Should You Be Writing for the B2B Market?

That depends. There are a lot of pros and certainly a few cons.

But before I get into those, I must confess that I'm biased. After all, I've been writing for business-to-business (B2B) companies for more than 15 years. I love this niche!

It isn't going to be easy for me to avoid the "I'm excited to tell you … " approach and give you a calm, just-the-facts assessment of this market.

But I'll do my best. So here goes …

Here's why you might like to write for B2B companies …

  1. There is a lot of work available.

    The Business Marketing Association estimates that B2B companies spend more than $85 billion per year to promote their products and services.

    What does that mean? It means that these companies are constantly churning out press releases, brochures, white papers, web pages, emails, newsletters, case studies, video scripts and more.

    This is all stuff that, of course, needs to be written. No wonder B2B writers are so busy!

  2. There is a shortage of qualified B2B writers.

    I get calls every week from business owners and marketing managers complaining, "We just can't seem to find a good B2B writer."

    "Good" is the operative word here. Clients don't want just any writer. They want someone who knows how to craft B2B marketing materials that get results. If you can become one of those writers, you'll be in demand.

  3. It's a (relatively) easy market to break into.

    Have you tried breaking into the bigger direct mail and online copywriting markets? You really have to beat down the door! And once you manage to do that, you still have to dazzle some marketing director with your spec work, or beat a "control" to make a name for yourself.

    Not easy.

    The B2B market, however, works differently.

    If you can write solid B2B copy, B2B clients will want to hear from you. And you never have to submit copy on spec or beat a control.

  4. In my opinion, it's the surest way to make a GOOD living as a copywriter.

    You may not get rich writing ads, emails and case studies for this market. But you can make a very good living.

    Most B2B copywriters I know earn more than $100,000 dollars per year.

  5. You don't have to write hyped-up sales copy

    I'm not comfortable writing the kind of "ginsu-knife salesman" copy that's required in some copywriting markets. That's why B2B is such a good fit for me. (And maybe for you, too.)

    B2B writing requires a style that is "business conversational" and focuses on explaining the facts clearly and accurately, and communicating the benefits persuasively.

    If writing hype makes you feel icky, then B2B is for you.

Now, let's take a look at why you might NOT like writing for B2B companies …

  1. You won't make a million dollars per year.

    Sorry, but no one in this market is going to pay you $10,000 plus commissions to write a sales letter. (I wish!)

    But as I said earlier, you can do very well writing case studies, newsletter articles, emails, ads, website pages and, yes, sales letters, too, for B2B companies.

    I like to use the term "executive-class income" to describe the potential. As I said, if you master the B2B writing craft and promote your services well, a six-figure income is a realistic goal.

  2. There's not a lot of glamour.

    I think writing emails to promote a new line of industrial valves – as I did last week – is glamorous.

    But a lot of people don't feel the same way. Oh well.

    There's not a lot of glamour is B2B. In fact, the Business Marketing Association, as an obvious in-joke, once featured a picture of cherry red lips puckering up for a kiss on the cover of their convention brochure!

    Do you care about glamour? I don't. The great clients, projects and fees are more than enough for me.

So there you have it. Like I said, I'm biased. But I honestly feel that the B2B market is an opportunity that every copywriter should at least look into.

[Ed note: Steve Slaunwhite is a successful B2B copywriters with over 15 years of experience with a client list that includes UPS, Hoover’s Business Information, Forbes, Mitsubishi, NCR, Symantec, and dozens of others.

He’s also the expert behind AWAI’s Secrets of Writing High-Performance Business-to-Business Copy, Steve’s most comprehensive work on the subject … filled with insider information found nowhere else … and so much valuable content, that nothing comes even close to it.]

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Published: September 9, 2009

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