How to write but get it horribly wrong

I must share the following correspondence (identity concealed) I received last night from an organisation I respect … and which had been very badly let down by some crude, thoughtless writing on the part of their marketing communication suppliers.

This is how a mere few words of incompetent writing can create a car crash of bad feeling and potentially significant harm to the organisation concerned. I have edited out the extraneous bits so you get the picture faster.

When marketing communication projects go wrong - how can clients cope with the fallout from the car crash? A classic example of this awful problem for businesses

Is this yet another example of a car crash in marketing communications?

The lessons we can learn from this are very, very valid…

A classic example of ill-informed writing by a supplier who should know better

Here is the email that kicked it all off … and the first few sentences make me feel slightly nauseated. Is it just me, or do they affect you in the same way? [Read more…]

How to write a copywriting brief that gets you the results you need

There are two kinds of copywriters out there. One type will interview you and get you really thinking about your product or service offering, your target customers, and what they really want as opposed to what you think they should buy from you.

How to brief a copywriter

Make sure the briefs you give to a copywriter result in the right content.

This leads to a marketing communications brief that is bang on target and will produce an excellent result across all media. This type of copywriter tends to be experienced, skilled, very, very good at the job, but expensive.

Many SME businesses can’t or won’t pay for this level of professionalism. To quote a very-swiftly-dumped-ex-client of mine, “HOW MUCH? Just for a little bit of wording?” [Read more…]

How the SO WHAT? test can boost a lot of your business writing

Although the SO WHAT? test originally was written to test the content effectiveness of your elevator pitch, actually you can use it to test almost any promotional statement. Here’s how it works…So what test for all your marketing on HTWB

The basic idea behind the SO WHAT? test

[Read more…]

Write about solutions, not problems. People don’t buy problems.

Your readers’ problems are very important, of course. But writing about those at any length isn’t going to endear you to them.
They know they have problems. Yes, part of your remit when you’re writing marketing material is to understand those problems very well. But …
write about solutions not problems on HWTB…then, shut up about them.
People don’t buy problems. They buy solutions. 
How do you resolve that conundrum? Read on. [Read more…]

Think you need a marketing expert? Think again.

It might interest you to know the following points, neither of which are very flattering to our current masses of “marketing gurus…”

The difference between marketing and marketing communications

One: they may believe what they do is marketing, but there’s a good chance it’s marketing communications, which is only part of the story.
Two: if they know that what they do is marketing communications but they tell people they do marketing, they’re telling a porkie**.

But in fairness, it’s not that simple.

What does “marketing” really mean?

So that you don’t have to take it from measly old moi, here are some very respectable definitions: [Read more…]

How’s your voice? Active? Passive? Shout? Whisper?

Nearly all of us nonfiction/business writing gurus (ye Gods, what an awful cliché) pound tables and shout loudly that active voice rather than passive voice is essential in marketing communications no matter what. Mea culpa  here, in fact many times.

How's your voice? Active? Passive? Shout? Whisper?

Passive voice isn’t always a mistake.

But this is not necessarily the right answer. [Read more…]

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