by Arthur Piccio . January 18th, 2013
Writing is something all businesses have to deal with, regardless of size. Some will need to do it less often. A dental practice probably won’t have to create copy as often as an online retailer.
But no matter how much copy you need to churn out – its quality will add to the impression you give your customers. It’s not fair, but then again it’s just how people are.
Words are cheap – but the way you put them together matters. Here are five simple but proven tips that will give even the most word-challenged entrepreneur’s marketing copy a fighting chance in an over-saturated market.
One thing we often see as an online printing company is clients who use one design for several different products. This isn’t always a bad thing – you can sometimes safely use a poster design for a banner, for example. But sometimes we see someone try to use a business card layout for a brochure or booklet.
Same thing goes for web design. Your copy needs to address the subtle differences between the way people go through text on print and on screen. You can’t always write the same way.
Web writers tend to like lists and favor more breaks. Writers for more traditional media like books and newspapers can get away with the dreaded “wall of text” younger generations avoid.
It’s no accident. We read stuff on books, newspapers, desktops, tablets, and smart phones differently. It’s a difference that matters as far as reader comfort is concerned.
Get to the point, as clearly as possible. But keep it interesting.
It’s hard to overstate the value of good writers and editors. But perfect adherence to grammatical rules is not only impossible, it’s something that will slow down your writing.
“Muphry’s Law“, a deliberate misspelling of “Murphy’s Law” says if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be an error in what you have written. Variants of Muphry’s Law also say flaws in a printed or published work will only be found after it is printed and not during proofreading.
Kind of like how you find out you messed up an e-mail through your sent box or when you find typos after you publish something online.
If you have no access to an editor, I find it helps to take your time to let drafts incubate a bit before editing them for grammar and logic errors. You will never get all of them. That’s fine, up to a certain point. Just reread and edit your piece until you can safely say you’re getting your real point across without insulting anyone’s intelligence.
One mistake many entrepreneurs make when creating marketing copy is explaining every single little detail about their business off the bat. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t do this.
First, no one has the time to read everything. Second, giving unsolicited information to someone who might not be interested can be a huge turn off – you’ve got to reel them in, first. Lastly, if you hit customers who aren’t looking for anything with a wall of text- you’ve already lost them. Probably forever.
Make sure your main point is readily apparent at a glance – but make sure additional details are readily accessible if anyone wants to dig a bit deeper.
Take this post, for example. All you need to do is read through sub-headings and you already know what it’s about. Everything else is gravy.
Marketing copy is worthless without a specific purpose. What do you want your audience to do for you? Well, they won’t know for sure unless you tell them.
What other small biz copywriting tips did we miss? We’d love to know!
Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.