If you’re reading this blog post, it’s highly likely that you’re a good, solid writer. You know your way around a Word document, and you know you have skills that your clients need. But when you go to pitch your services, or think of writing something for a B2B client, your throat clinches up, and you start to feel nervous. You just don’t have the B2B writing confidence you need — yet.
In my work with aspiring writers, I’ve found that confidence is the #1 thing that holds them back from breaking into B2B. After all, most B2B clients have years of business experience, and that can make it difficult for new writers to feel like they’re standing on equal footing on that first call.
But if you think back, surely you can remember a time when you were nervous about something else — something that you’re very confident about now — such as learning to ride a bike or drive a car. You started out nervous, but you trained your brain to try something new, and now it’s second nature to you.
And that’s your first clue: confidence isn’t something you’re either born with or you’re not. Confidence is something that can be learned.
You can make the decision here and now to move forward feeling like a less-than-confident B2B writer, and that decision can get your foot in the door of the lucrative world of B2B writing.
Ready to get started? Here are three things you can do today to approach your first B2B writing client with a confident attitude:
- Learn about marketing
A lack of confidence is often the result of a lack of information. After all, who wouldn’t be nervous operating on a patient without going to medical school first?So, it makes sense that someone who doesn’t know a lot about marketing would be nervous about working with a B2B client: it’s hard to convince someone to hire you when you’re not sure why they should hire you in the first place!
Education is the solution. If you have no formal training in B2B writing, head to the library and borrow a few books on basic marketing principles, take a free certification program, or invest in a foundational program that will show you the ropes.Do everything you can to soak up knowledge — then put aside all of your excuses and take action. Training yourself on the basics is a necessary step in learning how to get started, but confidence comes from getting clients and completing projects, not taking course after course. You’ve got to put your wheels on the ground and apply what you’ve learned to real-life B2B clients and writing projects.
- Dig into the client’s website
When you first schedule an appointment with a potential client, it feels like it’s stranger versus stranger. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Ironically, everything you need to know about a client is often already online. It’s simply up to you to do the proper amount of research to find out how you can help and what they want to see in your work.Before you schedule your first phone call, spend time on your client’s website. Review their website content and social media accounts. Download a white paper. Read their blog. Dive into what your client is already writing to give context to your first conversation.
For extra credit, you can also make a list of things you could help them fix and refer to it — carefully and tactfully — during your call, or look your client up on LinkedIn to get a feel for their unique story.
- Reframe your definition of confidence
Finally, change your mindset. Confidence is not a clue that tells you whether or not you will be successful in B2B writing.Instead, confidence is something that grows inside you when you try new things, learn about your craft, and interact with more clients. In order to become a confident B2B writer, you have to go through the experience of being an awkward and nervous B2B writer.
Decide right now that you will dive into B2B writing and give it your best shot. You will feel awkward asking clients to speak with you, and you will feel nervous about getting on the phone with them. But after two or three meetings, you’ll notice something else: it gets easier, and you get more confident.In the world of B2B writing, feeling confident as you pitch new work will help you land the project. But what we don’t understand when we’re just getting started is that confidence comes from trying, not succeeding.
If you make the commitment to try, you’ll find you’re already on your way to feeling confident about your work.
Now it’s time to tell your story. Do you struggle to feel confident about breaking into B2B writing? Do you think you can use these tips to try it out even if you don’t feel confident first?