Seven things to look out for when hiring a B2B tech copywriter
Most B2B tech companies know that content and stories are an important part of their marketing efforts. However, finding the right fit in terms of a copywriter (in-house or external) can be a challenge. After all, what your copywriter creates will likely be the first touchpoint in the customer journey and a continuous source of information through to conversion (and beyond). Their words will help your prospects and customers understand your technology and its benefits, compare your solutions to your competitors, make purchase decisions, and more.
Consistently delivering this value requires more than simply writing good copy. There are a number of other skills that set a professional B2B tech copywriter apart from the rest. Since I want my readers (and my prospects!) to understand how to be successful with hiring the right copywriter, here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the key skills B2B tech commercial and marketing teams should look out for when hiring.
1. Experience in your niche
There can be a distinct advantage in hiring someone who has experience in your niche, whether that be fintech, legaltech, healthtech, or broader, such as SaaS. Having specialist insight means your copywriter won't need to take valuable time learning the concepts, regulations, or technical terms behind your products or services. He or she may also be aware of how competitors in your space are marketing themselves, and be able to quickly grasp your points of differentiation and why they matter to your prospects. Hiring a copywriter with experience in your niche can give you a faster time-to-market and save you significant investment costs.
2. Understand that emotions drive decisions
Many tech companies instinctively believe that customers want to buy your product because of its features and functionality. But humans are emotional animals. In fact, up to 95% of our decision-making processes are subconscious, and largely driven by emotion rather than logic. Your copywriter should be able to create stories that engage your prospects emotionally and nurture them through to purchase. This is not to say that explaining functionality and features is not important. In fact, it is critically important to explain the benefits of your solutions, how they work, and related information such as security or compliance. But unless you are working to engage your audience emotionally as well, your content is going to be 50% effective at best.
3. Collaborative Skills
Copywriting for B2B tech is a team sport, and the copywriter is just the person creating the end product. In some organizations, processes are well-defined and include a brief, stakeholders, and an approval process. But more frequently processes, stakeholders, and subject matter experts are fluid and vary according to the circumstances. An experienced copywriter will, if necessary, be proactive in scoping out the right people and asking questions to get the best result.
4. Ability to work with designers
Copy and design go hand-in-hand. Good design is noticed before good content, and in B2B tech, having copy and design work seamlessly together can help explain complex concepts. Normally marketing content is created with the story first and design added later, meaning design adapts to the story. But in reality, things always look different from what you expect once you take a piece of content and put it in your design. At this point, having a copywriter who can collaborate and iterate with your designers can help take your content to the next level.
5. A degree of tech knowledge
A good copywriter should be familiar and comfortable with things like working with a CMS and editing basic HTML. It’s useful for a copywriter to also be comfortable with industry-standard tools such as Google Analytics and social media management solutions, as well as optional tools such as Grammarly. With so many different software options out there, there’s a fair chance that you’ll be using a piece of software that your copywriter won’t have directly used before. However, someone who is generally experienced with standard tools should be able to get on board quickly with your systems.
6. SEO knowledge
In some cases, SEO can be very important, in others, less important. But when applying SEO keywords and phrases, writing for the human is absolutely key. SEO terms need to comfortably sit within the writing and not be detected by your audience. In B2B tech, there can be long tail, high-intent search terms that you can reach highly targeted prospects with, and your copywriter should have the experience and skill to be able to incorporate these in their writing. A good copywriter should be familiar with keyword research and tools such as Google Search Console, BuzzSumo, or Yoast.
7. And surprise!…Ability to write good copy
The list above gives some indication of the range of skills that make up a good copywriter. But they would not be complete without the ability to execute with good copy. However, what is good copy, and how do you assess its quality? This depends a lot on what your business is looking for right at this moment.
For example, if you are looking for lead generation, you need someone focused on identifying goals and measuring results, through metrics such as click-through rates from social media, page traffic, time on page and page depth, download or contact conversions, and so on. If you are focused on SEO, you will want to look at Google page rankings for selected search terms. But hard metrics only tell a part of the story. Having content that is used by your salespeople, inspires deeper conversations with prospects, and captures the value provided by your technology is also important.
These are some suggestions for traits to look out for when considering a B2B tech copywriter, but there are no hard and fast rules. Some copywriters can pick up new subject matter quickly even if they have not worked in your niche previously. Personal chemistry and culture fit are intangibles that can be just as important as any of the above skills. Your copywriter needs to be someone that you and your team enjoy engaging with. A shared vision can come out in the essence and energy of the final written piece. And finally, you may need output broader than content or copy such as distribution. In this case, you may consider looking at related roles including content marketing and content strategy.
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