For a lot of us, writing goes hand-in-hand with marketing. From blog content to social media and PPCs ads, writing is simply part and parcel of most marketing strategies — and that can be difficult for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a skilled or natural writer.
The good news is that writing doesn’t have to come naturally for you to produce impactful marketing materials. There are plenty of tricks of the trade that can help you put together compelling and engaging pieces of content, and they’re quite easy to adopt once you know what you’re trying to do.
Below, we’ve gathered some of the top writing tips that you should consider as a marketer, all of which can help you become a more productive — and more confident — writer.
1. Put Together a Quick Outline
The first step of the writing and content creation process is having something to say. The second step is figuring out how you’re going to say it. An outline can help you organize your thoughts before you start and while you write, and it doesn’t have to be overly long and detailed to be useful. Jot down some of the key points that you want to make as well as any keywords that you want to be sure to include. Taking just a few minutes to do this before you get to work can save you a ton of time during the writing process itself, and it serves as a great tool to check against once your article or other content project is completed.
2. Avoid Overused Words
Marketing is an industry of buzzwords. But seeing the same terms over and over again tends to render them meaningless. Think of how many times (especially lately) you’ve seen marketing content with phrases like “these unprecedented times” or “we’re in this together.” While they may be accurate and their intention well-meaning, they’re unlikely to get much more than an eye-roll from their readers.
Every word you write doesn’t have to be completely original but make a point of steering clear of the words and phrases that everyone else is using, and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your reader’s attention. You’ll also increase the likelihood that your content is original and refreshing, which will always be in style with content marketing.
3. Just Say “No” To Fluff
Wilson Follett, an American linguist and author, once said, “Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish.” While we might argue that Follett himself could have shortened his phrase to make his point, the gist of his argument still stands.
Fluff words (a.k.a filler words) waste your reader’s time, and they get in the way of offering legitimate education and insight.
If you find yourself stuffing your articles with fluff just to make them longer or to sound more legitimate, then you have a larger issue at hand. You should consider going back to the first step of the writing process to determine if what you’re choosing to write is actually within your wheelhouse or if it’s worth exploring. If you don’t have anything valuable to bring to the table, then maybe you should move on to the next idea.
4. Be Concise
In the same vein as above, don’t beat around the bush with your writing. Say what you mean and be direct, and never leave your reader wondering what you’re trying to get at. This is true in all writing, but especially in marketing, where you often only have a short period of time to make your point. Getting overly convoluted with your copy is just going to confuse your readers. It also buries your CTA.
Most people prefer content that is easy to understand, simple, and straightforward. That doesn’t mean that you have to dumb anything down, necessarily. Rather, focus on writing in a way that is more like a conversation, and remember that you only have a certain amount of time before your readers move on to the next headline.
5. Don’t Be Elitist
There is a time and a place to display your impressive vocabulary and marketing content isn’t it. Avoid jargon and words that are hard for most people to understand, and always look to make your copy as accessible as possible. Using fancy words doesn’t show how much you know — it just makes it harder for your audience to connect with you. Keep it simple, and you have a much better chance of making an impact.
Your audience is reading your content because they believe they have something to learn from it. They want content that provides value and education. If you load your content with confusing jargon, they’ll have to cut time between reading your article and looking up definitions. It won’t sit well with them, and you’ll most likely push them away from reading any future content for fear that it will be over their heads.
6. Use Data To Back Up Your Claims
Wishing something were true for the sake of your content isn’t the same as it actually being true. It’s important to use real data to substantiate your claims and make readers feel confident in your content. Since your end goal with marketing copy is usually to persuade in some way, making false or otherwise unsupported claims just takes away from your authority as a writer — and from your argument itself. You don’t need to have a footnote for every single statement that you make, but if you put forth a direct claim, make sure you’ve got the proof to back it up.
7. Edit and Proofread
The difference between good writing and great writing? Editing! Having a second set of eyes on your content (or better yet, a professional editor) is a huge help. And if you don’t have someone to edit your work, you can still use grammar tools like Grammarly to ensure there are no glaring errors. Read your work out loud, too, to get a feel for its cadence and identify any issues that might not be apparent when you’re reading through it in your head.
Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better your writing will get, so embrace your writing tasks instead of shying away from them. Eventually, the tips above will just be second nature.