Your Writing Blueprint
Rich guy T. Harv Eker recently wrote a book called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. In it, he says each of us has a financial blueprint that was imprinted on us by our parents and grandparents in their spoken and unspoken messages about money. In other words, we tend to replicate the money habits we learned in our youth. So what does that have to do with copywriting?
I contend that we also have a “writing blueprint” that guides the way we write as adults whether we’re writing reports, articles, books, white papers, sales letters, web copy, or whatever. The blueprint comes mainly from our educational background.
Those who studied, for example, law or medicine or IT will have a tendency to write in a certain academic or technical way, at least when the material they’re writing is work related. Those who studied English literature will tend to write in different ways from those who studied journalism, etc. etc. We tend to develop by osmosis and over long years of practice a writing blueprint that defines our field of endeavor.
So it will come as no surprise that some writing blueprints don’t cross over from one genre to another.
For example, we’ve all visited sites where the jargon was so thick you could cut it with a machete. Where sentences run on and paragraphs are so long they span several screens. Where ideas (or products) are presented in thesis-like complexity.
Nothing wrong with that sort of writing blueprint – if it’s a thesis. Or a technical spec sheet. Or a legal document. In those cases, you’re writing for an audience that speaks your lingo. You’re preaching to the choir.
But if you’re writing web content to promote, let’s say, a software development company, you first of all need to understand exactly who will be reading it. If your target market includes those in the business food chain who don’t speak fluent geek (for example a customer service manager looking for CRM software), at least some portions of your copy need to tone down the IT jargon. Because your words need to be crystal clear to everyone who reads them or the whole persuasion premise falls apart very early in the sales funnel of your site.
Whether you write your own copy or outsource it, the first order of business is clarity. Sure, feel free to use any tone you feel is appropriate: conversational, businesslike, formal. As long as the words you choose don’t cause any segment of your prospective market to stall and sputter out before reaching the finish line.
Michael Pedone is the President / CEO of eTrafficJams.com, a search engine optimization and website marketing company <http://www.etrafficjams.com> located in Clearwater, Florida that specializes in getting targeted, eager-to-buy traffic to your site. You can catch him blogging at: <http://www.etrafficjams.com/blog/>.