How to be Your Own Marketing Copywriter
A marketing copywriter can be hugely important for the success of your online content.
Design helps dictate the customer experience when it comes to your website and marketing. However, it’s the content that determines whether your reader is actually going to buy.
Your content plays a heavy load. Hiring a marketing copywriter can help. When that’s not an option, many small businesses make the determination to keep the content in-house.
The good news is you don’t have to be an extremely prolific writer to sell a lot of copy. With a little bit of effort, you can act as your own marketing copywriter. It’s not overly complicated, but it will take some discipline and effort.
There are times when businesses need to DIY, and reduce the number of vendors and tasks they are hiring out. Here’s how to make sure that decision isn’t going to cost you down the road…
9 Steps to Becoming Your Own Marketing Copywriter
Study the Competition — The best way to develop inspiration for what you are writing is to understand what your competition is doing. Look for the ways that they are handling product, services and about pages. Determine what you like from the examples you’ve seen, and determine what could be done differently, or better. Plan your content, and make adjustments accordingly.
Differentiate your Business — As you study the competition and prepare to write your own marketing content, make sure that you do what you can to differentiate your business from the competition. There’s no point in clustering yourself in with businesses and people committed to doing things the same way they’ve always been done.
Ask yourself what you do differently. Ask yourself why people should go with you, over the competition. Make sure that the answers to these questions are evident in everything you write. Make sure you understand B2C and B2B copywriting trends and strategies.
Give it Personality — As Dr. Seuss said, “No one is youer than you.” Your readers want to know you and like you before they pull out their credit cards, or fill out that contact form. You can utilize your about page to indulge your audience with your outside life.
If you are a parent, sports fan (Go Cubs Go!), or obsessed with music, it’s OK to drop references in your blog posts. Bonus points if you can relate it back to your business, but it doesn’t have to. These are the nuggets your readers will use as an icebreaker when they reach out to talk with you.
Talk to Your Reader — You might have years of experience, or an advanced degree to get where you are in life. And that’s awesome. But as a marketing copywriter, you simply cannot write like it’s an academic dissertation. If your reader leaves, it’s not to look up a word. It’s to move on to the next search result.
Write to your reader. There’s likely a knowledge gap between what you know and what your reader knows. So if you have to use those pesky acronyms and $10 words, make sure you define them. If you can, leave them out.
Solve Your Customer’s Problem — Your reader is looking for the answer to a question. They have a problem, and need a solution. The more you can position yourself to the answer, the more they will trust you. They may not be immediately looking to buy, but if you consistently provide value, the more you are the logical choice.
They need to know, like and trust you. So make sure as a marketing copywriter, that you are writing about how to solve common problems within your industry. Make sure you are doing keyword research to determine what some of the frequent issues are. Make sure you are talking with your customers on a regular basis, and understand their mindset.
Focus on the Headline — Your headline is the single largest factor to determining whether someone will read your blog post or not. If you spent 3 hours writing the perfect blog post, website page or brochure, you want to make sure that people are going to invest their time in it.
Spend the time on the headline, and fight the temptation to simply throw a few words up there. Use the words that help you sell. Make a promise. Entice people. Your message is too important to skimp on your headline. Check out Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks or David Garfinkle’s Headlines that Make You Rich. Both provide tremendous insight on how to write kick ass headlines.
Perfect Your Calls to Action — Your reader may not know what you want them to do, unless you ask them to do it. No matter what type of marketing writing you are working on, make sure that your reader understands what action you want them to take. It doesn’t always have to be “buy now.” A good call to action can also be to contact, download, register, share or comment. It depends on the piece, and the situation. But keep it easy. One call to action per piece, is generally the rule of thumb, here.
Become a Better Writer — Your marketing can be the first impression that someone has of your business. The more clear and concise your message, the better the results. Learn to cut unnecessary words, and use stronger verbs. Learn to make a promise and keep it. If you can tell your story in an enticing manner, you’re more likely to succeed.
It helps to learn a little about the craft. A few blogs that can help you become a better marketing copywriter include:
Make sure you are looking at these blogs on a regular basis, and learning what you can do to improve your writing.
Make it Professional — If you are going to write your own marketing content, make a commitment to do it well. Spelling and grammar errors may not mean that much to you. But they create stopping points for your reader. They may go on to the next search result or close the browser window — both bad news.
Grammar and spelling mistakes erode trust. They cause the reader to wonder what kind of care you put into your actual work. So use spell check, but read your own work before you publish. Have a friend or colleague look at it. But if it is a critical piece, make sure you hire a copy editor as well. You’ll be glad you did.
Sometimes a little DIY is necessary. Sometimes you just need to be your own marketing copywriter. With a little practice and care, you can produce the kind of content that will engage your readers, and create customers. Make sure you are doing everything you can to not leave money on the table.
Matt Brennan is a Chicago-area marketing writer and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right-Sell Now: How to Create Content that Grows Your Business.