Rising Above Content: Demanding the Most From Your Marketing Copy
If your marketing or advertising efforts involve a lot of writing, you might be tempted to hire a specialist to write it for you. Most business copywriters work in what they call “content creation.” That’s right; the entirety of written communication for commercial purposes has been boiled down to the generalized term “content.” This might be great for all-purpose professional copywriters who don’t want to get boxed into a niche. But as a business owner it’s very important to remember one thing about the written material you send to prospects and customers:
Not all content is created equal.
Even if the copywriting world prefers to call it all “content,” you should still learn the distinctions between different types of business writing. It will help solidify your brand as dynamic and active, one that knows how to communicate to different people in different ways. It will make the most of your words and keep your audience engaged. Here are a few examples of “content” and some of the qualities to aim for when attempting these projects.
Web Copy: While you have leeway in terms of style, it’s still best to keep web writing efforts professional: informative, detailed when necessary, well organized, but always striving for tightness. Think of web copy as a school research paper: polished but accessible.
Blogs: You would not write a blog the same way as you would a press release (see below). Blogs lend themselves to more leeway in tone, for example. They can be as formal as a newspaper article or as casual and conversational as a personal journal. So long as you follow the basics of composition (good grammar, logical flow, avoid profanity) your blog project should be acceptable.
Press Releases: This is where journalistic ability comes into play. Can you state just the pertinent facts and address the 6 W’s (who, what, where, when, why, and how) in less than a page? Can you stick to strict industry format and avoid pitfalls that will turn media outlets off to your story, defeating the purpose of a press release? If so, great! If not, you may want to get the word out another way.
Social Media: Conciseness and personality reign supreme in social media writing. The people you direct social media writing at are supposed to be your friends. Feel free to have fun, show a sense of humor, and try to solicit some discussion.
SMS Messages: Like social media messages with even stricter standards of conciseness, your opt-in group SMS messages should also include some marketing conventions (i.e. a call to action). It will take some practice but will prove very beneficial once you get the hang of it.
These are only a few of the many different types of writing that fall under the “content” umbrella. Sooner or later you will probably need to exercise each of these examples. Keep this in mind whenever you hire a “content creation” expert. He or she may be highly skilled and capable of doing a fantastic job for you. But, just in case, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for in a project. Then hold them to that standard. Settling for “content” that sounds the same through all media will come across as bland and boring. So remember to stay dynamic.