The worst person to write promotional content for your business is you!  Most of us know far too much and find it easy to forget the purpose of our written communications.  If you share your passion you're in danger of providing much more information than most people want.

It's really hard to stay focused when you get caught up in the detail.  For example:

  • You're writing the home page for your website - should you be writing about your credentials and track record to create substance?
  • You're writing a marketing flyer to promote your services - do you include a list of services that are available?
  • You're writing a blog for your website - are you promoting your services in it?

The answers are 'No', 'No' and 'Sort of'!

Your website should be focused on engaging your reader - at least for long enough to get them to take action.  The focus should be on them and what they want, not on you and what you do or have done.

A marketing flyer needs the same focus so it should be full of benefits - not features, or even 'nice to have' points.  Everything needs to hit that emotional trigger - what's in it for me?

A blog should not be directly promoting your services or people won't come back.  Most of us don't expect to be sold to in a blog.  However, if you share your knowledge, people will want to get more tips and come back.  Effectively you're promoting yourself as someone with knowledge who will add value - even if it's indirectly.

Short, crisp, to-the-point, clear and accurate all help to keep people reading.  Long, wordy, rambly, pompous, jargon-spattered text turns most of us off.  Here are five tips to improve your written materials:

  1. Do your research first.  Find out what is really important to your target audience.  Don't guess - ask them.
  2. Establish the purpose before you start writing and keep revisiting it to ensure you stay focused.
  3. When you are writing keep asking yourself - does my reader NEED to know this to take action?  Does my reader WANT to know this to keep them engaged?
  4. Check that your language is about 'you' (the customer), rather than 'we' (you and your organisation). Most sentences can be rewritten with a 'you' focus with a bit of practice.
  5. When you've finished it, put it away for at least 24 hours and then come back and review it.  Cut all surplus words out and ensure that every sentence earns its place.

You'll find your written material gets better with practice - keep practising!

Views: 35

Tags: Customer, Marketing, Writing, focus

Comment by Roark McMaster on March 17, 2013 at 19:59

Super article- thanks.  I wrote some copy for an advert late last year titled:  'What do wee, curry, and MRSA have in common?'  And no it's not a trip to the local take away.  Great creative copy but wasted effort.  I stopped proofing anything I write a long time ago.  Tired of catching my mistakes too late in the process since I'm way close to our processes.   I don't advertise in trade rags anymore.  Far too much like gambling.   

Comment by Carolyn Williams on March 21, 2013 at 11:32

Hi Lesley,

Great pointers that all make senses. Less of me, mine, me and more on listening and focusing on what readers want.

Listening, engaging and delivering added value. Oh, and adding comments to worthwhile blogs like this one! ;) Carolyn x

Comment by Lesley Morrissey on March 21, 2013 at 11:44

Roark, you probably don't need to advertise - if your marketing strategy is sound you can get far better results without spending your budget on random advertising.

Caroline:  Glad you found it useful.  I got a marketing email this morning and every paragraph started with 'We' - demonstrating their complete lack of marketing expertise.

Comment by Carolyn Williams on March 21, 2013 at 12:25

You, you and how You can benefit. We have to beg the question 'How can we help you?'

Keep the 'Gems' coming Lesley x

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