Take the (Boringly?) Easier Path to Six-Figures as a Writer
I’ve talked to a lot of copywriters who are considering whether to start their freelance careers in B2B (Business-to-Business) or in B2C (Business-to-Consumer) copywriting.
And those who resist B2B usually fall into one of two camps.
Camp One: I’ve worked all my life in industry or business and I do NOT want to make my copywriting career there too.
Camp Two: I’d like to try B2B, but I have no technical background or work experience to give me credibility, so I can’t make it there.
(I was stubbornly in Camp One for quite some time, and when I let that go, my business took off.)
While both of those thought patterns make sense … they’re also missing the enormous opportunity and the ease of entry involved in B2B copywriting.
And when you’re a new copywriter trying to get your career off the ground and running, B2B may be an opportunity too good to pass up.
If you’re looking for a “safe” way to make six-figures as a copywriter, I can’t think of a better industry than B2B.
What makes B2B such a great choice?
Here are just a few reasons:
1. Clients, Clients, Clients
There are millions of B2B companies — 8 million large and midsize in North America alone. But that’s such a big number. How do you get your arms around what that means to you?
Well, what it means is that you have significantly more options in front of you to make a great living as a B2B copywriter.
For every company that sells products to consumers (B2C), there are dozens of companies selling products to them, so they can sell products to consumers or even to other companies.
It doesn’t have to be all IT and software, though that’s a nice big niche within B2B if you have an interest.
If you like the Christian market, but you prefer B2B copy projects, write for B2B companies who sell to churches and other Christian-based businesses.
If you enjoy moviemaking and entertainment, write for companies who sell to theaters, to studios, to directors, etc.
Many B2B companies do have at least a marketing director and some staff onboard to handle their copy projects. But most of them are not staffed to handle 100% of their copy needs — they typically also use agencies and freelancers because it allows them to flex their resources and be more efficient.
They use their in-house teams for strategy and ensuring all copy stays on brand.
But writing the ongoing content that needs to be written, like white papers, case studies, video scripts, or even creating email campaigns, is often more than the in-house team can handle.
The demand is high, especially for content and web copywriting, but even print and more traditional forms of copy are needed by millions of B2B companies around the world.
In-house marketing managers need your help, and if you offer to help them solve their problems, they’ll be happy to hire your services.
2. Good — and Steady — Pay
Most medium and larger B2B companies (and some smaller ones too) have policies in place through their Purchasing Departments to pay competitive rates to their vendors and contractors.
So if the “going rate” for a white paper is $5,000, they’re not likely to try to get you to do it for $500.
And because of the effort they go through to get freelancers set up as vendors in their system, as long as they’re happy with your performance, they’re also more likely to continue to feed work to you.
My experience with B2B projects is they usually involve multiple pieces of work for a single campaign, and the work keeps coming.
One client can easily give you $10,000 to $20,000 a year in projects. Those are relatively small projects for many B2B companies, but they make a big difference to you.
With that kind of fee, you could have just a handful of clients and be able to earn a six-figure salary.
3. Knowledge Trumps Experience
Put two resumes side-by-side.
One of them has 20 years of industry experience and six months of copywriting experience.
The other has 20 years of copywriting experience but zero industry experience.
The one with all the copywriting experience is probably going to have higher rates, as most professionals raise their rates over time as they get more experienced.
The one with the lesser copy experience, and thus lower rates, will look more appealing simply because of the lower cost.
But there’s an even bigger advantage to the company to hire the person with less copy experience … time saved for their experts.
When someone outside the industry comes in to write copy, they often need to spend a considerable amount of time with the company’s experts to learn the product and the industry, as well as learning who the prospect is, what they like, why they buy …
If the copywriter already knows the industry, they only need to learn the company’s product. And if they by chance used to be the target prospect, they already know exactly what prospects like, why they buy …
Talk about that knowledge and you’ve got an excellent marketing message. Even with less actual copywriting experience, you’re much more likely to get hired.
I used to run contact centers and have highlighted my background experience in my messaging to SaaS companies who target the service sector and to corporate training companies who target contact centers … it’s very effective.
Most companies cannot afford to have their experts tied up in marketing and copy meetings … their value is in product or service development. You can solve that problem for them by creating an effective marketing message.
4. No Technical Knowledge? No Problem
First, many B2B companies don’t sell technical products.
Second, even if they do, best practice copy principles still apply to their marketing … copy that is jargon-filled, highly technical (i.e., boring), and not persuasive is copy that is just not likely to work.
Your goal still is to show the reader how their lives will be better by purchasing that product or service.
That requires an understanding of how the product works, yes. But it does not mean you need to have in-depth knowledge of technical subjects.
Bottom line: B2B is a great copy specialty filled with a vast array of well-paying clients in myriad niches, who need your help to bring their products to the attention of the right decision-makers.
You don’t need to be a technical expert, you don’t need to have a ton of copywriting experience, and you can meet your income needs with only a handful of clients.
What more could you ask for?
Do you have any questions about getting started as a B2B copywriter? Let us know in the comments so we can help.
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I’m working on getting started as a copywriter, and haven’t decided on a niche. My background is in education and marketing sales (both separate careers). I am not technologically gifted. Where would someone with my background fit into the B2B world?
Secondly, I’m working on the accelerated class, and was advised to finish that before starting anything else. Otherwise I’d probably sign up for Steve’s mentoring class. I have a recorded B2B class that Steve did. How different is that than what is being offered now? Thank you
Guest (Mary H) –
...exact same situation as Mary, above (minus the marketing, unfortunately)
Guest (Mike) –
Lisa, this is an extremely helpful article. Gives me some practical ideas on B2B copywriting opportunities & how to tie B2C together with B2B clients. Well done & thank you.
Guest (Mike Crowe) –
Commenting on Mary H. the top example would be digital marketing, digital marketing, marketing strategy according to UC Irvine Continuing Education.
Mr Slaunwhite is the guru in the subject of B2B. I was in his previous class as he taught How to write High performance B2B. I still say to this day that he does not leave any stone unturned. He brings all the principles to the surface and clearly that students walk away with much more knowledge and confidence that this is achievable. Aspiring writers will be will be pleased.
Jamie Sax –