The 1st Pillar of B2B Writing Success: Commit to a Target Market


Steve Slaunwhite

I hope my email yesterday didn’t cause you to crawl on all fours checking the legs on your desk! I hope, instead, that it motivated you to think about the four pillars of B2B writing success, which are:

  1. Commit to a target market.
  2. Never stop prospecting.
  3. Become a linchpin for each client.
  4. Get really, really good at B2B writing.

Let’s talk about the first pillar today, because I’m finding a lot of freelancers are confused about that one.

To find success as a B2B writer you need to focus on a target market, for the simple reason that it makes just about everything easier.

  • Easier to find and land clients.
  • Easier to market and promote yourself.
  • Easier to write the copy.
  • Easier to see opportunities for growing your business you wouldn’t see otherwise. (That’s a big one.)

I could go on and on.

The good news about the B2B world is that there are literally hundreds of target markets to choose from. That means there is at least one — and likely several — that are a good match to your background and interests.

Say, for example, you have a passion for solar energy. Well, you could focus on writing for solar energy companies. There are hundreds throughout North America, and many need help writing their websites, emails, white papers and other marketing materials.

Or, let’s say you have a counseling background. You could leverage that to focus on business and executive coaching firms. That’s a high-growth industry with plenty of opportunities for well-trained B2B copywriters.

Yet, despite the advantages, some writers still hesitate to pick a target market. As one B2B copywriter put it, “I feel like I have to crawl into a little box and nail the lid shut.”

Of course, that’s not how it is at all.

Picking a target market simply means you’re focusing on a type of company that is likely going to be interested in your services … and that you’ll enjoy writing for.

That’s not crawling into a little box. That’s entering the gates of Nirvana!

Throughout your freelance career, you might end up focusing on three or four target markets. But, if you’re just starting out, I recommend beginning with one.

How do you pick a target market?

The best place to start is with industries you already know something about. If you’ve worked at an accounting firm for 20 years, then accounting firms — or perhaps the larger “professional services” market — might be the ideal niche for you.

Like I said, as a B2B writer, your challenge won’t be finding a target market. It will be picking from the many that are available to you.

But, pick one. Then jump in and give it all you’ve got. If it doesn’t work out, you can always shift to another one. That’s what is great about B2B.

Let me know about your ideal niche in the comments.

B2B Copywriting Secrets

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Learn everything you need to know to succeed as a B2B copywriter from marketing your services to writing copy and everything in between. Learn More »


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Published: September 22, 2015

33 Responses to “The 1st Pillar of B2B Writing Success: Commit to a Target ”

  1. Hi Steve, I am 48 years old and am training myself to be a bodybuilder (all by myself I may add, no trainer). I have 2 ruptured discs in my spine and like I said, I am 48 not 22. My niche market is going to be the weightlifting/fitness over 40 area to include training, eating, supplements, etc. I am targeting 3 companies already that I would like to write for after I complete this course, which I have just started. Thank you for awesome tips!

    Guest (Jodi Hauman)September 22, 2015 at 1:09 pm

  2. I think I have a lot to draw from to be an excellent B2B writer.

    I studied Journalism and Writing in English and Spanish in college. I went on to Law School andmMy first job out of Law School was working for the World's Largest Legal Publisher, West Publications.

    I moved from Ohio, and settled in suburban Chicago. I am now an artist who sells my products at Craft Fairs and to individuals. I also work for a large Papercrafting company called Stampin' Up!

    Help me focus my talents!

    Guest (Karen Weber)September 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm

  3. What great advice! As a person whose mind rarely stops zipping to and fro with creative ideas, the concept of picking "just one" is a bit foreign. I'll work on it! Thanks for sharing.

    Guest (Alicia)September 22, 2015 at 2:29 pm

  4. Hi Steve,

    What a great article. One that got me thinking though about my position. I'd like to get your opinion if you don't mind. I was in the Graphic Design industry for 15 years and am now in the IT field. I'm not sure what would be a good niche for me to dive into. My passion is Graphic Design but the IT industry seems to be a better choice for B2B writing.

    Could I get your thoughts on that?

    Thank you.

    Floyd PSeptember 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

  5. I picked my nitch some time ago, but you just helped me refine it into a good B2B niche - I can actually do both - the general one and the B2B one - not sure wht you wrote that sent my brain cells scurring, but thanks!

    Guest (Sue)September 22, 2015 at 3:35 pm

  6. For Steve Slaunwhite:

    My professional background (now retired) was Hospital Supply Chain/Purchasing/Materials Mgmt & Capital Purchasing.

    My strong current interests are blogs via Social Media (esp. sports blogs). I also feel I could be effective & proficient doing White Papers and/or resume writing.

    Is there large demand for company blog writers?

    In a B2B copywriting context, though, which target might offer the best return & payoff after the 10-12 week learning period?

    Thanks, Don

    Guest (Donald Blair go by Don)September 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

  7. Great article Steve. My thirteen year background as a massage therapist makes me think alternative health is a good niche for me!

    Kurt SimmonsSeptember 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm

  8. Steve,

    The webinar was very informative, and this article is great, but what do you suggest for the person who does NOT have a targeted background in anything? I have held probably 20-30 different jobs in my lifetime, and do not consider myself a specialist in anything. What do you suggest for a "generalist" like myself?

    CherelynnSeptember 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

  9. My niche could be either plumbing including heating and cooling ,radon mitigation ,gas lines,water lines, (such as PEX or copper), GEO ground source heating and cooling. Radiant-floor heating,ext... Also manufacturing ,CNC forming,lasers.
    And then theirs hobbies such as log splitting,chain saws,home repair work work work ...see the pattern?

    Guest (Devon Van De Kieft)September 22, 2015 at 5:27 pm

  10. Hi Steve and thanks for the guidance.
    Where do you recommend a person with English teaching experience start looking for the target market (one who wants to break out of ESL industry)?
    Thanks

    Guest (Ali)September 22, 2015 at 6:33 pm

  11. Hi Steve!

    A very encouraging article! After much deliberating and back-and-forth, I've decided to focus on the sportfishing industry, specifically, sportfishing boat manufacturers, of which there are dozens and dozens. I have a passion for fishing(saltwater and freshwater), and would love to get in tight with this industry. Any thoughts on this decision would be most welcome! Thanks a bunch!

    Perry R

    Perry RSeptember 22, 2015 at 6:43 pm

  12. Liz, 59, what I am so passionate about is this:
    children injured by vaccination. There are no comapanies out ther trying to solve this dilemma which leaves thousands of kids disabled for life: uncontrolled seizures, sleep apnea, developmental delay (formerly known as mental retardation) cerebral palsy, etc., etc. etc.
    CAN YOU GUIDE ME? PLEASE ADVISE!

    Guest (Liz)September 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm

  13. Greetings Steve, I have 15 years experience in Law Enforcement, 6 years in private security, and 12 years in rubber manufacturing. I have been looking at raw material suppliers for the rubber industry as a potential niche. However, end manufacturers in the rubber industry seem interesting as well.

    JiminCorvallisSeptember 22, 2015 at 7:48 pm

  14. Hi Steve. Your advice on the last day of Boot camp 2014 was to pursue the industry I knew. After landing my first clients, options would open.
    I did and yes they did. From logistics to Energy, Sports Apparel and Realtor lead gens. Looking forward to speaking at this years boot camp. I've learned much in the past year and your council is appreciated!

    Tom R Dynamicb2bcopy dot com

    Tom Rintelmann September 22, 2015 at 7:49 pm

  15. Dear Steve, I'm currently working on unit 2 of you 6 step accelerated writing course. I'm considering Healthcare as a niche market. I'm a Speech Language Pathologist by trade and have a strong foundation regarding both patient wants/needs versus reimbursement through medicare/medicaid and private insurance. How is this market faring with the new hanged being implemented for the roll-out of the ICD-10 on October 1st? Or should this not be an issue since my powers of persuasive writing have been honed to a razor sharp edge :) Thanks in advance for any input on this.

    Guest (Katie Schurmann )September 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

  16. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your insight.

    I am a youth basketball trainer/coach, and a sports junkie. My niche would be writing for sports companies. I am taking the AWAI Copywriting Course. Moving forward each day.

    Guest (Keith)September 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm

  17. Would horses be too limited a niche? I'm a horse show judge and write for equestrian magazines as well as being a competitor myself so I've got tons of experience.

    Guest (Ann J)September 22, 2015 at 9:07 pm

  18. I would go with niche markets of Christian organizations and fundraising for non-profits. I have strong interests in both.

    Guest (joe simoneau)September 22, 2015 at 10:33 pm

  19. Hi Steve,

    Your article has been very helpful to me in making my decision. Thank you for the incentives and confidence building. Currently, I am trying very hard to promote my tour business to destinations like Iran which, with all the existing social and political difficulties, is in the process of getting attention. I thought one short cut for promotion would be writing about traveling to Iran, but I need your advise and assistance in this regard. Thank you for your time.

    Akbar

    Akbar SSeptember 23, 2015 at 2:09 am

  20. Hi Steve,

    I am thrilled with today's post. I have worked as accountant for 20+ years now. I feel I have some knowledge about this line of work. I sure know I can pick it as a niche.

    It is like you wrote this post for me. I am also interested in solar energy!

    I shall follow other subsequent posts.

    Christine

    Christine MulemeSeptember 23, 2015 at 3:15 am

  21. Hi Steve,

    Thank you the insight of what B2B entails. I have many years of experience in products sales and services, so I would say my niche would be with companies that deal with sales of products and services. Therefore, I would explore these avenues for my prospective clients and hopefully land my first client.

    I enjoyed reading today's message and look forward for more. Thank you

    Esther

    Esther O AsieduSeptember 23, 2015 at 11:49 pm

  22. Great article Steve, I enjoy reading all the articles and tips you present to help us on the B2B road to F&F. My experience was in Soc.Security Hearings & Appeals. Scheduling appointments with clients, Drs.,lawyers,VE's,etc. Upon my voluntary retirement,the manager stated that I could be a consultant. That was over 7 years ago. How do I start? What should I concentrate on first? Thanks for any suggestions that help me to target a beneficial market for myself and clients that come my way.

    Aunti ViSeptember 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm

  23. Hi Steve, My ideal niche would be a combination of information technology and education. I've been working in the IT field for over thirty years and the educational field for over ten years. But my wife has over thirty years of experience in education. I'm also passionate about schools using technology properly to help the students learn more effectively. So that's why I would choose the combo of IT/Ed.

    Guest (Craig)September 24, 2015 at 3:03 pm

  24. Dear Steve,

    Thank you for this brief but dynamic article on getting a target market. Before I read it, I was almost dreading the idea of getting a writing project for a nonprofit website. But now, I am excited and eager to get my first job because I have chosen the arts as my target market. I have only worked for nonprofits that provide human services, so I felt I wasn't qualified for the rarefied environment of the arts. But that has changed, thanks to your article. I now feel my love for the arts and my work experience in nonprofit and my abilities in writing, will qualify me to do a good job now, and a great job soon.

    Guest (Judith)September 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm

  25. Hi Steve. Thanks for your insights. I believe I'd enjoy writing White Papers. My background is in English Language teaching but was looking forward to doing something different. What specific prospects are there for one like outside the United States, where, it appears, the Program is produced for?

    Do these comments/questions get responses from you?

    Thanks, Claire

    Guest (Claire Erickson)September 24, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  26. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing such a wealth of information. I've been working on building content for my website and I'm eager to get into the B2B arena. I think my initial focus will be on cosmetology and hair styling since I have 25 years experience as a stylist and teacher. I can target hair color companies, beauty supply companies, styling tool companies, and so many more. Thank you for opening my eyes to the vastness of the B2B opportunity. The trail has been illuminated.

    SheilSeptember 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm

  27. I have thirty years of experience teaching special education. I am also putting two kids through college, and know a lot about the ins and outs of scholarships, financial aid, admissions, etc....how would you define the niche that speaks to my experience?

    Joyce HSeptember 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm

  28. Steve,

    I have a background in retail management, customer service, business ownership, and a bachelors degree in business management. I would start with one of these. However, I am truly passionate about family, home, finding time for ones self in this crazy world. I am truly excited about this opportunity. I welcome any suggestions.

    Thank you,

    Sue

    Guest (Susan Pitrone)September 28, 2015 at 10:25 am

  29. It's like the first day of high school registration. A bundle of words and headings they don't know which one to choose from.

    Very anxious to get into the full bulk of this see where I might get my comfort zone.

    J crowSeptember 28, 2015 at 10:47 am

  30. Hi wanted to know how I can go about getting information on how to become a COPYWRITER even when I paid money for it?!

    Guest (Amber Carter)September 28, 2015 at 10:41 pm

  31. Hi Steve,

    Great article! My have a degree in health education and have worked in case management. I also received training in medical marketing writing. I like what you shared about the challenges of being a B2B writer. The challenge is not necessarily finding a market, it's picking the one that's available to you. Looking at my writing experience I've been hesitant on where to look for work. I purhased an AWAI program but need a another jump start. How can I Know which program is right for me?

    Guest (Anne)October 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm

  32. Hi Steve:

    I'm so excited I can hardly stand myself. A friend at church turned me onto AWAI when I commented that I've always loved to write. I've been in the commercial insurance industry for over 25 years, so like it or not that seems to be a natural niche for me. What are your suggestions. I've just ordered the Accelerate Program for Six-Figure Income Copywriting. Thank you.

    Susan AdixOctober 9, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  33. Having practiced and studied what makes teams work effectively, I'm now launching my service to help business coaches communicate the value of their services to their clients and prospects. I'm very excited about this. In addition to my passion for bringing diverse talents into communication and cooperation with each other, I love to write so this fits very well for me. I've recently moved to Argentina, and the timing was perfect as I learned about copywriting just as I was planning this move.

    Unity Copywriting -- You coach - we write for youOctober 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm


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