Clear, targeted writing can help you stand out from the crowd in a busy marketplace. Make this the year you nail your business writing and put your brand on the map.
- Put your audience first
Make time to challenge what you think you know about your audience. Understand what they want and need, and then find the gap for your products or services. If it’s been a while since you thought about who your customers are and what they want, try developing customer personas or avatars of your ideal target markets.
- Have one big idea
If you can’t easily explain the one big idea you want to get across to your audience, your content is probably too complicated. Break it down until you have a one sentence explanation, then make sure everything your write supports that one idea or message.
- Make headlines and email subject lines useful
Everyone is time poor – we scan rather than read content. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you want to say, whether it’s a blog post, a web page or an email. You can still be witty or persuasive (or whatever your brand voice is), just make it easy to get the gist and see if there’s something in it for them. And remember the difference between click-worthy and click-bait!
- Step away from the thesaurus
Stop using big words to try and look smart. It doesn’t work. It looks like you and your business have something to hide, or think you’re better than your audience. If you use words readers aren’t familiar with, you’ve lost them straightaway. They’ll assume you aren’t interested in them, or you’re going to make them feel stupid. You don’t always have to be super casual, just use everyday words.
- Be smart with numbers and data
If you want to include stats, make them meaningful and explain why they’re relevant to your big idea. Analyse numbers and talk about trends and how they affect real people. Don’t dump data and leave your reader to try and figure out why it should be important to them. Stop including tables or figures that you never refer to at all, or do so as an obvious afterthought. If you’ve got nothing to say about the graphic, delete it.
- Add a human touch
Unless you’re cornering the market in robot holiday reading, your audience is human. Humans like to see what other humans are doing. Add a human touch by using case studies, testimonials, photos, quotes and real-life examples. If you’re an accounting firm, show us businesses in action that are growing because of you. If you make handmade clothes, show us your workspace and how you do that tricky stitching.
- Break the rules
Rules are made to be broken. Understanding your audience and content to engage them is the first step to finding your own way to do it. Sometimes you have to trust your gut and write from instinct. That’s OK. That’s called being human.
Remember what I said about breaking the rules
Add in bonus content you didn’t plan for and break the rules! Here’s 7 more quick tips:
- use dot points, lists and white space to break up your content
- don’t use a word you don’t understand (or couldn’t pronounce)
- use spellcheck to check spelling, not as a proofreader
- don’t stress on meeting a magical word count, just say what you need to
- don’t do it alone. Get help from a copywriter, editor or proofreader (mums and best friends are handy too)
- swap vague or bureaucratic language for straightforward, simple wording
- proper spelling, punctuation and grammar never go out of style.
Whatever you write for your business in the new year, you are always representing your brand. Make a new year’s resolution to make every word count.