If I was charged with writing your marketing content (whether you are a business with service or product offerings, or a government organisation trying to foster change) the first thing I would do is ask you to describe your specific audience.

What are their needs? What is the context they work in? What are they already doing? What gaps do they face that you might be able to address? What are the problems they need solved?

After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!

The next question, is where does your organisation fit in all of this? What segments do you operate in (or want to operate in) and how do they differ from each other? And, then, what makes you different to other companies out there? What is your value proposition in front of each audience? Why?

Understanding all of this doesn’t mean I then go off and write it all into a brochure which talks about how you can solve your customers’ problems.

Instead, I sit down and think very carefully about your answers. I draw on my knowledge and understanding of the audience and the work I’ve done before to come to an idea of what will resonate or connect with them strongly – possibly even on an emotional level.

I look at things (including your offering) from the audience perspective – after all, they make the decision about choosing you.

For example, when it comes to working with businesses, my experience is that most (in both the private and public sector) get loads of approaches from lots of different organisations who are working in a similar area to you.

And, when it comes to those sustainability imperatives which we already ‘get’ because we work in the sector, many just don’t understand how environmental or social aspects are important to their business. In a lot of cases, even the profit or value drivers aren’t explicit.

There’s perhaps a slightly stronger imperative if they have EMS or QA systems in place. Even those who do will often look for the lowest cost solution to meeting compliance, unless you can demonstrate value in a way that they understand.

Five tips for comms clarity

Here are my five tips to writing meaningful, engaging content which reaches your customer and inspires them to do what you want them to.

1Switch your mindset.

Instead of ‘what I can offer you’, think ‘what do my customers need’. There are some great websites which that will help you with this. These two ‘canvases’ from strategyzer are a great place to start.

2Set an objective and a purpose.

Where does each brochure fit in your marketing and sales process? Is it an introduction? Something you send out with the aim of people calling you? A sales tool/leave behind? A supporting document? Work out a way of measuring it’s success so that if you get it right, you know to do it again.

3Focus on the ‘why’

provide a hook or anchor to your customer so they can set their mindset to the right place to consider your offering. Make sure that the ‘why’ is something that resonates well with the customer (you understand your customers well, look at your brochures from their perspective – if you were them, would they appeal to you?) If you want to understand the importance of Why, have a look at this Ted talk from Simon Sinek. It’s about how great leaders inspire action.

4Differentiate at every point.

The aim is to describe your offering in a way that enthuses the customer to keep reading long enough to understand why you do it, then what you do, and then to do what you are asking them to do.

5Leave them with a strong call to action

Ask them to call you, or to  make the change you are seeking. Don’t be afraid of the response – a two way interaction is what you are seeking, after all. If you’ve got the rest right, this part should be something they can’t ignore.

Let us know how you go in the comments below!