Set yourself up for good (writing) grades this year

Set yourself up for good (writing) grades this year

With students of all ages getting ready to head back to school in the next month, now’s the perfect time to give yourself a refresher on the basics of marketing communications.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through more than 25 years in marketing, it’s that effective marketing begins and ends with strong writing. In order to deliver results, any marketing vehicle—whether it’s a blog post or a targeted direct mailer—requires a clear, compelling message backed by a well-articulated strategy.

So, what does it take to create truly impactful communications? If you’re in a role where you review—or write—your company’s marketing materials, here are three back-to-the-basics tips to help you make sure your communications get good grades this year and work harder for your bottom line:

Tip 1: K.I.S.S. it!

The “Keep it Simple, Stupid” model works best for most communications. Reading takes work, so your communications should be concise, simple and organized in a digestible way. Steer clear of industry jargon—in fact, aim for a 6th or 7th grade reading level.

Tip 2: Focus it.

If you’re having trouble with wordiness, you may be trying to tell your audience too many things. We recommend defining this objective—i.e., the single main message—before you start writing.

Tip 3: Elevate it.

The subconscious question on your target audience’s mind will always be “what’s in it for me?” To answer that question, be sure you speak to the benefits of your products and services rather than listing features only. If you don’t tell your consumers why they should care, they won’t.

By looking for opportunities to simplify, focus, elevate and ground messaging in strategy, companies can communicate like A+ students and create more meaningful connections with their customers.

Headshot of Patti Purcell, writer and owner of Writing by Design

Patti Purcell has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and 25 years of marketing and advertising experience. She provides clients with professional, business-minded solutions to copywriting assignments. Established in 2006, Writing by Design has worked with small businesses and Fortune 100 companies alike to help develop language for new product concepts, taglines, radio commercials, website content and more.