A top challenge in B2B tech marketing is finding a writer who can competently convey value offerings. Here are tips from a Brafton writer for using words wisely.

How to nail B2B tech writing: Tips from a content writer

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Eric Rubino Senior Writer BraftonWhen he’s not hacking or playing RPG CRM ESPs on his PC-D2D, Eric is making impressive waves as a tech writer. From teaching his new deskmates about all things HDMI and PSS DCCiF to wowing all his clients with articles that bring fun to software, Eric gets content marketing and he gets B2B tech.  

When hiring a tech writer (in-house or agency), we believe you won’t want to miss having someone like Eric on your team. We spoke with Eric about his writing workflow that’s turned out content for happy customers. Here’s what he had to say, plus Eric’s three elements to successful B2B tech writing that can’t be ignored:

Which formats do you find drive the best results for your clients?

Video with a news slant has become a major strategy in cyber security sectors, while cloud service providers typically get more clicks on tip-filled list articles. The average enterprise IT solution vendor notices the most visitors on blog posts that explain technologies and how they impact the business world. Also, the cloud market loves infographics.

Blog: 5 types of content B2B tech companies need besides blogs

What’s the most overlooked part of the B2B tech content creation process?

Subject familiarity is more important in the B2B tech industry than any other sector. If a blogger doesn’t comprehend the technology or the impact of it, the reader can definitely tell – and this fact only becomes more true when the industry is niche.

One of the benefits of working with a desk of writers dedicated to this space is that we all have subject matter expertise in different areas, and even through with similar clients. There is always a new angle to take with every shared source and a look at current industry trends.

Best headline you’ve read this week?

IBM’s ‘Rodent Brain’ Chip Could Make Our Phones Hyper-Smart. News like this is why I love the industry.

Favorite part of your job?

Being able to read tech news every day, especially when articles dig deep into the subject material and explain what’s really happening with technologies on a global scale (their impact) and on a small scale (how it works). It provides an interesting outlook on the rapid virtualization of the world that the average individual just doesn’t experience.

The 3 most important factors in B2B tech writing success

We then asked Eric to tell us what he would advise for a writing team to be successful with B2B tech content. Here’s an overview of the key points:

1. Brainstorm and discuss with fellow writers

The Bizology team taking a break from cybersecurity and IT talk at Fenway Park for a Sox game.

The Bizology team taking a break from cybersecurity and IT talk at Fenway Park for a Sox game.

Writers at Brafton work on different editorial desks that vary depending on industry, like finance, health, education and lifestyle. Eric’s a member of our Boston hybrid business and technology desk, known fondly to the team as ‘Bizology.’ Being among a team of writers, opposed to a solo writer in a sea of engineers, allows Eric and his peers to brainstorm, bounce ideas off one another or simply ask if a sentence ‘sounds right’ in the editing process.

“We wear headphones all day, but they’re popped on and off continuously as we discuss everything from Salesforce to Microsoft’s cloud first, mobile first mantra, to what could possibly be the next ‘as-a-service solution,’” he said.

Eric’s knowledge of the Internet, Google and software is unparalleled,” his editor Kate Tully said. “We spend hours each day talking about cybersecurity, IT, data, the cloud, yellow and red cords, Microsoft, USBs and – of course – syp trunking.”

2. Know who you’re targeting

Eric’s rule of thumb when creating content is always to think about “What is the main problem or hurdle for an individual when looking at new technology?”

As Eric pointed out, an executive doesn’t care if installation is complex – unless, of course, that impacts revenue at the end of the day. But an engineer might. And what about the admin who’s in charge of bringing new software possibilities to the table? The jargon-heavy technical writing isn’t going to catch his or her eye.

“When writing to a CTO, the focus is on business use cases and addressing the bottom line. With blogs targeted toward office admins, the writer must be more specific about users needs and solving specific problems in workflow and productivity,” he said.

3. Join existing tech communities (including that of the publishing brand)

The worst kind of content is that which pretends (and fails) to be technical, or is just plain incorrect. It’s been said that one of the best ways to learn a new language is to watch and read programs geared toward young learners – but when becoming fluent in tech, understanding diction and technical terminology, Eric says it’s best to immerse yourself in existing tech communities.

Sometimes, those tech communities don’t need to be found on LinkedIn or Google+ – they can start with our clients’ internal teams.

“At the end of the day, it’s always best to talk to a salesperson or someone who deals with customers directly. Those individuals know the most about what buyers want ,” Eric said. “In sharing existing content – whether it’s white papers, blog posts or marketing/sales materials – we have an example of tone and style.”

Blog: 3 ways B2B Software writing goes wrong (& how to prevent it)

Molly Buccini
Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.

Thoughts?

  • http://ethanjhulbert.org/ Ethan J Hulbert

    I just want to doubly emphasize Eric’s great point about subject familiarity, especially for tech and scientific fields (or really any field that’s beyond just general-interest level knowledge). Earlier today I found an article on a news site talking about applying certain scientific methods to marketing, but the featured image the author used featured a cliched, long-disproven graphic element. Instantly made the “science” of the whole article questionable, since it was apparent the author had no real idea what they were talking about.

    • Eric Rubino

      Excellent point, Ethan. Even images matter. While there is some fun to be had when selecting photos for blog posts, a feature image really sets the tone, and it’s important to consider the reader of the post when choosing it. For example, when choosing a picture to represent programming, it better look like an actual coding language and not a student typing a Word Doc.