Setting up a business is hard work. It takes grit, determination and dedication. And every time you publish something about your business it needs to engage your customers. That’s quite a bar to reach time after time. You know your business and what you’re trying to achieve. But how do you translate that into clear messages so your potential customers know how you can help them? And better still, want to buy your products or services.
Writing copy about yourself or your business is a tough gig. I’ve written copy for business clients for over a decade, across too many industries and business types to recall; however, when I sit down to write about my business or myself it still feels like I’m swallowing frogs. Trying to market a business without producing material that explains your business is impossible. And to add even more pressure, the copy you produce has to be engaging enough to attract customers to support your business.
Engage Your Customers!
There is so much business content ‘out there’ it’s hard to get through it all in the limited spare time we business owners have. Add the 24 hr news cycle, social media and millions of blogs – it’s overwhelming, and people are simply overloaded with marketing messages, spin and offers too good to be true.
In order to be read, your content needs to stand out. The quality of the message you send your customers will directly affect how often your message gets read. Like most customers, I don’t want to be contacted as part of a bulk email – I am not a number! I am potentially one of your consumers and I want to be engaged. If I am following you or your company it’s because I think you can help me in some way; I want to get something out of it. If you can get customers to read your blog or newsletter and not unsubscribe you are doing something right. In my experience, producing engaging content is key to success.
So how do you create content that engages?
Engaging content is about your audience. Yes, even on social media!
For digital copy, you have micro seconds to engage a visitor to your site or a follower on social media. The story you create around what you want to say needs to connect with the interests and aspirations of your audience.
Ask yourself these questions.
Why would my audience be interested my content?
What thread in my copy will connect me with my audience?
What can I write that will make them take action?
In any material you produce, whether it is marketing material, website copy or social media posts, these basic elements are what helps make your copy engaging.
To do this effectively, you need to take your personal perspective out of the picture and place yourself in your ideal audience members mind.
Now here’s a little secret, while some might think they find writing easy, the majority of people in business find it extremely difficult, mentally draining and intimidating. Even those powerful motivational business coaches and speakers usually have a copywriter behind the scenes.
Elements of engaging copy:
- Why would my audience be interested in this content?
- What thread in my content will connect with my audience?
- Why would they take action on my content?
Avoiding copywriting at all costs?!
That’s most of my customers. As a copywriter, my job is to take the copywriting pain out of your butt.
A copywriter is someone who produces your written content. They are someone who can conduct an “interview” with you to get the idea, threads and information behind the copy that’s required. A good copywriter doesn’t need all that much time from you, their interview techniques are honed to get the elements from you quickly and painlessly. A great copywriter will gets those threads and understand the tone in which the copy needs to be written in a very short period of time.
Don’t take that tone with me!
When I think of tone I think of my mother telling me off! But seriously, the tone your copy is written in needs to reflect your business brand. If I am writing for a business coach or a ‘real person’, I need to be able to incorporate how they ‘speak’ in the copy I produce. If I am writing for, say a hip café, the tone of the copy will fit their hip brand and will be completely different from the likes of a business like an IT company.
And speaking of IT, I’ve worked with many IT companies and their sales people. When I am writing copy for these types of businesses it often feels more like a translation job in the first phase because they are speaking in a language I simply don’t understand. And that’s my job. To help highly technical people turn technical mumbo-jumbo into material that a non-technical decision-maker can understand and that makes them want to buy their services!
An experienced copywriter can translate your technical words into engaging copy.
So, to recap
How can a good copywriter help you?
- They can help you develop the ‘thread’ or key messages of your content
- Draw information from you (often in your head) to develop the content
- Write copy in your tone and for your audience
- Hone the copy to attract your target customer
One thing to remember whether you are writing your own copy or working with a copywriter is that the development of content is a process. Drafts are good things, they help to refine the copy down to capture the right elements and tone. Good copy often feels like having a baby, the gestation period (drafts) and launching it to your audience (the birth). Great copy gets shared, attracts people to your business and with digital copy, keeps on marketing you while you sleep.
Mary-Anne van Adrichem is the Managing Partner of Pinpoint Business Marketing. As an experienced copywriter and marketeer, she specialises in online and social media content. Having worked with clients all over the world and across industries from IT to education, Mary-Anne’s been translating peoples’ ideas into engaging copy for over a decade. Contact Mary-Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org for a 30 minute free consult on your story.