Remember you are ALWAYS writing to ONE person. Rarely will anything you write be read by more than one person at a time, so refrain from saying things like “some of you”. For example, where you might be tempted to say: some people reading this might already know this – you really want to say: you may already know this. Now, it’s written for you, and I’m speaking to you, the reader.
Write and re-write. It’s always good to write and let things sit – usually three passes will get you a shorter, tighter piece. If you have time, letting something sit overnight is helpful. Less is absolutely more when it comes to words. Read over each sentence and see what words can be taken out without affecting the message. You’ll be surprised. Concise is key.
Don’t use industry or tech jargon, unless you’re writing something very industry specific. The plainer the language, the better the piece. Sometimes people use jargon as a way of showing they know the industry and to position themselves as an expert. Clients and prospects often find that off-putting – sometimes it can be a deal breaker. Speak to their intelligence, but don’t make any assumptions about what they do or don’t know. Simple and clean works best. Things that seem clear and obvious to you might not be to your audience.
Example: in a piece I wrote recently for a client, they kept referring to their customer as the “business user”. They sell a software product and to me that sounded like a level of service. Better to talk about the end-user, or client.
Always explain the benefits of features. It follows the old advertising saw “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. People come to you to solve problems. Say you’re in construction and building green is your specialty. Let’s not assume clients and prospects know why they might want to ‘go green’ and spend more money on green materials. Even at the same price as traditional materials – they need to know why the green solution would be a better one for them. Let’s say because green is a responsible and sustainable choice.
Responsible and sustainable are features of going green. Benefits of responsible and sustainable could be positioned as: conserving resources, saving energy, reducing your carbon footprint. You might go further to explain what a carbon footprint is and whyit matters – how it impacts the global economy and the health of the planet. For clients for whom these things are meaningful (and research shows it’s a vast and growing part of the population), explanation educates them and you add value. Win-win.
Maybe you sell steak knives. Perhaps a feature is the knives never dull. Benefits of never dulling might be: you don’t have to spend time or money sharpening your knives and they cut as easily three years later as they did the day you bought them.
Remember to emphasize what makes you stand out from your competitors. You don’t have to shout it, but you do want to incorporate it. If it’s your prices, emphasize that. If it’s how quickly you get the job done – make sure that’s clearly spelled out. If it’s the quality, or the materials, or the style, or the years of experience you have, be sure that gets spoken clearly. It’s what will make people choose you and it will build your brand, your reputation, and your bank account.