How can you write sparkling marketing material that gets your organisation noticed? This is the question posed by copywriter, marketing communications expert and author Ashley Hastings.
He has written the ultimate guide to writing effective content, with the publication of a brand new book: I’m Here! How To Write Brilliant Marketing Material That Gets Your Business Noticed (CGW Publishing, 2015).
If you’re looking for a DIY way to boost your efforts, improve your writing and have a refresher on what works, it’s worth a read.
Here he writes for the All Things IC blog to share some of his top tips and help you think through what you write. Over to you Ashley…
How to write brilliant marketing material
A business may have fantastic products, superb services and the most compelling proposition since Ringo got the call from John, Paul and George – but unless it can convey this to their potential customers, the business is likely to sink without trace.
So, how can you create marketing communications that get a business noticed?
What to write
When it comes to getting a message across to the people who matter, there’s a vast pick’n’mix of marketing material available. Here’s a look at just some of them:
Newsworthy articles subtly interlaced with relevant sales information generate more responses than a straightforward advertisement. It’s a scientific fact.
A blog is not about getting a message out, it is about drawing prospective customers in. So, offer something useful to your readers and they’ll keep coming back for more.
For a corporate brochure to be of any use is needs to be personal, not corporate. This means addressing customers’ concerns, not boosting the business’s ego.
The humble business card should encapsulate all that the business has to offer. Think of it as a tiny salesperson that sticks tenaciously to the prospective customer.
No-one wants junk mail, but a well-crafted message tailored to the concerns of the person receiving it will be rewarded by being read and, quite often, responded to.
Facebook is like a cool club where all the customers hang out. But don’t go bursting in selling your products. Facebook is all about making friends – the sales come later.
It’s hard to ignore a flyer once it’s in your hand. With a clear offer aimed at a specific audience, a flyer cuts through the promotional ether like a customer-seeking missile.
LinkedIn may be as much fun as an Excel spreadsheet, but with an attractive profile, eye-catching posts and a few influential connections, it’s like networking on steroids.
A sharply crafted press release that conveys a meaningful story with energy and immediacy will grab an editor’s attention like it was written on the side of a tiger.
When a customer and product first meet it is like a blind date where the product description provides the emotional spark that leads to a lasting relationship.
With precise composition and efficient narrative, the single page sales letter leads its reader one enticing step at a time towards a compelling call to action.
A meaningful Tweet that is retweeted by an influential follower can reverberate around the Twittersphere, influencing vast swathes of potential customers.
All websites get the same space on the screen, but the site that succeeds is the one that makes it as easy as possible for visitors to get what they are looking for.
How to write
When writing the content for each of these different methods of marketing communication, there is a common starting point: the customer wants to know, without any ambiguity, what is in it for them.
And to achieve this, you need to:
- Know precisely who the audience is. Then you can create marketing material tailored to their concerns.
- Solve a problem. If you’re not improving their lives in some way they are not going to be interested in anything you have to say.
- Clarify your objective (call for more information, place an order, visit a website etc).
- Come right out and say whatever it is you have to say. Otherwise they’ll lose interest before you get to the point.
- Express yourself clearly. Don’t use odd language just because it is a business communication. Use natural language, the simpler the better.
- Keep it personal. Talk about them, discuss their needs and explain how you can help.
- Sharpen up your vocabulary so readers can feel the enthusiasm in your message.
- Avoid all clutter. Give a clear message followed by unambiguous instructions on what to do next.
Why does this matter?
When you present your target audience with clear, consistent, customer-friendly communications – whether it’s the text on a website, product descriptions in a catalogue or the content of a Facebook page – you are articulating the company’s vision in every word. – Ashley Hastings.
That is why it is essential to choose your words very carefully and, most importantly, ensure you have something to say before you even think about saying it.
Post author: Ashley Hastings.
Thank you Ashley. What do you think? What works for you?
You can find his book I’m Here! How To Write Brilliant Marketing Material That Gets Your Business Noticed (CGW Publishing, 2015) on Amazon. Get a glimpse of what to expect via this video:
I disagree with his comments about LinkedIn as I’m increasingly finding it a useful site to keep in touch with my network, read the latest news and views and discover new ideas about comms. As with most things, I think you get out what you put in, and I find investing time in LinkedIn worth it.
Want to get more ideas and access resources to help you achieve comms excellence?
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Post author: Rachel Miller.
First published on the All Things IC blog 27 October 2015.