The most important skills B2B tech copywriters need that are not writing
What makes a great B2B technology copywriter?
You can rattle off a long list of ingredients. Creativity, innovativeness, and the ability to craft a compelling narrative are only a few. Those are all important, but beyond a certain point, you need more.
Make sure you have these all-round skills
The faster digitization due to the pandemic has pulled the future of work in the present. The post-pandemic workforce needs to be quick on its feet.
New tasks and jobs emerge out of nowhere, outdating role titles, and definitions. Your copywriting expertise remains important but no longer defines your responsibilities.
“If your only skill is writing, you lack a competitive advantage.”
If you want to ensure you’ll be able to keep up, let’s dive into six crucial non-writing skills that create value for others. You may not have all of these, but try to check off as many as you can.
#1 - Manage feedback
As a tech copywriter, it’s not always easy to help but feel a bit of a sting when someone offers criticism. But it’s part of the game. The process of feedback is an essential step towards crafting the copy that works.
Managing feedback is the most critical communication skill. It is something that impacts the giver, the receiver, and the broader campaign. Here are five pointers to deal with every kind of feedback – bad and good.
Your focus should be on being improved.
Remember, the feedback is on the work, not you.
Get specific detailed feedback on what’s not working.
See it as a way to cut what wastes the audience’s time.
Again, the final aim is to help the team get the right result.
It helps if you remain as neutral as you can and be open to making changes. Don’t ignore, but don’t automatically let the feedback sway you. Keep a healthy balance.
What’s necessary versus what’s an opinion
Managing feedback helps you communicate your value as a professional and convinces them that your approach is what the audience needs at that particular moment in the customer journey.
It helps if you take charge of the feedback process and define “what’s necessary” versus “what’s an opinion.” That’s how you define the boundaries between your job as a writer and someone else’s suggestions.
It can be challenging if you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders who have strong opinions. The best way is to define where the line in the sand is between opinions and must-haves. As long as we’re clear on our goals early enough into projects, there wouldn’t be any surprises along the way.
Use feedback as a tool to hone your skills. It takes time but saves a tremendous amount of effort in the long run.
#2 - Dig the data
Learn to love data and make it work for your writing decisions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, though. Online audiences tend to generate a ton of data. You must be able to identify the data set that would distill into meaningful information.
For instance, the right data would let you know where your traffic is coming from. You can also use data skills to prove your copy is working. You can create experiments to understand audience engagement as well.
Data related to your copy will help you find opportunities to double down or cut your losses. That’s how you separate the signal from the noise.
Don’t ignore qualitative data
When we say data, the first thought that comes to our mind is the quantifiable numbers that can be easily visualized through dashboards. But that’s only one part of the story. It would help if you analyzed qualitative feedback as well. This is the information that arrives in the form of opinions and views of an individual.
Qualitative feedback involves trying to gauge data that goes beyond mere statistics. It helps decipher the ’why’ behind numbers-based results. For instance, open-ended questions prompt more insightful responses than close-ended surveys. The best way is to combine all kinds of data to gather actionable insights.
Now more so than ever, effective B2B tech copywriting is a blend of creativity and analytics. You should invest your time learning how to take advantage of as much statistical goodness as you can. Beginners can start with the basics of Google Analytics.
#3 - Familiarity with basic HTML
Almost every website on the internet comprises HTML or Hypertext Markup Language. That’s a compelling reason for you to learn the basics. It helps you understand the science behind web pages. Plus, you can format your writing and improve your output:
You don’t have to reach out to your IT team to change a typo on your published copy. You could take care of minor copy improvements and fix errors.
Learning HTML would help you collaborate more effectively with a technical audience. This will help you streamline your day-to-day communication, especially in the B2B tech world.
HTML is also a great place to start with web design languages. It’s easy to learn, and you get your hands on some ’code.’ You might even feel confident enough to start learning other languages. There are countless free tutorials on Google to help you with the basics of HTML.
#4 - Interviewing skills
Technology copywriting is a process of writing about topics that you might not have an in-depth understanding of. You’ll have to scour the internet to gain an understanding of the topic with evidence of your claims. You might have to tap internal and external resources to find answers.
That’s where interviews prove to be helpful. As tech products become even more complex, your audience gets more diverse. As a copywriter, you need more information. You’d have to get comfortable talking to a product manager, a programmer, and a web designer. That’s how you get multiple perspectives to reach the heart of the topic.
Asking pertinent questions would help you test your own assumptions and biases. Rookie copywriters rely on their own experiences for writing copy. As a result, they never get to see the world from their audience’s point of view.
No longer a checklist item
Interviewing is no longer a checklist item. It’s a skill that can become your competitive edge. If you get stuck in the middle of an interview, here is a quintessential solution to help you out. Always remember the “who, what, where, when, how, why” formula. This can open up loads of questions, such as:
Who is this for?
What do they need to learn?
Where will the product or feature be available?
How will customers use it?
Why should they care about it?
When is this helpful in their customer journey?
A word of caution: Interviewing is a tricky skill for a newbie. Don’t forget that you’re having a conversation, not a Q&A!
#5 - Understanding of UX
Your job as a B2B tech copywriter is to put words onto a screen. The next step is for the users to consume the copy. User experience or UX is how the user interacts with your copy. It reflects the interaction between both parties. There is simply no use of an excellent copy if your app or web page is hard to navigate for users.
Obviously, UX design or testing is a vast field in itself. Before you feel overwhelmed, know that all you need is an understanding of the basics. Even the fundamental knowledge of what constitutes excellent UX is enough.
User experience is fast becoming a foundational pillar for all B2B technology marketing. Focusing on the user enhances the process of improving the eventual conversion rate as well. It helps to create the precise copy that allows users to overcome objections and say “yes.” That’s the goal, isn’t it!
#6 - Many hats of the B2B tech copywriter
As a copywriter, you may have been wearing your hat of creativity. But it would help if you had other hats too. Both creative and non-creative parts of your job rely on each other.
Successful copywriting requires a neat balance between creativity and managing hardcore business requirements. You can be a writer, through and through. But hone your project management skills to keep your work on track.
Presenting your copy, receiving feedback, and deciding how to respond are time-bound tasks. So knowledge of basic project management skills would help to manage your time on several projects simultaneously.
Timely planning and prompt organization are the real antidotes. Even the simplest of spreadsheets can help you manage day-to-day scheduling.
You could hunt through the popular choices like Monday.com, Asana, Trello, Airtable and see if they fit your project management style. What’s great is that you can always utilize free trial periods and test out your choice.
Job skills were changing even before the pandemic hit the world. But, working remotely has brought significant changes in the way B2B technology copywriters operate.
It’s your non-writing skills that will create a competitive advantage. If you want to belong to the top 1%, start learning these periphery skills for success.
Non-writing skills are the real differentiators
If you think about it, many people can write copy. But far fewer can write copy and:
Manage feedback and workflow
Understand and use analytics tools
Apply basic HTML
Interview like a journalist
Think on the UX side of things
And remember, these differentiators can be combined in ways that will make you stand out. Plus, you give yourself a perceived advantage in the eyes of recruiters.
Fortunately, non-writing skills are learnable. Maybe you’re already good at some. If not, start today, keep honing, and take one day at a time.