For businesses big or small, the right copy can mean the difference between making money, gaining customers, attracting employees or not.
Developing compelling copy can be a challenging task, but it isn’t impossible. If you’ve tried writing your marketing materials, you probably did a lot of Googling. While helpful, it can be overwhelming.
Here are four essentials to keep in mind when writing for any audience.
Write copy that means something.
Let’s quickly touch on key messages. Key messages refer to how a business, organization, or company talks about itself and what the brand wants people (including current and potential consumers) to think or remember about their offering. It seems simple, but an essential part of how you talk about yourself is what value your service or product provides.
In other words, key messages are a common term used in the communications world to refer to the main points of information you want your audience to take away.
As such, when writing marketing materials, your key messages will provide direction and inform your copy. Don’t hesitate to print out your key messages and tack them on your wall. Referring back to them as you write is one way to ensure you are staying on track.
“Clarity is power.” – Anthony Robbins.
There are many ingredients to good copy, but the one thing that reigns supreme is clarity. Essentially, you want your copy to convince current and future customers or clients to take action. With so many brands competing for our attention, confusing or convoluted writing just isn’t going to cut it.
Pro-Tip: Read your copy out loud. If it sounds strained or confusing just saying it, imagine it will be the same reading it. Take it a step further by testing it out on someone and ask them what they think you’re trying to say.
Mean what you say, say what you mean.
Don’t be afraid to expose your purpose. Tell your reader, listener, or viewer precisely what you want them to do and take away from whatever medium you are writing for. When you try to convince people in a roundabout way, it makes them weary. Mistrust is the last thing a brand wants to encourage in their consumer, so always try to be as clear and transparent as possible.
Pro-Tip: Ensure your actions reflect your words. Key messages often come from an organization’s brand promises and the type of brand experience they want to achieve (e.g., mission or vision statement). So, always keep your staff abreast of the key messages you are using to inform copy.
Draft your messages.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a draft or two or twenty to get your copy where you want it. It should be an iterative process, so expect to come back to it again and again. The benefit of drafting and brainstorming is that it helps you get everything in your head out on paper. In doing so, you can determine those significant points you want to convey to your target audience(s).
Pro-Tip: Unlike what you see in movies, don’t crumple your drafts and toss them to a lonely, overflowing trash bin in the corner. Just because it doesn’t work now doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future. You never know when an old draft could be the inspiration you need for future copy.