It’s a problem almost everybody in B2B content marketing faces sooner or later (normally sooner): Why can’t I find people who can write engagingly about B2B without being spoon-fed?
Let’s be clear: most writers aren’t particularly interested in writing about B2B and tech (unless they get to write about the groovier end for the likes of Wired).
Learning this stuff takes time and effort that other sectors are mercifully free from. And it’s easy to get wrong (leading to endless rounds of amends).
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule – writers who get tech and B2B and get off on writing about it (we know, we work with a number of them) – but there aren’t that many, they’re not cheap and they get hideously booked up.
So what are your options?
If you create a large volume of written content, you may want to simply go ahead and hire an in-house writer. That way, you know you have a resource on tap that you can use.
With sufficient volume, it will cost you less than going to a freelancer or agency and you can ‘grow your own’ as they learn about you and your business. The challenge will be finding someone who is a) good and b) wants to go in-house.
Many writers thrive on variety and naturally shy away from single-subject gigs. And, if they’re any good, they can typically make more money at an agency or as a freelancer.
If in-house isn’t an option, your next step is a freelance copywriter or journalist.
This is where you’re likely to find the most talented people. Sadly, it’s also where you’ll find a whole bunch of writers who are winging it while they try to find a permanent job (or attempt to get their novel/play/script finished).
While you won’t need to make the long-term commitment of hiring someone, finding the right person will still take time and money. You could always go to some of the new services that promise to get great writers bidding to work on your latest brief. However, the reality is that the kind of people who will do the best job simply don’t need to bid for work – they’re busy enough thank you.
But, if you’re willing to spend the time doing your research, meeting with potential candidates and reading what they’ve produced before, you should be able to get someone.
One thing: remember, if they’re good, they’ll get booked up so you’ll probably need to give more notice, adjust your timescales accordingly or have back-up plans and alternative options in place.
This offers a half-way house between hiring someone and using freelancers.
Again, it only makes sense if you have a sufficient volume of work on a regular basis. If so, you can look to retain a freelancer for a certain amount of time each week.
This can be a good option for ongoing projects such as blog writing, newsletters, regular case studies etc. It will, however, require a certain amount of management on your part (if you don’t use your retained time you’ll lose it and still have to pay the cost).
It can be an idea to simply opt for a certain amount of time spread across the week rather than fixed days but you’ll need to accept that your projects will be fitted in with the writer’s other work.
Getting copy right is fundamental to what we do. Our ability to create engaging written content (whether an ebook or a script for a two-minute video) is one of the main reasons clients and agencies partner with us.
So how do we do it?
Well, we have the advantage of our experience as senior people in a number of specialist tech and B2B agencies. Our founder is a copywriter and has written for a wide variety of B2B brands across multiple sectors. And, over the last couple of decades, we’ve employed a lot of great people (permanent and freelance).
So, ultimately, our little black books aren’t so little and we know precisely the quality of writing we can expect.
For ongoing client relationships, we will retain writers where we can to give a consistency of output (and demonstrate our commitment to the writer). We’re also not afraid to pay more for good people (we know we’ll actually save money over the long term).
Finally, we use an editor-in-chief model.
So for each client we have a senior person who spends time on everything that leaves the agency. They ensure the work is to a quality we can be proud of and has the right tone of voice.
It means we can use multiple writers to give us scale but still get the consistency we’d achieve by using a single top-quality writer.
While it’s not the only option, it works for us.
Jason Ball is the founder and managing director at Considered. With a multi-decade career in B2B marketing, he’s worked with world-leading brands such as Adobe, Google, EY and Cisco together with niche specialists in technology, manufacturing and professional services.