The Mystic Media Blog will be devoting our expertise into a five-part series of articles detailing the ins and outs of Promotional Writing. The series will cover several topics, including general techniques, suggested processes, press releases, website copy, and social media.
Promotional writing is any type of writing designed to sell or promote a product or service. It can be informational, such as a blog or newsletter, or direct as an advertisement. It can be the “About Us” section of a website, a description of a service, or a press release. Promotional writing is key to marketing any business. All writing associated with your brand must adhere to a quality consistent with your company or it runs the risk of deteriorating your name. Although certain techniques apply across the board for promotional writing, the medium spans several formats to which the writer must cater. For our first article on the topic, we will cover the general principles and goals of promotional writing to help you represent your business.
EXECUTE YOUR GOAL
The goal of promotional writing is to connect with your target audience. Whether or not they ultimately choose to act upon the impulse you desire to impart is beyond your control. If you succeed in clearly communicating the benefits of the product or service you are promoting, readers in the market for whatever is being sold are likely to follow-through. So long as the message you intend to impart is effective and precisely conveyed to the audience, you will have done your job. Thus, it’s vital to consider the audience’s perspective in crafting any piece.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
A consumer stumbles upon a piece of writing dedicated to promoting a product or service. They have the choice of reading it or not. Even if it applies to them, it doesn’t guarantee they are going to follow-through and closely examine the piece. As a promotional writer, you have to make your writing as easy to consume as possible. You must consider your target audience’s perspective and structure your piece based on how you expect your readers to consume it.
Is the piece something you can imagine someone reading at work, or is it something more dense they would read when researching a topic? How long do they have to read it? What parts would they skim? Is the piece geared more toward neophytes to the topic, or veterans seeking to enrich their knowledge? Each of these questions must be answered before you write, for they dictate the audience with which your writing must connect.
PERFECT THE STYLE
While there’s no formula for good promotional writing, there are certain generally accepted principles which apply across formats.
Direct, Concise, Targeted: Good promotional writing directly addresses a target audience with a clear, concise message. The message should be defined from the outset: this is a superior product or service. It’s important to be direct by getting to the “What” before the “Why”. The writer must target a specific audience. They must know who would read the piece and what they would be looking for. Every sentence must contribute directly to your message. The minute a reader senses something was written for the sake of taking up space, they will stop reading. Be considerate of their time. Do as much as you can with the attention they give you.
Accurate, Appealing, Persuasive: Good promotional writing accurately depicts the appeal of a product or service in a persuasive manner. Rather than resort to hyperbole, effective promotional writing allows the product to sell itself by presenting accurate, benefit-led facts. You must understand how the product or service appeals to your target audience before you sit down and write. Once the appeal is established, elaborate upon both the positive effects the product or service creates, as well as the negative effects it averts to craft a persuasive argument of why they must go out and obtain this specific product or service.
Smooth, Purposeful, Structured: Good promotional writing adheres to smooth, purposeful structure designed with the objective of creating the most efficient, enjoyable reading experience for the target audience. There are infinite ways to structure any given piece, but good structure plays into an audience’s expectation to clearly communicate points. Every sentence should directly follow the line of thinking preceding it and set-up the next point. General information and the overarching message should be front-loaded so readers who only have time for the first paragraph still understand the point of the piece.
IDENTIFY APPROPRIATE VOCABULARY
Identifying proper vocabulary for promotional writing can be a bit tricky. You don’t want to overload the reader with words they may not understand, but you also must assert your intelligence and don’t want to sound too colloquial. Acceptable vocabulary depends greatly on the target audience. Your word selection will be different if your target audience is a consumer of technology products versus if your piece was targeting professional application developers.
If you follow the guidelines above pertaining to promotional writing style, the flow of your writing should exude the intelligence you desire more than an elaborate vocabulary, which can sound pretentious when overdone.
For more techniques on vocabulary selection, check out this handy article by Writers & Artists.
CALL TO ACTION
A call to action is a statement which presents an opportunity for the audience to continue the dialogue regarding the topic, product, or company. A call to action could encourage the reader to contact the company by phone, click a link to the company’s website, follow the company on social media, share, comment, or link to another article where they can read more. A call to action is anything which feeds the audience’s desire to either continue the conversation, or take action and follow-through with whatever your desired action response is in writing the article. The goal of any promotional piece is to drive traffic to the product or service, thus a call to action is perhaps the most vital statement in the piece.
Learn more about call to action techniques by checking out this great article on the topic: How To Create a Successful Social Media Call to Action.
In our next Promotional Writing entry, we will help you out big time by creating a process with tips and tricks on structuring and revising your promotional writing.
At Mystic Media, our vast experience in strategic marketing and application development has given us expertise on the all formats of promotional writing: from copy writing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, web design, and more. Learn more by clicking here or by contacting us by phone at 801.994.6815