Thinking of taking the copywriting for your marketing materials in-house? Here’s where you’ll trip-up (and how you can fix it).
If you’re investing in creative for your company, you’ll have noticed that good copywriting doesn’t come cheap and the temptation is to knock out a few words your latest marketing piece in-house instead. After all: where’s the harm? But as a creative agency that champions messaging, we’d argue: where’s the value?
Well-crafted copy can transform your business. It can boost customer engagement, generate awareness, create loyalty and make people want to spend their money with you. It’s powerful stuff. And the uncomfortable truth is that it’s unlikely that the person in your team with an A Level in English can write the copy that will transform your business.
Is that harsh? Well, consider the following analogy from the founder of SIM7, Simeon de la Torre: “I once took an amazing photograph of my daughter. It was so amazing that I printed it out and hung it on the dining room wall. But then I showed it to my professional portrait photographer friend, Paul. And behind his warm, congratulatory smile, I could see the trace of a wince.
“It turned out that it wasn’t an amazing picture after all. It was perfectly fine, but I’d broken all sorts of basic rules and Paul showed me at least five ways that I could have taken a much better shot. (And of course, I was also in love with the subject and this further clouded my judgement.)”
So if you love your business, don’t settle for ‘perfectly fine’ when it comes to copy. Invest in professional help and you’ll reap the rewards in no time.
We know that sometimes, budgets or deadlines just won’t stretch that far. So if you have to do your own copywriting, here’s what to watch for…
Trying to write an ‘About us’ page for your own website is tougher than it looks. Return to it with fresh eyes and it’ll be littered with – previously invisible – repeated words and phrases. Every other sentence will probably begin with ‘We’, for example. Our tip is to write your copy, leave it for a while and then edit with fresh eyes.
- Talking to the wrong audience
Let’s say your business is ticking over nicely; you’ve done some amazing things, secured some major customers and achieved some real milestones. The temptation is to tell everyone about it – particularly your competitors. But your audience isn’t the competition; it’s your potential customers. Talk to them and share just a few selected business highlights – the rest is a distraction.
- Saying too much
When your life is making and selling widgets day in, day out, it’s easy to focus on the minutiae; on all the elements that come together to make your widgets work. But do your potential customers really need to know about the minutiae? Almost definitely not. Save the details for a data sheet, an appendix, or a face-to-face meeting.
- Selling too hard
In business, the adage is: Always Be Closing. But when it comes to marketing copy, there’s a time to sell and a time to tell. Avoid aggressive Calls to Action, brash headlines and inflated claims.
You know what’s acceptable for your business and what’s not; what you can say and what you can’t. Don’t be tempted to pick over your copy endlessly and ‘play devil’s advocate’ over how a phrase or statement could be construed. Start heading down that road and you’ll end-up with an anodyne page of nonsense that no one will want to read. (See my competitors for details.*)
This is a big issue when it comes to customer-facing copy and it relates to how you abbreviate, what you call your products and the tone of voice you use. In fact, this is such a big issue that it deserves its own article (which we’ll come back to at a later date). In the meantime, check back and forth throughout your copy for how you refer to names and if you use contractions (you’re / you are).
- Losing the audience
We’re 718 words into this article (thanks for sticking around), but we all know that the clock is ticking. Say what you’ve got to say and move on.
Bonus tip: Forgetting your Call to Action
Think you need a copywriter after all? Get in touch for a chat today! email@example.com