The number one complaint about B2B copy? The content is too wordy.
In boils down to one simple fact: The more difficult the copy is to digest, the less value it has to its audience.
When developing content for a B2B audience, whether it’s for sales collateral or content marketing, it is crucial to keep the writing style clear and concise, but also not overly simple. Target audiences in B2B spaces tend to be more educated on their industry’s complex jargon (and often significantly more than the person tasked to write the copy).
It should be simple enough that the audience wouldn’t mind reading it during a quick break or after work, but not simple enough that the reader can skim through it without any thought-provocation.
Because every space in B2B has its own jargon, so specific phrases and word choices can’t be standardized . But what can be optimized is the number of words used, and the complexity of the language. Here’s a quick rundown of best practices.
- In any copy designed for marketing, no sentence should exceed 25 words. Simplicity is key, and the point of marketing copy is to convey information quickly, not confuse the reader.
- Average word count of sentences in marketing copy should be 15. But varying sentence length helps keep the tone fresh. Switch it up and keep readers engaged.
- Any paragraph should be less than or equal to 75 words. Naturally, as readers begin to skim through, they jump from paragraph to paragraph. If a critical point is hidden in the second-to-last sentence of a long paragraph, the reader may skip it entirely. Keep paragraphs short and sweet. It not only helps the reader, but also helps the writer organize thoughts.
- Limit thoughts to one per sentence. This continues the theme of simplicity and clarity, but it’s easier said than done. When explaining complex systems and processes, it’s easy to slip into a pattern of complicate run-on sentences that turn readers off. One thought per sentence will force the writers to either chop up the information into smaller, digestible pieces or tone down the number and complexity of words—which will prevent the readers from being overwhelmed.
- A good target reading level for B2B copy is 10th-12th grade on the Flesch-Kincaid test. You can easily run your marketing copy through a Flesch-Kincaid test within Microsoft Word. Go to File > Options > Proofing. Select Show readability statistics and check your documents reading level.
By following these rules, B2B copy can be both thought-provoking and easy to digest. And practice makes perfect when developing copy for certain audiences.