Want your writing to work for you? Of course you do. In this article, we’ll give you the techniques you need to make your writing stand out from the crowd.
What’s the Point?
The first thing you need to ask yourself, before you start writing, is why you are writing. You should ask this question well before you decide what you’re writing.
All writing should have a purpose and that purpose should always be your primary motivation.
Imagine you have a new product to sell. How are you going to reach your target audience and sell it to them?
Lots of fresh-faced affiliates will immediately think ‘blog post’. This is largely because blogging is the most popular way of generating leads and sales. However, you really need to think about why you are using a blog and whether or not it is the right strategy.
The trouble with blogs is that, unless you have a lot of time and expertise, they will usually fall flat. You will have to generate a lot of writing regularly. However, it can’t just be writing for writing’s sake. You will need to develop your own style which engages your readers, as well as give them interesting and original information in each post. This gets more and more difficult over time.
If you are an expert in a niche area and are promoting products that you use and that you think will genuinely benefit your audience then blogging is a great path. However, if you are more interested in shifting multiple products in bulk then you’ll need a different strategy.
Consider these two products: T-shirts and DIY tools. Why would blogging work for one and not the other?
People tend to buy t-shirts because they want something that looks good. But how much thought do people really put into their buying decision? After all, they know what t-shirts do, they just want to pick one which they will like. Aside from additional features such as fabrics and colours, there’s really not a huge amount to say and you’d struggle to write 100+ blog posts about t-shirts that was specific to your audience.
People who are interested in buying DIY tools will often be interested in DIY. DIY is a hugely popular interest and there is no shortage of things to build. As a result, if you are promoting a tool which can be used to build cupboards, beds, drawers, treehouses, planters etc, then you have to be able to sell those benefits to people. This is where a blog becomes really beneficial. You can use it to teach people how to build hundreds of things your audience might want to try out and centre the whole thing around the necessity of the tools you are promoting.
Types of Writing in Marketing
There are lots of different types of writing you can use in marketing and they will all depend on what you want to do. However, the primary purpose of any marketing is to persuade. The only factor that differs is how you do it.
In marketing you can try to sell the same product 100 different ways and, when you’re starting out, that’s exactly what you should be doing, until you discover what works and why. Here’s are some examples of how one product could be marketed in many ways.
You need to decide on how you want to persuade people. Different tactics will have different results and which ones you choose should depend on what type of campaign you want to run. For example, if you want to sell quickly and aren’t too worried about repeated custom from a particular product, then you can be more aggressive and try to play to people’s fears. However, if you want to play the long game and gain lifetime customers, then you’ll need to establish rapport and build up their trust.
To make life easier, you can put your marketing strategy into one of two camps. Short-term and long-term. Short-term is about selling a particular product at a particular time. Long-term is more about building a trustworthy brand.
Most affiliate use short-term strategies and rely on quick paid advertising campaigns using Facebook, Google Adwords etc. Other affiliates, such as bloggers, use a mixture of long and short-term strategies.
Bloggers and Vloggers use long-term strategies to build trust with their audience and position themselves as experts in their chosen field. This then makes it easier to promote short-term campaigns as people already trust the source and the advice they give. In many cases, the sales appear subsidiary to the content and brand. PewDiePie is a good example of this. And when you realise that he is worth around $30,000,000 you’ll understand just how effective that can be.
But how can you get to the level and status of PewDiePie as an affiliate marketer? The answer is simple, the execution far less so.
Produce amazing work that people will love!
Obviously, this much easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The first thing you need to do is decide what you like. You’ll never provoke passion in your audience if you don’t love what you do.
Next, you need to develop your style. For this, it’s best to keep it simple. A lot of people think that you need to have a university education to write well and worry about being judged for their grammar. Put those fears aside. Many of the best affiliates and even copywriters don’t have a formal education in writing.
Going to university can actually be a major disadvantage when it comes to your writing as you’ll pick up a lot of bad habits from writing essays in academic English. If you have been to uni, then forget everything they taught you about writing, because it will never work when it comes to making sales. No one will care how impressive your vocabulary is when they are trying to buy make-up.
Keep it Simple
One of the most difficult techniques, but arguably the most important, is to keep your writing simple. A lot of people try to compensate for a lack of knowledge with an overuse of complicated vocabulary. The idea being that ‘If I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll use complex language and if you don’t know what I’m talking about then that’s your fault.’ Read The Guardian newspaper to see good examples of this.
Startups are often the biggest offenders when it comes to using unnecessarily complex language. The reason is that they want to position their companies as being professional heavyweights. However, this can often mislead prospective customers and put them off using their services. It also means that they only give people a vague outline of their brand.
The way to combat this in your writing is to make sure that you understand the things you are writing about and you know why you are writing them. You also shouldn’t be afraid to point out the obvious because what’s obvious to you might not be obvious to other people.
In order to keep your writing simple, imagine you are explaining your business model to a child. How would you get them to understand exactly what it is that you do? If you can get a child to understand your business, then you can get your prospective clients to as well. Don’t be afraid of it sounding too simple. People like simple as it makes their lives easier.
People love stories and they can conjure images that will stick in your readers’ minds. If you offer a service which can improve people’s lives, then you can go to the people whose lives you’ve changed and find out their story.
Here is an example of how AirBnB used this technique:
“Michael has found special ways to bond with guests who’ve rented the spare bedroom of his Queens home. Once upon a time, he literally took his work home with him: tickets to a show (executive box seats!) at Carnegie for a couple visiting from Italy. “They just went nuts,” said Michael, “and it was just so neat because I felt this connection that I was their tour guide, that I was their mentor while they were in New York City.”
By introducing the experiences of real people who have used your product or service, you can add a new visual layer to your campaigns and show your customers exactly how they can benefit from your business.
If you don’t have any customer stories, then you can always create your own hypothetical narrative. Of course, you should never fabricate stories, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the technique. Shopping channels use hypothetical storytelling all the time and it’s really effective. They usually do this by addressing the audience with a line such as ‘Don’t you just hate it when…?’ or ‘Have you ever…?’
When writing in this way, position yourself as having the same problem as the reader. This will make you more trustworthy and sympathetic. Here’s a quick example:
Losing the remote control can be a real nuisance, especially if it means you miss the start of your favourite show. That’s the we’ve developed the TV Remote Finder Remote! You’ll never have to worry about losing the TV remote again. Simply grab your TV Remote Finder Remote and use it to track down your TV remote using incredible sonar technology. Just be careful not to lose the TV Remote Finder Remote.
Rather than simply describing your product or service, you can help potential customers to visual the scenario in which they would use it, which helps them to see the benefits much more easily. It’s also much more interesting to read if done well.
The Bottom Line
Your writing doesn’t just need to sell your product, it also needs to be engaging enough that people will actually want to read it in the first place. Start by thinking about what you like to read and what you tend to ignore and go from there. Try experimenting with some of the techniques listed in this article and see which you like best.