Kill Your Jargon: 20 B2B Writing Tactics for Marketers
Updated: Jan 16
Writing is hard. Whether we're talking about writing essays, speeches, blogs posts, shorts stories, or headlines, most people don’t know where to start.
And writing becomes even more challenging when you add any layer of complexity. Want to write a book? Time to learn about long-form structure and how to carry a narrative across two-hundred pages. Want to increase conversions on your website? Now you must learn about buying behavior and human psychology—and then apply those learnings to your writing.
But perhaps one of the most intimidating forms of writing is technical marketing writing. How do you even begin to write clearly and persuasively about something boring and complex?
I’ve been writing for B2B tech companies for several years. Here are some of my favorite tactics for simplifying your prose—and taking some of the pain out of the technical writing process.
1. Interview the experts
Complexity is subjective. Something that is complicated to you might be simple to someone else. Find the people who clearly understand the subject you're writing about. Then, get them on the phone. The right expert can break down and help you comprehend even the most complicated technology.
The key is to come with good questions. As an interviewer, don’t try to sound smart by asking complicated questions. Just gather the basics. Experts can often distill their subject down into language that more people can understand. All you have to do is take their language and turn it into copy on the page.
2. Interview customers
Every inventor or creator has a bias. Their bias is that they invented the tool or service they’re trying to sell. By extension, the creator uses certain language that only makes sense to other creators and inventors. This insider language is fine in the workplace. But it's problematic when it comes time to sell.
To move past this insider language, you must get on the phone with real customers. How do they talk about their favorite features? What language do they use to describe the impact of this tool on their lives?
Customer interviews are an easy way to cut past biased creator language and discover the words that future customers will also understand.
3. Mine reviews
Read the reviews of the product you’re writing about. Read the reviews of competing products. Review mining is one of the easiest ways to find good industry language for your topic.
Review mining is a scalable form of customer interviews. In the time it takes me to conduct 2-4 customer interviews, I may be able to read through dozens or over 100 customer reviews to find similar language and stories.
4. Mine comment sections
What have journalists recently published in the industry you’re writing about? I often look for relevant articles and scroll all the way to the bottom. Yes, I check the comments section.
The people leaving comments on these industry articles tend to have a stake in that industry. By reading their comments, you can find stories, language, and ideas that relate to the industry.
5. Use the technology
Dive into the app. Click around. Try features. See the technology in action.
Seeing and experiencing technology is one of the best ways to learn about it. The greater your understanding of what a technology does, the more easily you’ll be able to write about it.
6. Focus on outcomes more than specs
As you sit down to write, how do you know what to cover? There may be hundreds of potential points to write about. How do you narrow down to the most important elements?