How to identify skilled B2B copywriters

Can you name the number one danger of entrusting your company’s content to unskilled B2B copywriters? 

It’s when all of the B2B content you’re producing is missing the mark — either going unnoticed or attracting low-value leads calling because your content isn’t targeted enough. 

That’s the difference between outsourcing your B2B content to an unskilled B2B copywriter and a skilled one. But unless you’re a B2B content marketing expert, how can you ever be sure?

Many companies understand the difference between skilled and unskilled B2B copywriting…too late

Because the purchasing cycle is longer in B2B, you’ll only know you’ve been working with an unskilled copywriter after your sales team starts banging on your door and asking why the automated pipeline of prospects hasn’t materialised.

This is the point in time when most companies learn they’ve been working with unskilled copywriters. 

Your company’s response may vary:

  • “This marketing stuff’s all smoke and mirrors, I tell you!” 
  • “B2B copywriters are just glorified used car salesmen peddling snake oil!” 
  • “To get needle-shifting English B2B copywriting, you need a costly U.S. or UK agency.”
  • “Pfft… Tim from Sales and his premium $20 ChatGPT subscription can write better than most B2B copywriters.” 

If that’s what you’re hearing, then chances are that you’ve had an unlucky entanglement with an unskilled copywriter. The true value of a skilled B2B copywriter materialises in copy that increases sales KPIs, not just marketing KPIs — copy that you are probably not going to get from throwing a ChatGPT subscription at an employee with a passable grasp of grammar. Here’s how to sift skilled B2B copywriters from the rest. 

Good B2B copywriting isn’t about writing, at least to begin with

The secret to skilled B2B copywriting isn’t just writing well. It’s the learned ability to deeply understand a niche industry and create niche messaging that resonates with the niche pain points of a niche Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Only nuanced, deeply researched, and highly targeted content will drive meaningful engagement that leads to conversions. 

High-quality B2B copywriting is a world away from generic, one-size-fits-all copywriting. To write that well, you need to research well — to dig deep into the specifics and immerse yourself in the peculiarities of your client’s business. 

The five telltale signs of skilled B2B copywriters 

1. They think like sharks most of the time  

B2B copywriters are mostly non-violent, fair-minded folk. But they’ll hone in on your prospect’s unique sore points like Great White, able to smell human blood from a mile away.

That’s because what makes your product or service great isn’t the features or team behind it — it’s how effectively and consistently it solves your prospect’s pain points.

One thing to remember: Copywriters with a predator’s instinct for sniffing out weak spots and pain points can position you at the top of the food chain. 

2. They know whether the content you need them to write is for TOFU, MOFU or BOFU

Full-funnel B2B copywriters are a poncy way of describing people who know whether they are writing for the Awareness (top of funnel), Consideration (middle of funnel), or Decision-Making (bottom of funnel) stage of your customer’s journey. 

In the awareness stage, your prospects are mainly interested in the pain point they’ve probably recently discovered. Coming at them with an all-singing, all-dancing, highly specific lead magnet about what your company can do for their company will make them run for the hills. (However, in the decision-making stage of that funnel, that is precisely the kind of content you will be looking for). 

A full-funnel B2B copywriter knows that funnel like the back of their hand to keep those flywheels spinning of a company’s inbound content marketing machine.

One thing to remember: Skilled B2B copywriters are lovers of tofu (and MOFU and BOFU). 

3. Skilled B2B copywriters keep your content “nichey”

B2B copywriting is a micro-universe of niches.

Writing in these niches, mapping out the topography, diving into the bone-dry technical sheets of your product or service, and experiencing the peculiar pain points of prospects shopping for them are capabilities that set skilled B2B copywriters apart. 

It’s why skilled writers don’t just deliver content; they provide a steady pipeline of engaged, qualified leads that are more likely to convert into clients. 

One thing to remember: High-quality, needle-shifting B2B content is nichey, capisce?

4. They write well because they research well

B2B copywriters make their mint by writing about subjects that are far beyond our firsthand experiences. We’re just like everyone else — on a typical Monday morning, we endeavour to drink less coffee and meet at least one deadline before lunchtime. Unlike everyone else, however, by the close of the day, we have often become accidental experts in obscure fields like blockchain technology. 

Our clients are often one of only a handful of people in the world who understand their industrial quirk; we’re the only handful of people who can understand it and explain it to a prospective client in a way that 1) makes sense, and 2) converts them to paying customers. 

One thing to remember: Check for a broad range of work from your B2B copywriters across many B2B sectors. Even if you don’t see your industry reflected, a diverse range in the portfolio indicates that they have the chops to take it on. 

5. They never cut and paste content directly from ChatGPT

Skilled B2B copywriters understand the balance between leveraging AI tools like ChatGPT to expedite the research process and maintaining originality and authenticity in our actual content. Any copywriter who is using a tool like ChatGPT to generate content on their behalf is acting in enslavement to a deadline rather than in service to your brand — that’s a critical difference. This commitment to originality and authenticity sets skilled and unskilled copywriters apart in an increasingly automated world.

Furthermore, the developing nature of AI and its nascent regulation in various industries leaves both clients and content writers in a precarious position that warrants careful action. The improper use of a tool like ChatGPT could result in the accidental proliferation of your IP, not to mention the inherent dangers of plagiarism and woeful inaccuracies. If your copywriters aren’t demonstrating a careful approach to a relatively volatile tool, that’s a red flag. 

One thing to remember: Copywriters who use ChatGPT to increase their value are to be applauded; copywriters who use ChatGPT to replace their value are to be fired. 

The five telltale signs of skilled B2B copywriters

We could wax lyrical about the telltale signs of B2B copywriters for hours but, at the risk of overly flattering ourselves, we think it’d be better to talk about it in person. Book a call with Shelf’s founder, Hila, to discuss how to elevate your content strategy to one that prioritises marketing for sales over marketing for marketing’s sake.

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