When was the last time you read some great copy? Think: websites, e-newsletters, social media posts, blogs, ads (online and offline) or any writing anywhere that was designed to promote a product or company message, but didn’t bore you senseless and (*gasp*) even piqued your interest?
Anything coming to mind? These ‘content unicorns’ are rare. Can you think of one? Any great content will do. None? Or wait, the thing you saw a couple of months ago, earlier this year, last year? If your answer is any time in the past week, you’re one of the lucky ones.
It pains me to say that great content is in shortage. Bridging the gap between the corporate or sales message with words that engage your audience isn’t always easy but it’s far from impossible.
Here are our top 7 tips to get you thinking about moving your message from boring to brilliant:
- Always start with WIIFM (aka what’s in it for me?!)
People are bombarded with content every day – why should they keep reading yours? What value or benefit do you offer them? Hook them in the first couple of sentences and you can provide more product details or company background information later in the blog/article/post or via another communication channel entirely – e.g. your website.
- Keep it simple, but unique
The simplest statements are always the best. Keep it short and keep it interesting. Like anything that appears easy it’s actually hard to do. But, when you can succinctly encapsulate your company’s brand or extract the WIIFM of a product, service or piece of news, you can instantly engage your audience. This applies to story or email headlines, ads, tweets and introductory sentences in longer form copy.
- Show don’t tell
This taps into the power of storytelling. If you focus on the benefits over the features and talk about a case study or share a testimonial about your product, service or news item, you’ve achieved what we want all copy to do – relate to its readers.
- Get emotional
If your copy can pull at the heartstrings and/or create a sense of urgency or a call to action – case studies can work brilliantly here – your message begins to resonate. This is one of the better WIIFMs, but don’t abuse it or go over the top. Readers don’t want to feel manipulated.
- Be yourself (and triple check ‘the facts’)
Remember who you are – the tone and style of your brand is important. This needs to remain consistent in whatever copy you produce via any channel. Your audience gets to ‘know’ you as a reliable source of information about your product/service/industry.
- Do the research
Make sure what you say (everywhere) is accurate. Know your stuff and do the research when you’re not 100% and even when you think are 100%. Trends and opinions change constantly so you don’t want to be blindsided by a recent piece of industry or competitor news. This is particularly important for articles and blogs where you’re writing to position your brand as a thought leader. Remember you don’t need to align with what your industry or competitors are saying but you do need to show that you’re across what’s being said.
- Use strong visuals
Support your great copy with a strong visual that attracts attention. This is particularly important with social media where photos, illustrations and infographics are important hooks that can help your content stand out.
This should give you a good starting point to start writing some great new copy. But if you’re still staring at a blank page on your computer, our team of talented wordsmiths can find just the right words for your business.