B2B Writer Recommendations – Why Do We Dread Them?

b2b writer recommendations

B2B writer recommendations are not always easy. Even if people love your work, there is an art to getting the recommendation you want without putting somebody out. How do you handle endorsements and recommendations?

B2B writer recommendations – When you ask them to do the work

Several of our writers have contacted me recently for recommendations through LinkedIn. That’s fine with me, although their requests are rather dull (especially for a writer):

Hi –

I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.


LinkedIn suggests this or similar language for a recommendation request. They want to make it easy for even the most reluctant of networkers to ask me for a recommendation.

The problem is not so much the request, but actually getting around to writing the recommendation. I don’t mind doing it, but most people dread writing recommendations.

So, writers, when you ask somebody to do the work of writing you a recommendation, you should prepare yourselves for these outcomes:

  1. No answer at all. Frankly, there’s almost nothing in it for people to endorse your work, so most people will let it sink to the bottom of their inbox.
  2. A terse, one- or two-sentence endorsement. They do this when they realize that they may soon be in a position to ask you to reciprocate. They grind out a couple of mentions that could apply to anybody from their housekeeper to the leader of North Korea. You, of course, have the option to accept or reject the recommendation, and rather than pester them again, you will likely decide to settle for what you have.
  3. A ridiculous, glowing endorsement. “Lucretia is a brilliant tactician and take-charge thinker who never failed to interface strategically on all parameters and operationalize all available variables.” They carpet-bomb you with windy encomium, borrowed mostly from other people’s hollow LinkedIn recommendations.


…have you ever thought of drafting the recommendation yourself?

When you do the work for them

It’s a strategic approach to B2B writer recommendations, for several reasons:

  • It saves your boss or client the precious time and effort of writing a good recommendation for you.
  • It ensures that you get what you need out of it. Suppose a client writes a recommendation touting your ability to stick to deadlines, but you want to emphasize something else entirely, like your versatility across white papers, case studies and blog posts. What better way to get the recommendation you want than to draft it yourself?
  • It lets you tell your client what you thought was most important in your work together. Suppose your client values you because you’re good at collecting supporting data, and your draft recommendation focuses on your creativity. “Oh, that’s right,” says your client. “I hadn’t focused on that, but creativity is extremely valuable to us. I’ll look for that quality in all my B2B writers from now on.”

Next time you want a client to endorse your work, offer to draft the recommendation yourself and send it over for approval. I find that most bosses and clients are amenable to it.

photo credit: New Yorker


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”