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Tips, techniques and inspiration for marketing communications from Richard Groom at Peterborough Copywriting Bureau.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Three assumptions that can kill your marketing writing stone dead



Is the way you write almost guaranteeing that your readers will move on to something else right away? It could be, if you are building unnecessary assumptions into your content.

Here’s a quick look at three examples of assumptions that can damage your content – but that can be easily fixed.
                                                                                                

1. Assuming that people remember the last thing you wrote


Often in a blog or email newsletter article you read something like ‘following on from last month’s update on our CFD-3000 widget we are delighted to announce that…

The writer is assuming that the reader read the previous piece AND that he/she remembers it. In reality of course, the reader may never have read the previous piece, and even if they did it might have been one of dozens or hundreds of pieces of content they had to process on that day. There’s every chance it will have been forgotten by now.

An easy alternative would be to write something like: 'Last month we wrote about the new capacity of the CFD-300 widget (you can read about it here), and now we have even more good news about the upgraded product.

So don’t be afraid to recap on what was written previously, even if you think most readers will remember it.

2. Assuming that people know who you are


Just because someone is on your email database doesn’t mean they will instantly recognise your company name when you send them an email. This is especially true if you don't send emails very often.

Some newsletter copy jumps right into content without reminding people who the sender is and what they do. Like this: ‘It’s been a busy month for all of us here. We’re especially pleased that our product manager Peter has completed his Level 5 training and is now fully on board with our product portfolio.’ 

The poor reader is thinking ‘I think I know who this is from but I’m not sure’ or worse still, ‘I have absolutely no clue who these people are’.

So make it a habit of having the essential ‘remember us’ copy as early as possible in the piece. For example, a strapline can do the trick, like ‘Keeping you informed about the latest poultry-keeping accessories’.

3. Forgetting that many of your readers are in different sectors


This applies especially to LinkedIn. Do you feel as frustrated as me when you browse through your LinkedIn feed? Among the dozens of updates I have to wade through, many of them make absolutely no sense to me.

Like this: ‘Had a great time at CuddlyFun2016 this week! Awesome performance from everyone involved and we have been nominated for the prize of ‘Best Exhibitor’! WooHoo!’ But I have no idea exactly what CuddlyFun2016 is and I can’t remember what my connection’s business does. 

So how about writing: ‘Really enjoyed showcasing our superb teddy bear outfits at the world’s biggest soft toy exhibition this week. Awesome performance from the team and we were nominated for ‘Best Exhibitor’ at CuddlyFun2016! WooHoo!

Yes, I know – the main target audience for a post like that IS people who know exactly what CuddlyFun2016 is. But presumably you are connected to everyone else because you want to communicate with them on some level, so why not do it with clarity for them too?

Step into your readers’ shoes for a moment


As with all good writing, the trick is to remember that your readers don’t live in your world. They aren’t as interested in you and what you do as you are. So give them those extra little bits of information to help them quickly ‘get’ what you’re writing about.

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