Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening (delete as applicable) blog buffs, I am particularly delighted to be taking you through this week’s topic as it is something that I not only enjoy talking about but putting into practice too…writing effective copy and content.
There are quite a few factors that render copy and content effective so today I will highlight the main points and next week I will go into more detail – deal? Blog buffs: “Deal”.
Now, no matter which avenue you choose for communicating with your audience, content will definitely feature somewhere in the equation whether it is a single word or a million words. So to give yourself the best possible chance at getting the right message across clearly and with no ambiguity there are are few ‘must dos’ you have to tick off.
Know your audience and, from an outside contractor’s point of view, your client as well. As a company, you will have worked very hard to build up a database of customers that you will want to keep and in order to do that you cannot afford to become complacent and treat them all the in the same way. Establish what your customers will want to know and why they are visiting your site or reading your material, are they after info, facts, a solution to a particular problem or issue or a comparison?
Tailor the tone of your text to your audience, there is no point using lingo and modern phrases if you are talking to a more senior audience, this also goes for colloquialisms and slang, just like there is no point being overly technical if your customers are not in your ‘industry’. This kind of text is likely to get skipped over and you may find your visitors will go elsewhere in search of content they can relate to.
Does your content and copy make sense or do you have to read it a few times to remember what you actually meant? In other words; are you trying to be too clever? Your text should convey a clear message, whether it is the content of your home page, your product pages or your contact details, customers should be left in no doubt of what you can offer them and what is required of them to make that all important purchase.
Do your words reflect the tone of the company or is the brand being jeopardised by language and content that is not appropriate? This may seem like an obvious point and one that doesn’t really need to be made but sometimes it can be as simple as how you address your customers or the claims you make about your products. Give examples and evidence where necessary to turn a hollow claim into a substantiated one.
Focus on the features and benefits of the product or products you are selling. What exactly do I mean by this? Well, quite simply, show and don’t tell what the unique features of the product are by explaining how they can and will benefit the customer. Always put the benefit and therefore the customer first to help them relate to the product and create desire by highlighting something that would be beneficial to them. i.e. save time with the preset function as opposed to our preset function will save you time.
Involve and engage your audience in the whole process from contemplation to purchase by asking open questions to get them thinking. For example, which question is most likely to create an opportunity for dialogue…Have you seen our new gadget? or What do you think of our new gadget? Be suggestive with your language without openly saying, ‘You must buy this’.
Show you’re an authority on what you are selling by preempting customers’ questions and answering them in your copy and content. This comes back to the features and benefits aspect of writing text and gives you the opportunity to really shout about what you have to offer.
Create a desire for the product by painting a picture of how great things would be should the customer own one. This is your chance to be creative, but remember, like I said earlier, you must substantiate claims. Testimonials, feedback and reviews are great for this and also let the visitors to your site see that you have an active relationship with your customers.
Now I appreciate that a lot of what I have written today seems applicable mainly to websites. If you don’t have a website or are testing other channels of communication like email, catalogues, flyers, direct pitches, headlines etc, fear not, the fundamentals are the same, you still have a short space of time to convey your message and get interest but the question is how selective do you need to be with your words? I’ll save that for next week though…see you then – deal? Blog buffs: “Deal”.