How Good B2B Writing Is Like an iPhone

Image Source. Licensed by Creative Commons.

Image Source. Licensed by Creative Commons.

Just as it does with each new version, the iPhone 5 brought another round of lined-up buyers and another round of eagernewsstories. Why do so many people love their iPhones so much? I personally do not own one, but I think the reason behind their popularity isn’t complicated. It’s because they’re so simple and intuitive to use. Android phones certainly have their fans, but they do not inspire the devotion or hype of the iPhone.

Simplicity and intuitiveness help fuel iPhone popularity, and these traits are useful in many other corners of the marketplace. My niche is B2B writing, and I believe that, like the iPhone, good writing should be simple and easy to understand. It should flow like a swiped screen, and people should intuitively grasp which actions they should take next.

For a business’ written messages to flow well and be easily understood, readers should not really be aware that they’re reading. Anything that trips them up brings them out of the experience threatens to lose their attention entirely.

A few things that break the flow are:

  • a wobbly train of thought
  • failure to emphasize the main points
  • head-scratching jargon
  • errors in punctuation and grammar
  • an inconsistent or inappropriate tone

Creating something that is simple is not necessarily a simple task, but the foundation of good B2B writing is indeed straightforward. Namely, writers must put themselves in the audience’s place. When crafting a message, the central question to answer is, “What would make what I’m writing easy for someone to understand?” And the flip side to that is, “What about my writing might make it difficult for the reader to follow or grasp?”

Not all writing needs to be intuitive. Poetry often tries to jar the reader with odd juxtapositions. A novel might intentionally tantalize or confuse readers to impel them to turn pages. But confusion does not work in B2B writing. When businesses are creating messages to reach customers and prospects, the point is to make understanding as simple as pressing a single button.