This is not about mechanics. This is my philosophy for freelance writers who create content for B2B clients. I know when I’m at my best and I’ll share with you what key components go into getting me there.
I’m not talking about companies or products and services you respect I’m talking about people. As a writer you’re not interacting with a company. You’re working with people. You’re emailing them back and forth and you’re on the phone with them or going on-site.
I’m at my best when I’m doing work for people I like and respect. I find that I want to do my absolute best on every assignment. I push myself to improve with each assignment. I don’t just want them to be happy with what I’ve written. I want them to be thrilled!
Is it possible to write well for people you don’t particularly like? Of course it is. But when you’re writing for people you like, you really improve your game.
There is an interesting story behind any product and in any industry. But the story is rarely in the product or the company you are writing for. The story is in how the products or services are used.
I have friends who think the work I do for one of my clients must be incredibly dull. They don’t see my client’s product as a very interesting one. And they are right. The product on it’s own on a shelf is not terribly interesting. It’s how and where the product is used that is fascinating.
When you are talking to product engineers don’t ask them about the product. Ask them how they’ve seen their product used. Ask if they’ve ever encountered a client that used the product in a way that surprised or impressed them. When you get engineers and product designers talking about their product in use they turn into storytellers. Now you have gold!
One of the best ways to find the story is to mingle with their potential customer. If you write for a company who manufactures commercial flooring you should be mingling with the people who install it on the job site. You probably want to hang around with some facility managers as well. These people will be your sounding board and idea generators.
You’ll want to ask them what keeps them up at night when it comes to flooring. What information would be helpful for them to do their jobs? Are there how-to’s they wished existed? What problems keep coming up that need work-arounds?
You don’t need them to talk about or even use your client’s product. You just want to know what they need to get the job done by the end of the day. This is information they are craving and now you can start creating it.
You might be thinking why not just talk to the client’s customers. Of course customers are always a good resource for creating your content, but it’s good to have your own sources who are independent of the client. Your own sources can often provide unbiased information and they won’t have any agenda.