The Agile B2B Copywriter

K’s Top 5 for the Week – August 20

I can’t believe it’s the middle of August already. The air is filled with the excitement (and dismay) of the kids getting ready to start school.

Luckily, this week the blogosphere was also filled with lots of posts that gave some great educational tidbits.

Here’s my five picks for this week:

How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing by @michelelinn via @junta42

Editorial calendars are a powerful way to ensure the content you produce is consistent and relevant. They also help you maximize the opportunities to repurpose content and get SEO value. In this post Michele shares a good example of an editorial calendar for marketers.

Customer References Trim the Sales Cycle by @casey_hibbard

A big challenge for B2B marketers is lengthening sales cycles. If you are interested in speeding up your sales cycle, take a look at this post by Casey Hibbard from Stories that Sell.

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Five Marketing Lessons from a Blind Date that Worked Out

When I met my husband a few years ago, it was a coincidence. My mom had a car she was unhappy with because it was constantly in the shop. It was on yet another repair trip that she met my future father-in-law. He drove her home while the car stayed for repairs.

Both are the kind of people who can strike up a conversation with anyone, and before long they were discussing their families. It was pretty much inevitable they’d figure out they both had unattached children around the same age. Nothing unusual there.

Then the unprecedented happened. My mom gave my father-in-law my first name and phone number. She told him if my husband wanted to meet me he could call me. The phone number went from my father-in-law to my mother-in-law to my husband. And against all odds, he called it.

Naturally I wasn’t home when he called and ...

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K’s Top Five for the Week – August 13

This summer is flying by and this week was a scorcher.

I beat the heat by taking a look at all the great content flying around the blogosphere this week. Hope you can do the same!

Here’s my five picks for this week:

Start at Status Quo to Create Buyer’ Momentum by @ardath421

Are your prospects aware of the problem you solve? Do you think that’s enough? This post examines why the status quo is a tough competitor and has to be confronted to create the urgency you need to drive a sale.

Hiding in Plain Sight by @davidreich

Do you make it impossible for anyone to reach you? Or is it just difficult? This post highlights a common problem prospects (yes, even yours!) face when they want to reach out to a company.

Practical B2B Blog Strategy by @jonbuscall via @b2bbloggers

Solid B2B blog strategy can be tough for ...

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K’s Top Five for the Week – August 6

As you might imagine, I do a lot of reading around the blogosphere each week. It’s an effort to both keep up with what’s happening in the B2B space and learn something new.

In an effort to share items which I thought were particularly awesome, I’m going to start posting my top 5 picks each week. It’ll be a kind of one-stop shopping for you and give some love back to those who are sharing some great information.

Here’s this week’s picks: 5 Ways to Build Your Blog’s Voice by @GeorginaLaidlaw via @ProBlogger

Anyone who’s written for more than five minutes has struggled with finding their voice. For companies, voice can be a particularly tricky problem. This post gives great ideas for building a voice readers will enjoy. Your Prospects Don’t Know Who You Are by @diannahuff

“Our customers already know who we are.” Yeah, maybe. But what about your ...

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Build a Better B2B Brochure

There have been cries about the death of the B2B brochure for a while now. I don’t know about you, but I still see B2B brochures. A lot of them.

Turns out the web hasn’t killed brochures. It’s given companies a way to distribute them, and require personal information for the privilege of viewing them. So they are far from dead. And I can’t argue with marketers’ desire to hang onto them. Done well, brochures create value and help move customers through the sales cycle.

What does a well-done brochure look like? It’s a far cry from the PDF files that populate most company websites. You’ve seen the ones I mean. The brochure title is the product name. They begin with a paragraph about how wonderful the product is, how it fits into everything else the company offers, and ends with a list of highlighted features.

Now here’s the big ...

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The Problem with B2B Blogs

I’ve gotten out of the blogging habit for a few months now. It started out innocently enough. I went on vacation for a couple of weeks. Then when I got back, guess what? I was swamped with client work that had been waiting for me. In a blink, a month had passed. Then two. Then…well…you get the picture.

As I’ve been struggling to get back on track, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I had a great start. Things were going well. Momentum was beginning to build. And then things fell apart. What went wrong? I’ve come to a single conclusion. And it affects not just me, but anyone with a B2B blog.

The problem with B2B blogs is they’re free.

I know what you’re saying. It’s great they’re free. That’s part of the magic. Free can’t be the problem. But I’m here to tell you it is not ...

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Five Tips for Great Email Newsletters

The rise of social media has some folks predicting the death of email. Not so fast! According to Forrester Research, email marketing is alive and well. Forrester predicts that by 2014 marketers will spend $2 billion on email marketing.

The rise of social media and mobile technology has actually made email more important. Email can point customers to social sites. And with a smart phone, email can reach customers anytime and anywhere. No longer is email (or the web) tied to a computer.

Enter email newsletters.

Done well, email newsletters still play an important role in any marketing program. Done poorly, newsletters can do more harm than good. But most newsletters fall somewhere in the middle. They don’t do a great job, but they don’t make the company look awful either.

They’re just there. Going out every month, and sitting in the inbox of recipients. Mediocre newsletters are a wasted ...

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Your B2B Buyers Think Your Website Is Hard To Use

Yes, I know B2B buyers are savvy. I know most of them use computers and the Internet in their jobs each and every day. And I’m sorry to tell you, they really do think your website is hard to use.

I’ll give you an example from my own experience. My dryer died a few weeks ago and I’ve been doing research before purchasing a new one. Now I’m not the type to actually purchase a dryer online, but I’m happy to do all my research there.

One of the things I wanted to know is how much the dryer was and whether my local store had it in stock. Finding the local store information and getting it to display on the websites was a huge challenge.

First, they all called it something different. Store locator. Store finder. And my personal favorite, directory. In addition to the different terminology, the links ...

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Train Prospects with Your B2B Marketing Content

I can hear the excitement now. There's a way to train prospects? Eager B2B marketers have but one question -- can we train them to buy my product? All the time?

Now before you go off with visions of prospects marching like zombies and chanting "buy, buy, buy," I should clarify a couple of things.

First, you can train prospects. Unfortunately for us, we often train prospects in ways we don't realize or anticipate. And second, now that you know, you can use training principles to create great B2B marketing copy.

Principle 1: Stay Focused

Did you ever have a teacher who presented more than one concept at a time? Or who ran through so many ideas you didn't know which one was most important? Or remembered half of what she said? Don't make that mistake with your marketing copy.

The average person can only keep five to seven things ...

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Picking the Right B2B Copywriter for Your Next Project

The spiking demand for well-crafted content means many companies will end up working with a freelancer at some point.

If you are the lucky soul in charge of choosing, you have a big task ahead of you. Especially if you don't already know a few people who could do the job well.

Perhaps you begin with one of  the big job boards such as elance.com. Or maybe you just do a quick google search to see who's out there. Either way, you're likely to be overwhelmed with choices and promises.

Here's a few ways to help sort through the noise.

Look for Writing Ability

You are hiring this person to write, so evaluate their writing skills. Is there a website? How well is it written? Blog posts? Samples? Emails? You don't necessarily need to see a sample of the exact type of project you want them to work on for this evaluation.

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