WRITE ON TARGET
When you are selling a product or service you can’t just say, ’my product is great!’ and expect people to buy it. You need to find ways of persuading potential customers to act.
Don’t talk about your fertilizer; tell me about my roses!
The real difficulty here is that not every person likes to be persuaded in the same way. You have to know who you are talking to and what will motivate them to buy before you begin. Is your target market driven by a sense of belonging or motivated by their individuality? Do they operate by moving away from problems or toward goals? Answering these kinds of questions means you can tailor your language for the greatest impact. And in case you are wondering, writing for ‘everyone’ is not possible – different markets require different approaches.
To know them is to love them
Read the magazines your clients read; look at promotions that have succeeded or failed in the past and figure out why; study ads and brochures to see if they hold any clues about a clever new approach. You need to be constantly on the lookout for better ways of communicating if you want to avoid annoying or offending your customers.
Begin with the end in mind
Knowing the right words to use with your customers is not enough. You also need to know what sets you apart in the marketplace and what real benefits you are selling. And that means research. Researching your competitors. Looking at your product as if you are a customer seeing it for the first time. Finding those things that make dealing with you a unique and worthwhile experience.
Once you have done this, work out the most logical structure for all your selling points. This step is especially important when writing for the web where customers give up if they can’t immediately find what they want.
Writing is only a small part of the process
As you can see, none of what you do up to this point is the ACTUAL WRITING. Research and planning is about 50% of what a copywriter does.
That’s because there is no point beginning to write until you really understand who you are writing to, the way they like to receive information, as well as what you are writing about.
No more writer’s block
The best thing about all the research and planning is that you end up with loads of useful information, tons of ideas, as well as a good structure to work from. You are now ready to create a rough working document (this is the writing part), before you move on to the task of refining.
Even Ruth says: “Be Ruthless”
Refining (or editing) your work involves choosing the clearest, tightest and easiest to understand language possible. It means being brutal with every word. And just so there is no confusion here, PEOPLE LIKE TO READ PLAIN ENGLISH. If you ask someone to spend time deciphering flowery language because you think it sounds impressive, chances are they will not read your document.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
Ask anyone. It takes no time at all to write a ton of drivel. What takes time is communicating simply and effectively. So don’t try to write something in half an hour. It takes five to eight hours to write a tight, crisp, one-page letter and you can work upwards from there for larger documents.