Is your new business at a point where you need to start marketing it?
Are you uncomfortable writing for marketing purposes?
We get it. It’s a common issue. We see it all the time.
Entrepreneurs and business owners are awesome at being visionary, forward-thinking leaders.
Writing… Not so much.
Still, it’s always important to deliver content that’s properly written, effective and will resonate with clients, customers and prospects. Here are nine simple best practices that will help you make your writing better — or know that writing is good if you have someone doing it for you.
1. Maintain a confident and powerful tone.
No matter the personality of your brand, your writing should always be strong and deliberate. You can do this by eliminating “weak” terminology such as:
Using these “hedge” or “qualifying” words minimizes the impact of what you write. It takes what you’re saying and makes it seem like you’re backing away from it. Have the same confidence in your writing and what you’re communicating that you do in your vision for your business. Don’t qualify it because it only makes readers feel less confident about you, your content and in the end, your operation.
2. Cut out extra words.
Much of today’s marketing content is read on a smartphone. That’s why it’s important to keep your writing style concise. It’s hard to read long paragraphs on small screens. Most people don’t have the patience to scroll endlessly. Add to this the fact that scientists report that people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter all the time.
Challenge yourself to cut unnecessary words and ideas from your copy. This can be tough because you want to say everything that’s in your head, but it’s a mistake. Keep paragraphs short. Use bullet points when possible. Doing so will encourage people to read your content, and keep reading all the way through to the end.
3. Keep calls to action simple and clear.
If you’re writing content for marketing materials, you want people to take action on it. Keep your calls to action simple, direct and concise. It will make them more powerful. People will be more likely to click on them. Read the Latest is far more compelling than You Must Check Out Our Newest Article Now.
4. Go negative.
In most cases, when you’re writing, staying positive and upbeat is the best approach. Negativity turns people off. However, that’s not the case when it comes to getting people to act. In most circumstances, Don’t Miss This will get more clicks than Check This Out. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful motivator.
5. Explain the value of taking action.
Learn More and Check it Out are lazy calls to action.
The first thing you should ask yourself when you write these things is: Why?
After all, it’s the question your readers are going to ask.
Instead, come up with a call to action that explains the value of taking the action and what readers can expect when they do. Examples of better, more informative calls to action:
- Don’t miss out on earning more
- Get started getting fit
- Click to add $2,000 per month in extra income.
Seriously, aren’t these things you’d act on?
6. Write the same way you speak.
When you talk, you’re probably pretty clear, interesting and engaging. It’s part of the reason you were able to start a business in the first place.
So why should you allow your writing to become opaque, boring and uninspiring?
It’s a common issue for many entrepreneurs and business owners who don’t write for a living. They’re eloquent and charming in person, but become stilted and boring on the page or screen. They use:
- Long sentences.
- Packed paragraphs.
- Unclear, disconnected logic.
- Formal tone.
- Limited punctuation.
Use a range of tones and word types and emphasize things when you develop copy, as you do when you speak. Use italics, bolded text, ellipses, parenthesis, different dashes and more to create excitement and guide the eye. Take time to find the right balance. You don’t want to overdo it and leave readers feeling confused or anxious. Too MANY WORDS IN ALL CAPS or exclamation points (!!!) may make readers think you’re shouting at them.
7. Always think like your reader.
Empathy is an important character trait to have when you’re writing. It may not come natural for you, but you need to find it. You’re not writing for yourself. You’re writing for your readers. It’s important to be able to put yourself in their position.
Before you write something, take time to read a persona or profile of the people you’re marketing to. (You probably have one in your business plan.) If you’re not sure whether a piece you’re writing will resonate with readers, ask someone similar to them to review it.
Before you finalize anything, go back to the persona or profile. Read it, then review your copy. Make sure the completed piece will speak to the people it’s intended for. This step will help ensure your writing will meet their expectations and prove to be a valuable piece of content to them.
8. Get the simple things right.
Always spell check your work. There’s no reason to publish anything that has misspellings. They’re too easy to catch.
Make it a point to have everything you write proofread by two different people. This will help ensure grammar, punctuation and other errors are identified. Plus two fresh perspectives will help ensure everything you are attempting to communicate is understandable to others.
9. Read your own writing out loud.
Or have someone — or automated voice software — read it to you.
If you’re not willing to read your own writing, how can you expect others to?
Always make it a point to listen to what you’ve written. It will help you identify awkward passages, inconsistent ideas and odd language and constructions you may not be aware of. Keep reworking your writing until you can read it out loud clearly and confidently.
In the end, writing isn’t as difficult as you may think it is. Simply use the nine best practices to help polish up yours. Or content Sales Maven to get the cost effective professional writing help you need.