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Write as a Reader

If I were to write as a writer, I would take my time. I would take you round the houses, embellishing flourishes all the way, adding unnecessary indulgences, maybe pausing for dramatic effect.

I would exercise my ego at the expense of your understanding and go all out to demonstrate my extensive vocabulary, raising a single finger to quiet your protestations and carry on regardless.

And where would that get us?

Nowhere fast.

All the best writers write as readers, whether in literature or marketing or everywhere in-between. They start where you are and bring them along with you, being respectful of both your time and your intelligence.

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

William Strunk, 1918



Of course there are people out there who like to read.

But they’re picky: they like to read what they like to read. Asking them to read about your product or service is a big ask: YOU are asking THEM to invest (time to digest) when, back in the real world, that was never the deal:

The deal was that they came here to get something from you.

Worst case scenario is you get them to invest and waste their time. AKA pissing people off.

If they’re a cold lead, they want to be made feel warm at the very least. If you can do that, they will likely remember you when they’re in your market (and then you’re into relationship and brand building territory).

If they’re a warm lead, they want to get straight to the hot stuff, no messing about. They want price (to compare), lead or delivery times, quality info and good service, all wrapped up in some (short!) copy that reassures them you’ll do what you’ve said you’ll do.

So how do you do that?

Do Your Research

If you know what your audience knows, you can skip to the good stuff.

So, for example, if you’re selling coffee, they don’t need a description of what coffee is. They just need to know why yours is so good!

Talk Like Your Audience

Use words and phrases your audience uses.

Go too high falutin’ and you’ll seem distant.

Too low brow and you’ll come across as cheap.

All the rule books say to avoid jargon at all costs. But if that’s what your audience wants and you know they understand it, you should give it to them.

The golden rule is to speak the language of your audience in a way that shows you are a real person, helpful and expert, who is happy to answer their questions.

Be Clear

Funnily, writing your own copy can be difficult if you’re too knowledgeable about your subject: there’s so much to say. And if you're really passionate about your product, there's a danger you could go on all day.

Again, think about what it is that people need or want to know at that time and ideally keep to one core message.

Your audience can dig a little deeper if they want to know more and this is actually a great strategy for encouraging questions - AKA engagement!

DON’T Be Best

Blowing your own trumpet or using superlatives is the worst!! See what I did there…

Seriously though, overstating or exaggerating claims will actually lose your customers' trust. They’ll see you as being all ‘me, me, me’ when you’re supposed to be all ‘them, them, them’. See the next point about you…

‘You’ First

I’ve saved the best for last: copywriting legend has it that ‘You’ is THE NO.1 POWER WORD in marketing.

People like to see themselves in the story.

So bring them in: the most important – and easiest - way to write for your reader is to talk to them directly. Trying to be too formal, using pronouns or talking about ‘the customer’ just comes across as cold.

If you’re writing content right now, try it: you’ll immediately see how your content flows better, is easier to write and becomes more friendly and conversational.

Or you can ask me to do it for you.