Whether your B2B copy is written by ad agencies or in-house, beware of these five frequent copywriting mistakes:
1. Assuming your copy is too boring.
Many lay people who write or read B2B documents worry that their copy is boring.
But “boring” to whom?
People outside a given industry may indeed find the copy a snooze—to them.
But you are not writing B2B copy for you; you are writing it for prospects.
And, though not of great interest to you, the information may be engaging – even useful and important – to potential customers.
In which case it may be very good copy indeed.
2. Cutting copy indiscriminately.
In their classic book, The Elements of Writing, Strunk and White say good writing is concise.
But many marketers seem not to be aware that “concise” and “short” are two different things.
“Short” is a synonym for brief.
“Concise” is not.
Concise means that you get your message across to the reader in the fewest words possible.
When the copy seems too long, do not make the mistake of simply editing out parts you find too boring or do not understand – as some marketing professional do.
You must go through it and thoughtfully remove unnecessary text, which may include redundant words and phrases or long-winded copy, without inadvertently cutting essential information.
3. Overuse of jargon.
Don’t confuse technical terminology with jargon.
Technical terms are precise language to describe a technical thing or topic.
Example: “Operating system” is a legitimate technical term, because it is well understood, specific, and there is no plainer way to say it.
Jargon is language more complex than the ideas it serves to communicate.
For instance, “deplane” is airline jargon you should avoid.
Instead, just say “get off the plane.”
If you are a techie communicating with other techies, using jargon judiciously can help show your readers that you are one of them.
And people universally like to buy from people who are like them.
But overuse of jargon can make it seem like you are writing to impress — not express.
Also, jargon risks poor communication with readers who don’t know all your lingo.
4. Failure to spell out abbreviations and acronyms.
Abbreviations and acronyms should be spelled out the first time you use them — for instance, “VTOL (vertical take-off and landing).”
The exceptions are abbreviations (e.g., DNA) and acronyms (laser) with which your readers are likely to be familiar.
5. Irrelevant copy and content.
According to an article in ANA Business Marketing SmartBrief, nearly eight out of 10 B2B buyers say vendors are serving them irrelevant content.
Example: a product brochure selling a company’s lithium battery began with a detailed discussion about the history of lithium.
Interesting? Well, yes, at least to me as a lay reader.
But the prospect, who is an automotive engineer, has a more immediate and urgent need to know why he should specify this company’s lithium battery over others.
That’s more important than the history of lithium.
And to engineers who design electric vehicles, probably more interesting, too.