How to write for the B2B and technical market

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The B2B market is one of the most misunderstood niche markets for writers, though it can provide a good, steady and lucrative source of work.

Many B2B writers come from a business background.  More often than not, that background involves some technical expertise.  For instance, many engineers become business writers because things need to get written in the engineering field and most writers don’t understand technical issues well, so the engineers involved with the creation of a product or service tend to try their hand at writing their own literature.

The trouble is that most engineers and technical experts share a characteristic with accountants.

  1. They like facts but aren’t great at tying facts together with results so that everyone understands the significance.
  2. They like detail – minute details about the workings of things – that usually bore everyone else to sleep.
  3. They feel that no one else, except someone with a similar level of technical expertise and education in their field could ever write with authority and understanding on any of the issues they deal with.

The truth is, they’re right in many instances.  The trouble is that most technical and business writers forget that although their subject is utterly fascinating to them, their target reader is still a human being.  And while they may also be technical in nature, they don’t really enjoy slogging through page after page of theoretical technical data.  Not that they’d admit that to anyone lest they seem less ‘expert’.

How do you handle a writing assignment in the B2B or technical market when you are not a very technical person?

Here’s what I do when I work with a client who requires technical writing:

I draw on years of experience working with numerous technical clients – and – I draw on THEIR years of experience.

In fact, this is what I do with all my clients, because each of them is the expert in their field.   However, they also recognize that I am the expert in writing.  Therefore it makes sense to mesh their knowledge with my skill and produce written material that contains just the right amount of technical data to SELL the reader on the product or service.

What do I mean by that?  Well, ultimately, the reader may want to know all the specifications regarding a product or service, but a more pressing need is their need to know if the product or service will fulfill their requirements.  Just the same as with a consumer product: the reader needs to know how it will benefit them.

By addressing these issues as the priority, and then providing the specifications (or proof) to back up the benefit claim, we’ve achieved two things:

  1. the client is happy that the technical side of things has been handled accurately and respectfully
  2. the reader is happy because we’ve clearly explained the W.I.I.F.M. factor (What’s in it for me?)

I’ve used this approach successfully for years.  It’s an approach that works for most projects, from brochures to white papers.  In fact, one of my clients worked with me to produce a white paper that earned him a commendation from the I.E.E.E. and garnered him quite a bit of favorable attention in his industry.

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