Words That Work: The Nitty-Gritty of Marketing Copywriting

In last week’s post, “Words Matter,” we considered how excellent writing gives your institution a competitive edge. This week, let’s dig in to some of the how-to’s of producing powerful marketing copy for your school.

How to get perspective

Step into your intended reader’s shoes. Think about what you already know about your targeted audience, and ask yourself: Why is this subject important? And what does the reader want to know about this? Try a little informal research—ask some students, or parents, or others in the market you’re trying to reach.

Next, remember that language and style matter. If you’re writing to high school students and you’re a few years (or more) out of school yourself, you may need to re-gear your vocabulary and the way you use words.  Spend some time reading what they’re reading to help frame your approach.

How to get (and keep) the reader’s attention.

Just think about your own daily barrage of email messages, web pages, and printed mail. How much of it do you quickly pass over?

To draw in your intended reader, you have work do to. In sync with your top-rate design and photography, it’s the words—simple and compelling—that will accomplish your purpose.

Throughout your copy, use imaginative language that keeps readers engaged. A conversational tone is especially effective in addressing younger audiences. Create visual images, and use relevant, concrete examples. Avoid long or complicated sentences or extended paragraphs.

Captivating subject lines and headlines are crucial, so this is something that’s well worth an investment of time and creativity. Specific feedback from your audience is especially helpful here. Take potential headlines and run them by a small test group. Or measure which subject lines generate the highest click-through rates in your electronic communications.

How to make your copy convincing and accurate.

Your copy only works if your readers are moved to take action, right? To persuade your readers, appeal to their emotions, interests, and goals. Use simple, pointed words to compel them to the next step.

Finally, grammatical errors—subtle, or not-so-subtle—create glaring red flags in your copy. An otherwise excellent article or promotional piece will quickly lose credibility with misspelled or misused words, misplaced modifiers, or run-on sentences. Be sure to carefully review your own work, but have someone else proofread it, too.

How a professional can help

Without experienced skill and intentional effort, your writing may be missing the mark—and missing your intended reader. Even a talented in-house writer, distracted by office meetings and the urgent matters of each day, may struggle sheerly for lack of time to focus.

At 5°, our professional copywriters are those rare individuals who actually love to write (and quietly critique other people’s writing!). Gleaning the best of your organization, we’ll deliver customized content. We’ll support outstanding design with copy that’s compelling. Relevant. Accurate. Persuasive. Words to set your brand apart.