This weekend I was at a career fair. At least 80% of the booth displays were problematic. A lot of displays were not communicating the actual reason why they were there. Nor did they actually tell the visitor what the company was about.
In this note I show you how I approach copywriting. From today on, you will probably start communicating clearer.
Let us start with an example: one booth was aesthetic enough yet littered with buzz slogans.
- “Your partner for the future.”
- “Invest in innovation.”
- “The company made of people”.
No shit! Yet, I still don't know what you do, company-made-of-people! I still do not care either. Tell us what you are about. Can you imagine that this would be the same strategy of the whole company? "We can be your partner for the future!" – "Okay. But what do you sell?".
What I use when writing (marketing) copy
This is a (rudimentary) method I use to come up with copy ideas. It is loosely based on the great Copywriter's Handbook by Robert W. Bly (Read that handbook, you will not regret it.)
- Determine the goal of your copy.
- Sell a product/service?
- Connect personally with a potential customer?
- Build awareness of a certain product?
- To positively influence your brand?
- Something else?
- Brainstorm and put yourself in the readers shoes. From the reader's perspective, write down a view sentences what the readers would be saying to themselves.
- take a piece of paper and jot down all:
- benefits for the reader (what problems does it solve?),
- what the product/service is,
- the audience that has the problem you're solving
- Try combining it in a short summary. Like this: Our [product] can help you with [benefit], because it [does this]. We are here to help you with [why does the user need to know?].
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. Write more concise sentences and remove jargon.
- Evaluate what you've written with a colleague. "Hey Steve. When you read this, can you tell me for who this is for, why you should buy it?"
Let's do a quick session for our example above.
It turned out that the company was a human resource consulting firm. Before you read, I am currently writing this while ON the fair. Consider this a first draft that needs work. Let's go:
They are probably looking for people to hire to help them out internally. (They are not there to find B2B leads.) Their goal might be: "Get people interested in working for them."
"For who is it? Why would I work in a company like that? What do you offer me? Give me a reason to come to your booth and not the other"
Welcoming team, great salary, working in small teams, flexible hours, diverse daily tasks, flat management hierarchy… Etc.
The actual service
Tough one in this case. Maybe a contract/working with one of the greatest HR employers in the state?
Problem you are solving
The problem of not having a job in HR that gives you those kind of benefits and self-fulfillment!
Human Resources Qualified, emphatic, young people that are looking for a job that involves working with people.
Our company can help you with a self-fulfilling, well paid job in HR, because the team is welcoming, the daily tasks are not mundane and we work in small, close teams.
Potential copy for that booth:
- Get attention / Filter the audience: "A New Exciting Job Opportunity In Human Resources!
- Deliver the message, call-to-action: "Come and talk about your future in HR, your benefits and how we can make you the best in your field"
Naturally, there are dozens of other ways to approach this. For example, you could play more to the emotions of your reader. Whatever you do, make it a clear, direct message instead of fluff and buzzword bingo.