Are You Writing for All the “Write” Reasons?

How many of you out there have heard of Copyblogger? This is one of my all-time favorite blogs, and one I count as a must-read when I’m bleary eyed waiting for my morning caffeine fix to hit my bloodstream. If you design your own printed offline marketing materials and you’re looking for techniques to help you reach your customers and get right to the heart of the matter, I strongly suggest you stop by and take a look!

One of the best posts I’ve seen there had to do with using your blog to make money. Does a blog like this one exist to oh, say, sell a product? Or is it there to educate your buying public? Build a rapport between the two? Offer a chance to share opinions and vent about things that individuals outside of the industry “just don’t get”? Before you start a blog you need to figure out what it is you want to do with it to make sure that each time you sit down and write a blog, you’re blogging for all the “write” reasons.

The same rule applies when you’re writing copy for your offline marketing materials.

The first step in creating the print for your offline marketing materials is to figure out who you’re trying to reach and why. Are you trying to sell baby clothes to parents with newborns? Convince local business leaders to attend your next charity event? Announce an upcoming sale to your existing customers? Build your “street cred” with members of your industry? You should always have the who, what, when, where and yes, the why of your message firmly in your head before you sit down and put pen to paper (or boot up your word processing program of choice, whichever you prefer).

Next, think about who your audience is. There’s a reason many companies outsource their copywriting projects, and I can sum it up in one word: Jargon. When you’re used to talking with subject matter experts in your office, it can be easy to forget who you’re talking to out in the real world. If your target customer base understands the jargon you can sit there and use it all day long, but if you’re reaching out to appeal to a group of regular consumers that just aren’t that familiar with the field you’re going to need to tone it down a little. Avoid industry-specific words when you can, and make sure you explain them if you can’t.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how well you say it if your target audience can’t understand what you’re saying!

Finally, remember that in the real world you have exactly 3 seconds to catch your customer’s eye, so make sure your headline is up to the job. (Not sure how? Tune in tomorrow for a quick blurb on writing headlines.) And keep your content interesting, relevant and to the point. A good hook isn’t going to do you much good if they don’t finish reading what you have to say!

Graphic design, a bold color scheme and well designed and professionally printed offline marketing materials are only half the battle. Add in well written copy and you’ll walk away the victor every time.