Today’s 9 Most-Asked Questions
About B2B Copywriting
Whenever I attend a live event like AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp, I speak to dozens of people about the Business-to-Business (B2B) copywriting opportunity. I answer questions in hallways, at breakfast, during walks on the beach and, yes, even in the elevator!
The challenge with answering questions in the elevator, however, is that I’m forced to be concise, which is opposite my normal propensity to be wordy. Well, I try my best!
Now’s the ideal time to talk about the B2B opportunity — the demand is huge. I’d encourage you to take a look at it too. In case you have questions … Here are the nine most common questions I’m usually asked, and my ambitiously succinct answers to each.
1. Is the B2B market really that huge?
The B2B market means businesses who sell products and services to other businesses, rather than directly to consumers like you and me. Yes, it’s a huge market — with over 5.7 million companies in the U.S. alone! And you only need a handful of good B2B clients to be booked solid.
2. What types of projects do B2B copywriters handle?
When you write for a Business-to-Business company — for example, a forklift manufacturer — you can expect to write a wide range of marketing materials. These include ads, email campaigns, websites, social media posts, blogs, articles, video scripts, case studies, and white papers. So if you love variety, you’ll love B2B.
3. What’s a “case study?” What’s a “white paper?”
A case study is a customer success story. It’s basically a “before-and-after” story, about 800 words, that describes how a customer is using your client’s product and why they’re so happy with it. It’s like a long-form testimonial.
A white paper is about eight pages. It typically talks about a new technology, a new solution to a problem, a list of tips, or a better way to accomplish something. For example, I recently wrote a white paper for a client titled: 7 Social Selling Tips for Real Estate Agents.
4. I’ve heard that B2B copywriting is less “hype-y.” Is that true?
Yes. The B2B writing style tends to be clear, fact-based, conversational, and focused on down-to-earth performance expectations rather than overblown promises. A sales manager isn’t going to believe copy for a training product that claims to “give you the keys to a secret vault of selling tips that will explode your sales into the stratosphere!” No way. Instead, he’s going to be swayed by a clear, persuasive explanation of the program features, and its benefits.
By the way, that’s why so many writers love B2B. They don’t have to write hyped-up sales copy.
5. How much money can I make as a B2B copywriter?
There are many Business-to-Business copywriters who make well over $100,000 a year. In fact, a six-figure income is not merely an ideal that only a few B2Bers reach, it’s a realistic goal that you can achieve within two or three years (maybe sooner) — assuming you put in the work to learn your craft and build your freelance business.
And right now, there’s a shortage of B2B copywriters on the market. So companies are eager to find good ones and pay them well.
6. Can you give me some idea of what to charge clients?
Every project is different. However, to write an email campaign consisting of seven emails and a short landing page, it’s not uncommon to get around $5,000. Once you get the hang of it, you can probably complete a project like that in two or three days.
For an 800-word case study, where you would need to interview your client’s customer, a $1,200-$2,000 fee is reasonable. Writing a blog or monthly e-newsletter for a B2B company can start at $900-$1,500 per month.
7. Should I pick a niche? If so, how?
The good news is, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of potential niches to choose from. As a B2B copywriter, you can focus on writing for software companies, sales training firms, consultants, transportation companies, solar energy manufacturers, publishers, printing companies, whew, the list goes on and on.
The best way to pick a niche is to leverage your background. If you’ve spent 10 years in the transportation industry, marketing managers of transportation companies are going to want to talk to you. Why? Because you’re a copywriter who understands them. And you don’t have to stick with that niche forever, but use it to get a head start.
8. Do I have to write about techy products in order to be successful in B2B?
No. There are plenty of niches in this market where you're writing about products that are relatively easy to get your head around, like office equipment, sales training, coaching, and so forth.
At the same time, there is a big demand for writers willing to write for a "scary" industry. If you can be comfortable writing about industrial valves or pumps, forklift trucks, logistics, or medical devices, for example, then marketing directors of those companies are going to want to hear from you. They're looking for writers who understand their products and it’s tough to find them.
You don't have to write for a "scary" industry. But if you do, you can do very well.
9. How do I get started as a B2B copywriter?
First, you need to learn your craft. That means learning the B2B writing style, and mastering how to write all the different types of projects — ads, emails, write papers, etc.
Next, you need to learn how to land clients. Everything from setting up your website to reaching out to business owners and marketing directors and letting them know about your services.
The good news is, these are skills you can master. So find a good course or program that will help you, ideally one that teaches you all the basics you need to get started.
Finally, you should keep up-to-date with best practices and current trends in the industry. Things keep changing, and when you’re “in the know,” you look more professional.
So those are some of the answers I give when I’m asked about B2B. Like I said, I try to be short! But if you have more questions about the B2B copywriting opportunity, share them in the comments. We’ll get you the answers.
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