The ABCs of Great Marketing Copy

Three factors–the ABCs of copywriting–often make the difference between marketing copy that succeeds and marketing copy that fails in communicating with your customers, employees and peers. The best marketing copy is:

  1. Audience-specific. To write great marketing copy, you need to write for your audience. This is a variation on the same advice that resume writers, for example, give to job candidates. Great resumes target a specific job; great marketing copy targets a specific audience. Great resumes address the actual needs of employers; great marketing copy addresses the actual needs of your customers.
  2. Balanced. Great marketing copy has balance. It is accurate, concise and passionate without going to extremes. It gives details, without overwhelming the audience; it is concise, without leaning on 18 syllable words to make a point; it is passionate, without sacrificing information or becoming egocentric.
  3. Complete. Good copywriters know when enough is enough, and it is time to send out the copy. If your marketing copy is sitting on your desk, waiting for the next bright idea or the 38th reviewer’s comments, it is not working for you. Send it out. If it doesn’t draw the response you wanted, revise and send it out again.

Marketing copy that violates these ABCs is easy to recognize. It sounds sort of like those spam letters you receive offering you a million dollars left in some bank overseas. It gives you details you don’t want about an offer you don’t need and goes on and on past your level of tolerance (and gullibility). It sounds unprofessional. It makes you hesitate to take action.

Those qualities are easy for an audience to recognize, but harder for most companies. Companies often feel strongly that they are communicating when they aren’t. They blame the audience for not understanding. They blame the method of communication and inundate the marketplace with brochures, blogs, websites, newsletters, catalogs, articles and social media posts in a random and panicked rush to connect.

If you suspect your marketing copy has not or will not come across as audience-specific, balanced and complete, please phone or email TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. I have the audience empathy, techniques and commitment to lead your marketing copy to greatness.

When Foreign Companies Write for English-Speaking Customers

A fellow blogger, whose first language is Spanish, recently shared the benefits of writing his personal blog in English. Among those benefits were reaching a larger (English-speaking) audience and accommodating search engines which prefer English. However, one of his reasons gave me pause: You get to practice English.

Practicing is a great thing to do on a personal blog. But when you are writing marketing copy for English-speaking customers, you do not want to practice. Here are three reasons:

1. When you make mistakes in standard English or colloquial English, native English speakers often infer that it will be difficult to communicate with your staff. Unfortunately, most native English speakers have only one language. They may prefer working with companies that are fluent in English.

2. Your English may be both standard and colloquial, but your marketing copy may mix up cultural and other clues. One off-shore copywriter described a service as “year round” that, in large parts of the US, would only be feasible in summer. Another off-shore copywriter unwittingly lauded a product that violated US electrical codes.

3. If your company is based in an English-speaking country, a struggle with standard English or colloquial English implies that it is based off-shore. Geography may be an issue with some of your customers; you need them to understand immediately that they are dealing with a local company.

Regardless of where your company is based, whether in the US or abroad, you should use a copywriter whose first language is the language of your customers. As a professional copywriter, I have helped many companies deliver a strong, culturally sensitive marketing message in standard and colloquial US English.

If the language of your customers is English, I can definitely help. Please contact me today.


How Do You Define “Value-Added”?

As a professional copywriter, I know how I define “value-added” for my customers. They would expect any copywriter to fix problems with consistency, accuracy, spelling and grammar. But for me, “value-added” means proposing solutions, sharing information and setting guidelines that go beyond what the customer asked for:

  • A one- or two-page style guide. That gives us all have the same guidelines to follow–copyeditor, writers and reviewers.
  • An explanation for changes that the writer might question (such as changing compliment to complement or changing a single verb to a plural). That explanation prevents us from re-editing each other.
  • Alternative wording when clarity is an issue. As a result, the writer actually sees where readers might go astray and can either choose one of the alternatives or propose another.
  • A new opening paragraph if the main points are buried deep in the content. I explain the issue and place the new opening in a separate file for the writer to either accept or reject.
  • Constant communication. My customers know immediately if a small change can save them money or if an issue needs their attention (for example, a problem with screen shots or missing information). I don’t hide bad news or good news.

At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, customers always receive more than they asked for, whether the job involves copywriting or copyediting. What can we do that would add value to your project?