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Have you ever tried to wade through a sea of grey text, trying to find a helpful nugget? More likely, you quickly scanned the copy — or gave up and hit the “delete” button (or tossed the missive in the trash) after the first few boring or irrelevant sentences.
But if you’re in the business of writing copy to persuade people — press releases, website copy, marketing literature — you’d hate to think that your own precious words will suffer the same fate. In this article, book-marketing consultant Brian Judd says people are more likely to read marketing copy that is “scannable.”
In other words, don’t expect people to pore over your every word. Instead, make it easy for them to find the nuggets of information that will persuade them to act or to buy.
“[Readers] scan the page, looking for words that are pertinent to their needs,” Judd says. “A recent study found that 79 percent of test users scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-for-word. . . . In most cases, readers dislike copy that is too promotional, without substance, benefits or validity. People are busy, and they want to quickly get facts that are important to them.”
His suggestions are specifically geared towards selling books, but they apply equally to whatever product or service you offer. His simple, common-sense tips, such as highlighting key words, numbering lists, and keeping sentences short, will make your copy more effective, easier to follow and more appealing to read.
And if you’d like help writing marketing copy, or just want someone to take a look, get in touch with me.
Write on —
by Maryann Hammers — your solution for all writing and editing needs