For me, it's knowing who I'm talking to, why my message is important to them, and where they will read/see the information. How about you?
The need to write copy on purpose effectively hit home - with a resounding thud - when I took on an editing rewrite this week. Typically, I'm on the front end of communication design. Coming in after the copy was written by someone else was an eye-opener.
Confronted with a mix of words and messages and no real packaging destination, I set to work to reshape the core copy. Here's a quick recap of the process I used to edit and reorient the copy for messaging. Let us know how you would improve on it.
Think About the Audience
"What's in it for me?" my son's response to my question "Do you want to go to the mall?"
If you have teenagers, you know their world is all about them. What if you treated your customer to the same personalized attention that teens expect and give each other and asked: Who is this piece about - the company or their customers? and then: Why would their customers care to read it?
Be the Solution
Recently I turned down an offer to work with a company whose pitch was all about instilling fear with no solutions. They might say their message is about raising awareness. Would you buy something from someone if you didn't know how they would help you solve a problem?
Underscore Key Messages
How will you know the reader got your message? What is the message?
One way to get a response is to offer a reward in exchange for information. What kinds of rewards attract your attention and motivate you to take action?
Style Copy to Suit the Delivery
Would you wear a winter coat in June? Yes, depending on where you live and the climate. If you live in Florida, you may not own any winter clothes - at all.
To me, copy is like fashion - I like to alter the layers, fabric and style to fit the climate, destination, person and occasion. For example, writing for the luxury market is much different than communicating to parents about their children's education. Yet, each communication channel's components give you a compass for how to reach your reader.
A blog post gives readers a place to sit and be comfortable in one place that links to other open-minded spaces. Leaving room for your reader is considerate and expected.
Here, you may take the position of being the trusted authority.
This is your opportunity to warm up and engage the relationship.
Focus on priorities - what do they need to know, what are they searching for, how do you fit into their lives?
Step into a steady stream of personal updates, replies and topically relevant comments - all in 140 characters or less. My Twitter Guide.
What other types of communications would you add?