As a Marketing colleague sagely told me “Anyone can write well, but can they write to sell?” So, while you may know your object from your subject, and your subjunctive mood from your indicative, do you know how to write focused marketing copy that does what you need it to do?
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Decide on your aim.
Every piece of marketing should have a clear objective. I always say it should make people feel, think or do something. Choose your objective.
2. Empathise with your audience.
Who is this for? What mind frame will they be in when they read this? Do they have time to dig around for the gem you have hidden in your text or are they busy and want the facts instantly? Imagining your audience and how and when they will be reading something will help you tailor your style and content.
3. Start writing.
Bash something out. Anything. Once you are started, it’s easier to go over it, hone it, and improve it.
4. Use a few tricks to write something punchy and strong
Professional marketing copywriters know the difference between a “strong” piece of writing and a “weak” one. A weak piece of writing meanders, uses 2 or 3 words when one would do, and reads more like poetry than a marketing piece.
An extra 2 or 3 words a sentence adds up to a lot of extra words per page – fine when you are writing your own website, not so great if you are having to provide an article with a word count, and less great if your audience are busy and don’t want to spend their precious time reading unnecessary words.
Here are some top tricks to producing strong, punchy marketing copy:
Write in the active voice.
This means instead of writing “This product has been used by 100 people” (8 words, and the important bit, how many people used it, is at the end) write “100 people used this product” (5 words and the key bit, the number of people who used it, is clearly stated at the beginning).
Avoid stating the obvious
“I am writing to tell you about our latest offer…”
Of course you are writing to me, that is why I am reading your email. I’ve lost interest by the time I get to the important bit. Get to the point. “Our latest offer is…”
Use the verb instead of the noun
“This product will help you with your success” (8 words, using “success”, a noun, which makes it weak)
“This product will help you succeed” (6 words, “succeed”, a verb, much more direct and stronger).
Cut back on the adjectives
“The cutting-edge, state of the art technology produces up-to-date contemporary results”.
You have stated four times the same thing. One adjective would do.
There are many more hints, tips and tricks for writing good marketing copy. Remember, every communication with a prospective or actual customer is a piece of marketing, so it’s important to get it right.
KMS Marketing can provide training in how to write for business, whether it is for presentations, emails, articles etc, the principles remain the same. Once you have learnt how to write for marketing, you will be able to apply it across all situations and your audience will thank you for your ability to communicate succinctly.
By Kara Stanford, Managing Director, KMS Marketing