Monday, November 5, 2018

Boiling It Down: Keys to Simple, Clear Marketing Content

I see it time and time again as a freelance marketing copywriter, not just here in Austin and San Antonio but in all the markets I serve. A client will bring me content that "just needs brushing up," when in fact it needs a lot more -- and at the same time, a lot less. I'm talking about wall-to-wall industry jargon, gigantic blocks of text, processes explained in way more detail than anyone wants or needs, and other big obstacles that push readers away instead of inviting them in.

What does this kind of content need more than anything? Clarity and simplicity. We have boil the content down to its essence:

  • Here's who we are
  • Here's what we do
  • Here's how we make your life better
  • Here's what you need to do to make it happen

Honestly, that's about it. You might feel the need to add a certain amount of detail into your supporting points, especially if you're selling a complex product or service in a highly technical industry. But even under those circumstances, it pays to remember that you're writing to create excitement and inspire trust, not to expound on every little bit and piece of what you do.

You can convey a great deal of information in a small space if you really know what you want to say. After all, Albert Einstein distilled one of the most important of all scientific theories into E=mc2. Einstein also said, "Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." In other words, say everything you absolutely must say to obtain your desired result -- and nothing else.

Minimalism doesn't come easily to us in a society of chatterboxes. I've had clients who feel uncomfortable withholding even the least important details from their marketing content. That's when I remind them that it's marketing content, not informational content. (Yes, there's a difference.)

Fewer words and more room for the imagination can do wonders for a dense, convoluted website or print marketing piece. I remember drastically paring down the content of one home page by about three-quarters. The client's comment: "You didn't do very much. " My reply: "You see all that white space? I did that."

Boil it down. Keep it simple. Be clear. Use smaller, more potent words and clear, readable sentences. Focus on bottom-line emotional impact, not justifications and explanations. If that jungle looks too thick to hack your way through, hire a copywriter to swing the machete.

Clear enough?