Copy is king.
That’s what they say, isn’t it? But king of where? A copy of what?
And who the hell are ‘they’ and why are they saying it in the first place?
Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know the answers to any of the above. Please. You’re a business owner. You’ve got your own incredible set of skills at which you excel and built a business around.
Marketing the damn thing is something else entirely. I’ve had business owners openly confess to me that marketing scares them. Just the thought of writing so much as a tweet sends them running for the hills, or into the nearest warehouse.
But, what if, just on this one occasion, you faced your fear and wrote something?
It doesn’t have to be an epic novel. It could just be a sentence, an idea of what you’d like to tell the world. Something about a product of yours maybe, or an idea you’ve had. Maybe a bit of advice that you could share with others. Think of it as nothing more than a conversation piece, a chat. How would you say this to so-and-so? All you need is a few minutes, a pen and something to write on and voila, you’re off!
Nice. Thanks. Now what do I do with it?
Okay. That’s a great start. Now, if you want to see where this little germ of inspiration can take you, here are six easy things to consider when creating your first piece of business content. You never know, they may just help you to ensure it hits the mark.
- Inform. Educate. Entertain.
Good copy should do all three. Think about why you’re writing your piece in the first place — what is the purpose of it? What are you going to tell the reader that they didn’t know before? How are you going to say it — what tone of voice are you going to use?
And importantly — what do you want them to do when they’ve finished reading? Stick the answers to all these things down on paper and keep referring back to them as you write. It’ll help to keep you focussed.
- Try to keep your reader awake
Look at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Engage your reader, keep it fresh and keep it light. Throw in the occasional hook to get them excited about what comes next, but try not to bore them with too much detail or by going on just a little too long.
In fact, read the piece out loud to yourself before you even think of sending it out in to the world. Read it to a colleague or friend. That way, you’ll soon know if it doesn’t feel right.
- Wasted headlines
Headlines should stand out and grab the reader’s attention –– so much so that they’ll want to read on and explore the rest of your content. Don’t have a headline that snoozes above your main text — put the damn thing to work. As with all content, have a look at what you enjoy reading online and how it’s written. What impresses you? Look back through your inbox or search your favourite blogs for inspiration. Which headlines work to grab YOU and why?
Check back over what you’ve written and make sure you’re not making the same point twice. You’ll only succeed in boring your reader and unnecessarily saturating your content. That space could have been used to say something else, so have you missed something out?
- Punctuation and spelling
Punctuation and spelling mistakes drive people up the wall, and sadly bad copy is littered with them.
They send a very negative signal to the reader; if you don’t know how to spell what you sell then the impression you give is that your business is equally as slapdash. Which is unfair, I agree, but that’s just how it is.
So, check what you’ve written before you send it out and then check it again. If you’re using a word processing app like Microsoft Word, make sure the spellcheck is on, and be sure to address all the words that are highlighted with the squiggly red line of doom. You’ll be glad you did, and your reader will be much happier too.
- Keep it regular
You made it! Well done! Your first piece of business content is done and you can set it free and share it with the world. Now you’ve started, the trick is to keep going.
There’s no point in writing great business copy and then sending it out in occasional drips and drabs. People out there can be all too quick to forget who you are, so keep at them. They need to be reminded, poked and prodded. Use your copy to gently and continually nudge people to keep them up to speed with WHAT you do, HOW you do it and WHY they need you. Build up a regular presence through a sustained campaign of Tweets, blog posts, press releases, emails — whatever suits your target audience.
By keeping it fresh and varied, as already mentioned above, they won’t mind your continued and consistent appearance with great things for them to read.
Like I said, these are just six things to help you get going when writing copy for your business for the first time. Don’t be put off or feel daunted by them. If you manage to apply these steps you’ll find the whole process gets easier and more enjoyable and your audience grows.
So grab that journal, scribble down some ideas, and get started.
And above all, have fun with it!
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