copywriting can allow you to grow your client base by targeting a more defined niche and speaking directly to that audience’s needs.
Increasing retention. B2B copywriting helps you to make sure that your customers know what to expect from your products, how to navigate your site, and how to get the most value from purchases they’ve already made.
Strengthening your brand. Using your knowledge and expertise of your industry or niche can help you to establish yourself as a trusted and influential source of information.
Not all B2B texts are created equal, though. Quality, strategy, and the stories you choose to tell all matter, which is partially why “B2B content marketing” is the 9th most popular Google search query.
In this post, we’re going to look at the differences between B2C and B2B writing and share some tactics for creating B2B content that will differentiate you from your competition.
B2B vs. B2C Writing
Typically, both B2B and B2C copywriting share the common goal of using high-quality content to engage audiences, build thought leadership, and ultimately drive sales.
Aside from this core similarity, though, there are several significant differences between the two that writers, marketers, and brands need to be aware of. Let’s look at each of them.
When you’re writing B2C content, you’re typically writing to appeal to a single person. If you’re selling women’s fashion, for instance, the purchasing decision is the target customer’s alone, not that of a collective.
With B2B content, however, that isn’t the case. You’re typically writing to a team or a whole SMB company that’s made up of people with different job titles, demographics, and priorities.
Moreover, the decision-makers aren’t always the ones using your product. For example, a business key leader may choose software for the sales team, even if they aren’t a salesperson.
B2B and B2C writing sometimes focus on different goals.
While both B2B and B2C writing are typically about building brand awareness and driving leads and conversions, B2B can sometimes be more focused on establishing thought leadership.
It’s essential to be clear about your content goals upfront before you start strategizing or writing.
When creating content for B2B audiences, the stakes are high. You need to be an expert in your niche as you’re targeting people who are experts in theirs. You’ll have to think outside the box to stand out in an oversaturated content market.
In B2C writing, if users enjoy the content you create and feel emotionally involved, then they’re more likely to buy your product (as long as it’s within their ability to purchase).
B2B copy, however, needs to focus on a value-first proposition. Businesses need to be assured that the product is worth their investment, and that you offer more value than your competitors. Due in part to this, the B2B customer journey typically takes longer than a B2C one.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should put less focus into writing for individuals, but it’s important to consider that a good B2B copy might require far more research than a B2C one.
Now, let’s take a look at some examples.
The Main Types of B2B Content Writing
B2B writing is an umbrella term that covers multiple types of writing underneath it. In general, though, B2B copywriting typically refers to site copy, PPC copy, and sometimes social media copy.
B2B content writing also encompasses different specialties, each of which can help you accomplish different marketing goals.
These are the most common types of B2B content created:
Blog posts on the business’s website, many of which are often educational.
Tech reports, which talk about the technology the business has created and the people involved with it.
Success stories that focus on your brand and how it can help people. These are often featured as case studies on a site and can include both text and video.
Guides, manuals, and articles that “translate” technical processes into more straightforward language that an average person can understand.
Research and white papers including expert interviews, investigations, and reports.
Social media content published on the brand’s social platforms that can include short-form and long-form content.
Emails – especially email newsletters that are content- and educational-based.
Product descriptions, which can have resources and valuable content included within the product page.
While there are many types of content writing, the good news is that there are seven standard writing tactics that can help you deliver successful copy across all these formats.
7 B2B Writing Tactics That Will Help You Succeed in Any Format
B2B writing is a unique challenge to tackle, but the good news is that even if you aren’t an expert content writer, there are strategies to help you succeed with any format you choose.
#1 Wise Planning
It’s crucial to have an editorial calendar so that you can determine what you’ll be creating when, and how it fits into your overall strategy.
Merely plugging a title of a post into your plan isn’t enough. Before you start writing, it’s essential to determine each party’s role and degree of involvement. You may need approval from marketing managers, lead time for the writer, time for revisions, and graphic design creation. You also should monitor the industry’s current situation and account for seasonal ups and downs.
The following tips can help you create a clear strategic timeline and ensure your team are on the same page:
Line up every team member (both internal and external) at least several weeks in advance to ensure that your top picks are available and can meet the deadlines.
Plan for delays. You never want to be working right up to the wire in case your design software has a 12-hour glitch the day before publication.
Account for revisions. Everything from outlines and SEO work to the post itself and graphic designs should be double- or even triple-checked.
#2 In-Depth Research
You don’t just want to pretend to be an expert to write content like everyone else; you want to prove that you actually know what you’re doing and that you can offer valuable insights.
Research is the key here. If you aren’t conducting thorough research, even a single mistake in your content can cause people to lose trust in your authority and your business overall. The last thing you want your content to do is to hinder your prospects instead of helping them.
If you aren’t 110% sure of something, refer to an expert you trust, regardless of whether you’re writing a white paper or just responding to a comment on social media.
The following tips can help you streamline your research and create accurate, credible content:
Use high-quality primary sources. Pull from official sources whenever possible so that nothing is lost in translation.
Research multiple sources. It never hurts to fact check across more than one source.
Have another team member read over the content. Even if you’re an expert, this is never a terrible idea. Some conclusions might happen to be poorly worded or missing something that you accidentally overlooked.
#3 Clear Structure and Formatting
A great idea and thorough research can be quickly derailed by a post that isn’t well structured or is hard to read. Structure and format impact both the value of your arguments and the SEO potential of your text.
The following tips can help you improve both:
If working with third-party teams, take content briefs seriously. A strong content brief specifies what exactly you want your text to deliver, and also lets the writer understand your demands and expectations from the start.
Consider how the topic impacts your strategy when choosing a format. A more complex, technical piece of content may work better as a white paper than a social media post, for example.
Focus on creating structures that have a natural progression and prioritize readability. If users see a giant block of text that isn’t broken down into sections, they’ll likely click away. In a similar vein, you should also make sure that the information and argument are presented in a logical progression.
When people think about B2B content, they tend to focus on the written aspect of content creation. However, writing isn’t the only part of the equation. You can’t afford to disregard graphics and videos as they are often ideal for translating complicated concepts and data-heavy topics.
For example, tutorials can be particularly valuable in video form because they offer a more thorough walkthrough. Similarly, instead of just dumping complex data into a blog post, creating an infographic makes the information more visually appealing and helps users grasp the message more effectively.
Consider the following tactics to make visualization easier and more efficient:
Repurpose written content into visual content and vice versa. Have a blog post about the importance of maintaining business accounting books? You can create a video tutorial that shows how to balance those books and embed it in your blog post. By repurposing existing content, you can increase the value of both formats.
Share visual content on social media platforms. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram require images or videos, but posts on Facebook and Twitter that contain visuals can also be beneficial.
Brand the infographics. Infographics may bring shares and even backlinks. Boost your brand recognition by including your brand name and logo somewhere on the infographic image itself.
#5 Professional Editing
Although you may not realize it, the quality of your content can directly impact your wider business. Your reputation depends on not just what you write but how you write it. If it is unclear - or, worse - littered with mistakes, you can potentially damage your brand.
By using a professional editor, you can ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward in every way. They’ll help you to avoid errors and let you know if anything else needs to be added or changed to ensure consistency.
Keep the following in mind:
Have a different team member edit a post than the one who wrote it. Writers sometimes have trouble seeing things objectively, so having a second pair of eyes on the copy can make a world of difference, even if your writer is a professional.
Account for editing time in the editorial calendar. Sometimes the editor edits the content directly; in other cases, they’ll send it back to the writer for revisions.
#6 Optimization (SEO)
All content should be optimized for search, even if a post or resource is focused on sales or thought leadership instead of driving traffic directly.
As you can guess, competition between B2B companies can often be higher than for B2C. As a result, you need to pay close attention to your SEO for any copy you create to be effective.
We recommend trying at least one of the following:
Choose keywords that you can realistically rank for. Sometimes it’s better to rank in the top five for 100 searches a month than to rank on page 11 for a keyword with 100,000 searches per month.
Look at technical SEO strategies. Go beyond basic keyword research, and look at local search, voice search, and site structure to help improve your ranking ability.
Work on link building when possible. If you’re able to guest post on other sites, you’re often able to get a backlink to your site, which can increase your ranking potential in the SERPs.
Optimize your title and meta description. You should use your target keyword in both to establish context for Google and readers alike.
Use tools to help with optimization. Our SEO Writing Assistant enables you to optimize your content for search, recommending keywords and phrases to include in your text based on your specific topic.
#7 Smart Distribution
Many businesses make a crucial mistake with their content marketing because they rely almost exclusively on hoped-for SEO potential as a distribution strategy.
While organic search should be part of your distribution plan, it shouldn’t be your entire strategy. At a minimum, you should incorporate email marketing, social media, and search ads into your distribution strategy if they’re a relevant fit for your business model.
Testing out-of-the-box distribution strategies can be invaluable, including the following:
Use LinkedIn Ads’ job-based targeting. With job-based targeting, you can show your content to key decision-makers and your target audience.
Consider using press releases to announce your major content releases. This can be a great way to promote white papers containing industry benchmarks, or high-value webinars, for instance.
Share video teasers on social media. If you have a 2,000-word long blog post or ebook discussing “6 Ways to Streamline Admin Work”, create a 30-second video that lists the basic tips. Then, at the end of the video, point users to the full post to execute the discussed strategies.
Smart B2B Writing: From Tactics to Results
We know that this list can feel a little overwhelming, especially when you consider that you’ll need to do this over and over again to deliver strong content on a regular basis.
As good B2B freelance writers are often expensive and difficult to find, we created Semrush Content Marketplace as a viable solution. We offer:
a huge database of vetted, experienced writers from dozens of industries;
affordable per-project costs that even small businesses with limited budgets can afford;
precise deadlines and quick turnaround times;
a detailed order form to account for all nuances in your business and project;
keyword research, text revisions, and basic optimization included;
the ability to order from the same writer on an ongoing basis if you choose.
Streamlining content creation isn’t easy, but working with us can help you do exactly that. You’re an expert in your field, and we can help you prove it.