Everyone in business has a story to tell. Some nail it, like Tuft & Needle's eye-catching "Mattress stores are greedy" line. Others ... well, they're working on it.
We're bombarded with marketing messages, so making your message worthy of eyeball time is one-two punch of beautiful visuals AND spot-on copy.
I've learned writing for brands like Microsoft, HP, and Yahoo in my previous corporate comms role, and now in my own Professional Communication Consulting business: There is an art to wrangling the right words. Let's break down the word lasso, partner.
6 must-know writing tips for business
1. Know your audience.
Marketing homework complete, you’re keenly aware of your target market. Think from their perspective. What is relevant and meaningful to them? Personalize your message to meet their innate business needs and goals, and articulate in a way that will be both relevant and valuable for them.
2. Resolve a tone.
What tone or voice should you use? Your writing voice can range from formal and technical to witty and playful. Do you use “we” and “you” or keep things third person? Each piece (website, ads, email marketing, etc.) resonates differently, depending on the chosen voice. Your credibility rides on your ability to keep voice and tone consistent.
3. Understand messaging.
Long before sending ads to print or buying AdRoll space online, spend thoughtful time with messaging. Dive into key takeaways and clearly define them. Make sure your overarching communication plan offers valuable information for prospective customers, and not merely sales jargon. Always remember to keep the “so what?” factor top of mind.
4. Write tight.
Skip the fluff. Every word counts, so weigh the importance of each phrase. This doesn’t mean sacrificing eye-catching words, which paint a picture or slam-dunk an idea. Effectively communicate with a dose of creativity, but realize audiences prefer bite-sized, palatable sections to verbose ramblings. As a rule, vary sentences both in terms of length and word choice.
5. Incite action.
Purposeful marketing writing provides readers with a recognizable call to action. Often the success of your writing is measured by click-through rates or sales stats. When you’re looking for quantified results, you must persuade readers and invite them to act. This could be as simple as, “Call now for a free trial” or “Sign up for our next webinar by clicking here.”
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Dodge this one, and you’ll regret it. A large mall recently sent me (and countless others) an email advertising an event. I might have opened it, had it not born a grammar-offending subject line: “Your Invited.” Really? With a quick edit, the correct “You’re” could have saved their invite from my trash box. As a rule of thumb, if you’re planning to share with potential customers, get a trusted colleague/friend to give your words a second look before you hit send or approve the printing press. We all need editors.
Need help telling your business story? My team of talented writers and I can help. Our client list includes a Fortune Cloud 100 company and we specialize in telling stories for tech and real estate organizations. Let me know here if you'd like helping creating content that gets noticed.