Writing has never been so important in the marketing mix
It has always been the role of the professional creative copywriter to come up with a clever strapline and ensure that the advertising content is honed to perfection. But now, with the explosion of web and social media, every marketing professional has to take writing seriously, to find ways of developing and using their writing skills to develop relationships, get noticed, sell widgets… or develop reputation.
Just last year the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) got the debate about modern day copywriting going with the quote “copywriting is dead”. You can find out what all the fuss was about on the DMA website (http://www.dma.org.uk/greatbritishcopywriting). In reality of course, the great strapline was to grab our attention for a campaign to promote “great British copywriting” and to explore how copywriting is changing in the digital age.
As a writer I am often faced with the famous “a picture’s worth a 1000 words” (from my designer and photographer friends in particular!) and of course, whether we are looking at print, web, social or whatever is coming next, the images are critical, but they never exist alone. The writing that goes alongside contributes to the context, supports, leads, sells, drives traffic, converts traffic to sales – all the things we need to happen to make that image effective.
Not everyone is a copywriter, but with content marketing playing such an important role in promoting business, more generalist marketers need to brush up their writing skills and be able to contribute. The pressure is on. Perhaps you can still depend on the copywriter for the flashy strapline and the advertising concept, but the flow of words that will help you engage with your audience and develop the critical relationship that will lead to sales, may well be yours to control directly across all the different channels, online and off.
A favourite writing tip, which I learned from my Mum, and had reinforced at school is that if you want to write well, you need to read the right books. The same applies of course for writing marketing content. Take part. Look around. Read what your competitors are writing. Read material from different sectors. Find a tone and style that you admire and take time to apply it to your own material.
And finally, whatever it is, write it for your audience. I’m currently rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, all ready to launch into the hot book of the summer, Go Set a Watchman, written so long ago by Harper Lee, but published this week. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus advises Scout, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus has it exactly right – seeing things from the prospective buyer’s perspective is a core marketing principle. Get the audience focus right and your marketing words will connect.
Hilary Phillips is writing professional with years of experience across the sectors. She delivers “How to write compelling web content” on 27th of August and “Effective email marketing” on 14th of August for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. https://www.edinburghchamber.co.uk/training/courses www.cygnus-extra.co.uk