• How Well are You Communicating?

    Scanning the recent issue of Fast Company, I came across a blog post that would be of interest to many B2B marketers. The blogger acknowledges that while “content is king” for most marketers, the quality of the content is even more important. The blogger goes on to say that the current state of business writing — whether it be a website, press release, white paper or whatever — is, in essence, deplorable.

    As a marketer in the B2B space, I must admit that I’m not surprised by this assessment. In talking with many of our clients and colleagues in the industry, we’ve heard them echo this same sentiment. These days, companies need marketing and PR materials that talk benefits and address customer needs, rather than focus on the latest product features and functionality. Don’t get me wrong, “speeds and feeds” are important, but only later in the buying cycle.

    As a B2B PR and marketing agency, we represent clients from a number of industries who share one common thread — they are all in the technology space. As a result, we look for writers who can write in a number of different styles and on a variety of topics. When in the market for writing talent, here are a few tips we suggest you keep in mind:

    • It takes a slightly different skill set to write for marketing than it does for PR. Marketing is persuasive. PR is factual.
    • Ask the job interviewee how he or she would refresh your website. If the person starts out wanting to talk about your company first, as opposed to your customers’ needs, you probably want to keep interviewing.
    • Ask to see short writing samples. The shortest writing assignments are the toughest because they must be concise. Look for copy that introduces the problem first, followed by a value statement, then additional details (if needed) and finally a call-to-action in the closing. If the writer is good, all of the above can be accomplished in 200 words (or less!).
    • Consider giving a potential new hire a writing test on site.

    One last tip to take into account if you are looking to improve the quality of your marketing content: writing is a skill part learned and part talent. Meaning, high school English teachers can only do so much; writing is a talent not everyone shares. Therefore, once you find someone who can write relevant, personalized, high-quality content for each of your audiences (customers, employees, shareholders, etc.), hold onto that person. In today’s market, people with this skill are hard to come by.

    Star VanderHaar is Senior Account Executive at Arketi Group, an integrated marketing consultancy that helps business-to-business organizations generate revenue and accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, branding, marketing and public relations. To view all company blogs go to Arketi Group blog site.

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