Writing – especially writing well – is difficult for most people. And when it comes to writing marketing copy, the task can be an even greater challenge. Why is that?
Writing is a skill like any other, and it takes practice to improve the skill. Marketing adds a psychological layer to the process. Excellent writing skills and a solid understanding of marketing principles must come together to produce great marketing copy.
Bad Marketing Copy Can Cost You Real Money
The value of quality writing for your marketing materials should not be downplayed. The quality of marketing copy reflects the overall quality of your business. And when the quality is bad, it can cost your company real money.
To understand the true cost of bad writing, it’s important to remember why your company is writing any marketing copy in the first place: to persuade people to buy your products or services. When bad writing results in readers not understanding or not being persuaded, your business loses out on opportunities.
The other issue is the operational cost. Rewriting, reprinting, and proofreading all take time and manpower, both of which equal money. And if you don’t improve poor copy, you can lose business.
Investing in quality copy upfront is smart business. Whether you will produce copy internally or work with an external agency or freelancer, it’s important to understand what goes into writing great marketing copy.
The 5 Ingredients of Great Marketing Copy
One of the biggest mistakes to make with your marketing copy is writing it from the perspective of your company’s needs. Ultimately, your consumers care about their own needs and about “what’s in it for them.” The goal of marketing copy is to convince your target audience that your product or service will meet their needs.
Different audiences – based on demographics, behaviors, relationship with your business – respond to different messages. When you are writing copy for a marketing campaign, understand which segment(s) of your audience you are writing for. The more you understand the audience receiving the message, the more targeted and relevant your copy will be.
2. Brand Voice
If your company was a person, what would she sound like? What words would she use? It’s not just what your business says, but how you say it that matters.
Developing a unique and consistent voice for your copy reinforces your company’s brand. This voice should be maintained across all marketing channels. Keep in mind that your company’s brand – and voice – are influenced by your target audience. The tone and language used in your marketing copy should resonate with the audience you are writing for.
3. Clear Focus
Your company probably has a lot of messages you wish to convey to your consumers. However, restraint is one of the most underrated virtues of good marketing copy.
Establish an objective for each piece of content you are writing copy for. If the objective of a direct mail campaign is to inform consumers about one specific service your company provides, don’t include messages about other services that your company also provides. A clear, focused message will elicit a better response.
4. Mechanics of Writing
The mechanics of writing are important for two big reasons. First, correct spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. helps your audience understand your message. Second, the quality of your writing is an indication of the effort you’ve put into it. Typos and sloppy grammar make it clear you made no commitment to the work. And if you made no commitment to quality in your own work, what does it mean about how you approach your work with customers?
If you are going to be writing copy for your marketing materials internally, brush up on the basics of good writing, including sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Invest in resources that will help you polish your writing skills, such as the AP Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style.
Writing your marketing copy is important, but improving it through an editing process is equally important. Here are a few tips for editing your marketing copy:
- Read it out loud. Doing so helps you catch more errors than reading silently to yourself, and you can hear how the copy flows.
- Get rid of the fluff. Attention spans are shorter than ever, and readers prefer simplicity. Delete extraneous words and unnecessary adjectives/adverbs.
- Have someone else proof your work. Having another set of eyes read your copy helps catch errors you would miss on your own.
Ultimately, no one is a perfect writer. But if you can learn from bad copy you’ve produced, take advantage of opportunities to expand your writing knowledge and skills, and implement those lessons and skills in future work, you’re one step ahead at creating marketing copy that works for your business.
Did you know that Badger provides copywriting services? We do! Learn more about our targeted marketing and creative services.