Your Smartest Career Move in B2B Copywriting
Great news if you’re a B2B (Business-to-Business) copywriter … or thinking about becoming one!
According to the recent report, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, of more than 1,400 North American companies of various sizes and industries:
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing
- 54% of B2B companies will increase spending on content marketing over the next 12 months
- 65% of large companies, and 44% overall, outsource B2B content creation
What does this mean for you?
In 2013, more and more B2B companies will be looking to hire freelance B2B copywriters like you for content marketing that works.
This means businesses that market to other businesses — such as a supplier to the construction industry — will be looking for copywriters who understand Business-to-Business marketing methods.
Chances are, many companies are already looking so they can kick off 2013 with a bang.
Now, here’s a surprising fact. Unfortunately, some B2B marketers are not finding the skilled B2B copywriters they need online or through their peers.
Yes, there are lots of B2B copywriters with the skills and knowledge to do good work. But the bummer for certain clients is — those copywriters don’t know anything about the clients’ particular industries or markets. So these marketers must plan on taking up precious time educating the copywriters they find.
This is not fun for them. They’re too busy to spend time educating a copywriter. So in many cases, they’ll stumble along with what they have, using untrained resources or doing it themselves … and suffering with mediocre results.
What these B2B clients really want — and will pay for — is a resource who not only understands B2B copywriting, but also understands their market, industry, competition, and landscape.
For instance, a small business information technology (IT) company needs someone with an IT background to develop the copy for emails, landing pages, direct mail, or even videos for their promotions.
It would be a giant relief if they could find someone like that! So — how can you help these prospects while also building your business faster than you ever expected?
Get super-smart with a client-attraction strategy that meets the needs of these B2B clients.
Here’s what I mean …
If you make just one single shift in your business focus, you’ll suddenly find yourself in the wonderful position of being THE CLEAR CHOICE for clients who need you.
All you need to do is position yourself as a B2B copywriting and marketing expert in a specific niche industry or market.
I recently gave a presentation at AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair about industries that are booming and hiring copywriters. Many of those industries have B2B aspects to them.
For instance, the health industry alone has several B2B sub-niches within it, including:
- Digital/paperless medical record programs
- E-prescription programs
- Online hospital communication portals
- Equipment manufacturers
- Food and beverage services for hospitals
I could list many more products and services sold to medical organizations through B2B marketing.
There’s a B2B side to just about any thriving industry you can think of, including the college/university industry, sports industry, food and wine industry, retail, childcare, senior lifestyle products, even craft beers, and so forth. They all have industry suppliers who need help in reaching their ideal customers.
Let’s go back to the health industry for a moment. If a B2B company selling digital medical record programs needs a copywriter for their ongoing website and content needs … don’t you think they’d prefer someone who specializes in the healthcare IT industry?
Absolutely! It’s the same as if you were applying for a full-time position with a niche company. They’d prefer someone with experience in their field. All other candidates would be disappointing.
That’s why your smartest B2B copywriting business strategy is to specialize in a niche industry.
Let me give you a few reasons why focusing on a niche is such a powerful direction for you.
1. It’s much easier to attract B2B clients who are ready to hire you.
When you’re focused on one industry, you can focus on attracting a select group of clients that are just right for you, which means you can get very specific about WHO you’re talking to, WHAT you offer them, and WHERE you can connect with them.
And this is true even if you already offer a specific service niche such as web content writing or white paper writing. The number of copywriters focusing on those services is growing … so you still need to focus on WHO you’re offering those expert services to.
Example: Let’s say you’re a web copywriter and consultant for the green/eco-friendly commercial construction industry. It’s very likely that you’ll be the ONLY copywriter for that specific niche, reaching out to hundreds of businesses that are making eco-friendly changes to their current facilities.
Think of it — the commercial green market is massive and there are countless businesses in that field right now, all jockeying to reach decision makers.
This means they all need a skilled copywriter who understands the demands of an online market looking for green commercial building solutions. That copywriter could be you!
2. You quickly become a unique and highly valued resource.
If you’re focused on just one niche industry, you minimize the learning curve needed to help your clients.
Using the commercial green/eco market again, if you’re 100% focused in that area, you can easily become knowledgeable about the marketing challenges of that industry and what works to drive sales.
You’ll likely be part of a marketing or trade association in that niche, you’ll subscribe to industry publications, you’ll attend industry conferences, and you’ll enjoy being a watchdog and “reporter” (perhaps through articles or a blog) for all kinds of helpful marketing news and trends in that industry … providing tips that will help your clients and prospects.
So instead of trying to learn many different industries, you’ll be super knowledgeable about a single industry.
This is a huge benefit to your clients, and they’ll appreciate it by paying you excellent fees.
3. You quickly become the clear standout within the industry.
In a giant Google search results page filled with “general industry” copywriters, imagine yourself being the ONLY ONE on page one of Google when a client searches for a “green business copywriter.”
This is literally what happens online when prospective clients search for a copywriter in their niche industry. That’s how they find me: the “pet industry copywriter,” of which there are just a small handful. And I’m the only one with certain industry experience my clients appreciate.
Pick any industry and do your own search online for “[niche industry] copywriter.” You’ll see that just one or a few copywriters have positioned themselves in those niches, right at the top of the Google results. Thus, they’re all first in line to be hired in their industries.
Imagine being first in line for lucrative, fun copywriting projects. Nice, huh?
And don’t just take my word for it. Bob Bly talks about the importance of choosing a niche industry for B2B copywriting success. Nick Usborne also emphasizes the power of selecting a niche market.
And Steve Slaunwhite, creator of the AWAI program, Secrets of Writing High-Performance B2B Copy, gives you the tools to quickly go after a B2B niche market you’ll enjoy.
I’d like to make a prediction for you. If you get started now to establish your B2B copywriting business in a specific, strong niche industry, you’ll be well on your way to attracting wonderful clients within the next few months.
[Editor's Note: Pam Foster is a certified SEO copywriter, web consultant, and 30-year marketing veteran who has worked with many global, national, and small B2B companies over the years. She recommends Secrets of Writing High-Performance B2B Copy to anyone looking to establish or grow an in-demand copywriting business.]
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »
Great post Pam;
The fear for many up and coming copywriters when it comes to choosing a niche has always been the thought of loosing out on other projects especially when they're not yet known within a particular niche.
For a person with no specific B2B experience, the mater becomes even more complicated when it comes to selecting a niche.
Any advice on that?
Dan Maxwell Jr –
Great article; informative, practicable and inspiring! After reading this I've decided the right niche for me is green home design! Thank you, Pam.
Karen Franklin –
Thanks Dan and Karen! Congratulations Karen on choosing a fabulous niche!
To answer your question Dan, you will certainly want to get your feet wet in B2B in any way you can, just to get some traction going. If you know someone who works for a B2B company, by all means go for it. Whatever it takes to get experience, work samples, testimonials, etc. Based on your work background, you may know some people in an industry you might be leaning toward, and build from there. Does that help?
Guest (Pam Foster) –
this is a cool article. Even though I just started this program, I think that this is going to be my niche, the B2B Niche!! So I am going to read and study everything that I can about Business to business copywriting, and after finishing the accelerated copywriting course, take the B2B course as well.
Joshua Goodlow –
B2B definitely runs through most, if not all, industries. I know there is plenty in my niche (construction) and the learning curve for a writer to gain the industry knowledge just to begin writing can be huge. Great article and great advice! Glad I finally claimed a niche and am finally focused. Got my eye on the ball!
Cindy Zeis –
Hooray! So glad you're feeling focused now that you have niche in mind. And I'm very glad this was helpful to you. Have fun :-)
Guest (Pam Foster) –