Most copywriters can find ways to improve a first draft or the source materials they’re provided with, but what are the actual steps they take? At Weber, we know it’s more complicated than simply reformatting drafted copy or combining source materials. Any writing that passes across our desks requires rigorous scrutiny and polishing before it’s ready for a customer’s eyes.
Here are the top five things we look out for:
- Fluffy content – Even a writer knows that writing for writing’s sake just doesn’t cut it in the business space. The most common culprit of this crime? Introductions that don’t really say anything. You should always make sure that your introduction is not just setting up your story but creating urgency as well. And for all of your content, if you can cut it out and everything still makes sense, you probably don’t need it.
- Lack of support – Nothing makes a reader skeptical of your credibility more quickly than wild, unsupported claims or arguments. First, make sure that the writer’s expertise matches the content. Then, use metrics or research whenever possible to round out any opinion-based statements with factual material.
- Stream-of-consciousness – Client materials often get organized based on internal teams and how they’re going through reviews, but it’s an agency’s job to mold the story for the end customer’s perspective. Writing should always be organized for quick skimming, with sections a reader can jump in and out of without getting intimidated by large paragraphs. Sometimes this even means that bullet points do a much better job of concisely conveying a point without excess language.
- Jargon – Occasionally a writer’s job isn’t even about copy, but about translating data for the customer. The content must be able to be digested by a lay person as much as by a subject matter expert. Good writing recognizes the important distinction between accuracy about a subject and telling a story with a clear “why.”
- Writing without intent – A call-to-action is more than contact information or a URL, and it’s also more than a sentence slapped onto the end of a piece. Before any words hit the page, you should first identify the audience and the actions you want them to take. That will enable you to craft, from start to finish, a piece that drives the audience toward a specific decision.
So, if you struggle with these writing pitfalls, it may be time for a communications audit. Here’s our call-to-action:
We have over 20 years of expertise channeling writing to a specific audience—and your specific goals—to drive results for your business. If you need help getting client-provided content truly consumer ready or telling a story, we can help you get the most out of your communications.
About Weber Associates
Weber Associates is a Columbus, OH-based consulting firm. Since 1985, we have blended the creativity of a marketing agency with the analytical rigor of a consultancy to help our clients solve real sales and marketing challenges so they can significantly grow revenues and customer loyalty.