You've got website, social media profiles, a blog, print and digital advertising; you know it's important that the look of all these individual elements should blend to your brand - forming a cohesive whole.
But once you've got them all prettified and branded... what about the content?
Copywriting is the essential element in your marketing strategy, but often the most overlooked, especially if you're an entrepreneur or SME.
Whether you're a beginner or novice copywriter for your business, it pays to strengthen your writing skills and keep your copy sharp. So we've put together the 10 top tips for writing copy that every business writer needs to know.
Tip 1. - Know Your Audience
Who is going to read this content? Having a vague demographic mapped out is no use. Even a very specific demographic isn't gonna help much, except as a foundation. You have to get specific.
Don't think of this as content creation for Females Over 40 with Mid to High Income. Imagine your Aunty Jean, who happens to be in her late 40's and reasonably comfortable, financially speaking. You're writing to your Aunty Jean.
Tip 2. - Find Your Value Proposition
What value are you offering to Aunty Jean with your product or service, exactly? What problem are you solving for her? What's in it for Aunty Jean to get involved in your selling process right here and now?
Tip 3. - Understand Your Unique Selling Point
USP is what makes your product or service different from everyone else's. Look at what your competitors are offering, and figure out how and why you're doing it better, or differently. Why should Aunty Jean choose your business over every other?
Tip 4. - Figure Your Objective
With every single piece of content you create, there should be a very clear goal in mind - what exactly do you want Aunty Jean to do when she has read your copy? This is the time for classic SMART Goal thinking: your objective each time you write should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Tip 5. - Write an Effective Headline
The famous advertising revolutionary, David Ogilvy, had this to say about headlines:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
So, what if Aunty Jean only ever reads your headline? How do you communicate that your product or service is the one that will solve her problems? How will she know enough about what you have on offer to take the action that will put money in your pocket? That's the job the hard working headline has to do in your marketing copy.
Tip 6. - Email Subject Lines Matter
Ok, so this tip is email marketing specific, but as this is an easy, effective and inexpensive way to market your product or service, it should definitely play a part in every business marketing strategy.
The subject line of your email is what gets Aunty Jean to stop scrolling through the piles of alerts and special offers and amazing new deals, and click to open yours. The subject line is your key to the gates of Aunty Jean's attention. Use it wisely.
Tip 7. - Choose Your Words Wisely
Some words are ineffective and must be avoided, while others command attention and direct action. Leave out the words that are not specific, that soften a sentence or add ambiguity - words like might, may, try, strive, could and wish are all banned. Use active words instead, such as will, and can, while making the copy very directed at Aunty Jean reading it, by addressing it to her using you and your.
Tip 8. - Less is More
Your content must be clear, direct and to the point. Use short sentences to break up the flow of text. Include bulleted lists. Avoid the passive voice, which makes the copy sound rambling and disconnected from you, your product or service, and Aunty Jean. Edit til your thumbs drop off, then edit some more. Keep it simple.
Tip 9. - Hit Them in the Feels
While your copy must be concise and direct, you don't want to lose the emotional impact. Aunty Jean will spend her money with you when her logical mind is convinced that this is a sensible thing to do, sure. But the real decision maker in psychological terms is how your writing makes her feel. Is she afraid of a bad consequence? Moved by sadness or sympathy? Giggling merrily and in a bright mood? These emotions will be the tipping point towards parting with cash. Use them!
Tip 10. - Credibility Comes with Quotes
Peer review. Customer testimonial. Quotes and recommendations. These are the pivot points for Aunty Jean's purse. If she sees that a woman just like her; MaryLou, Age 43, from the next neighbourhood over, has bought what you're selling and is over the moon with how it's solved her particular problems... you're in. This is a fantastic way to communicate the value and effectiveness of your product or service. Aunty Jean will be falling over herself to buy what MaryLou bought.