When you run your own business, producing marketing material can be a challenge. Though you may be able to speak confidently to prospective clients about the service you offer, something happens when you try to write it down. Your words don’t flow, your mind goes blank, and you move on to the next task on your list.
But never fear, as help is at hand. This little article will give you some big tips on how to write your marketing material with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of impact.
Planning your copy
Copy is – quite simply – the words that appear in your marketing. When you are planning your copy, it’s important to think before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who is my target market?
2. How would they like to be spoken to?
3. What would I like them to do once they’ve read my copy?
4. What are the benefits of what I can do for them?
5. Where is this information going to appear?
Once you’ve got this information clear in your mind, it’s time to start drafting.
Drafting your copy
Before you start writing, it’s a good idea to think about the sections of copy that you are going to need to draft.
For example, if you are going to be writing a website which sells clothes, you might like to include the following information in your section plan:
- Company’s background
- Services provided
- What makes you different from your competitors
- Major clients
- Testimonials/pictures of stock
- Contact details
- Latest news
Splitting your copy in to sections will help you ensure that you don’t leave out any pertinent information. It will also make your copywriting task much less daunting.
Get your bottom on that chair
The hardest part of writing is starting. So, what’s the cure for pre-writing fright? That’s right – just get something down on the page. The first few lines, paragraphs or pages you write could end up being deleted, but that’s fine.
Editing your copy is vital
Writing is not a one stage process. Thinking before you write does help, but you should still expect to have several drafts of your copy before it’s ready to be printed /go live.
The time you spend editing can make the difference between effective marketing material, and something that’s destined for the bin. You’ve not finished until you’ve ticked off every number on this list…
- Delete jargon, clichés and waffle
- Read your copy out loud – several times – and change anything that sounds stilted
- Check spelling, especially peoples’ names, and check grammar
- Show your copy to other people – preferably people who know and understand you business and your brand
- Make sure you have a simple message and clear call to action
- Make sure your copy is benefit focussed
- Make sure your copy is interesting and informative
- Leave 24 hours between your penultimate and final edits
- Add headlines if your copy is long
- Check all contact details
Don’t let your design let you down
Of course, once you’ve finished your copy, you might like to ask a professional copywriter to look at it for you. You’ll also probably want to find a trusted designer to help you with the look and feel of your marketing material. It’s always worth investing in professional help, especially if your marketing material is going to be around for a while.
Writing marketing material is tricky, time consuming and can be frustrating. But once you have effective copy your soaring sales will make all the hard work worthwhile.
Fiona Mocatta is a copywriter and marketing project manager. In the last few years Fiona has written for Comic Relief, Marie Curie Cancer Care, London Business School and many others. She writes anything and everything, including websites, brochures, speeches, annual reports, direct mail and print ads. Check out www.mocatta.org for some of Fiona’s work.