My last blog outlined some compelling reasons why hiring a journalist for your copywriting makes such good sense.
To recap in a nutshell: journalists are versatile. If you need bright, snappy copywriting, we can do it. If you need elegant, sophisticated prose, we can do it.
That’s the sales pitch over. If you want to have a go at doing it yourself, here are five tips from Fleet Street to help you in your marketing writing.
1. Your first paragraph (the ‘intro’) should tell the whole story. Think how newspapers use short news-in-brief stories, called NIBs, that boil the news down to its very essence: a whole story in 25 words.
2. Then use an ‘upside-down pyramid’ structure:
- Start with the conclusion.
- Then important supporting information.
- End with the background.
The reader should be able to stop at any time and still have grasped the essential facts. It’s important not to put any crucial information at the bottom, because your readers may not get that far: on websites, visitors don’t like to scroll (and anything could distract them before they get to the end.)
3. Use short sentences and paragraphs (a maximum of two sentences per paragraph) and separate them with headings. On websites headings help with search engine optimisation (SEO), and in print they break up text to make it easier on the eye.
4. Be active not passive – this will make your copy more punchy.
e.g. Instead of: ‘Advice is given to you every month about how your business is doing…’
Write: ‘We give you advice every month …’
Or: ‘We advise you every month’
Or: ‘We warn you if there are problems ahead and flag up what’s working best …’
This last option is more practical, more human and more useful: something businesses can really relate to.
5. Be human, try to use real-life examples to give people a concrete grasp on the benefits of your product or service:
- Security company: Night security patrols for the price of a cup of coffee.
- Professional photographers: Staff pictures for your annual report, a portrait of the Chairman of the Board, awards ceremonies, your charity Ball.
These are techniques I use to create bright, persuasive copy to deadline, and a couple of recent testimonials show they’re working:
“We felt that the work you created was amazing and the quick turn around you provided was outstanding.”
UK Youth Gala programme
“The writing is awesome – I even felt proud myself to have worked on these projects!! You super star. Thank you so much for pulling these out the bag in such a short timescale!”
Ad agency for Europe’s number 1 courier company
If you’d like help with copywriting and effective writing, please get in touch.