7 Tips for Improving Your Online Marketing Writing

Randy Milanovic
Randy Milanovic Principal & Author, Kayak Online Marketing

Posted on December 3rd 2013

7 Tips for Improving Your Online Marketing Writing

Even if you work with an experienced online marketing team, there are times when you're bound to have to do a bit of copywriting yourself. Even the busiest business owners and executives get tasked with the occasional tweet, article, or email, and it pays to be able to convey key messages in a succinct way.

With that in mind, we'd like to share with you seven tips for world-class copywriting that virtually anyone can use:

copywriter at work crafting a blog article

1. Write with a single person in mind.

Here at Kayak, we use marketing personas for this exact reason. The more you can picture your perfect client in your mind's eye, and write something that appeals directly to him or her, the easier it's going to be to create a one-on-one marketing effect (which, of course, should be your goal).


2. Say what you mean, as clearly as possible.

Where a lot of business people trip up is trying to think like professional writers, when they should simply communicate clearly. When in doubt, use a simpler word instead of a more complex one. Aiming too high with your language doesn't always make you look smarter; it can just as easily come across as jargon. Or worse, it may sound like you are talking down.


3. Support your key statements.

If you are making a claim that flies in the face of common sense, or accepted wisdom, try to back it up with something credible. Often, a statistic or case study will do. However, if those aren't available, a personal anecdote or testimonial from a customer can be helpful. There is a fine line between being unconventional and being out of touch, so support your strongest statements in the best ways possible.


4. Always end your writing on a strong point.

Every marketing communication you put together (with the possible exception of short tweets and personal notes, of course) should end with a definite conclusion, a call to action, or both. If at all possible, invite the reader to take the next step, or share an opinion. I practice this rule in every communication I write, from emails to staff or clients, to closing out my twice-weekly blog articles. Simple truth: if you don't ask for a response, it's less likely you'll get one.


5. Write once and edit twice.

A lot of what people consider "writer’s block" is just a lack of momentum. For your first draft, just keep putting words together and trust you'll find the ones you need. After you have a complete draft, edit twice. The first time for structure and organization; and the second time to eliminate anything that isn't needed to help tell your story or make your point.


6. Read the document out loud before you send it.

Most simple typos, grammatical errors, and structural problems that people struggle with can be fixed by simply reading the draft out loud. Take your time and don't rush over the words. You'll find that as much as 90% of the most common writing issues can be taken care of this way.


7. Never send or publish something you'll have to take back later.

We live in a world where a single ill-advised email, blog post, or social media comment can lead to big problems. So, before you publish something to the Internet, or send it to any of your contacts (or especially, to all of them), think carefully about whether it's an idea you really want to express, or a thought you may want to keep to yourself.


You don't have to be a born writer to put together effective business communications, or add blog posts or social updates to your online marketing efforts. All it takes is a bit of focus and attention to detail... the rest just comes with practice.

By Randy Milanovic

Randy Milanovic

Randy Milanovic

Principal & Author, Kayak Online Marketing

Randy is author of 2 books: Findability: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying + 21 New Rules of Content Marketing, and Building a Better Business Website. He is the Prinicipal of Kayak Online Marketing, a leading Canadian inbound marketing firm.

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Comments

Sherwood Forest
Posted on December 2nd 2013 at 6:14PM

Thanks for that. Lot's of great information and tips! I loved the "Write once and edit twice". Writing without thinking of editing brings all the good ideas out. Editing will make it the article, tweet or post you wanted. Thanks again Randy.

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 10:42PM

Thank you Sherwood. I'm a firm believer is Actionable, Informational or Educational. (with maybe a dash of  entertainment thrown in for flavour.)

prbyamberrich
Posted on December 2nd 2013 at 8:42PM

Great Post! 

Easy to read, and the formatting allowed you to quickly identify the tips given. Saying what you mean as clearly as possible is a great point, it is so easy to get lost in your point and confuse your audience.

Thanks again,

-Amber

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 3:12AM

Thank you Amber. I agree, structure is a big part of communication. 

Belinda Summers
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 2:46AM

As long as you have the idea then there's no reason not to write about. You were right Randy, with continuous writing practice,  the experience and expertise develops along the way. It all follows. :)

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 3:11AM

Agreed!

Dan White Edmonton ED Dan White Edmonton Canada
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 5:44AM

I think these are nice tips to start an online marketing writing. I strongly support the last point because the writer has mentioned a true point. Thanks for this type of useful post.

 

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 6:33PM

Happy to hear from a fellow Albertan Dan.

jimmg
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 12:16PM

Thanks Randy. Great tips. Your 3rd point makes a lot of sense to me (maybe because of my area of work). I read your case study as well and loved it.

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 6:31PM

Excellent!!

Mark T
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 1:08PM

I think that few people start off with the ability to write good copy. It's something that seems to develop with practice and experience.

I do tend to find however that many younder individuals and school leavers and even graduates seem to struggle to assemble articles and create content that flows correctly. Perhaps it is a lot to do with the curriculum that they learn these days.

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 6:33PM

I blame it on mobile devices!

Sheila
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 3:49PM

Thanks for this well-written article with lots of great advice! The second point resonates with me...trying to use the "business" voice rather than your own as well as editing twice from different perspectives.  

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 6:31PM

Thank you Sheila!

Spook SEO
Posted on December 3rd 2013 at 9:58PM

Once you submit an article online, it stays there forever. You may edit it but there will always be people who will see it and a simple mistake will change their viewing experience forever. The Internet is filled with Grammar Nazis nowadays. You cannot afford to lose traffic just because of such error. 

Sunday
Posted on December 4th 2013 at 1:17PM
I agree with the 7 tip for improving online marketing writing as described in this post. One readily needs to embrace the best ways to crafting simple and clear messages. Copywriting should be punchy, easy to ready, and have clear cut call-to-action. The idea of organization, grammar and spelling check must never be ignored. In kingged.com, this post was shared and the above comment was left in the content syndication website. Sunday - kingged.com contributor http://kingged.com/7-tips-for-improving-your-online-marketing-writing/
Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 5th 2013 at 2:28AM

Thank you Sunday. Very kind of you. I visited Kinged, and commented. 

Sunday
Posted on December 5th 2013 at 8:22PM
You are welcome Randy!
Samuel Hum
Posted on December 6th 2013 at 9:56AM

Hi Randy,

I think point no. 1 is something that many of us miss out on when it comes to writing. It's very easy to fall into the process of just trying to write something, without really considering our target audience. Establishing who we would like to write to can really help us mould our content in a way that flows better. Reminds me of a metaphor where a public speaker shouldn't try to look at every single person in the room, but should just focus on a few individuals in the crowd and establish a connection with them. I think both situations are relatable in some way.

Thanks for writing this!

Sam Hum

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 7th 2013 at 5:56AM

Great point about the public speaker. Making eye contact creates a connection that goes deeper than a speach. 

sprout_sarah
Posted on December 6th 2013 at 6:43PM

These are really great tips, Randy! Writing with a single person in mind is my favorite. I think it really helps with focus and keeping communication clear and to the point. 

Also, reading my writing outloud always results in corrections. It's just about failproof for editing! 

Randy Milanovic
Posted on December 7th 2013 at 5:58AM

Agreed. Writing to a persona (picturing the individual) transforms marketing into communicating. 

Gord Collins
Posted on December 9th 2013 at 2:35PM

Thanks Randy, 

Nicely put with the 7 best tips. The only thing I'd add is that you probably shouldn't write unless you have something useful to say, that the topic and point of view are relevant to readers.  Topic first and then lots of editing.

-- Gord Collins

Content Strategist

kylemj6977
Posted on January 13th 2014 at 12:13AM

Write once - edit twice!

Great advice!

dialuz
Posted on January 20th 2014 at 5:49AM

This 7tips are helpful to Online Marketers.These tips are helpful to improving the quality of content writers.Thank you.