Rather than fear complicated subjects, A&E Head of Content Jill Willis sees them as an opportunity to demonstrate clarity in marketing. Here she explains the three successful strategies marketers in the tech, engineering & manufacturing sectors can use to deliver a clear message, minus the dumbing down.
“Complex B2B topics need to be explained in a clear, engaging way,” says Jill. “How the product or service makes a genuine difference, the technical authority, and the emotion behind the innovation, it all matters. Get the story right [don’t over simplify it] and you stand a chance of making your brand really stand out.”
In this blog post, we’ll look at the three strategies Jill and the A&E writing team use most frequently, and share ideas so that you too can strike the perfect balance of complex VS concise copy.
1. Get to the point, quickly
Like with most B2B content, you should write for two distinct audiences. The first is the primary reader [often the most technical / engineer] and the second is the secondary decision maker [the person who holds the purse strings]. You must enthuse and emotively engage your primary reader, whilst also demonstrating to the secondary decision maker [perhaps the CFO] that there is a strong financial/business case. You need them both on board.
Explain key terms and acronyms where you feel it is absolutely necessary, but don’t get caught up in this. Your aim should be to get to the good stuff, fast.
Spend too long explaining the ins and outs of your technical product or service and you’ll loose your primary audience – because they know this stuff inside and out already. This is what we mean when we say ‘minus the dumbing down’.
Use tools such as box outs, short bullets and quick asides when needed. Quickly explain the most complex topics, and then rattle on assuming your reader now gets it.
2. Business first, then here comes the science bit
Our audience does not need us to solve their engineering problem. That’s what they do, with their eyes closed.
The role of content here is to lead on the business case for switching to your product or service. Focus on how it solves the business challenge, will they be able to speed up production time, safeguard the supply chain, increase profit margins?
Once you have explained the business case you can then move on to proof points, and the logic. Remember, without placing the business case first you have no compelling ‘so what?’ – and that’s just rubbish.
3. Utilise the experts, they’re your secret weapon
Tech, engineering and manufacturing is a medley of many sub-industries, each with its own terminology and language. So, even if your marketing team has one or two “expert technical writers”, there are many topics where, quite simply, you won’t be able to talk the talk.
The best approach here is copyediting. Invite one of your engineering, tech or manufacturing experts to draft [I like to call it brain-dump] their thoughts on the topic, or, type furiously on the phone while they share their knowledge. They can set you or your writers off in the right direction and ensure you nail the engineering language authentically.
Ying and yang – clear and complex
We’ve been writing B2B technical content since the early 90s. Whilst the marketing landscape has evolved immensely in that time, one thing remains consistent… Producing compelling content on a tech, engineering or manufacturing topic is like walking a tightrope. On one hand you want to write something that’s concise, readable and engaging. On the other, you must ensure that you don’t dumb down the complexities of the topic.
But by using these three strategies, you can begin to develop the right mixture and resonate with your technical audience.
Connect with Jill Willis via LinkedIn