Find out more about the traditional writing techniques all marketers need.
By and large, you don’t win sales with fancy features, glossy visuals, or rich cinematography. You win them with the written word.
Whether you’re creating ads for social media or composing marketing emails, it’s the quality of your copy that will determine your success. So how do you give your content the edge it needs? You draw inspiration from the writing world, of course.
Consider that sales techniques haven’t meaningfully changed in decades (aside from needing a tech update, a car salesperson from the ‘70s could work just as effectively today). The same can be said of writing techniques. The fundamental principles haven’t shifted at all.
So if you want to enhance your marketing efforts, you’re in the right place.
Let’s look at 6 traditional writing techniques that all marketers need to employ:
1. Use very simple terms
Sometimes marketers lack confidence in what they’re promoting, and they try to compensate by throwing in some purple prose. Imagine a recruiter trying to make a bartending job sound more interesting by listing the role as “Beverage Distribution Operative”.
This never works, because people immediately see through it. Your job isn’t to baffle your audience into confusion — if you want people to listen to you, you must cater to their specific preferences. That means communicating using their terms, and cutting the fluff.
2. Go into compelling detail
While your terms need to be simple, that isn’t true of your main points. When you make a claim about your product, being maximally succinct doesn’t make it more powerful. It only deprives it of valuable context. The more you explain the claim, the more believable and effective it gets.
In the literary world, this is often known as the show don’t tell principle. Being impersonal and basic about something leaves the reader cold. If you want something to really grab attention, you need to make it feel rich and engaging.
3. Tell relevant stories
We like to read books about people like us — protagonists we can relate to, whatever the reason may be. That way, we can imagine ourselves as the heroes, heading out on epic adventures and taking control of our fates. Narratives have power.
Since it would be a shame to waste that power, you should embrace storytelling in your marketing copy. Tell a story about someone using the product you’re promoting. How does it make their life better? What problem does it solve? Allow the reader to relate to the story.
4. Lean on comparisons
Writing has always been fully of similes and metaphors. That’s inevitable, because they’re profoundly powerful for describing not only what things are but also how we feel about them. We consistently compare things to communicate across cultural, class, and even regional divides.
Whatever you’re marketing, the product is comparable to a competitor, that’s for sure. You shouldn’t pretend they don’t exist, so why not compare? Find the ways in which the thing you’re marketing is the best — and lean on them heavily.
5. Have a consistent message
Have you ever read a book that suddenly shifted from one genre to another without warning? It’s jarring, giving you tonal whiplash. The reader prefers consistency — if they’re reading a romance novel, that’s the type of content they want from start to finish.
Similarly, marketing demands consistency. You’re looking to slowly build up the momentum of whatever you’re promoting, and that only works if the central message is consistent. If it isn’t, then people won’t know what to believe, and they’ll be unlikely to retain interest.
6. Edit again and again
Some of the best writers in the world write hundreds of drafts before they’re happy with a given piece of work. They know that you don’t just sit down and write something absolutely perfect: even if you get a great start, it’s just as challenging to optimise a piece as it is to write it initially.
In marketing, you don’t just contend with that problem. You also contend with your audience changing rapidly. Your best copy today might not gel with the requirements of tomorrow, so stay on your toes. Always be ready to edit and adapt to new limitations.
by Hollie Jones. Hollie Jones is an expert lifestyle blogger who lives for writing. Hollie’s drive, passion and background come from the arts and media sectors. She’s worked with some of the biggest and most responsible brands in the world, making her ideally positioned to offer lifestyle support and advice. You can read her latest blog posts on Hollie and the Ivy, where she shares tips and advice about her passions while having a lot of fun along the way.