7 Deadly Sins of B2B Copywriting

By July 28, 2014 No Comments

Are you guilty of any of the 7 deadly sins of B2B copywriting? From Lust to Pride, it’s time to take a look at the biggest problems in B2B marketing, and discover how we can overcome them!


7 Deadly Sins of B2B Copywriting


Trying to be everything, to everyone.

Despite our best intentions, B2B products and services will never achieve universal appeal. They’re too technical and too niche, designed to appeal to a small sub-section of the market in a very specific way. That said, instead of trying to widen the appeal of our services, effective B2B copywriting has to reflect this niche nature. It’s the specificity of B2B products that makes them successful – dominating a small, obscure market, instead of competing in a huge, overcrowded one.

  • Use industry-specific language, acronyms and tone of voice.
  • Don’t shy away from niche humour.
  • Don’t be afraid of alienating people.

[box style=”1″]‘You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.’

Andrew Davis[/box]


Inconsistency with your copywriting.

Consistency is crucial to building trust. A single piece of fantastic, stand-alone content isn’t enough to convert your visitors in one hit – and you need to earn their trust by offering continued value. Weekly blogging, monthly emails and quarterly eguides will all reinforce the same message: that your brand is committed to creating valuable resources. Frequency doesn’t matter as much as consistency – and as long as your audience understands that you’re not a one-hit wonder, your chances of conversion will improve hugely.



Asking your audience to digest too much.

From the smallest startup to the largest corporate behemoth, the business world is a constant deluge of information and demands. Your target audience is incredibly time-constrained; and for your B2B copywriting to be effective, it has to offer obvious value, and present that value quickly and efficiently.

Your blog posts, email copy and web copywriting all need to address a single issue, in a clear and systematic way – a single point, followed by a single CTA. There can be no unnecessary sentences or flowery language, and your audience need to constantly be reassured of both the relevancy and benefit of your writing.

[box]‘Here’s everything you need to know about creating killer content in 3 simple words: Clear. Concise. Compelling.’

– Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger[/box]



Trashtalking your competition.

Competition is natural part of business; but it shouldn’t be reflected in your B2B copywriting. Honesty and transparency rule in modern marketing, and it’s the brands that are willing to share helpful resources and information regardless of its original source that benefit from the greatest trust and engagement. This also requires a willingness to talk about your own techniques and strategies – and in an industry where trashtalking and guarded secrecy win out, it’s the honest brands that stand out.



Expecting more value than you’re offering.

Modern marketing is founded upon a value exchange – trading our information, resources and expertise for the audience’s time, attention and personal information. That said, there’s a fine line between fair exchange, and unfair exchange. Many agencies ask too much of their audience, presenting them with mammoth contact forms and epic TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) content. If you ask too much of your audience, they won’t engage – so be sure that you’re offering as much value as you’re hoping to receive.


[box]‘The paradox is the more info you give away, the more people will buy what you have to give.’

– Brian Clark, Copyblogger[/box]


N.B. This particular sin is sometimes referred to as Avarice. If you’re writing for Bible scholars or English Lit graduates, writing about avarice will help communicate your message in a clear and accessible way – but if you’re writing for marketers, business owners or just about anybody else, avarice will distract from your copywriting and make you sound pretentious. Choose language that will resonate with your target audience.



Chasing vanity metrics.

It’s easy to become caught-up in a sea of social media metrics and brand envy. It can be tempting to latch-on to popular brands, copying their methods and copywriting, in the hope of realising the same response from your own audience. Unfortunately, what works for one business won’t work for you.

Your brand should have its own Unique Selling Point (USP), it’s own little niche carved-out from the bigger, broader industry (and if you can’t define your own brands USP, then you should probably rethink your reasons for being in business). With that comes a unique target audience, with unique motivations and unique problems. Copying content from brands with a different audience will only serve to alienate your own audience, and leave you chasing inappropriate and unhelpful metrics.



Talking about yourself.

B2B copywriting isn’t about showing off. It’s not an excuse to brag about your latest client; it’s no justification for writing about your latest intern, or your thoughts on the World Cup; and it’s not a personal sounding board for your grievances. B2B copywriting should be about your target audience. It should reflect their passions and problems, and use your expertise to help indulge and remedy them. It shouldn’t try to sell your products and services – it should sell your knowledge, compassion and empathy.

[box style=”1″]‘Stop selling. Start helping.’

– Zig Ziglar[/box]

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If you’re struggling with your B2B copywriting workload, get in touch. I’m a freelance marketing copywriter, and I specialise in writing engaging, targeted and effective B2B copy. From blog posts to emails, from eBooks to website copy, I can turn the technical into the accessible, and create marketing-beating content for you and your clients alike.




Author Ryan

I help SaaS companies grow with content marketing. I also drink Scotch. Sometimes together. CMO & co-founder, Cobloom.

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