Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Selling Yourself on Paper - Making Words Work

If you’re anything like me you would much rather have a face to face conversation to talk about your products or services than attempt to write about it. Putting pen to paper to make that all important “first impression” can be daunting to say the least.

For the perfectionists out there it can also be very time consuming, as we write and rewrite, before “sleeping on it”, procrastinating some more about publishing or sending the material, and eventually changing our mind completely and not bothering at all!

So, last week I was inspired by a presentation from a friend of mine who attempted to demystify the art of copywriting – making words work. In fact, before I got into business, I thought a copywriter was someone who applied to get your work “copyrighted” on your behalf!

Alan Morrow, from Quote Unquote, provided the audience with his very own “Success Tips” to “the art of creating meaning through words”. For my part I was perhaps more inspired, or educated, than Alan had intended because I realised that much of what he was saying could be applied to many other areas of our lives, not just writing sales copy.

So with very grateful thanks, Alan’s success tips on “the art of creating meaning through words” are:

Learn to listen [to the customer, the audience]

Plan. Plan. Plan. - Create a structure for your document, then write

Know who you are writing to - Visualize your audience then write as if you are speaking to them

Get to the point - People are short of time, and you're not the only one vying for it, so get to the point, and make sure it's crystal-clear.

Repetition is your friend - Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them

Find an appropriate tone of voice - Know your audience, be formal or informal, engage your readers – use ‘you’, ‘we’

Keep it simple:

“From exploiting customer in-store wait time to migrating offline consumers to online channels, we can provide an innovative turnkey solution that delivers both customer insight and business results.”

which means

"We'll make sure your customers buy in your store or online. Every time. And you'll make more money."

Use short sentences

“Already Jones Construction have been involved with the project from the earliest conceptual design stages ensuring the design team have taken on board energy effective measures within the design seeking to create a leading sustainability addressing many issues.” (38 words, no punctuation).

which means

“Our design team has included energy saving measures within the building.”

Benefits, not features - Sell the heat, not the blanket. Explain what your service or product will do for the audience.

Use “which means that” to link features and benefits, e.g.

“Our Culture & Arts Strategy sets a programme for strong, sustainable development, which means that we will be able to engage artists, cultural workers and local communities with renewed vigour...”

Review your copy - Re-read, edit and simplify. Ask someone else to proof it

If you want to know more about how Alan Morrow can help you with your words contact him through www.QuoteUnQuote.biz

No comments: