Business Writing That Sells. Part 2
I’ve been a professional writer since 1998 and as Editor for The Business Show and Business Startup, I have worked with literally thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs to improve their content marketing. As a freelance copywriter specialising in content marketing, I meet and talk with many entrepreneurs, start-up founders and owners of SMEs on a regular basis. I will share some of my secrets and tricks of the trade with you here. Today, we look at why you need words…
Whether your business needs words for a direct mailshot, a press release, blog entries or a brand new website, you should always ask yourself one question: why are we doing this? Some of your answers might include improving customer engagement, raising brand awareness and growing traffic – or it might be because ‘marketing’ told you that you had to. And every one of those answers is wrong.
We are doing this to make more money.
Remembering that one fact will make your words more effective. Guaranteed. Making money is why you started or joined your business – and that is why you want it to grow now. Even if your requirement for words is as far from a sales pitch as you can get – say, a comprehensive explanation of your customer service processes – remember that every single syllable supports sales. So don’t waste them with fluffy filler.
A direct marketing campaign is relatively straightforward to implement and assess. It is required to meet specific objectives (such as increased sales or website visits) in a specific timescale. Every word needs to carry its weight, but the results are largely measurable. Content marketing is immensely more nebulous, but ultimately more valuable.
The most frequent problem I see with my clients’ existing content strategy is that they simply publish ‘stuff’. They’ve been told by a contact, supplier or the internet at large that their business needs an online presence and that the best way to grow that is content. It’s not bad advice, but there’s one word missing: meaningful.
The world won’t thank you for clogging up their timeline with another marketing message. It WILL thank you for providing content that is informative or entertaining. Get it right and boy, will they thank you! You – literally – cannot buy that kind of goodwill.
As a business, you’re not a charity, so it may feel counterintuitive to give away something you could charge for. The traditional business model would expect to command a premium for expertise and entertainment, but never lose sight of the end goal; investment at this stage will be rewarded by both new and returning customers.
Too many of my clients have previously invested in content marketing without remembering that the primary objective should always be an increase in sales. Admittedly, content marketing is difficult – perhaps impossible – to quantify, but throwing enough mud at a wall and hoping something sticks is like sending money straight down the drain.
Even if your content marketing doesn’t contain a direct call to action – and there is a strong argument that it shouldn’t – you must understand why it is beneficial to your business to publish each and every piece. You want to make more money. So ask yourself how each piece of content fulfils that objective before you create it. The answer could be as simple as driving traffic directly to an offer, or as complex as establishing brand values that will drive future business.
The ideal is that your content is highly valued by your customers and prospects, but at the end of the day, every decision must be driven by one consideration: will this make more money for your business?
Next: What Does A Copywriter Do?
If you find the series – or any of the articles in it – useful, please share them via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. I’d really appreciate it, thanks. If you need professional copywriting for anything from your new web copy to marketing collateral and press releases, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today to find out how I could help your business.