Marketing Content Myths… and Tips to Write Powerful Content that Works
Why Most Marketing Content Fails
If you wanted to commission a great portrait of yourself, would you hire a house painter to do it? After all, he’ll use paint and a brush… Isn’t that all it takes?
You may be smiling at the absurdity of this suggestion.
Of course, a house painter doesn’t do portraits! It takes very different skills, training and brushes to produce a portrait.
Yet many small business owners make the equivalent of this mistake with their marketing or website content.
They write it themselves or hire an unqualified person–simply because they can put words together. Like a house painter trying to paint a portrait, the result is similar. The messaging doesn’t get attention, doesn’t differentiate and doesn’t persuade prospective customers to take action. In short, it doesn’t sell!
5 Common Myths about Promotional Content: Which Do You Believe?
Following are five of the most common myths people hold that doom marketing copy to ho-hum verbiage that doesn’t engage, doesn’t differentiate and doesn’t sell.
Myth #1. People want to hear about your business.
They could care less. Think about it. When people shop, they are looking for a solution to their problem. THAT’S what they want to hear about. They only care about what you offer once they see that you might offer them a solution.
So, don’t start right off talking about your business. Talk about what’s important to them. THEN move into how your product or service relates to that.
Myth #2. Keep your content short and simple (KISS), or else people won’t read it.
This conventional ‘wisdom’ couldn’t be more wrong! Yet everyone repeats it mindlessly like it’s a universal truth. It’s based on the fact that most people write copy that isn’t engaging or compelling. Then they conclude it should be as short as possible since people aren’t reading it.
Or, they ask friends and associates to read it–people who are NOT in the market for your product or service. In other words, they recruit people with no interest in reading about what you offer other than to help you out.
Let’s bust this myth. When you want to make an important buying decision, you want MORE INFORMATION–not less. Assuming you’re targeting a prospective buyer, it’s the quality of information and how it’s presented that determines their interest–not the length. Give them what they need to make a good decision. They’ll read it.
Myth #3. What’s most important is clever, creative content.
Nope! What’s most important is the brain of your prospect. It’s a proven, scientific fact that the brain filters information based on what it perceives to be important.
But how effective can marketing content be when the writer has never studied how the brain perceives, filters and processes information?
In brief, you must first get the brain’s attention (the reticulum), then engage it to keep its attention. You must also provide the left (rational) brain with details it needs to justify taking action.
Myth #4. Platitudes and generalities make persuasive content.
If you want your content to read like everybody else’s, fill it with phrases like “the most professional,” “largest selection,” “excellent service,” “price, quality and value,” blah, blah, blah… Claims like this may be true, but they’re not PERCEIVED as true. Why? Because everyone uses them, including the most mediocre, and even dishonest providers.
In short, generalities and platitudes don’t differentiate because buyers have unconsciously learned to disregard or disbelieve this kind of copy. Buyers want specific details to make the best buying decision. This is your chance to differentiate. Besides, no one else is doing it!
Myth #5. You should use the same verbiage in all your marketing.
True, elements of your Core Message should be consistent throughout your marketing. But messaging should vary depending on the application, the audience (market segment), the buyer’s stage of readiness, the environment in which the message is consumed (e.g. mobile ads vs. standard website copy), whether the message appears in a highly competitive environment, etc.
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“Tim’s deep, soul-level understanding of the marketing equation and his ability to create great core messaging has brought tremendous value to my company. I recommend him highly!”
–Paul Hoyt, Hoyt Management Group
Qualifications for our lead writer, Tim Smith:
Managing editor, four weekly news publications
Marketing vice president, two national non-profit institutions
Executive management positions, two advertising agencies
Marketing director, national segment for a leading U.S, company
Over 500 hours of specialized training in consulting and strategic copy writing
Certified Marketing Executive (CME) credentials awarded in 2000
Winner, 2005 national headline writing contest
Press association awards, 17 entries Mid Atlantic Press Association
BS Degree, Mass Communications with a major in Journalism, graduated summa cum laude
Instructor, college course for newspaper writers and publishers