Tuesday, July 20, 2021

4 Tips for Writing Stronger Marketing Content

Marketing content creation can prove immensely frustrating. No matter how well you know your business and industry, no matter how brilliant your products or services, no matter how desperately your target audience needs what you've got, you just can't seem to score with your website, social media, or print marketing content. What gives?

Sometimes tiny details can make all the difference between a solid but unremarkable piece of marketing content and a powerfully effective one. One of my writing teachers used to say that there's no such thing as good or bad writing: "There are only stronger and weaker choices." Do you make weaker choices here and there without even realizing it? We all do from time to time. If you want to make your written marketing content hit harder and turn more readers into buyers, take the following four tips  to heart.

Tip 1: Trim the Fat

Flabby writing can't compete with firm, lean statements. Watch out for empty, unnecessary phrases such as "Adding insult to injury..." or "Another point to consider is...." If you can get to the point without this baggage, do it. If you can't, then re-examine that point until you can make it as economically as possible.

You can also trim the fat from your marketing content by choosing slimmer words. Don't reach for a four-syllable word when a one-syllable or two-syllable word will get the job done. If you need to get flowery for purposes of style or tone, fine, but don't make "purple prose" your default setting as a content writer.

Tip 2: Get Specific

Good, great, beautiful, nice, bigger, better -- these words don't really convey much useful information, do they? As a potential customer, I don't get anything from the description of your product or service as "great;" I want to know what's great about it. Is it cost-effective, convenient, time-saving, sleek, powerful, long-lasting? Does it improve my gas mileage, kill bugs on contact, or clean my windows effortlessly? Ditch the vague, meaningless adjectives and give me clear, vivid descriptions that tell me what I need to know.

Tip 3: Guide Readers' Thoughts

Even the sharpest images and most efficient language will fall flat if your content lacks an effective structure and flow. Think about the journey you take every time you read a blog article, web page, or other marketing piece for the first time. You begin with no knowledge of what lies ahead, only a nagging problem that you seek to solve. So you naturally want to see that problem acknowledged right from the beginning, yes? Since this company clearly understands your needs, you keep reading -- and you discover the solution to your challenge in the text below. Now that you know you've found your answer, of course you'll click that link to the Contact page to place an order or schedule a conversation. If your current content doesn't guide your readers' thoughts from A to Z in a smooth, organic manner, consider reassembling it from the ground up.

Tip 4: Use Imperatives

"If you have my answers, then tell me what to do." This subconscious plea drives the path from interested bystander to new customer. Too soft a sell can leave your potential buyers undecided about committing your product or service, while overly vague directions can make it harder for the committed ones to go forward. Don't go all coy about your call to action with phrases such as "Doesn't it make sense to talk to our team about your needs?" Instead, say: "Contact our team today so we can discuss your needs." Feel  that extra push toward the finish line? So will your audience.

Try these tips and see for yourself what kind of extra oomph they add to your marketing content's effectiveness. Or if you'd rather hand the task over to someone who works with words for a living, just hire a freelance marketing copywriter!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Words as Symbols in Your Marketing Content

Another Fourth of July has come and gone. It's hard to imagine a more cut-and-dried holiday, right? Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. What could be more straightforward than that?

Ah, but wait a minute. The national holiday we recognize as the Fourth of July stirs up a wide range of responses, depending on who you ask. Some people take the literal approach by envisioning the Founding Fathers famously adding their signatures to the document in question. Many folks mark it as the birthday of the United States of America, with all the patriotic thoughts that accompany that idea. But what else might the Fourth of July mean to people in this day and age? If you're a fireworks fan, it may be a glorious opportunity to blow stuff up. If you're an animal lover, you may bite your nails over images of your beloved pets cowering under the bed as those fireworks go off. If you work like a dog the rest of the year, you may see the Fourth of July holiday as a lifesaving day of rest.

See what I mean? The same simple phrase -- "Fourth of July" -- can trigger different (and equally legitimate) images or feelings for different segments of the population. I'm picking on the Fourth for reasons of topicality, but I could just as easily point to any other concept, word, or phrase known to humankind. What about a loaf of freshly-baked bread? If you're a foodie, the very idea could fill you with gleeful anticipation or send you running to the store to purchase a bread maker. On the other hand, if you suffer from a severe gluten sensitivity, you may associate that "lovely" image with recollections of digestive agony.

Words are tools, and tools often have multiple uses, with no inherently right or wrong applications. However, when you're creating marketing content for your business, you must think about how your specific tool choices will impact your target audience. A word that might have powerful, energizing, or soothing effects on you might have a totally different effect on the people to whom you're directing your marketing content.

How do you tiptoe your way through this tricky landscape? It all starts with a detailed knowledge of your ideal buyer, which means building a buyer persona -- a fictional profile based on all the demographics, survey responses, and other customer data you can gather. The next step most likely involves engaging a professional copywriter who understands how to string together just the right symbols to produce the intended emotional responses for that ideal buyer. If you don't have such a professional on staff, contact a freelance copywriter and have a discussion about how to put the symbolic power of words to the strongest possible use in your marketing. After all, if words are tools, you might as well hire a true wordsmith!