At Good Word, we strive to balance a ‘content is king’ ideology with pictures that ‘speak a thousand words’ (not to mention video!) to reach a goal of marrying on-brand content with effective visuals. Achieving this perfect equilibrium delivers a finished product that helps our clients resonate with their target audiences and capture what they want most… results!
That said, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that even the most gorgeous creative (and I do mean gorgeous because frankly we do some awesome stuff) won’t save you if your content falls flat! So, whether you’ve been tasked with drafting copy for a website, new brochure, social media post, media release or an ad, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to help you successfully deliver your message.
1) Write to your audience, not to yourself.
Before putting pen to paper (or firing up your laptop), consider for whom you are writing – you or your audience. Although your inclination may be to shout from the rooftops about how fantastic your business/service/product is, if you want your content to be truly effective be sure to consider what will motivate your audience and how your product or service will benefit them. Then wrap your narrative around that.
2) To thine own brand be true.
Every brand has a personality and every writer has a voice so allow that to shine in your copy. In my experience, nothing forges a stronger connection than being authentic, so be true to yourself, and by extension, your brand.
3) The three Cs: creative, clever, concise (note: these are some of our most favourite words!).
Use creative and clever headlines to draw in your target audience followed by concise language in your body copy to keep them there. In addition, keep your paragraphs and sentences short and use bullets, sub-heads and images to break up your text.
4) Tell your story and tell it like a boss. According Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room,” so strive to do everything in your power to ensure it speaks to how great you are! Cue the art of storytelling! The Economist Group’s Marketing Unbound survey indicates that 85 per cent of marketers say the primary reason for creating content is to build the brand and positive perceptions of a company. Consequently, avoid getting so caught up in the race to churn out content that you forget to tell your story. Stress your narrative, from the problems you’ve solved, to helpful advice your target audiences will appreciate, to the ways you give back – share it loud and share it proud.
5) Always check your work.
Before you make a post live or send marketing materials to print, be sure to proofread your work and take advantage of the many online resources available to enhance your writing. This includes Grammarly, which helps find and correct grammatical and spelling errors, and OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus, which lets you describe a concept then receive words and phrases related to that idea. Just remember that while these tools can point you in the right direction, they aren’t perfect (e.g. a word used in the wrong context but spelled correctly won’t always get noticed). If you’re striving for flawless, take the time to kick it old school by taking out the ol’ reading glasses and giving your work a solid read – one line at a time!