The Unique Nature of Writing for B2B

In case you haven't gone to business school or had the pleasure of writing for B2B companies, then the term itself might be somewhat unfamiliar to you: “B2B.” 

Before I go on, I should probably clear up what it means.

Basically, it stands for “business to business,” and it denotes a type of business where a company sells to other companies instead of to individual consumers. 

Selling to consumers is called “B2C,” or “business to consumer.” 

The B2B arena is a completely different beast than that of its B2C counterpart, and once you start writing for it, you will find out that this can be quite tricky. 

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about producing sales copy, marketing materials or if you’re simply running a blog for a B2B company—it’s a very unique style of writing.

Things Might Get Boring

The first thing you need to prepare yourself for if you plan on writing for B2B brands is that things can get a bit boring. Quite often, B2B companies will be so narrowly niched that you might feel as if you were crammed into the tiniest writing room known to mankind. 

For instance, you may end up writing for a company that provides an extremely specialized piece of software that is can be used, realistically, by about 3,000 companies in the world.

It goes without saying that in such a situation, your writing will be more restricted than normal.

You Will Need To Know Everything

Another irregularity of B2B writing is that you need to be on top of things—completely on top of things. 

For example, let’s go back to our hypothetical company that sells specialized software …

If you wish to write for them, you will need to know every single thing about this piece of software, as well as tons about the overall industry and its potential customers.

This can be nerve-racking and time-consuming, but the absolute worst thing you can do in B2B writing is to try and bluff your way through it—“fluff” simply won’t work …

The good thing is that most B2B companies understand the complexity of what’s going on and are willing to teach you as much as possible about what they do. 

Get to the Point

If you think that you need to learn a thing or two about writing more concise copy or getting to the point quicker, then B2B writing is the crash course you’re needing. 

B2B writing is an exercise in brevity and precision

Your readers don’t want to hear a lengthy story, or be wooed with empty promises. They want to see hard facts, and they want to see them as quickly as possible. 

If you can say something in a sentence, don’t write two. 

If your sentence is complete with 6 words, don’t use 8. 

You will probably find yourself feeling like somewhat of an automaton at times, but precision in writing can also be art. 

Try this on for size—there are many solid reasons for which people love haiku poetry, and concision is one of them. 

Once you come to see precision and brevity as an art, you will see the world of B2B writing open up to you.

Always Solve Problems

The company that’s hired you is trying to attract client companies by solving a certain problem that they have. In the case of our imaginary B2B software company, it’s a very specific problem that those 3,000 companies regularly encounter. 

Your writing needs to convey exactly how this piece of software will solve the problem. 

B2B is 100% about making money. 

Clients of a B2B service or product provider (your employer) are also companies that are trying to make money. As such, they do not have the time to work out what your writing can do for them. 

They want to understand it within seconds. 

Solutions that help them make money are good solutions. Write in a way that will make it clear to them your that your employer makes their problems go away.

Keep the Salespeople in Mind

In the B2B ecosystem, making money is what matters most.

If you happen to start writing for B2B companies, you need to remember that your success will be measured by how much your content is able to produce real, quantifiable leads

In other words, your job is to produce content that will attract people from potential client companies who will then be turned into actual clients by your company’s sales staff. 

It’s tough writing, but when done well, it’s effective writing, at that.

Closing Word

As you can see, B2B writing can be just as much of an art as any business-oriented writing. 

It's just that it’s a different kind of art … 

Whereas B2C writing is Renaissance art with an abundance of color, volume and drama, B2B writing is traditional Japanese art or Suprematism where every single stroke and line matters.

Even better, it’s just as amazing. 

 


James D. Burbank has spent almost 15 years in the trade show industry. He’s been writing about business for a few years now. He runs a business blog called BizzMarkBlog with some friends of his. You can also find him on Twitter.