Many years ago I was a freelance copywriter, which has proved to be beneficial throughout my career. I often wrote for CEOs and their businesses. Nearly all of them broke the cardinal rule, “Don’t write about how great you are, or your company is.” Therefore, my first task was to explain to them why most prospective clients are not interested in your lengthy bio, where you graduated or a list of your achievements. They want to know one thing.
How will you make a difference in their lives? They want to know how your service or product will make their lives easier, better, more fun or successful. Most importantly, they want to “feel” you genuinely care about them. That it’s reflected in the quality of your services and products. That it’s felt every time you go the extra mile, beyond the ordinary to make their experience extraordinary. That said, how do you communicate that through writing? Believe it or not, the art of business writing begins with simple steps that, with practice, anyone can achieve.
Below are 10 writing tips to help you engage and connect with your target market:
1) Clarify. Who is your target market and what is the purpose of your message? Study the profile of your target market and write directly to them.
2) Remove Your Ego. Again, this is not about how great your company is – features don’t sell. List the benefits of doing business with you and of your services and products.
3) Simplify. Write in the language of your market. They do not have a Masters in computer science – that is why they need you.
4) Be Concise. Get to the point in the first paragraph. Write in short sentences. Use bullets, quotes and boxes to break long copy up. Use a readable font and don’t put words over patterned backgrounds.
5) Energize! Chances are if you fall asleep while writing it, your market will too. Put on upbeat music while writing. Spice it up and add interesting flavors so they will savor the message and want to call you. Connect through emotion.
6) Write a Powerful Headline. The headline must capture attention and interest. It needs to entice the reader to keep reading.
7) Be Helpful. On the average, 75% more people read helpful information as opposed to information regarding products and services.
8) Write in Present Tense. Write in present tense, second person. Example: “Come to Hawaii, where you can relax and leave your worries behind.”
9) Edit. Most people are on information overload. Give them what they need, not what you want. Trim the fat and then trim again. Leave just enough meat to make them want more.
10) Proof. Then proof again. Use spell-check and then proof again. Give it to a colleague to read, then proof again. Better to be safe than sorry. A couple of misspelled words can damage your credibility – whether fair or not.
The quote below is not specifically about writing but is spot on regarding the nature of all of us. Writing that evokes emotion is powerful, for genuine connection is made through feeling.
“People aren’t interested in you.
They’re interested in themselves.
When dealing with people, remember
you are not dealing with creatures of logic,
but creatures of emotion.”