To answer this question you really need to understand the difference between a B2B copywriter and a B2B content writer. Most people accurately describe a B2B copywriter as someone who writes advertising or promotional copy for a business marketing to another business, but a b2b content writer’s job description is a little more fuzzy. A basic definition is someone who specializes in producing online content (for B2B). But what does that mean? Does a content writer do search engine optimization? Does a content writer do keyword research? Can a content writer produce a video? These are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a B2B content writer or SEO copywriter, because not every content writer has the same understanding of the job .
Here’s my take on what a content writer should provide:
1. A focus on results
What will be the measure of success: web traffic, email newsletter sign-ups, requests for quotes? A content writer should be accountable for writing content that puts the business in the best position to achieve their online objectives. If a writer says they specialize in writing copy to help a business show up in search engine results, they should be accountable for doing that. Depending on the level of competition for your keywords, it is quite possible that just optimizing your website copy is not going to be enough to get the results you are looking for. A competent content writer will be able to explain why.
2. Keyword and competitive analysis
Some writers are happy to take what the client thinks are their keywords and write content around them. But many business owners don’t understand how difficult it is to rank for those keywords. A good content writer will let a client know the best strategy for ranking based on a competitive analysis and a comprehensive keyword analysis. As a client you need to understand the importance of the time spent doing this.
At the same time, there are still companies who don’t believe anyone would ever search for their business online. They just want to have a professional site they can direct customers and prospects to. They don’t care about keywords or search engine results. For those clients, a good copywriter is probably all they need.
3. Useful content
One thing you don’t want on your website is overly promotional copy. For the most part people visit B2B websites for information, so you should look for a writer whose style is clear and direct. Does the writer have a good sense of what questions a visitor would ask? If the writer isn’t asking the right questions, you won’t have the right answers on your site.
4. Social media savvy
A content writer understands that it’s not just about writing content for a website but also for various social media channels. Is your writer well connected on Linked-In, Twitter and Facebook? Do they know how to use these tools to build an audience for your content? Are they willing to teach you how? Social media is one of the biggest drivers of website traffic. If your B2B content writer doesn’t want to tackle this, you will need to know how to handle this important task.
As a B2B copywriter turned B2B content writer, I thought I knew a lot about writing for the web. But with each project, and especially through work on own site at www.contentforbiz.com, I realized there was a lot more to it than I first thought. Content writing is much more difficult than I ever imagined. Only after hours and days spent researching keywords, and competition and digesting google analytics, did I realize how to not only write for the web, but to write for results.
I think there are probably many writers who want to put their copy online and call it content writing. I don’t think they will be successful in getting results. There are a lot of people involved in Internet marketing that offer one piece of the puzzle: the copy, the video, the SEO, or the web design. The problem is, as a B2B marketer, you need it all. At Content for Biz we do our best to pull it all together for you, with strategic partners to help in areas that aren’t in our expertise.
Writing in short sentences, using bullet points and throwing in some keywords might help someone when they get to your home page, but your customers and prospects need to get there first. And that’s the key value a content writer provides.