The Internet changed the way we write marketing content. For instance, more of us than ever now write on a daily basis, thanks to everything from texts and tweets to blogs.
However, captioning a photo of your cat on Facebook requires less thought and skill than writing powerful, effective online marketing content. The cat chat is a one-off; marketing copy requires a consistent march toward a long-term goal.
There are dozens of ways to make online marketing content smart, strong and compelling. Here are the six I feel are most important.
Set a tone. Before writing your first word, decide the online voice you want you or your business to own. Do you want to be chatty? Informative? Serious? Funny? Contrary? Snarky? Dark? Choose one and stick with it. Consumers appreciate consistency. Keeping the same “voice” across the social media spectrum demonstrates that.
Write what you know. Consumers will come to you for information. Don’t BS them. Trust me, if you try to, they will find you out. Stick to topics you can speak about with authority, and always be truthful. If you don’t, you will lose credibility – and followers.
Talk to one person. Yes, you’re writing, not talking. However, the most effective online marketing copy is conversational. When writing, imagine an audience of one, someone sitting across the kitchen table from you. Write as you would talk to that person. When you do, you will find yourself replacing many self-referential pronouns (I and we) with the more empathetic, reader-friendly one (you).
Invite a response. End your copy with a call to action. Maybe it’s a link to a related article, an offer of a time-sensitive discount, or an invitation for readers to submit additional ideas to those you presented. Remember, you’re not giving a speech; you’re starting a conversation.
Edit once, then edit again. Good writers take as much time editing as they do writing, maybe more. Nobody gets it right the first time. Take the time to go over your content again and again, cutting here and adding there until it’s as clear and concise as you can make it. As someone once said (it’s been attributed to everyone from Cicero to Pascal to Twain), “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Try it on a friend. Falling in love with your own writing is natural. It’s also dangerous. Posting copy viewed with rose-colored glasses could lead to significant blowback if you unknowingly said something offensive or just flat-out wrong. To make sure your copy says what you want it to say, shoot it to a trusted friend for vetting before posting. I especially recommend this for first-time writers or those not yet confident in their abilities.
What are some of your favorite marketing writing tips? And do you feel online marketing content requires different skills than other marketing writing? Let me know.