Every business needs to communicate, but some do it a lot better than others.
What’s their secret?
I’ve written and edited thousands of articles, blog posts, marketing pieces and sell sheets in my career, and I’ve found that making just a few adjustments can make a world of difference.
Here are three tips that you should consider whenever you’re putting together messaging for your company — marketing collateral, social media, sales tools, press releases, and so on.
Best of all, you can use these tips to dramatically improve the writing projects sitting on your desk right now.
Tip #1: Make it shorter. Good writing means getting to the point. Take a recent piece you did and challenge yourself to make it 25% shorter. Use smaller words. Eliminate anything that’s not relevant to the point you’re trying to make. Get to the heart of the matter. Do everything you can not to distract the reader from your Most Important Point (MIP).
Tip #2: Answer the “so what?” question. Look at what you’re writing through the eyes of your audience (customers or prospects). What’s in it for them? How will it improve their lives in some way? Make your company’s messaging about them, and not you. Sorry to say, but most customers won’t care that you just won an award, introduced a “disruptive” product or promoted Mary to SVP of Operations — unless you make it relevant to them and their reality.
Tip #3: Stop selling your products. Start selling outcomes. Customers don’t care about what you sell as much as they care about how what you sell will help them achieve their own goals and objectives, both large and small. What can you do in your copy right now to focus on why someone would buy what you’re selling? What better tomorrow can you deliver if they buy your product or service? Paint a picture.
You’ve probably noticed that following these tips is hard. That’s true. It’s difficult to break bad habits, but so worth it. And sure, you may need to break down some organizational silos to truly take advantage of these tips, but that’s a good thing. Your messaging is only as good as the information flow within your company.
In the end, while most of your competitors are gazing at their navels, enamored with awards, in-group language, and all the cool features of their products, you’re thinking like customers and speaking their language. And that’s a really good thing, because customers are the ones who need to buy what you sell.