Talking’s Easy, Writing’s Hard. What’s Wrong with Me?

Q. I can talk to my customers all day long about my products, services, and company and they are happy and satisfied with their purchases. But when it comes to writing–for my website, blogs, case studies, brochure–nothing sounds right or comes across the way I want it to. What am I doing wrong?

A. The good news is you’re doing one thing absolutely right. You’re talking to your customers in language they understand, engages them, and solves their problem. Here are four ways to translate that great communication from talking to writing.

  1. Write like you talk. Forget about all those other marketing campaigns you’ve seen on the internet or TV; they are cluttering your head with language and techniques that might never apply to your company. Instead, pretend you are talking directly to a customer and record (on your phone or computer) exactly what you say. That spoken information is your strongest possible basis for writing–you already know it connects with customers and conveys your enthusiasm.
  2. Be specific. The one problem with talking is that it tends to generalize. You might say, “Our company is known for our attention to detail,” and people will accept that in conversation. In writing, you should define the how and why of “attention to detail.” You probably should define “known”–according to industry benchmarks, certifications, awards, customer testimonials? The more specific you are, the more weight your writing will carry. If you find yourself adding adjectives everywhere (“superb customer service,” “top of the line equipment”), replace them with specifics or leave them out altogether.
  3. Resist the urge to brag first. When you greet a customer in person, you ask what they are looking for and why. You don’t launch into a 15 minute monologue on everything you can do for everyone. Create the same balance in your writing by opening with a specific customer problem you solve. Then focus on details. Remember, there are always more pages you can write in your website, blog, case study, or brochure; you don’t have to cover everything in the first three sentences.
  4. Consider yourself a teacher. You may know every industry acronym but you wouldn’t litter your speech with them and you shouldn’t litter your writing either. You may know your specialty backwards and forwards, but your customers don’t–if they did, they wouldn’t need you. Make allowances for your average customer’s level of knowledge, just as you would in conversation. If your customers are asking the same questions over and over, address those questions somewhere in your marketing copy. Become the best, kindest teacher your customers ever had.

TWP Marketing & Technical Communications has helped companies just like yours to write clear, concise, passionate marketing copy that is specific, addresses customer problems, and educates potential customers. Contact us today.