The Fastest Growing Market for Web Writers

Yesterday, I was reviewing the copywriting projects I’ve completed for my clients over the past six months. It was surprising. The only print piece I wrote was a sales brochure.

All the rest were online!

I said I was surprised … but not that surprised. After all, I've been writing for the business-to-business (B2B) market for 16 years. And, I've definitely noticed a trend recently.

Business-to-business is fast becoming a red-hot market for web writers.

In fact, I know a few copywriters who have already jumped on the opportunity and are specializing exclusively in crafting emails, websites, e-newsletters, landing pages, banner ads, blog posts, social media profiles, online video scripts, and more for business-to-business companies.

They're finding a high demand for their web-writing services and are getting paid very, very well.

Now, if you're not familiar with B2B, it simply refers to companies who sell products and services to other companies, rather than to consumers. A client in this market might hire you to write an email to help promote a new software product … or an online ad to sell subscriptions to a trade magazine … or a landing page to generate leads and enquiries for a management training program.

Why is this market such a golden opportunity for web writers?

In a word: demand.

While most sectors are cutting back on marketing because of the recession, over 60.2% of business-to-business companies are actually spending more this year. A lot more.

According to eMarketer.com, a respected research firm, B2B companies will spend over $5.3 billion on Internet advertising this year. That represents a double-digit annual growth which is projected to continue for many years to come.

Another study, this one by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Communications Group, reveals that B2B companies will allocate 170% more of their marketing budgets to online initiatives over the next five years.

That all adds up to a lot of emails, e-newsletters, web pages, and more that need to be written. And not nearly enough copywriters — trained in both web and B2B writing — to even come close to meeting the demand.

So when it comes to writing for the Web, business-to-business is definitely where the action — and the money — is.

What does it take to get started in this market?

Here's where it gets tricky.

You see, being a B2B web writer is essentially a double specialty. It's not enough to just be skilled and knowledgeable in writing for the Web. You also have to:

  • Understand how B2B companies sell their products and services. You have to know about things like lead generation, selling tools for the salesforce, reseller communications, lead nurturing, and more. Don't let the language intimidate you. It's all fairly easy to understand. But, you do have to understand it all.
  • Know how to communicate with, and motivate, business buyers. If you try to persuade a business buyer the same way you would a consumer, then your web copy is doomed to fail. Business buyers are different. And, you must understand those differences.
  • Present the features and benefits of business products accurately and persuasively. You know the basics of a toaster. But how much do you know about a marine valve assembly? To write effective B2B web copy, you need to be able to quickly grasp the essential features of a product, and then accurately convey what those mean to real customers with real problems.
  • Master the formats and projects that are unique to B2B. Sure, there are similarities between consumer vs. B2B web copy. But there are a lot of differences, too. You need to know the specifics on how to write a B2B email, banner ad, landing page, online video script. You need the step-by-step instructions. The best practices. The tips.
  • Nail the business-to-business writing style. It's not corporate-speak. And it's certainly not hype. But, somewhere between these two extremes is a writing style business buyers respond to best. And you need to know what that style is and how to master it.

How do you gain this knowledge?

I'm biased because I created a popular B2B copywriting program, published by AWAI. So, I'm all for training that gets you up-to-speed quickly!

But, you can also learn from experience. I did. (Although I wish there had been a training program when I got started.) And, there are some good articles on B2B writing available, many published on the AWAI website.

Whichever way you decide to learn B2B copywriting, it's worth the effort. As I said, every research study and survey published recently shows that business-to-business is the fastest growing market for web writers.

And where there's demand, there's work. Lots of it.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: September 23, 2009

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