No one writes perfectly all of the time. Writing well takes skill, but writing great marketing copy requires an even higher level of skill plus knowledge of your audience, brand, and marketing voice. Here are five tips to help you produce great content every time.
The biggest mistake marketing writers make is to write for themselves and not for their audience. To write great copy, you need to convince readers that your products or services meet their needs. As callous as it sound, readers don’t care what something means to you; they are only interested in what it will do for them. The goal of marketing copy is to convince the reader that your products or services will meet their needs.
Different audiences have different needs and respond to different messages. Understand who you are marketing to and what their needs are. The more you understand your audience, the more relevant your copy will be.
To be effective, all of your content needs to have the same “voice.” The message is as much about how you say something as what you say. Be consistent in your choice of words and phrases, and make sure you are writing content that is appropriate for your target audience. Your voice is part of your brand, and should be consistent across all marketing channels.
What is your objective for this marketing piece? Rather than cramming several competing messages into one piece, identify one thing you hope to accomplish and write content towards achieving that goal. A clear, focused message will elicit a better response.
4) Call to Action
You’ve provided your readers with a clear message demonstrating not only what your product or service will do for them, but a feel for your company. Now what do you want them to do with that information? Provide a call to action to make it easy for them to respond to your message. Invite them to call, register, or buy, and make it easy for them to do so! Make sure to provide phone numbers, online forms, shopping carts and other forms of customer engagement.
5) Punctuation, Grammar, Spelling, Sentence Structure
Although this should go without saying, don’t underestimate the importance of the mechanics of writing. Not only will good grammar and spelling help your audience understand your message, but well-constructed pieces will reflect positively on you and your company. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar scream sloppiness and poor quality, and no one wants to work with a company which doesn’t care about quality.
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Spell-check is a great tool, but it doesn’t catch everything.
I once worked for a state-wide legal printing division. The word “public” was often used in court documents. Although spell-check accepts the word “public” without the “l,” the resulting word, pubic, caused more than one embarrassing misprint.
An old proofreading trick is to read your content out loud. Does the content flow well? Are there extra words which don’t belong? Are you missing words?
Another trick is to have someone else read your copy. He or she will often catch things you miss.
To recap, the value of quality writing for your marketing materials should not be downplayed. Poor writing is expensive both in terms of time and money. If your audience doesn’t understand the message or, worse, is turned off by poor grammar and sentence structure, you won’t see the desired return on your investment. And if something is wrong, you may need to do a costly reprint.