B2B Marketer Success Tips
We all know content is king. But how do you find a skilled copywriter to do the job right?
If you’ve ever worried about this, you’re not alone. Recent surveys have shown that companies struggle to find enough skilled writing resources to satisfy their ongoing copy needs.
In the blog post “13 Biggest Content Marketing Challenges” by Marketing Insiders Group, content marketers list the following among their top challenges:
- Determining content marketing ROI.
- Mastering video content marketing virality.
- Figuring out how to feed the content beast.
- Maintaining volume, quality, and speed.
And yet, B2B marketers need to find the resources to overcome these challenges because publishing high-quality, high-value content is what is proven to get results.
In fact, according to a survey run by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, B2B content marketing has become even more important than it has been in the past.
So, since content marketing is so integral to a company’s success, where can you turn to create that quality content?
The first step is to recognise a skilled copywriter when you’re on the hunt.
There are thousands of copywriters out there, and many of them are not qualified to write copy or content that actually WORKS, even though they claim to know how! Very few copywriters deeply understand how to write engaging, persuasive, and action-oriented copy.
Your goal is to recognise the real deal, and we’ll show you how in a moment.
But first, consider finding a skilled writer with experience in your niche industry.
The value of your copywriter investment — and the ongoing return — will be much higher if the writer not only understands great copywriting, but also has experience in your niche market. He or she already knows your prospects and their needs; the industry language; the business climate; industry trends and products; competitive considerations; industry challenges; and much more. The copywriter’s learning curve would be very short! It would be very easy for the writer to focus on understanding your unique products/services and what makes them the best options out there.
Therefore, we recommend starting with a narrow niche-focused copywriter search and then broadening it if you don’t find an industry-specific resource.
Curious where to start your search? Try these strategies …
Use Google and other search engines to look for industry-specific copywriters. Type in a search phrase that reflects your precise need, such as the following examples:
- “[niche] content writer” (“industrial content writer”)
- “[niche] B2B copywriter” (“utilities B2B copywriter”)
- “[niche] SEO copywriter” (“food and wine SEO copywriter”)
- “[niche] case study writer” (“financial case study writer”)
- “[niche] direct mail copywriter” or “direct response copywriter” (“fundraising direct mail copywriter”)
Use LinkedIn to find knowledgeable copywriters. Browse through posts they’ve written; Follow links to portfolios and websites; Look at recommendations and groups they’re connected with.
Once you identify a copywriter you’d like to consider … here are some insider tips for evaluating his or her suitability for your needs.
- First, reach out to the writer by email or phone, telling them what you’re looking for. Have them write you a letter or email in response, explaining why they’re a good fit. You want to find out if they have experience in the type of writing you need, as well as any experience or connections to your niche industry. You can ask to see writing samples too, of course, but this first letter or email will tell you a LOT about each writer’s skills, professionalism, communication style, and ability to write persuasive copy, convincing you to choose them!
- Request work samples/PDFs and ask for links to websites the copywriter has written (if applicable). See what you think when you receive the samples. Do they excite you or leave you flat? These are telltale signs of whether or not the writer is right for you.
- Offer a Spec Assignment to the copywriter; something similar to the project you need. This could be a simple “headline and lead” assignment to see how the copywriter handles the spec: the questions the writer asks, the copy ideas he or she presents to you, and the way they’re presented to you.
- Review the copywriter’s LinkedIn profile or website to get a greater sense of the writing style, approach, methods, professionalism, and other attributes that demonstrate whether this is a writer you’d like to work with.
- If you’re looking for a copywriter who understands SEO, you’ll definitely want to pay close attention to the writer’s website. Is it optimised with keywords and great sales copywriting? Did you find the copywriter because the website showed up high on page one of Google results when typing in “[niche] copywriter”? These are very good signs. Next, look at client work samples as mentioned (the writer’s website should list at least a few links). Then, do a Google search for the products or services offered by those clients. Do they rank well in Google results? This is a fabulous sign that the copywriter does great work.
- Interview the writer and ask about his or her process. For instance, how does the copywriter provide proposals, drafts, and schedules? How will the copywriter go about working with your designer or web team?
- Talk about your needs and see what happens. Does the copywriter immediately talk about rates, or does he or she ask about your business goals and obstacles? Is the copywriter genuinely interested in helping you succeed? Does he or she follow a professional process that gives you the confidence to think, “This person can help me?”
This research can reveal a great deal about the copywriter’s “fit” for you.
“Copy is the MAIN ELEMENT in your ability to attract prospects and close them as customers … ” and “This [relationship with your copywriter] is gonna be one of the most time-and-money intensive relationships you have in your business.” — John Carlton, legendary copywriter and author
Once you’ve hired a copywriter, expect him or her to play a role in seeing the project all the way through to completion. The copy isn’t just a Word document. It comes to life in an email, landing page, website, or mailed piece. To ensure success, make sure the copywriter is able to collaborate with your marketing team (designer, programmer, etc.). This increases the chances that everyone’s hard work is going to pay off when your campaign or website is launched!
When you begin working with a copywriter, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire such as a Creative Brief to outline the business mission, competitive climate, unique positioning, etc. This information will help your copywriter do the best work for you.
In addition, you’ll want to provide the following materials and data to bring your copywriter up to speed:
- Links to all your online materials: all current websites, landing pages, online articles.
- Samples of any online marketing efforts: emails, e-newsletters, promotions, special reports, white papers, etc.
- Samples of printed materials: company brochures, direct-mail campaigns, sell sheets, ads, packaging, printed newsletters, trade show materials.
- Testimonials, endorsements, and case studies.
- Branding stylebook or guidelines if available (for direction on phrases, logos, and colors that must be used on the site — also any photos or branding logo images).
- Email performance, such as Open Rates and Click-Through Rates.
- Direct-mail response rates such as conversion to leads or sales.
- Website traffic reports, either from your host company or from Google Analytics. These monthly reports give your copywriter a wealth of statistics about site performance, such as:
- page hits (total number of page views, requests for images, downloadable files).
- page visits (how many unique visitors landed on the site).
- pages visited most often (indicating which pages are more popular).
- abandon statistics (which pages were last seen before visitors left the site).
- search engine traffic (which search engines referred the site to visitors).
- keywords entered (keywords used by visitors that month — especially valuable).
- browser traffic (which browsers visitors are using — Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. as well as sources of traffic, keywords used, and more).
Expected Deliverables, Timetable, and Approval Process
The copywriter should clearly outline in a formal agreement the specific services being provided. For example: an email and landing page series; Search Engine Optimisation for 10 web pages; 4 blog posts a month; a direct-mail package including an envelope, 4-page sales letter, and order form; etc. And, this agreement will include the agreed-upon fees for each project element. This eliminates surprises.
Next, you’ll want to work out a specific schedule with the copywriter, indicating how long each step will take. For example, a web copywriting project may include:
- strategic planning: 3 weeks
- content mapping/copy message platform: 2 weeks
- copywriting complete drafts: 2 weeks
- coordinating with the web team: 2 weeks+ depending on turnaround times
However, having said that, many proposals do not include a specific timetable because the copywriter may need to work it out with you and your team. This happens more often than not to balance everyone’s schedules, but it’s worth mentioning timetables in case you want them spelled out as much as possible in the proposal.
A word about approval stages: It’s always good to plan on being available and flexible as the copywriting project progresses, so you can provide feedback and approvals in a timely manner and keep things on schedule.
AWAI is a top quality training resource for copywriters. Our programs — including the foundational program, The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter — encompass nearly every type of writing project; plus we train copywriters on how to work effectively with clients as independent freelancers or on-staff writers, employ best practices, and deliver effective copy that will help you meet your goals.
Thousands of copywriters have completed our various programs, and a huge number of them are providing exceptional results to clients today.
Major companies and marketing associations know about our programs and actively seek out trained AWAI writers. “AWAI-trained” is a big draw and many marketers eagerly participate in our annual virtual Marketer Spotlight Roundtables where marketers, business owners, and copy chiefs have the opportunity to speak directly to a large group of copywriters about what they do, their current copy needs, and what they’re looking for in a writer.
The following companies — from niches as varied as financial, health, and fundraising — were among those who participated last year looking for copywriters: Banyan Hill Publishing, Eagle Financial, Hay House, International Living, Investor Place, Lurn, Rocky Mountain Oil, The Oxford Group, Plural Inc., Stansberry Research, Tradesmith, and more over three days.
They know that AWAI-trained writers have the chops to do great work. Here’s a sample of what satisfied customers had to say:
“I can’t run my business without copywriters. They are the lifeblood of my success.”
- Paul Romano, President, Uniscience Group/Healthier You
“We were very impressed with the AWAI writers’ understanding of what we wanted and of direct marketing fundamentals. These writers are well trained! We had a really hard time selecting writers to test from it, but a few really stood out. We’re now working with one writer and will potentially hire a second one as well. Thanks, AWAI!”
- Julie Broad, Rev N You With Real Estate
“There is no difference between great editorial and great marketing in this business. You’re just trying to convince people to take an action with words. That’s what both of those things are. On the one hand, you’re trying to get them to invest with you, on the other hand, you’re trying to get them to buy something you’re selling them.”
- Cindy Butehorn, NetEffect Marketing
“I’ve hired and worked with copywriters for over five years. In fact, it’s the single most important part of our business… finding copywriters who can write compelling, high-converting copy. And, I’ve found, copywriters who know and study AWAI’s programs always know their stuff. They consistently rise right to the “A pile” of copywriters I consider to write copy for me.”
- Tom Adolph, Acquisitions Creative Director, NewMarket Group
“I believe freelance copywriters bring new energy and new lifeblood and new ideas to the process. I have actively been trying to bring copywriters from AWAI back to Eagle and I succeeded last year at Bootcamp. I brought back three copywriters who we gave a shot and two of which are still with us.”
- Wayne Ellis, Senior Editor, Eagle Financial Publications