It is typical when you get started writing marketing copy to think, “Who wouldn’t want this? Our target market is everyone in the whole wide world!”
If you are currently thinking this, you’re being overzealous. In the excitement of a new product or service, it’s not uncommon to think of reasons why people from all walks of life would want what you have to offer. But in reality, your target market is small.
More importantly, from a practical standpoint, you can’t reach everyone. You need to focus. You want your copy to speak to the people who are most likely to become paying customers. If you try to be too broad, you’ll end up connecting with nobody.
So how do you figure out how to connect with that smaller portion of the population that is more likely to buy what you're selling? You have to start by asking big, broad questions, and then narrow it down until you know exactly who you're talking to, and how they think.
The only copy everyone reads
One of the hardest things copywriters do is write headlines. Even for veterans of the ad industry, it remains the greatest challenge, especially in print. In a print ad, the headline has to grab someone’s attention and interest them enough to want to find out more. It if can get across the purpose of the product, all the better.
When doing any kind of marketing writing, voice is one of the hardest things to get right. Without voice, your writing will be less memorable and less likely to hold someone’s attention. In creating a voice, however, you have to be certain that it makes a connection with your audience, and sends the right message about your brand.
When learning writing in high school, you’re told to write in your own voice. When it comes writing online, that becomes even more true . Emails, status updates, tweets, blog posts - most online writing is written in the voice of the writer.
But your voice as a writer is not the voice of your company’s brand.
For many years, I was a copywriter in ad agencies that specialized in pharmaceutical advertising, writing copy about prescription medicines. Outside of any feelings anyone may have about that industry, it was a great challenge for any writer to wed hardcore medical science with the soft fuzziness of marketing.
One aspect of this industry that can be hard is that every piece of marketing that goes out to consumers is heavily scrutinized by a cadre of internal experts. This is done to make sure that all the information that they put out about any medication is completely accurate and balanced, making sure that any possible side effects are clearly indicated.
So my copy was always heavily edited.