Welcome to the second edition of Coffee With an Expert, a series of interviews with TSL Marketing's subject matter experts about their areas of expertise.
Throughout these interviews, you'll gain some valuable insight into our approach to digital marketing and lead generation for B2B technology companies.
Today’s Q&A is with Michele Balze, our in-house copywriter.
Michele, let’s start by digging into the types of content marketing projects you handle for TSL.
I write most of the B2B tech marketing content for both TSL and our clients.
Over the past couple of years, we have shifted our focus from longer-form content, such as eBooks and white papers, to conversion-focused tactics, such as landing page workflows, blogs, digital infographics, and solution briefs.
Another area of focus is web page copy. TSL’s Agile methodology gives us the flexibility to revamp a client’s website copy as they continue to evolve. I start by optimizing current website copy to improve SEO and then work on new iterations using a wish list and data collected after the launchpad website goes live.
What level of technology expertise is required for your job?
I need to be very knowledgeable about IT, but as a B2B technology copywriter, hands-on experience isn’t required. In other words, I am able to talk the talk without having to walk the walk. This foundation allows me to be objective in my coverage of our clients’ product features, services, and partner companies.
To serve our clients, I need to be fluent in terminology and up to date on current trends. When I started, the cloud and big data were topical. Now I write more about cognitive analytics, data security, managed services, and IoT. Keeping up with the trends makes the writing process more efficient.
How do you stay up to date on the latest B2B tech trends?
I do the research. My social media feeds consist of one-half technology companies, one-half food-related groups (because cooking is my hobby). When I see an interesting technology-related link come up, I can quickly look at the information.
When I’m working on a project, I do a lot of research. There are certain organizations that do in-depth studies, such as the Pew Research Center, the Ponemon Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gartner, and Forrester.
I can be a little old-school too, watching the nightly news and reading The New Yorker. The New Yorker frequently publishes lengthy articles on technology. One of my favorites is “O.K., Glass,” an article written by Russian comic-author Gary Shteyngart that chronicles his experiences during a free trial of Google Glass. The publication has also outlined the histories of Facebook and Google and written spot-light profiles on Mark Zuckerberg and the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi.
I feel like a cybersecurity ghoul sometimes, because when I hear of a big breach or ransomware attack — like the one occurring right now in Baltimore — I think, Ooh! How can I work that into a blog?
What is your content marketing strategy when writing for a B2B technology company?
- Establish the company as a thought leader in the industry
- Emphasize the company’s differentiators
- Appeal to target personas
- Adapt the approach to the appropriate stage in the buyer’s journey
How do you prepare to write content that highlights a B2B tech agency’s expertise, services, and products?
Interactions with the client are important. Intake calls, especially those with SMEs, are essential for determining what the client’s differentiators are, getting the details about what they do, and learning the features of their solutions.
Research is also important. I need to gather intelligence about what the client does and what solutions they develop, based on their current website and collateral. In long-form content, I need to supplement this information with data points and research into the technology leaders they partner with.
What do you love most about being a B2B tech writer?
I love being able to write every day. I also love being able to collaborate with the Production team here at TSL. It’s fun watching a piece of B2B tech content progress from copywriting to design to development.
Read more about our B2B Content Marketing Services.
Where do you see B2B technology content creation heading in the future?
Here at TSL, it is moving in the direction of short-form, conversion-oriented content and content created using our Agile methodology. Writing for social media will become even more important in the future, as will writing for video.
TSL has also begun to create more interactive digital content. Our eBooks and Infographics are being designed so users can choose their own path of navigation. User experience is playing a bigger role in the content we create.
Read the first interview in our series to find out how UX design fits into TSL’s Agile methodology here.