B2B Copywriting

The Power of Why

I have two kids under the age of four, both of whom are now talking. I tell you this because lately my house has been awash with the word “why.”

At first it started with just my oldest answering any statement with the word “why.” Now that her brother is talking, let’s just say the power of imitation has taken over.

Here’s what a typical conversation in my house looks like:

“Please don’t touch the oven.”

“Why?”

“Because the oven is hot.”

“Why?”

“Because I was cooking dinner.”

“Why?”

“Because we need to cook our food before we eat it.”

“Why?”

The questioning goes on until I lose my patience and inform them we’re done discussing it to please just do as I ask. (This violates my oath to never tell my kids to do something “because I said so” since I hated that when I was young, but that’s ...

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K’s Top 5 for the Week – August 27

Hard to believe another week has flown by!

Here in Ohio it has been sunny and cool, reminding me of school days. And I’ve had lots of opportunities to learn this week.

In fact, I found so many great things that I’ve got six items in my list instead of the usual five.

Check it out!

Marketing Above the Noise by @ardath421

If you have ever struggled with improving your messaging, this is the post for you. In her usual style, Ardath shows how vanilla benefits like “drive revenues” won’t motivate your prospects as much as you think….and how to create benefits that will. Highly recommended.

Content Marketing Group Therapy: What Suggestions Do You Have for This eNewsletter? by @michelelinn via @junta42

I just sat through a preschool orientation for parents discussing how everyone learns differently. For those of you who love the hands-on experience, this is the post for ...

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Is Blogging Worth the Effort for Companies?

To blog or not to blog? It’s a valid question.

eMarketer reports blogging is gaining popularity with companies, but fewer than half will be blogging by 2012.

According to Parker Trewin at Genius.com, “Whether it’s the time commitment, lack of resources or lack of demonstrable ROI…surveys show that blogging…still is not a ‘must have’ in the marketing toolkit.”

Why not?

I have to agree with Mr. Trewin that lack of time and resources is a big culprit. With the widespread layoffs of the last few years, marketing departments are strapped for both time and people. The need to do “one more thing” that takes considerable time and planning to show results falls to the bottom of the list. Especially if the fear is the results won’t be positive and jobs will be at risk.

There is also evidence traditional content marketing trumps social media activity, such as blogs. When buyers ...

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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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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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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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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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