"It’s totally different from any other client, and not everyone is suited for this role."
In the first few weeks after joining 2X, I heard this sentence and its variations uttered during virtual communications with colleagues enough that my newbie excitement was fast tinged with worry and dread.
I had so many questions. Will I be able to meet their expectations? What if I am not suited for this client? What if I make mistakes even after the training ends? How do I prepare myself to deal with this client directly? What do I read? What do I research?
Turns out, it’s not uncommon for B2B newbies to feel that way at the start. But by keeping an open mind and learning to adapt to an agile, fast-changing environment, I’m confident and glad that I took the plunge. Six months in and I start and end my workdays feeling good, even on Monday mornings and difficult days. I am pleased to see that my transition from B2C marketing into B2B marketing is going well.
So, what happened in between that helped me rise to the challenge?
In retrospect, I would divide my journey at 2X into three phases, which are:
Phase 1: Collaborative Training and Climbing a Steep Learning Curve
I knew the road ahead was going to be a steep one and needed to work harder to attain the same level of confidence I have as a B2C writer. But I was ready for a change, even more than usual with a wholesome training plan set in place for newbies at 2X. The training at 2X included mentorship with seniors and 2X Citadel training materials that provided me the guidelines, practices, and feedback for various B2B writing tasks.
Personally, mentorship played a huge part in providing a collaborative and nurturing environment. For the first two weeks, I was assigned a senior writer who introduced me to the culture at 2X, the general B2B marketing knowledge, and the 2X approach to content marketing. After 1.5 weeks, my future teammate was assigned as my mentor. She introduced me to the client work and helped me prepare for what’s coming.
From constantly assuring me that questions are always welcome to pointing out mistakes without judgement, throughout the mentorship, my mentors and seniors at 2X cultivated a camaraderie and warmth that made it easier for me to climb the steep learning curve.
Phase 2: Dealing with Clients, Course Correcting, and Learning to Improvise Within Structured Work
After the training, equipped with knowledge and practice to deal directly with clients, I entered the battle ground valiantly. Little did I know that I was going to be hit by a storm. Well, it came, and it caught me off guard. Here’s why:
Due to the time difference between Malaysia and the U.S., I had to be efficient and proactive to reduce the back and forth with the Marketing Managers (MMs) and meet my deadlines. Now, this can be tricky since the MMs are often rushed to meet their marketing campaign deadlines and may lack the time to provide a detailed explanation of the event or what they want in the copy. If I wait for them to reply to all my questions before starting to work on the request, I will be delaying the copy turnaround time. Subsequently, design and marketing operations deadlines would also be affected.
Instead of waiting around with incomplete information, I’ve been advised to be resourceful by filling in the missing pieces on my own. By coming up with a first draft before the clients switch on their laptops on the other side of the world, I would have already completed their requests (if I got it right) and everyone can still meet their deadlines.
But that isn’t to say that it isn’t still challenging. It’s an interesting way of working for me since it’s a lot like hunting for clues and solving puzzles (very serious ones, though!). I go back to the archives of past assignments to see how previous writers have dealt with a tricky situation, discuss with my mentors who are always just a message away, video call the team to gather more perspective, and dig into the client’s website and blog for the right information. These are just a few tricks that 2X writers have up our sleeves to get the work done well and on time.
Also, every day brings a new challenge due to the volume of emails, landing pages, registration pages, and social copy that I must write and edit. Despite having a firm structure to follow when describing the same set of solutions and products in many different emails, I constantly need to come up with impactful copy that differ from previous ones.
Even a non-writer can see how this becomes mind-bogglingly challenging, perhaps even tedious. But one fine Tuesday afternoon, when requests kept coming in and my teammates and I were all huddled together in a call—troubleshooting, deciphering, and brainstorming—I had an epiphany: Be creative with a specific purpose.
I have been tapping into my creativity in ways that I’d never had to before, considering I need to make my copy work within a defined structure that had stood the test of time, while adhering to the constantly changing best practices in marketing.
It is one thing to have the complete freedom to think of new ideas and challenge the norm, but it is a whole new game when you need to come up with quick bursts of creative ideas while being mindful of the structure. And there I was being creative, resourceful, and constantly trying to think out of the box.
I needed to rewire how I think and write, and after a lot of practice, I am getting the hang of it. I am becoming a more detailed, precise, and effective writer. I like this progress. And I look forward to seeing where I am going and the kind of writer I am evolving into.
Phase 3: Ready for More!
From being doubtful if I will gain the confidence I have as a B2C writer to feeling good about my work here, I have been learning new skills, knowledge, and various perspectives as I work through challenging tasks and MMs with different personalities and needs. After experiencing the culture at 2X that prioritizes learning, growth, passion, and wellness, I am ready for new challenges with my current and future clients.
During a monthly check-in, one of my seniors enlightened me with all that I can look forward to exploring soon. To keep growing as a B2B marketing writer, I need to work with more clients from different industries requiring different marketing strategies and campaigns such as demand generation and content strategy. I fully intend to learn and absorb the scenery as I level up my skills.
The crux is: I am glad I followed my gut instinct and embarked on a new adventure here at 2X despite the many challenges.
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