Do you consider yourself a strong writer, or do you struggle with getting the words out on paper? Writing is crucial to your marketing efforts. Blog posts, product descriptions, website copy, email marketing, social media updates, and press releases all need to be written with care. Your writing style has a lot to do with how you engage readers and how you will turn them into customers. If writing isn’t something you enjoy; it can become a tedious and loathsome task.
As important as writing is, it isn’t something that needs to cause you stress. The first step is to relax. When you are writing about something you know inside and out, it should flow rather easily. Having confidence in your knowledge base will help. Being uptight and stressed will hinder the process and could lead to writer’s block, or worse yet, poor writing.
If you are struggling to create persuasive marketing content, here are 10 tips for better more effective marketing writing.
1. Just Write.
Save editing for later. Don’t over-obsess with grammar and punctuation in the beginning. Get your thoughts and ideas out first; then think about the technicalities. By brainstorming you allow your thoughts to get moving and the words flowing. Everything might not stay, but the stronger your start, the easier it will be to edit and tweak later on. Sometimes, I simply start with an outline of keywords and work backward to fill in the holes. Everyone is different, but the key is to get started.
2. Take a Break.
Writer’s block happens to the best of writers. Sometimes you just need to take a break and come back to it. This can be rough on deadline, but even a five-minute coffee break might be the distraction you need to refocus. Breaks aren’t necessarily bad; they can help keep you on target and help you manage your time. Just be sure that a short social media break doesn’t turn into an hour-long distracted daydream.
3. Use a Thesaurus.
You may not always know the exact word you want to use. It doesn’t hurt to look some up. This can help add a little variety and spice to your writing. I use a thesaurus a lot. Frequently, I see repetitive words within my writing, and this helps me create a little bit of variety. It can also help you become more creative with product descriptions.
Take a look at what others are saying and what they’re writing about their businesses. Don’t copy it, but let it generate some fresh new ideas for you. It’s always a good idea to know what your competitors are doing. Reading copy from other businesses in your niche can help expand your thought process. There may be some obvious things you are overlooking, or some details that you didn’t realize were important.
5. Show; Don’t Tell.
Be descriptive. Try to use words that engage and encourage the reader to envision what you’re writing. This is another place where that thesaurus can come in handy! Even when you have photos doing some of the show, be sure to accurately describe items with detail. This not only can be great for SEO, but it can also enhance your potential customer’s shopping experience.
6. Avoid Clichés.
Clichés are often overused and unprofessional. Your writing should be more interesting and creative than your typical cliché. Don’t rely on these type of tricks to get your point across. Rather, rely on your knowledge and your expertise, both of your products and services and your customer base.
7. Don’t Be Repetitive.
Don't restate things you’ve already said, even if it’s worded differently. It hampers the readability of your piece. Avoid using the same choice words over and over. Get out that thesaurus and change it up a bit. Your reader wants to learn more, new information. If they feel as though they are being told the same things repeatedly, they most likely will stop reading and lose interest.
8. Be Specific, Yet Concise.
Remember to be descriptive, accurate, and informative but don’t include fluff. Readers have short attention spans, so give them what they need without all the extra. You want to be as effective as possible. If they are simply skimming, you want them to take away your most important pieces of information. You can increase your odds by leaving out the extra and keeping your piece on topic and concise.
9. Call to Action.
One of the most crucial aspects of marketing writing is your call to action. Ask your readers to do something. They are much more likely to do what you want if asked. Tell them to visit your website, to use a coupon code, to sign up for your newsletter, etc. Don’t be shy. Your chances of converting a reader into a customer are much higher if you give them a specific plan of action.
Finally, go back and reread. Double check your punctuation and grammar or have someone else take a look. We are only human, and mistakes will happen. However, most of them can be caught in the proofreading process. I’m always so disappointed when I see a fellow writer or blogger publish a piece containing typos or spelling errors. These mistakes can make you look unprofessional and may affect your credibility.
If you can't afford to hire a proofreader or editor — try a third-party platform like Grammarly, which proofs your writing for typos and errors. It also helps to improve your writing skills by pointing out passive voice sentences.
Even if you don't consider yourself a writer — you will need to exercise your writing muscles when you're writing promotional materials your business. By using these 10 simple tips, you can help ensure that your marketing writing is in tip-top shape.
Do you write your own marketing materials? How do you continue to improve your marketing writing skills? Have you hired a copywriter to create your copy and advertisements? Drop us a note, we'd love to hear from you!
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Originally published November 22, 2011. Content updated May 9, 2018.