Hi, I’m Angi, and I am a storyteller who works a lot with B2B copywriting. My job as a copywriter is actually all about storytelling. My job is also about: creating brand identity, developing a persona of credibility and authority, connecting and engaging people and communities. I do all of those things through storytelling. So, to simplify my job description: I am a B2B storyteller.
I recently had someone tell me, in short, that my job shouldn’t exist. Apparently, deliverables sell themselves, and storytelling is simply not needed. Especially–I surmised–in B2B. The whole point of this person’s comment seemed that B2B is simply about providing services and products from one business to another.
People buy the outcomes, it was explained to me.
B2B copywriting is not needed in this commenter’s view because the deliverables sell themselves.
Thanks for that opinion, but as one who works in B2B copywriting, advertising, and marketing, I can tell you that… stories sell. They just do. We, as humans, are innate storytellers, and by that token–we are innate story seekers.
B2B Needs Stories, Too
Even in B2B, we need stories. The story of what your ideal business client is doing and why they need your company’s *insert valuable thing that everyone should know about* is incredibly important.
Without a marketing plan and strategy, how will people find out about your amazing product or service or magical deliverable? If I don’t tell you, you won’t know. A few might search for this thing they so obviously need, and maybe they’ll find your copy. But chances are, they won’t.
B2B copywriting is most effective when we relate the deliverable and its value as a story. Even reviews, in and of themselves, are stories. People share how a company’s deliverable did or didn’t create a solution or desirable outcome.
B2B Copywriting Has Benefits
There are many businesses who benefit from B2B copywriting. I would also dare to say B2B copywriting is not so different than client-facing copy, except that it often requires a deeper understanding of specific knowledge areas. However, humanizing B2B is a growing trend, and I am all for it.
Businesses are run by people, and many would tell you that businesses are built on relationships. Stories sell because people like stories, and stories help us understand everything better. Stories become a way for us to envision things and we automatically search for a way to insert our own self into the narrative. This is why, in Storybrand by Donald Miller, the big chunk of wisdom is create a story that your ideal client is the star of. Help them win the award/solve the mystery/conquer the thing. You are not the star–your client is. You are the solution, the road home, the whole plot fixer.
Storytelling for B2B vs. B2C
Storytelling as a marketing strategy is much more common in B2C, but B2B copywriting often relies on storytelling. Especially beyond plain copy: social media, content, and more can lend itself to the creation of a brand’s identity and define their authority.
B2B isn’t so different from that client-facing marketing strategy. B2B copywriting often aims to explain and educate, while also selling companies on products they may or may not need. This is why, fundamentally, storytelling is still effective in your B2B strategy. We are all, of course, humans–and that is why we need to humanize B2B.
Because B2B copywriting is written by humans, for humans, it must come from some seed of humanity, and to argue otherwise is dismissive of most anything fundamental to the basics of Marketing 101. To say that B2B copywriting is irrelevant and that stories don’t sell is ignorant. Until two days ago, I would have thought this was an obvious statement. However, the negation of my career’s value really did make me think about what I do and what value it brings.
In the search for B2B storytelling examples, you’ll find plenty of examples like this one. And so, I was able to remind myself that what I do has value, and I’m probably doing just fine in my field. I hope this blog post helped educate on B2B marketing and why it’s just as creative as any other marketing field. And I hope it perhaps offered some encouragement or validation to my peers and friends who are also creating narrative, stories, and strategies that sell (even in B2B).
Until next time,