Sr. Content Marketing Manager
In the digital sea of content we’re swimming in these days, well-written, error-free writing has become ever more elusive. The sheer volume of content that businesses churn out daily means much of the writing gets done quickly—and oftentimes, sloppily.
But with the stakes higher than ever, error-ridden, poorly-crafted content just won’t cut it. People are becoming increasingly immune to ineffective, grammatically incorrect writing—simply because they consume so much content every hour of every day. You have just a few seconds to make an impact or lose your reader.
No need to fret, though. With the right resources, you don’t have to be an English major to ensure your B2B communications are error-free and well written.
3 tips to guide your B2B writing
Marketing emails, social posts, blog articles, product updates—whatever type of B2B communication you’re crafting, follow these three tips for clearer, more effective writing.
- Keep it relevant: Identify who your target audience is and write as if you’re speaking directly to them. Relate your writing as closely to their experiences and pain points as possible.
- Keep it focused: Defining your main focus for a piece of content before you start writing helps keep your writing clear and focused. Writing that is direct and to the point is more likely to hold the attention of busy business professionals.
- Keep it correct: Nothing will diminish your credibility faster than grammatical errors and misused or misspelled words. Always use a grammar- and spell-checking tool to catch mistakes, even if you’re a seasoned writer. If you need some extra guidance, check out the resources listed below to help sharpen your writing skills.
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Our favorite resources for improving your writing and grammar skills
Your job title doesn’t need to have “writer” in it to produce excellent B2B emails and marketing copy. Here are a few of our favorite resources to help sharpen your writing and grammar skills.
1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. Probably the best-known American English writing style guide, we’re big fans of its straightforward presentation of grammar usage rules, principles of composition and—most importantly—suggestions for conciseness.
2. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly. Of all the copywriting books out there, Bly’s is a classic that stands the test of time, with evergreen tips and strategies to refine your copywriting craft.
3. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser. B2B writing is essentially nonfiction writing with a very specific purpose. Improve your ability to get your message across as quickly as possible while engaging the reader for as long as possible.
4. Microsoft Manual of Style by the Microsoft Corporation. An easily accessible, straightforward and well-organized online manual especially for writing about computer technology. Though it contains some brand-specific guidance, its grammar usage and writing style guidelines are especially useful for technical writers and content creators in the Tech space who are communicating with a global audience.
5. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. An excellent resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs who may not have a background in writing, this book provides practical insight and guidance into content creation strategy, easy grammar and usage rules and best practices for creating credible content. If writing makes your head hurt, this book promises to help make the experience less painful.
6. The Economist Style Guide: The Bestselling Guide to English Usage. An oldie but goodie—and excellent resource for B2B writing offering classic rules to live by for business writers. We love it so much that we can't help but highlight a few of the best rules:
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
6. Grammarly. The best-known web-based resource for helping improve your writing, users can upload content and it will detect and help fix more than 250 types of writing errors. Choose from free and paid versions, plus a Chrome extension that enables automatic editing of your emails, posts and other online content.
7. The Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab. Better known as the Purdue OWL, you can access writing guides, APA and MLA style guides, general writing advice and writing process tips. An entire section is dedicated to professional and technical writing and delves into questions around tone in business writing, audience analysis, basic business letters and more.
8. Writer’s Digest University. Though their writing workshops are paid, courses like Business Writing and Breaking into Copywriting 101 can drastically improve your writing skills at a pace that fits your individual needs.
9. Readable. The readability of B2B content is critical to its impact. Drop in your content and evaluate how accessible it is to your audience, whether it’s the general public or a more technical group. Starting at $4 per month, Readable analyzes your emails and text and provides a readability score based on reading grade level, offering tips on how to make it more accessible to a wider audience.
10. ProWritingAid Business. This online service not only provides grammar and style checks of your written content, but it also gives you in-depth reports that identify weak areas and show you how to strengthen them through videos, articles, quizzes and more.
Every marketer is also a writer
Let’s be real: Every marketer and business professional is involved in some sort of writing during their work day. Improving your writing and communication skills can go a long way in helping you build meaningful, lasting relationships with customers. And we believe enduring customer relationships are pretty darn important for helping your business thrive.
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